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In the cerulean glow of his basement lights, Mal’akh stood at the stone table and continued his preparations. As he worked, his empty stomach growled. He paid no heed. His days of servitude

to the whims of his flesh were behind him.

Transformation requires sacrifice.

Like many of history’s most spiritually evolved men, Mal’akh had committed to his path by making the noblest of flesh sacrifices. Castration had been less painful than he had imagined. And, he had learned, far more common. Every year, thousands of men underwent surgical gelding—orchiectomy, as the process was known—their motivations ranging from transgender issues, to curbing sexual addictions, to deep-seated spiritual beliefs. For Mal’akh, the reasons were of the highest nature. Like the mythological self-castrated Attis, Mal’akh knew that achieving immortality required a clean break with the material world of male and female.

The androgyne is one.

Nowadays, eunuchs were shunned, although the ancients understood the inherent power of this transmutational sacrifice. Even the early Christians had heard Jesus Himself extol its virtues in Matthew 19:12: “There are those who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”

Peter Solomon had made a flesh sacrifice, although a single hand was a small price in the grand scheme. By night’s end, however, Solomon would be sacrificing much, much more.

In order to create, I must destroy.

Such was the nature of polarity.

Peter Solomon, of course, deserved the fate that awaited him tonight. It would be a fitting end. Long ago, he had played the pivotal role in Mal’akh’s mortal life path. For this reason, Peter had been chosen to play the pivotal role in Mal’akh’s great transformation. This man had earned all the horror and pain he was about to endure. Peter Solomon was not the man the world believed he was.

He sacrificed his own son.

Peter Solomon had once presented his son, Zachary, with an impossible choice—wealth or wisdom. Zachary chose poorly. The boy’s decision had begun a chain of events that eventually dragged the young man into the depths of hell. Soganlik Prison. Zachary Solomon had died in that Turkish prison. The whole world knew the story . . . but what they didn’t know was that Peter Solomon could have saved his son.

I was there, Mal’akh thought. I heard it all.

Mal’akh had never forgotten that night. Solomon’s brutal decision had meant the end of his son, Zach, but it had been the birth of Mal’akh.

Some must die that others may live.

As the light over Mal’akh’s head began changing color again, he realized the hour was late. He completed his preparations and headed back up the ramp. It was time to attend to matters of the mortal world.