Chapter Eighteen; Whispering Silence
Chapter Eighteen; Whispering Silence
August 1, 2017 – Oxford, Nova Scotia
They came in a silent flock, brooding and thirsty as they entered the shabby motel room. Their features were hidden beneath the mask of the human world, but their teeth were as sharp as blades. Sniffling, their eyes flared at the sight of the Cursed One. That little bird won’t fly away this time.
His name had been given to him ten thousand years ago in the under world, as they called him Azazel, the assassin of Hell.
The building was just like the others: small and full of human beings sleeping. Except, something was different here. The smell was richer, tastier—deadlier.
Azazel grinned. Angels.
Only one. That should be an easy target, for she was… sleeping? He scratched his neck and peeked through the window they’d left slightly open, and noting that the three of them were dozing, he flicked his fellow demons to follow him. They would come from the back door and strike. Angels weren’t supposed to sleep, and the fact that she was… It meant she was drained, wasn’t she?
It made his job so much easier.
Their feet were quiet as they made their way to the back, through the piles of garbage and the homeless that slept in it. Pathetic beings, sleeping out here without any pride.
The door was easy to pry open as he flicked his wrist, and it went flying open to reveal the door to the washroom and the rest of the tight-spaced motel room. The demons held in their breath as they were about to applaud Azazel, but they held their tongues when they saw the flared eyes sent in their direction. Fools.
He entered first, and when he saw the little bird, he soaked in his dreams. Pain, fear… and acceptance. He nearly hissed. Acceptance of the death of Nex and his lover. To the Dark Lord himself, he didn’t give a breathing crap about that demon—she should have gone home. Azazel moved to his bed, ignoring his brother and the angel, while the other demons did what they were sent here to do. Placing his hand on his throat, he squeezed, and the little bird instantly woke up with wide blue eyes that looked deep into his cobweb-filled and darkened soul.
A laugh nearly escaped his lips—he hadn’t a soul. It was taken by Lucifer himself a long, long time ago. Every demon’s soul was replaced with nothing. They were lucky enough to find anything there.
Azazel could feel Hell brewing beneath his feet, and he silently said to the Dark Lord: the army can wait. We shall not strike yet.
But they could take the little bird’s soul, and they would be ready for whatever comes next. The last two keys were hidden well, but demons spread across the entire world, searching.
Little did they know that the angels were searching themselves, too.
He squeezed harder, and the little bird let out a suffocated cough, and he slapped at Azazel’s arms, trying to break free, but he wasn’t strong enough. It was likely enough he hadn’t learned of his powers yet, and with a darkened grin, Azazel leaned forward and whispered:
“My Jay bird, join me in Hell.”
He could clip his wings right then and there if he wanted to—but something told him no. Not yet not yet not yet.
And it was then he heard the drum. It’s beat was obscure, vibrating through his entire essence that drank his inner blackness. His hand wouldn’t move, and it loosened. A gasp escaped the demon’s mouth, and when he tried to yank it back, it was as if the little bird had taken control of his body.
“I’m already there,” the little bird snarled and sat up, and moved his hand to his forehead. Oh, in the Dark Lord’s name, save me! A blue light flickered in Jaybird’s hand, igniting like the hottest fire. He screamed it over and over in his mind, and as the hand drew closer with each breath, the little bird was pushed back into his bed, and it was his turn to scream.
The demon smiled as he eyed his comrade.
Jumping away from the little bird, he lifted his arm up and called Hell’s flame, and as it burned from his hand, smothering itself over the boy, a satisfied sound came from his mouth. Jaybird had disappeared in the darkness, unmoving, not fighting back. He won.
“We take him with us, boys,” Azazel said to the group and eyed the sleeping angel and brother of the little bird. “Kill them.”
They were best to be forgotten, to never breathe another breath.
Yet he didn’t see it coming, as a power crawled up his back, and when he looked over his shoulder, Jaybird was smiling at him like a wolf. It was him… he was keeping the angel and his brother asleep—to protect them. To not see what he had become.
That clever son of a—
He was flung into the wall adjacent to his side, and he yelped with pain. His demons retreated, disappearing without a word. Oh, he would murder them all! He let out a demented scream as he struggled against the wall, trying to escape the invisible grasp of the little bird.
“I’m not so little, am I?” Jaybird growled as he descended from the shadowed corner. There was nothing human in his gaze, and Azazel contained his smirk. He was becoming like them, slowly.
“Y-you’re powerful,” Azazel got out from his choked throat. “More powerful than I anticipated. Your mother would have been proud, your father too.”
Jaybird shook his head; his blue eyes flaring like a night star. “They would have dreaded to see what I’ve become,” he spoke the utter truth, although he’d never met his parents. Azazel had murdered them.
“Let that demon out,” Azazel purred. “Show me who you are.”
It was then little bird had eyed the black Stetson on his head. “You took their lives without mercy,” he murmured. It was too soft, too kind. Azazel felt an itching feeling of un-sureness. “You will pay the price.”
Azazel roared with pain as he felt something awaken inside of him. Fire.
“You will get what you deserve.”
His head whipped back and fourth, and he tried to rid of the pain. Embers and flame, mixing together, enveloped his intestines, and he’d never felt such fear. It reeked from him like a stupid, afraid little human.
Nothing so painful… nothing so horrible. It consumed you like poison, but only a thousand times more worse.
You will get what you deserve.
Will. Not now. Azazel shook his head and squeezed his eyes shut. He wouldn’t give into the pain. He couldn’t.
“The pain will forever dwell inside you, demon,” Jaybird then said. “Never ending, never leaving. It will be the burning pit of fire that stays and stays… And you won’t die from this. This is your punishment.”
Oh no… no no no no no… How could such a boy be so gifted, so powerful?
Azazel winced from the eruption of flames inside of him, and if you looked into his mouth, you could see the fire itself.
He couldn’t speak, couldn’t utter a word.
And he got what he deserved, this pain.
But this would not be the end. Oh no, this was only the beginning.
He waited for them to wake up all night as he sat there on his bed covered in ash. The demon with the black Stetson had burned it nearly to crisps, and Jay just sat there, unmoving.
What had he done?
He let the damn demon go, only to endure an unending pain… But he couldn’t return and rip his eyes out if he wanted.
Jay shuddered at the thought.
The thing that he’d become… there was whispering silence inside of him that tasted like fire itself—burning, insatiable. It wanted to consume him to no end, and that monster wanted to be awoken once again. He’d heard the demon’s thoughts… They called him little bird, and they almost clipped his wings.
There were things he wanted to ask the angel, but as he looked at her sleeping figure, he only shook his head. He should keep this to himself.
And then he looked at Jude who slept on her side, breathing with shallow breaths. He must be having good dreams tonight, and it was a relief. He used to wince in his sleep, in the memory of their parent’s deaths.
Jay had released the inner demons this night, and he promised himself he’d never unleash them again.
The fear of hurting those he loved… it was too risky. Too painful to endure.
And that image of watching the fear of his brother’s gaze… He could imagine it too clearly. And he wouldn’t blame him if he were ever afraid. How could he?
Monsters were always hidden, and now, he had to hide what he truly was.
Nothing could compare to what he was.
Jay stood up from the bed and stripped the sheets, taking them with him as he left the motel room, leaving no trace of what had happened that night. After speaking with the maid and throwing out the burnt sheets and blankets, he quickly made the bed and sat in the couch that sat in the middle of the room, facing the two queen-sized, four-posted beds.
The room looked like how it did before; disgusting with watermarks covering the roof, the pee-stained carpet and the white blankets on the two beds were identical.
He had to leave this all behind—no one could know what he’d done.
And that fear of Jude looking at him with disdain and fear… He couldn’t ever see that look. He just couldn’t.
Not in a thousand years.
August 2, 2017 – On The Road
Everything seemed normal between them all, but Jay had barely talked the next morning. It was almost like someone had sown his mouth shut, but he ate quietly to himself as Jude had gone out to get food and returned within twenty minutes.
Shannon watched them eat, and as she looked at the young, blue-eyed boy, she wondered what he was hiding. He smelt of cautiousness and fear, but when he looked up at her with a bright smile, she abandoned the idea of him keeping secrets to himself.
Besides, he was human. They always had something to hide, small or big. She was just being paranoid.
Although the lack of sleep that marked under his eyes with bags, she then turned to Jude who devoured his food like a wolf, and said, “How was your sleep?”
Red crept onto his cheeks with embarrassment as she looked at him, but he shrugged his shoulders like how he usually did. “Could have been better. But I did have a good dream.”
Shannon smiled at that. “Goods dreams are a sign of healing,” she told him. “What did you dream about?”
Jude took one last bite before he said, “That I murdered that demon with a black Stetson.”
She nearly flinched at his words. “Oh, well that’s… delightful.”
He barked a laugh. “It’s better than dreaming about being killed,” he responded. “And once I dreamed about a clown tracking me down and making me join his birthday party.” He shivered. “That was terrifying.”
Like nothing before, she felt tightness inside her. Not the kind that was painful, but she found herself longing for—
What was happening to her? She couldn’t love a man!
Maybe, perhaps, this wasn’t love, and she just couldn’t recognize this type of emotion. Just maybe, her mind was fooling herself—hopefully.
So, like what angel would do, she pushed those emotions as far back in her mind as she possibly could. Not in a thousand years would she let herself love a human. She just couldn’t.
The type of trouble that Heaven would get her into… Shannon wouldn’t put that on Jude. He didn’t deserve their wrath.
He’d thought he had seen something for a moment—a spark in those glorious, shining eyes—but it disappeared momentarily. Her circumstances were tight, and everything she did was reviewed. Jude understood why she acted the way she did, especially when she walked away and left the motel room without another word. He acted like himself—his better self—when he was around her, yet she seemed she didn’t care who or what he was or even how he reacted to situations.
I shouldn’t get head over heels with this one, he told himself. She’ll never like me. God, I was so stupid for even thinking that she’d like me that way.
Without sorrow, without anger, Jude decided to let her go.
And he did.
The worst thing about knowing that your brother was the key to destruction was that he could explode at anytime—especially when you ate the last slice of pie from the convenience store. And even when the pie was stale.
“You always do this!” Jay snapped, throwing the container into the garbage can with flared nostrils. “You eat like a pig.” He sat back in the rental car’s seat with crossed arms, clearly annoyed.
Jude rolled his eyes with distaste. “To be honest, you’ve been eating everything since we entered Nova Scotia, and it’s like you can’t get enough of pumpkin pie. It’s ridiculous!”
He could tell that Shannon felt awkward with their conversation, and as he looked at her, she had that same expression from before. What was it?
Jay broke him away from his thoughts. “Excuse me if I’ve been starving,” Jay muttered, throwing the container into the back seat that just dodged the angel’s head. “When I need to eat, I gotta eat something.”
“The power is burning away your energy and proteins,” Shannon then explained, wiping away a crumb on her sleeve. “But you should be eating salads, fiber, and vitamins. Not… pie.”
Jude nodded with agreement. “She’s right, y’know.”
With a flick of his hand, Jay said, “Bah.” Jude grimaced at the lack of words. Bah. Who said ’bah’?
Looking behind his shoulder at Shannon, she shrugged, and she just as lost as he was. He’d known that he changed after Sarah’s death, but now he was being exceptionally weirder.
“You need to talk about something?” Jude decided to ask his brother, and he looked over at him with a quirked brow.
“What makes you think I need talking to, especially from you?” he inquired with a nasty tone.
Oh yeah, that stung deep.
“Maybe because you’re be a sophisticated asshole,” Jude replied bluntly, and Shannon shifted uncomfortably in her seat. The energy in the rental car flipped, and it turned heavy. “I’m not going to stop bothering you until you talk about what’s on your mind.”
Jay rolled his eyes. “Yeah, it has something to do with your ignorant and snotty attitude lately—“
“I’m ignorant and snotty?” he scoffed. “I’m the one the one that’s ignorant and snotty? Unbelievable.” Jay had been sitting around, demanding things, ignoring them, and eating everything. If it hadn’t been for Shannon who’d coaxed him, perhaps he’d be ten times worse by now. “Absolutely unbelievable…”
He could have sworn Jay snorted at him. Jude glared at his younger brother.
The fact that his brother never thanked him for anything, too, bothered him more than anything. Oh here, and okay there. Never once had he ever mustered up a single ‘thank you’.
Maybe this three key thing really messed them up.
It definitely changed Jay. How much did it change himself?
Yes, he loved his brother with every damn thing he had. He’d saved his life when he was only a toddler, he raised him like his own son, but then… he left him without another word.
But the thing was, he hadn’t raised him like a son. Jude treated him like dirt his entire life, and once Anielle came to him that night… that was his breaking point. He’d left his little brother behind years after that—but he’d still left.
And for the first time in forever, he tried to understand why Jay acted this way. Yet, it was still so hard.
“I thought you’d be more understanding of my situation,” Jay whispered, looking away from his brother then. It was almost like he’d heard his thoughts. “Maybe you do,” he added, “but I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I know I’ve been a jerk sometimes, and that you’ve been a nervous wreck… But I know why you’d done the things that you had.” He shrugged, not looking at him. “And I’m sorry.”
Jude stared at his brother for a moment, wondering if this was all a dream. Jay was… sorry?
“I’m sorry that I never tried to see it from your perspective. You watched mom and dad die, our foster parents were dicks, and you treated me better than they ever had.”
Yeah, this was real.
“And I guess I never really tried to see it from your side because I was so angry… I was angry that the cops never investigated the story, I was angry that we never really knew what happened… And now? I am so freaking pissed that it took almost twenty-four years for us to discover that I”—he pointed a finger to his heart—“am the reason they’re dead. And I have no idea how I’m going to live with that. Because that means it’s also my fault that Sarah is…”
Jude felt pain inside him as he watched his brother fight his tears. Stopping the car, the older Mauser looked at his brother and said:
“Wanna kill some son’s of bitches and get the justice we deserve?”
Jay smiled at his older brother and a smile lifted the edges of his mouth. “Hell yeah,” he replied.