CODEX Part 4: Among the Living

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And She Lived Happily Ever After

In that whole battle between a cult of death and a cult of life, Zoe stood with chains still wrapped around her. The priest walked towards her, not caring about the marks. He stopped a meter from her and sighed.

“Such a monstrosity,” He started before he threw the incense at her feet. The bottle broke but the smell didn’t seem to affect Zoe. “I guess you are slightly different from the rest of your kind.”

Zoe kept her eyes on him, not moving an inch.

“Don’t you have anything to ask me?”

“Like your name? Maybe your zodiac sign?” She asked in all seriousness, making it hard for the priest to understand if she was mocking him or not.

The priest walked closer to her and hit her with the cross over her forehead. Zoe only blinked until she realized he grabbed a little book from his robes.

“You must have deep pockets.” She commented with the ghost of a smile.

The priest didn’t react, instead he started to read from his book. Shortly, Zoe realized he was trying to exorcise her so she started to laugh.

“I’m not possessed, priest.”

The priest sighed and in the end he kicked Zoe in the stomach, taking her by surprise. She crouched enough for the priest to grab a hold of her white hair. He pulled her in and whispered to her.

“Aren’t you curious to know what happened to your loyal demon?” He asked in a voice that did not represent the church. “Don’t you want to know if he still exists or not? What’s his name again? Ah, right. Eneizar.”

Something in Zoe was triggered. Eneizar was part of the demons she had marked so naturally, she wanted to protect him.

“Where is he?” Zoe asked in a cold voice.

“Hmph. You’d like to know, wouldn’t you? But I can tell you that he’s a tough one to crack. He told me everything and anything, he even told me his name willingly which is rare with demons. Their name is their biggest weakness. But not with Eneizar, no, his weakness was this woman that he tried so hard to hide. Of course, I had to use this and that, you know, methods of coercing a prisoner into giving me the information I needed. But you know what? In the end, you revealed yourself and I didn’t need him anymore. How funny, right? ” He spoke with a tone of irony and yet she could hear the threat in his words. The church was allowed to kill anyone they deemed as a religious danger.

“You don’t want to make me angry, priest.” Zoe whispered, feeling her whole body grow very hot.

“I don’t care, Zoe. You’re going to die anyway. You’re not leaving this house alive.” He whispered and punched her.

Zoe rose her head and the look on her face was the reflection of a true vanity demon. The chains fell down at her feet, melted. She tried to cut his throat with her nails but he dodged. Zoe growled loudly and launched attack after attack but the priest was impressively fast. He wasn’t an old man and he was rather tall and imposing. But it didn’t matter because Zoe was going to kill him.

“Don’t force my hand, Zoe.” The priest said, ducking from one of her punches.

Zoe glared and kicked him so hard that he went flying into the wall. It hurt, the impact was not light. Therefore, the priest decided to attack her in a different way.

“Kill the boy and the demon!” He screamed at the soldiers.

Suddenly, it seemed like the whole fight was against Caleb and Mehrdir. The demon took most of the hits, smoke was rising off his body as if he was on fire. One of the shots hit Caleb in his thigh and his painful scream was enough to draw Zoe’s attention.

“Ah! It burns!” Mehrdir screamed, being thrown holy water in the eyes.

Caleb’s eyes widened as his shield fell to the side. He looked up at the guns turned to him and he gulped, praying in his head that he won’t die before proving his parents wrong.

“No.” She said, having a quick flashback of Ezekiel’s energy fading. “I’ve had enough.”

She turned to the priest and something about her seemed different. Her appearance changed, she was the human version of herself except her eyes and hair.

There was a loud crack and they all felt this immense dread coming over them. She grabbed the priest by his neck and rose him enough to get his feet off the ground.

“I never asked for this destiny. It was thrown to me and you can’t even imagine how harsh life is when you have demons meddle into everything. So don’t even think I will let you destroy what I have built until now. I am not a demon and I am not a demon’s daughter. I am a human and I have the same rights in this world as you do. I have the right to be happy too. ” She said, venom hanging onto her every word.

“You are a monster.” He hissed.

Zoe glared but didn’t kill him, although it would have been easy.

“Get Caleb out of here right now.” Zoe ordered Mehrdir over her shoulder.

The demon could barely see but he nodded and tried to help Caleb limp out. However, the soldiers were still blocking the way.

“Um, some help would be nice!” Came Caleb’s voice.

“Nobody connected to the commander leaves this house.” The priest said before he took a gun from one of his soldiers and aimed for Caleb’s head. His eyes widened as he waited for the collision.

It did not reach him. Something moved in front of Caleb and it wasn’t Mehrdir. It wasn’t Zoe either but it was definitely a demon. That was when Caleb noticed how more and more demons started to appear, killing the soldiers left.

“What’s going on? What’s this?” Caleb asked Mehrdir who was looking at Zoe with respect.

“The power of the inheritor.” Mehrdir explained.

The demons that appeared where not of low rank. All of them were vanity demons and they have been waiting to unleash some type of trouble.

“Looking good, Mehrdir.”

The greed demon was surprised to hear Mepalham.

“Why the heck didn’t you come sooner?” Mehrdir asked growing annoyed.

Mepalham rolled his eyes and grabbed Caleb as if he was a princess.

“Gakhas went to get the detective. The rest are trying to keep the demons at bay. There are lots and lots of beasts outside the domains that rose to Earth. We should really leave before she has to close the portal.”

“Why? What happens then?”

The two demons glanced at each other with worry.

“You’ll see.” Mehrdir mumbled

“The house collapses.” Mepalham was more honest.

Caleb didn’t have a word in their decision because he couldn’t walk and truthfully, he was exhausted.

Zoe watched as her demons cleaned the house up. Nobody was left alive, which was expected. She didn’t know how late it was or how the world was dealing with the hell holes at this moment but she had to close the portal.

Since she was calmer than before, Zoe took her time and closed the eyes of the deceased that were unfortunate enough to be surprised by death. She could recognize some of the cult members: one was the former Asmodeus cultist who tried to fool Zoe, another was a woman that worked at the university and there were several students as well. When she passed Suzanne, Zoe kicked her and made sure she was dead. She might return since she was a witch so Zoe called onto one of her demons.

“Drag her to hell.” She ordered, looking at Suzanne from above. “She’s going to get the so called immortality she craved for so long.”

The demon nodded and grabbed the corpse by its legs, dragging her like a sack of potatoes out of the dining hall and downstairs in the basement.

Now that the battle was done and the house was empty of humans, Zoe could concentrate on closing the portal. She looked down at her hands and sighed heavily.

“I do hope it won’t kill me.” She muttered.

Unfortunately, not everyone was dead. Hidden away behind the old red couch was the priest. She completely omitted him as she was sure that the demons were thorough in their cleaning. Therefore, Zoe went back in the empty circle among all the carvings and sat on her knees. She needed a great amount of her blood in order to close the portal.

“It’s time for this curse to end.” Mumbled the priest to himself as he sneaked behind Zoe. When she noticed something was amiss it was already too late.

The priest stabbed Zoe right through her heart. In order to make sure she remained dead, he used the hilt of his dagger in order to smash the back of her head. He did so several times, mutilating Zoe’s body as her blood fell into the carvings and so closing the backdoor to Hell. The priest himself was shot, not hearing the police in his crazed mood.

Roberts entered in his uniform with a SWAT team. He couldn’t believe his eyes. There were more than 20 dead bodies and one of them was Zoe’s.

“What the hell, Lestrade.” The detective muttered before quickly calling for an ambulance.

When the paramedics arrived, officers were moving out the corpses. They took Zoe away immediately and checked for a pulse.

“It’s faint, but her heart is still beating. Let’s hope she doesn’t die before we arrive at the hospital.” The paramedic told Roberts before closing the doors and leaving for the hospital.

The drive felt long and not because her heart almost gave up but because it didn’t seem like Zoe was fighting at all to stay alive.

When they arrived at the hospital, the doctor hurried to give Zoe CPR because she didn’t have a pulse. They were quick in moving her into the surgery room but she was a mess.

Doctors and nurses where working on giving her blood transfusion because she lost a lot, taking care of her head trauma and most importantly, her heart. During this whole time, a warm translucent hand grabbed Zoe’s and held onto it tightly. Even in death, Ezekiel wanted to be there for his best friend.

Zoe woke up in an empty white room. She could have sworn she had been there several times before but this felt different. For some reason, she expected Beelzebub to appear before her and invite her to her castle in Hell but nothing happened. She spent a while just walking around, feeling very light as if all her burdens were suddenly erased.

“Hello, Zoe. It’s nice to finally meet you.”

The voice was not Beelzebub’s, nor any other demon’s. Zoe turned around very slowly and couldn’t believe she was there with...

“An angel. You’re an angel.” She breathed out before she realized what it meant. “Am I officially dead?”

The angel chuckled and shook his head.

“You don’t look too bothered about that.” He said, his white wings moving along as he approached her. Next to him, Zoe was like a teenager and not just because he was twice her height but because he had these amazing fatherly eyes.

“I’m an archangel, actually. Michael is my name.” He introduced himself with a smile that made her feel at ease.

“Are we in the Purgatory?”

“Not quite. We are in your subconscious. You have been in the Purgatory so many times that it became a meeting room for you.” Michael explained with a bit of regret, since he knew her life has not been easy. “Aren’t you tired, Zoe? You have been forced to do many terrible things, all because of the greed and pride of two fallen angels.”

“It’s ok. It’s over now. Right?”

Zoe wasn’t sure what the archangel wanted from her. Under his intense gaze, she felt guilty of everything.

“Not everything you did in your life has been seen and judged as a sin, Zoe. He knows that Ezekiel’s death was not your fault and He knows that in your heart you never meant to hurt anyone. You tried to fight against your monster and when faced with the choice of life or death, you always chose life. That’s why, if you abandon this silly game between Beelzebub and Lucifer, you are allowed into Heaven. ” Michael explained.

Zoe frowned and needed a moment to fully register the news.

“Wait, so if I die right now, I can ascend to Heaven?” She repeated just to be sure.

“Not now, but later on yes. You will not die now but your life, if you abandon everything that connects you to Hell, will be happier. Eventually, when you will die, you will be reunited with your friend.”

“Abandon everything...that means giving up the titles, right?”

“Yes and not only. You won’t see dark beings anymore, you will be free of Hell. Didn’t you always crave for a normal life, Zoe?” The archangel asked tilting his head to the side.

“What if I refuse?” She asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Nothing will change but once you die, He cannot help you anymore. Your soul will rot in Hell for eternity.” Michael replied feeling doubtful.

She was genuinely putting her options in balance. It wasn’t such an easy answer as the archangel expected.

“Do you want to be normal, have friends, go out and live without having to look over your shoulder every time? Or are you happy with your life as it is now?” He asked, curious what she was thinking. “Is it because of Marcus?”

“No.” She said quickly, “Maybe a little, yes. I’m suffering from Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to him.” Zoe mumbled, fidgeting as she was thinking very seriously of her choice. “What will happen if I give up these titles? Will they disappear?”


“But that means two other innocent children will be marked.”

Michael nodded, understanding now what she was afraid of.

“It is your happiness, Zoe. But you will have to give me an answer now. What is your choice? Will you give everything up for a normal life and entrance to Heaven or will you keep your life as it is and give your soul into perdition? ”

Zoe placed her hand over her heart, feeling it hurt. They were probably trying to make her regain consciousness. She looked at her palm and remembered how terrible her life has been. How could she curse two other people to do the same? At the same time she couldn’t help but want to be happy and light and warm, like any other woman her age. Was it selfish of her to want that?

In the end, Zoe knew what she had to do.

She had been in that situation before when she woke up to the same. She had been in that situation before when she woke up to the same white light that seemed to flicker every time she looked at it. There was little to no noise and she realized she was in a VIP room.

Zoe’s whole body hurt but it wasn’t that bad. Whatever happened to her heart must have been influenced by her choice. Her wounds were going to heal in time, she was lucky that her time was not over.

She did try to get up but her head hurt so she aborted the plan.

“Oh, don’t move!”

She probably moaned in pain because whoever was closer to her quickly came to her aid.

“Iaosur...” She mumbled surprised to see him.

“I told you, it’s Ian now. You really didn’t read my messages, did you?”

She chuckled and let him help raise the back of her bed so she could see him.

“How did you know?” She asked, her throat sore since she had a tube down her throat only a few hours ago.

“How could I not when you are my leader? Besides, I got a surprise visit from that asshole Gakhas. He told me everything so we packed and came as soon as possible. All paid from the money you left us, of course.” Iaosur explained with a goofy grin.

“Of course.” Zoe repeated trying to laugh. “Who’s we?”

At that point, the door opened and several people entered her hospital room.

“Zo, you really scared us this time. I mean, you scared us the last time as well but this one was pretty bad.” Chen rambled on as he hurried inside and gave her a hug.

Caleb entered as well and he didn’t look that great either. He was still limping and had scratches all over his face and neck.

“I’m fine, thank you. I’m alive.” Caleb said before she would start saying that everything was her fault. “The detective here was really fast. He called me as soon as your ambulance left.” The supernatural fanatic said patting the back of the older man.

Roberts seemed to be the same. He was chewing gum and was dressed in his usual beige coat, looking like he was ready to interview her and snap some photos for tomorrow’s morning news.

“How long have I been unconscious?” She asked seeing how her discussion with the archangel might have taken a while.

“You were in a coma for a month, Lestrade. They said you might remain in a vegetative state but here we are, speaking to you.” Roberts informed her with a proud smile.

“A month...” She repeated suddenly realizing someone must have taken care of her.

“The nurses cleaned you up, don’t worry. But we all took part in keeping you in the hospital and entertained, even if comatose.” Iaosur said, already intuiting what she was thinking of.

“Your parents visited twice. I’m not sure who called them but-” Chen was cut off by the culprit.

“I did.” Roberts interfered, “Was that a bad choice from my side?” He asked seeing how Chen and Iaosur glared at him. “They are her family.”

“No, we are her family. You pushover detective,” Iaosur replied with a roll of his eyes.

They continued to speak nonsense so Zoe retreated into her own mind. She looked at them, at these humans who took care of her and treasured her and she couldn’t help but smile. And then she looked down at her hands and thought about her choice. She really hoped it was the good one.

Zoe spent another month in the hospital and had to do recuperative exercises. A psychologist came at the end of every week and they spoke of all her troubles during her childhood. It felt refreshing. Her friends were always there and her coworkers would sometimes visit her to tell her of their new cases, which was not recommended by her doctor. But Zoe was very quick in getting better. She was a model patient and she smiled and laughed a lot during her convalescence. Hospitals used to annoy her because they were filled with ghosts but now, she could finally enjoy life.

When the month ended, she was more than happy to go out for a walk.

“You’ve been looking out the window for a few days already. You can’t wait to return to work, aren’t you? I never saw so many officers in the hospital before. They were all here to update you on their cases and you never said no. ” Zoe’s doctor said with a playful glare.

“I just want to go out and be able to take a long bath. I need to buy some furniture too.” Zoe replied with a happy sigh.

The doctor rolled her eyes but signed her papers anyway.

“Good luck, Zoe. And don’t return. Especially not on the brink of death.”

Zoe laughed and nodded. She was sure that won’t happen ever again.

The way to the exit was like the walk towards Heaven itself. She took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly, enjoying the sunlight. She took a long look around her and smiled. There was no rush to go home so she didn’t mind how crowded New York was, not at that moment. People were passing her front and back but one in particular grabbed her hand and squeezed it tightly. Zoe stopped and turned to look up at him. The sun was shining so bright that it made him look almost divine. At that moment, and at every moment from then on, Zoe knew she made the right choice. After all, life was all about choices.


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