Some time back, I got the movie Fallen on DVD, mostly on the strength of its star, Denzel Washington. To cut to the chase, the movie pissed me off, because the bad guy - Azazel - managed to succeed over Denzel's character, Detective John Hobbes. I found myself irritated enough with this turn of affairs to project from the end of the movie a bit and add my own twist to even the score. Please note, though - my take on this is no admission of being a closet believer. I'm simply taking what was presented in the movie and extrapolating from it ... with an added character and one other in a different guise. Here is my Postscript:
The Fallen Throne Azazel padded quickly away from the cabin. This time, he thought, this time he nearly hadn't made it. In the 1,274 years of his existence, he could remember few ephemerals who had challenged him the way that John Hobbes had. Credit had to be given where credit was due: The man had been smart, discerning and tenacious, bringing all the skills of a 20th century police detective to the task. Everyone had told him to walk away and yet he had stuck with the pursuit, to the point of being willing to give his life to the cause of ending Azazel's. When Azazel had struggled with Hobbes's body, poisoned and dying, though he was loath to admit it, he had been scared. Hobbes had come close, very close.
But not close enough. A cat's smile hinted at his lips as his paws crunched the dried leaves and snow which covered the forest floor. Hobbes had been smart ... but he had forgotten about the stray which he had briefly seen upon his first visit to the Milano's cabin, weeks ago. Had that cat not been there ... Azazel cut off the thought. Not many things scare a demon, but the thought of oblivion, of ceasing to be after over a millennium of mayhem, such a thought was enough to frighten any of his kind. It didn't matter, anyway. That was behind him now. What lie ahead of him was the highway he had seen as Jonesy, and about two miles down that road a rest stop. All he needed now was contact with a human, and he was back in the game again, back to the business of fomenting the fall of Babylon. Azazel trotted cross-country, ignoring the road he had driven up. His cat's senses told him that this was the shortest distance between himself and the freeway. He could just follow the road once there.
Dawn was beginning to assert itself as Azazel neared the freeway. The fence paralleling it was not in the best of condition, Azazel observed as he approached. That was fine with him. His lithe, feline body maneuvered easily through a break in the chain-link and moved to cross the highway. Not a car in sight, he noted, just as well and proceeded to the tarmac. The rest stop had been on the other side of the street. He had just crossed the berm lane and was about to continue onward when the sun peaked out from the hills to the east, dazzling his nearly fully dilated eyes.
Donald E. Baines, Jr. had stirred out of bed at 4:30 that morning. The meeting with Clarridge, Adams, and Throneberry and the thirty million dollars the contract with them represented had allowed him very little sleep as it was. He realized that things were not as secure for the presentation that morning as he'd like. The presentation could be improved on, and Don would feel a LOT better with some additional firepower in his arguments. He had showered and dressed and taken off at about 5:15, turned onto the freeway and set the cruise on his Mercedes Benz E320 to 80 mph. No one was on this stretch of road this time of day, not cops nor many other commuters, and while stretching the Benz's legs, he could get some work done. Don reached for the mini-corder sitting on the passenger seat, not noticing the tiny gray figure encroaching from the side of the road.
Azazel, his eyes partially blinded by the sun, had no chance to see or react to the car bearing down on him at supra-legal speeds. Further, as Donald reached for his mini-corder, the car swerved to the right, just enough to intersect with the location of a stray tabby on the side of the road. The right front bumper of the Benz caught Azazel square on the left side of his head, snapping his neck to the right and fracturing his first, second and third cervical vertebrae and spinning him violently away from the road. He landed about eight feet away on his back and rolled down the slope about halfway back to the barrier fence. Death, to all intents and purposes, was instantaneous.
At least for the body, it was. Azazel, disoriented and furious, separated himself from the now-useless body. His vision, now taking in a 360-degree circle, saw the cause of his host's unexpected demise, moving quickly away at 120 feet per second ... 80 cubits per second ... and was already very nearly beyond his reach! The demon strained his senses, looking for anything, ANYTHING he could tie his spirit to. The car was slipping away ... and there was NOTHING around ... not a fox or a deer ... not even a mouse! Nothing but some oak and Douglas firs whose immobility could not serve him. He had survived all this time, frustrated so many foes, even that forever-damned detective, and now, now he was going to lose it all to a chance incident! The car was well out of reach, now, well beyond 750 cubits and vanishing away over a rise. And even as the sun was rising, the fire of his spirit was expiring for lack of a host, shrinking, shriveling... "Nooooooooooooo!!!!!!" There was a rustling of leaves, though no one to notice it, then all was still. A quarter mile away, Donald Barnes began dictating into his mini-corder, instructing his secretary to prepare some additional transparencies and put them in thus-and-so order and to be sure the croissants from Duncan's Bakery which Phillip Throneberry liked so much were delivered in time. He had neither seen the cat nor noted its impact on the bumper, though he would wonder two weeks later how a minor dent in the right corner had gotten there.
Hovering forty-five hundred feet above this scene, the Angel Ariel, known to the world as Gretta Milano watched it all, nodding in silent approval. This had been a long time coming, a long time and a lot of subtle, painstaking work. Angels weren't allowed the kind of broad strokes to work with that Azazel's kind made use of entirely too much. She had known virtually from the beginning what it would take. This morning, for instance. Donald Baines's creative thoughts about his presentation had been muted ever so slightly the day before, then his sleep disturbed just enough to goad him into work early. Long before then, John Hobbes's tenacity had been enhanced to its limits, since before Edgar Reese had been sentenced to the gas chamber, as had his capacity for believing the seemingly unbelievable. This would give John the will to tackle the impossible task he had been given, and see it through to its inevitably tragic conclusion. These and a thousand other subtle touches had all been necessary to realize the culmination she had achieved here.
Still, it had cost dearly. The police in this district had lost three good men. Sam, John's nephew, had lost both his father and his uncle, there was the schoolteacher who had been Azazel's innocent pawn when he had threatened and been killed by Hobbes, and these were only the more recent losses from the hands of Azazel. Had it been worth it? Yes. The world was less one fallen throne, one of the more egregious of his kind, and it would be a better place for his absence. Ariel allowed herself a smile before shaking herself out of her reverie. The world was still an unsafe place, and there was no time to waste admiring a work no longer in progress. She dipped a wing and peeled off smartly to the east, into the sun which had also played its part. There was much work yet to be done...
Well, I DIDN'T like it, not in the slightest, and entirely because of the ending. I suppose I have this ... this THING: I do NOT want the bad guys to win, sure as hell not when the setup looks like what Fallen did and not when a good and determined detective like John Hobbes has to come so close only to be frustrated because some tabby-cat was hiding under the cabin.
Put bluntly, this is my way of saying:
to the writer of that flick, never mind to Azazel ... and any other entity that thinks they can get the drop on us. Heinlein didn't call us the most dangerous species on the planet because we play nice!
Loren, I agree with you about the movie. The biggest reason I watched was because of Denzel. He is one of the actors that I will go to a movie just because he is in it. I like your ending much better. If the story requires the hero to die, I'm okay with it, but it really has to service the story, not just to shock.
Thanks, always look forward to the stuff you post. Be well.
Thanks to you both for your input. It is as I stated: I Do Not Like It when the bad guy wins, especially when the "bad guy" is a form of being which doesn't even exist. It's bad enough when the bad guys get away with it in real life. I have no desire to tolerate it in my entertainment. Fallen and movies like it where there is no recompense for bad action do far more than just rub me the wrong way, and it's worth noting: I've watched Fallen ONCE ... and it hasn't been out of its carrier since.