Joshua found himself sitting back in his favourite chair in a hotel in Bern after he'd finished signing the paperwork. One moment he'd been in a strange, astral place, and the next he was here. Twenty-five minutes ago he'd been in London, placing the right token in the right place at the right time; now his entire life had changed. He was Lord of Creation.
He checked his hands, and then peered at his partial reflection in the huge glass windows that overlooked the lake. He appeared to be about twenty-five, maybe a little younger. That was definitely his favourite age as well. He looked out to the lake, and tried to focus on the white shapes at the far edge. Almost effortlessly they seemed to resolve, almost like a zoom effect from the cinema, and it was as though he was sitting only metres away from them. With another thought, he was sitting metres away from them, watching in delight as startled birds took flight. He realised that he'd brought the chair with him just after he realised that he'd appeared on the surface of the lake and wasn't sinking. The chair legs were resting on the water, occasionally splashed by gentle waves, but otherwise the chair was motionless. He thought himself back to the hotel and wondered if they'd notice the dampness.
Becoming Lord of Creation had been surprisingly easy; it turned out that the entity currently in that role was fed up with it and wanted to give it up so that they could go off and do more interesting things. Joshua had found himself seated on something shaped but invisible in a massive space, buffeted by winds that he suspected were supplying him with air to breathe, opposite an entity perhaps best described as a numinance. He'd explained what he wanted, and the entity had changed shape a little. Joshua had wondered what that meant. He'd waited a little, and finally some paperwork had been presented to him and he'd been asked for a signature. The entity changed colour and shape a couple of times during that, and Joshua was only now starting to wonder what a numinance looked like when it laughed.
A waiter came up, raised an eyebrow fractionally at the little pools of lake water, but placed a drink down next to Joshua anyway. It looked like gin, tasted like bliss, and Joshua had no idea what it was. Then the voices started.
"please god, oh please god, don't let daisy die she's only a little dog and she doesn't deserve to go yet, please god, oh please god...."
Joshua shook his head and sipped his drink, but the voice wouldn't go away. He wondered what Daisy was, and almost immediately he could recall a small Chihuahua with huge, melting eyes and prick-ears staring mournfully at him. Daisy had been hit by a car and was very close to death. Joshua, moved, tried to fix things, and Daisy seemed to stir slightly. Her injuries seemed to close up and heal of their own accord, her eyes grew brighter and her breathing less laboured; moments later she was standing again and was looking happy. The voice in his head reached jubilation, and then shut off suddenly, replaced by a deafening cacophany of other requests. Joshua dropped his drink and clapped his hands over his ears, unsuccessfully trying to shut them out.
"I need a secretary," he whispered after five minutes of trying and failing to shut the noise out. "Someone to handle requests."
"Oh, you remembered, did you?" The din was gone, but now there was an ex-girlfriend of his now sat across from him in an identical chair, looking angry. Celine, he thought her name was, she'd... wait, she'd died in a skiing accident.
"Yes," she said grumpily. "Here. Eighteen years ago. When you cancelled at the last minute because of a book emergency and I came by myself."
"Oh," said Joshua. He had an intimation that saying Sorry might be a really bad idea when you were Lord of everything and anything around you.
"I was enjoying life up there," she said, gesturing. "I had a halo, I was learning to play the harp. And now you're back, you're Mr Bigshot, and I'm your damn PA all of a sudden."
"I didn't ask for you!" Joshua reached out for his dropped glass which picked itself up off the floor, put itself back together and refilled, before returning to his hand.
"Yes you did, I'm the first thing you think of when you think secretary."
"Are you?" Joshua realised that he did think Celine had been a secretary of some kind.
"I was Secretary of the Lisbon Lawn Club! My job was IP lawyer!"
"This isn't going to be as easy as I thought, is it?" said Joshua, now certain he knew what it looked like when numinance laughed.
"Oh no, Mister. Not in the slightest!"