Chapter Sixteen; Demon's Heart
July 29, 2017 – On The Road
Jay awoke at the touch of the angel’s hand, and he found himself back in the truck, still making their way into Nova Scotia. Looking around, Uncle Ben still drove the vehicle, while Jude sat beside him and Shannon was by his side.
She looked at him with a weary gaze and squeezed his hands. There isn’t much time, she said to him.
That wasn’t… real? he asked her.
It will be if you don’t act now.
Jay looked at his brother who contently slept, breathing, healthy and alive.
And Jay could feel that rippled inside of him—the truth about himself. A monster was what he was—but he wasn’t a murderer.
Anger overwhelmed as he looked at his uncle, and he turned around to face him. He rose a brow and said:
“What’s the matter, boy?”
Jay looked at Shannon, but she shook her head. Not yet. “Oh, nothing,” he replied and sat back in the chair, still holding the angel’s hand. She was comforting him, telling him to not do what flooded through his veins. Darkness. “I think we should stop for a motel.”
Something inside him crawled in his veins like a snake, and he fought himself to not cringe.
Uncle Ben looked out the window and Jay knew what he was thinking. They shouldn’t stop, but he couldn’t reveal what they truly were. “Already?” he inquired. “It’s barely three o’clock, and your brother’s damn exhausted for no reason.”
How couldn’t he see it before? Uncle Ben used to be a king, gentle man… and now? Nothing more than a questioning ass.
It’s because it’s not Uncle Ben. He’s possessed, he’s possessed, he’s possessed.
And then he began to wonder: can he hear his thoughts, too?
“It’s been a long drive, and Jude’s already passed out,” Jay reasoned.
They had to get out of this truck.
Uncle Ben let out a long sigh and finally obliged. “Fine,” he muttered and made a sharp turn left, heading towards Springhill. “But you owe me.”
Owe him? What?
Looking back to Shannon, she shut her eyes, and he felt a thud in his heart that began to pulse. It wasn’t a heartbeat—it was the drum of what was inside him. Whether it was darkness, light, or a combination of the both, it defied the universe. No, it threaded the universe together. It was the very essence of what the stars, and planets, and everything else was. It was matter; it was life and death, Heaven and Hell… Jay couldn’t breathe.
You aren’t a monster, Shannon told him. You are hope and freedom—flesh of the man that brought this world back to what it’s meant to be. You can save us all, even the damned. Now it’s your turn, and I will always be by your side, no matter what.
But how? I am only one man.
“What’s up with you two giving each other puppy eyes? Just kiss already,” Jude muttered in the front, suddenly awake. He could hear the hurt in his voice alone, and his eyes. Gods, his eyes… So full of betrayal.
“It’s not like that,” Jay reassured him.
Jude waved him off. “Whatever.”
So, this is the truth then? Jay gave Jude one last look before returning his gaze back to the angel.
I know how your brother feels. But it is forbidden to my kind. She looked almost sad.
You’ve already defied Heaven. Couldn’t you do it again?
Shannon took her hand away from his and held herself. Nephilim are a disgrace, and if one was made… Not only would the baby be... terminated.
You’ve thought about it… with him? Jay felt himself grinning. He viewed Shannon as a dear friend, and if Jude wanted to be, well, happy with her, he’d try to convince her at least.
But then he wondered: wasn’t he a half-breed—apparently?
Why wasn’t he terminated?
She blushed a little. I haven’t done it in a… long, long while, and after what had happened. She gulped. I don’t know if I want to risk it.
I understand. He felt pity for the angel. Her family murdered because she was in love, and she suffered the consequences that no mother should ever have to endure.
Sighing, he then got back on track with thought. What are we going to do about my uncle?
Get rid of him. Disappear in the night? Who knows what he’ll do to us.
Murder us, perhaps?
No, he needs you. Without you by his side, the three keys will be useless.
What are the keys, anyways?
A shadow crossed her eyes. Powerful weapons forged by the First Angels, the superior Naorikai.
Jay nodded to her words. The Heroikai and Aerokai—the seen and unseen. But the third class? He’d never heard of their existence before—perhaps they were extinct.
You see, the Lord created angels to protect Heaven from evil forces that were created by mistake. Shadows of The Realm, he called them. Fiends. He never meant it to happen, but light must be balanced with evil. Years went by with their forces attacking Heaven, assassinating angels and destroying stars and planets alike. After he created earth, two humans were made—a simulation—and he gave them a simple order, but the demons manipulated to doing the opposite of what he commanded: do not eat the Forbidden Fruit.
He made the rule to not breed with the sinners that sided with the Devil, and he shunned them from time to come. Until he forgave them and guided them—he was the beacon in the night, but you know it as the North Star.
But the demons retaliated, making their sin greater as they created murder, lies, thieves and assassins. It wasn’t long before the Devil created his own personal slave—Death, followed by the seven sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. They dwell in every human, so stronger than the other, and the Lord knew the demons were becoming stronger, and they discovered more abilities.
They came into people’s dreams, and as more humans were born, the Devil would visit them at night when they were most vulnerable.
And then the people starting dying—the black plague. Thousands died, and thousands suffered these horrible disease created by the Devil himself.
So, the Lord did what he thought was best: he created three keys to open the Gates of Hell. But only a human of half demon could put the keys into the Gate, and the Lord couldn’t create such a man.
It was the consequence of what he had done—to wait.
One had been born a long, long time ago, and he had locked the Devil in the Gates of Hell, and then hid the two keys where no one could ever find them. But he left a poem in the wake of a new man who would be born just like him.
And he waited, and he waited, and he waited.
Until you were born. And he acted. He sent me to guard you from the demons that were sent to your home the night of your parent’s death.
The deal Eliza E. Mauser was planned and always meant to happen—the curse had to haunt your life, and your kin. He never told me why, but I knew—I knew it had to be done. So I followed you every night, and then I heard Jude had encountered with an angel—Anielle. She told him about the keys, and she wanted him to help you, but she didn’t spread the message clearly. On my father’s name, I wish she hadn’t said a thing because he ran. He left you alone.
So I stayed with you and let him go. You were happy, but I knew the fate that was meant to come.
It was to make you become who you are today.
Your brother is cursed, Jay Mauser, and you never were. I placed the mark on your wrist so you would think it was you who was cursed, and you would run towards your fate. It was always supposed to be you, but something… changed that. Altered the universe’s plans for you.
And then the Farm was created. A rebellion against Heaven, and your uncle soon joined them, unknowing of what they were—and they took his soul, just like everyone else in that stupid act against the Lord. And he tricked you and manipulated you—and he made that journal full of lies.
The curse is true, but your parents died protecting you. They were there to take you away and open the Gates to Hell and bring back the Devil.
It was all a lie, Jay, and I was told to not tell you the truth. I would have been punished, but… but there’s something inside me saying to tell you everything. So I am. Don’t hate me for keeping these secrets from you for so long—just know that it was to protect you for some stupid reason.
Jay just stared at the angel with wide eyes, and found himself looking away slowly. All lies—everything was a total lie.
But could he blame her? She was leashed on a chain her entire life, and he was only a sliver of her years. He wouldn’t blame her if she ever betrayed him—but he had to look at the present, not the future.
I trust you, Shannon Louis, Jay said to her with a smile. No matter what, you don’t have to worry about me thinking otherwise.
Thank you, Jay Mauser.
Now, they had to think. How would they escape his uncle—and fast?
Jay Mauser eyed his uncle and thought: can you hear his thoughts?
She eyed him for a long moment, eyes squinting as she concentrated. But after long last, she shook her head, and he felt her heart plummet. I cannot. I-I have no idea how he’s done it. I can always hear his thoughts. He’s done something…
What if he knew everything that they had thought? A shiver crawled up his spine. What if Uncle Ben was driving them to their deaths?
That bitch! Ben James Mauser thought with a snarl in his mind, completely secluded from others to hear. He had learned a long, long time ago how to build a barrier in his mind that he could only hear. He was lucky; too, that he’d learned the spell from that old book the Headmaster had given him, before Shannon Louis had shown up in his life. Then, oh, he’d be in a lot of trouble.
Instead of slitting her throat right then and there and drank her disgusting, angelic Grace filled blood, he inhaled a sharp breath that felt like fire going down his nostrils. He could kill them all now and take Jay for himself. They wouldn’t be able to react—they couldn’t.
He was faster with the demon practically on his shoulder as it raked his mind every now and then to tell him what to do. This world could be his with those keys. He could bring chaos, force love to his hands, and even bring back the one, terrifying man that promised him the world. Lucifer. Ah, yes, he could take the deal and own the world. A smile crept up his beard-covered lips.
Ben just had to be smart—smart enough to not let them know the truth, if they didn’t know already. He looked at Jude for a long moment, and he could have sworn Jay tensed in the back, but relaxed with the touch of the angel. They were closer today, more than ever. He’d never expected her to show up in that cabin, unhidden from her invisible shield. Yes, he’d felt that the moment Jay entered his home. Bright, futile and too good. She had a kind heart, but she was iron and steel—forged by the Lord alone to murder demons that cross her path.
But why didn’t she murder him the moment she had seen him?
Maybe she was under a tight leash. Maybe she was commanded to not kill unless ordered to.
And that made everything so much easier… He grinned, and turning the wheel, he pulled into the lot of a hotel built in the 80’s. It was a rustic thing that had five floors, and in-doubtfully bed bugs and cockroaches crawling the ceilings. Old Sailors Hotel, the fully lit, blue sign read as it illuminated in the darkened parking lot that was shadowed by the hotel.
And something else creeping in the darkness.
He felt a drum pulsing through the air that made him jump slightly, and he turned to face Jay. It was he. Radiating with a silent drum that any supernatural being could feel.
When Xanthus had promised him a new beginning, he had mentioned he’d feel new things, powerful things, with him inside his mind. He held in his purr as he congratulated the engine.
“So, this is what you call a five-star hotel now of days?” Jude suddenly said as he exited the truck and grimaced at the sight of the old building.
Ben’s eye twitched slightly. “Would you rather sleep in the truck?” he asked with a clenched fist in his hand behind his back. He could see Jay eying his every move: his eye twitch, his hand that moved to his back, and even how his eyes shot daggers to his older brother.
Smart kid, he thought. Too smart.
Letting out a cough, he shuffled them inside. “You said you need rest, so go get it. I need a cigarette—and beer,” he lied. He hadn’t drunk since the last time he saw them. Fluids and solids didn’t sit well in his stomach, and when they’d disappeared in their rooms that night, he’d vomited it all up. Xanthus never told him about the lack of food, sleep and water he needed.
“I’ll join you,” Jude said, but Ben quickly replied.
“No,” he snapped, and then ground his teeth together. Don’t make it so obvious, Xanthus said to him, piercing his conscious, and he winced. You’ll screw us both over. Rolling his eyes, he added, “I’ve had enough of the small talk, I’m gonna pick up a lady.” Shrugging, Ben got into the truck and drove away without wanting another word with the boys.
Jude frowned as he watched his uncle drive away. What was wrong with him? Turning to his brother, he opened his mouth to say something, but Jay cut him off.
“We need to go, now,” he said and watched as the truck took the mustang with it. “There isn’t enough time to explain, but we’re in a lot of trouble.” Jude looked at his brother with a weary gaze before he slowly nodded.
“Where will we go?” he inquired.
“Far from here,” was all he said before Jay turned to Shannon and held his arm out. “She’ll take us far away.”
Jude furrowed his brows. What on earth was going on here? Uncle Ben was acting weird, and now Jay and Shannon were, too. What was he missing from the looks that his brother and the angel were giving each other? His heart tightened. Jay knew he’d had feelings for her the moment he laid eyes on that angel, but whenever he looked at her, something pained her gaze and made her look away. What was it? Was it just he in general?
“Wait, where is this coming from?” Maybe it was because of the assumptions Jay had thrown at him about Uncle Ben ‘betraying them’. He wouldn’t do that—he couldn’t. He was family! “Is this from our conversation earlier?”
Jay moved towards him and placed his hands on his shoulders, but Jude shrugged him off. Jay looked at his brother with surprise before he said, “Shannon agrees with me, Jude. Why can’t you?”
Too many people have left his life. Too many.
Shannon looked at him with a softness that he wanted to scream at, but when she spoke, his heart melted. “I understand your pain, Jude. I’ve felt it, too, but right now, you’ll only lose more—including your brother.” She looked at Jay for only a moment with agony. “If we don’t move now, then—“
There are far more darker things out there—truths that must be learned. Keep your brother out of this. Find the three keys, and you will be safe.
They knew, didn’t they? They’d learned it themselves…
“And you know what we have to do then, right?” Jude asked them cautiously.
Jay nodded slowly. “Hidden around the world, the first one known to man, the second and third lost by hand. Buried beneath a scorching fire, only found by something dire. The last one gone forever, only found by one’s desire.”
Jude raised his dark brows. “Where did you hear that?” Never had he heard such a thing, but it made so much sense… Why hadn’t Anielle told him this?
“The future,” he replied, he Jude nearly snorted. “Shannon showed me what would happen if we don’t leave right now.” Jay’s throat bobbed. “And I can’t let that happen to you.”
Jude looked down at his shoes covered in dust. Death is always the answer, wasn’t it?
Forever he will be damned.
“What will happen, Jay?”
The curse burned, and he let out a hiss.
“They’ll kill you.”
Jude stared at him with wide, blue eyes. The thought of death wasn’t what bothered him—it was the fact that he wouldn’t be able to protect his brother ever again.
“They’ll just keep taking and taking, and rip our lives apart until we have nothing left. I can’t do this anymore, Jude. It started with a curse, and now it’s revenge for what we’ve done. We did this, Jude, and now we’re suffering the consequences—as well as people who didn’t deserve to get involved in this mess. First our parents, then Sarah, and now… Uncle Ben. I’m next. I can feel it, and at some point… you. I can’t let that happen. I will do everything in my power for them to not drag you down to Hell like everyone else.”
Jude didn’t hear a word; it just blended into the sound of the wind brushing past his ear, and the sound of blood pumping through his veins that turned a deadly cold. They will not take another Mauser, and they certainly wouldn’t take him or his brother—ever.
“Do you hear me?” Jay said, but it went silent, his words. Nothing being able to block out the sound of blood rushing through him, and before he knew it, he was on the ground, and the last words he heard were the high-pitched rang of Jude!