Chapter Seven; Angels and Demons
July 16, 2017 – On the road, Ontario
Jay had never felt more alive. The wind forced itself through the window, and his short strands of hair whipped back and fourth as he looked out the open window. Ontario was so beautiful, and as they drove, he felt free. He felt at home.
Classic rock burst from the speakers, playing Dear Mr. Fantasy by Traffic.
Around them were walls of pine trees, and the road looked as if it would go on forever. He loved driving for it sent a calm throughout him, and he knew his brother was the same. He didn’t remember the last time they took an airplane anywhere.
He was terrified of flying, but from his memory, his Foster parents had forced he and Jude to go to California with them one winter. He dreaded the entire trip, but he didn’t have a choice then.
They stopped at a Tim Horton’s down the road, and relief flooded over him. “I have to take a piss,” Jude said to him and got out of the Mustang.
Jay felt a headache overcome his mind, and he responded to his brother with, “I’ll get us coffee, then.” Following Jude inside, he went to the cashier, and she immediately let him forward.
“What can I get for you?” she greeted him with a charming smile. Her hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail that secured her bleach-blonde hair, and her eyes were stunningly blue. A nametag was above her breast that read: Shannon. Beneath it said “training”.
“Two coffees, one black, one a regular,” he replied and reached into his pocket and handed her a five-dollar bill. “Keep the change.”
“Why, thank you,” she said with a grin and stuffed the remaining change into her pocket. “Anything else?”
He shook his head ‘no’. “I’m good,” he said.
She eyed him for a long moment, and she added, “I know you…”
“Oh yeah?” Jay raised a brow and shook his head. “Well, I wouldn’t know,”
She looked at him one last time before she said, “Sorry. I must have mistaken you for someone else.”
“No worries,” he replied.
“W-where are you heading?” she then asked, tilting her head to the side.
Jay was about to lie, and then he realized she was just a girl. What would she do? “Timmins,” he replied.
“That’s a long drive…”
Jay chuckled. “It’s for business,” he said. “Even if it’s across the world I’m forced to go.”
“That’s unfortunate. Good thing I only have to work locally.”
He smiled. “Well, it was nice to meet you, Shannon.”
Her face reddened as he said her name. “You as well…”
“Jay,” he said, and she offered him another smile before she waved her hand. Grabbing his two coffees that were on the counter, he took them and turned around, nearly bumping into his brother. “Jesus…”
“No, I’m Jude, not the heavenly son,” he muttered.
“Smart ass,” he said and shoved the coffee into his hands before walking away.
“Am I not allowed to be a smart ass?”
“At least you weren’t a dumb ass,” he replied and got back into the Mustang.
Jude looked at him with a grin as he took the driver’s side. “The chick was cute in there.”
“You think?” he asked. “Then why don’t you hit her up?”
Jude scoffed. “Not my type,” she replied.
“See who’s the dumb ass, now?” Jude said and took a sip of his black coffee.
Jay glared at him. “What do you mean?”
“I’m talking about you, you idiot,” he said as he set his coffee in the cup holder. “She was totally into you.”
“I just lost my girlfriend,” he murmured and held his coffee in his hand, enjoying the seeping heat. “I’m not open for anything… else.”
Jude shrugged and started to drive out of the parking lot. “I’m just saying for the future, when you are ready. You should have gotten her number.”
“If it’s meant to be,” Jay said, “then maybe we’ll see each other again.”
“You’re talking about fate?” Jude sounded amused.
Jay leaned against the door, sipping at his regular. “I’m not saying I believe in it,” he said slowly. “I’m just saying if it were to be fate, we would cross paths again. But we just met, and she’s just a girl that works at Tim Horton’s.”
“You’re a runaway cop,” he said. “Seeking revenge with your brother against Hell itself. I think her life sounds better than ours.”
“Of course, we have more adventure, more thrills… but she’s probably got a nice family.”
“Okay… Can you stop?” he suddenly snapped, and Jude looked at him with raised brows.
“Okay, okay… Sorry…”
Jay sighed with relief and set his coffee down. “I didn’t mean to snap,” she sighed with guilt. “I’m just not ready for this. She’s been dead for only two days. People can’t just get over stuff like that easily.”
“It’s okay,” Jude said. “I shouldn’t have pushed you that far. So, I’m really sorry.” That was the first time Jude’s apologies had sounded… genuine. “I know you need to heal, and everyone heals at different times. So, I’ll just shut up.”
Jay looked at him for long moment before he looked away, staring out the window. He rolled the window up and rested the side of his head against it. It was about four hours to Timmins, and he was beginning to dread this trip.
Although his brother apologized… There were times when being with his brother for too long made him uneasy. He wanted to be closer with Jude, to learn his better side… But what he had just showed him, the attempting of him moving on and already banging another girl… He didn’t like that, and he was sure it wasn’t a normal thing for a brother to do.
Then, suddenly Jude said, “Hey, don’t act like that.”
Jay looked at him. “What are you talking about?”
“Every time you’re upset, you put up a wall that’s nearly impossible to knock down. Just listen to me; we were such a great team back there! Don’t let this one stupid thing affect our brotherly relationship.”
Jay let out a sigh. “I have to admit you do just say things our of your ass and don’t think anything about it.”
Jude snorted. “Well, that was blunt.”
“It’s true though,” Jay replied.
He frowned. “Nah…”
Jay rolled his eyes. “You know it’s true, but whenever you say something, do you ever think twice before speaking it?”
Jude thought for a moment. “I just did there.”
“Hmmm… Maybe it’s because I said that you pull things out of your ass?”
Jude scowled. “No,” he said defensively.
“Keep telling yourself that.” Jay took another sip of his coffee.
Jude playing punched his shoulder, and Jay looked at him with raised brows. “What was that for?” Jay asked him, rubbing where he was punched.
“We never have fun like we used to,” he complained. “You’re too serious.”
“Someone’s got to be serious, Jude,” he said.
Jude shrugged. “I hate being serious,” he admitted.
“That’s no surprise,” Jay retorted, and Jude looked at him with a glare.
“You take that back.”
He shook his head. “Nope.”
“I’ll stop this car and make you take it back.” He started to slow down. “I’m serious.”
Jay barked a laugh. “Oh, yeah? I’m so sure you are.”
“I really am. Now, take it back, or you’ll regret it.” He stopped the car at the side of the road.
“Okay, so you really are serious?” Jay looked at him nervously, and Jude held up both hands as a threat.
Before Jay could say anything, Jude lunged and pressed a fist against the top of his head and rubbed it back and fourth. Jay let out a panicked gasp and threw his brother off him.
“Take it back.”
“Okay, fine, fine…” he hurriedly said and felt his back press against the door. “I take it back.”
Jude burst out laughing. “You should have seen the look on your face,” he mused and began to drive once again.
Jay only glared at his brother. “You attacked me with a knuckle sandwich, what do you expect?”
“You to not scream like a little girl,” he laughed.
“I didn’t scream,” he muttered.
“Oh, yes you did,” he said and wiggled his brows at him. “You sounded like you were dying.”
He felt his cheeks flush. “How would you feel if I attacked you?”
“Well, I wouldn’t have screamed.”
“Fair enough…” he sighed.
The Mauser brothers stopped at a local motel just outside of Timmins.
It wasn’t as run down as the first one that had slept at, but the exterior was still just as disgusting and unwelcoming.
“Home sweet home,” Jude purred as he opened the door to their motel, and Jay raised a brow at the sight of a clean motel. An orange painted wall, green overthrows on the beds, and the carpet wasn’t stained. There was a mini-fridge and microwave in the corner beside the bathroom that he supposed wouldn’t have brown goop coming from the faucet.
“Temporary home,” he corrected his brother and set his bag of clothes onto the queen sized bed furthest from the door, and his brother claimed the bed in front of the door.
The sun outside was gradually sinking beneath the horizon, and looking at his brother, he said to him:
“We should get a good night’s rest.”
Jude sat on his bed and nodded to his words. “I couldn’t agree me,” he replied and leaned into the pillows.
Jay didn’t particularly care how early it was; they’d have to leave at first light in the morning. “Don’t disappear in the middle of the night,” Jay said to his brother and kicked off his shoes. “And don’t get drunk either.”
He crossed his heart and grinned at him. “I cross my heart and hope to die,” he replied and threw his shirt off and got under the covers of his bed.
“I’m serious, Jude,” he said. “If you’re drunk, you’ll have a disadvantage tomorrow when we work on the case.”
“I know, I know,” Jude muttered and rolled onto his stomach. “I heard you, mom.”
That stung a little. “I’m not trying to be controlling—“
“Yeah, you’re just mothering me,” he sighed with a muffled voice and looked up at him from the pillow.
Jay rolled his blue eyes and got underneath the covers of his bed. He could have sworn he felt bugs crawling all over his body, but he ignored the sensations.
“I’m not mothering you,” he muttered.
Jude snorted and didn’t say anything. Rolling his eyes again, he turned over on his side where he wouldn’t see Jude. He just hoped he wouldn’t wake up to his brother pulling a prank on him. Sighing, Jay forced himself to close his eyes.
Darkness was everywhere.
It could consume your soul, eat you alive… It surrounded him in a plume of smoke, whispering into his ear. “I’m here I’m here I’m here,” it said to him. “I’m always here.”
Jay turned around in a full circle, his heart pounding against his chest. “Who are you?” he demanded.
“I’m here I’m here I’m here…”
“What are you?” It seemed like the right question to ask.
“I’m here I’m here I’m here…”
Jay felt panic rise inside of him, and he tried to run, but his feet were paved to the blank ground. He was nowhere. Just a blank space of nothingness.
Where was he? What was he hearing?
Was he going to die?
“I’m not afraid of you,” he lied and looked up above him. There was a single, bright light. His arm reached for it—it was his escape. “You can’t hurt me.”
Wind swirled around him from an unknown source, and he felt his body get pulled at. He let out a gasp and tried to fight against it, but it was far too strong. “You can’t scare me,” he said to the voice. “You’re not real.”
This was a dream. It had to be a dream.
“I’m here I’m here I’m here…”
“Answer me!” he howled.
The wind stopped, the darkness stopped.
The light grew brighter, and it nearly blinded his vision.
“Jay Mauser,” a female’s voice whispered into his ear, and he whipped around to face it, but no one was there.
“Who are you?” he asked again.
“I’m here to protect you…” it murmured softly. The voice was calming, but something inside him told him to run. “Something’s coming.”
Jay Mauser furrowed his brows, covering his eyes from the bright light. “What’s coming?”
Something touched his heart, and he let out a yelp. He felt a burn, and when it let go, he rubbed at his chest.
The burn covered the scar.
“Darkness,” it replied. “Darkness is going to find you.”
Light consumed him, and he let out a scream, falling to the ground. But he was fine. He opened his eyes, not realizing he had squeezed them shut.
His eyes slowly travelled up, and they laid upon a woman in a white dress. Her air was chestnut brown, and her eyes glowed yellow. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen…
“You must be strong,” the woman said to him, looking into his blue eyes. “The jay is strongest when in a flock.”
“Am I in danger?” he said quietly.
Her expression was blank. “I will protect you,” was all she said, and slowly she began to fade away.
“Wait, you can’t just—“
“You don’t have much time.” And then she was gone.
“Jay?” Jude’s voice hissed as his eyes flicked open from the dream. “Jay, are you okay?” he demanded, his eyes looking back and fourth.
Jay slowly nodded. “I-I’m fine…” He sat himself up and rubbed at his eyes. He looked outside, and the sun was completely gone. Tonight there was no moon.
Darkness is going to find you.
A shiver was sent down his spine and he quickly sprang to his feet. “We have to go,” Jay said and forced his shoes onto his feet. Jude was already dressed, and he let out a sigh of relief.
“What do you mean—“
“I don’t have time to explain,” he said more aggressively than he intended. “But we have to go. Now.”
“Jay, you’re worrying me…”
“Something’s coming!” he hissed and threw on his jacket.
“How do you know this, Jay?” Jude looked at him with concern.
“I dreamt of it, okay? But if we don’t leave now, something bad is going to happen.”
Jude nodded and didn’t ask for further explanation. He grabbed both their bags and ran for the door, but it was forced shut. He kicked at the door, but it still wouldn’t budge. They were already here.
“Shit shit shit shit…” Jay cursed to himself.
He looked around for another option, but there weren’t any other exits—
“The window,” Jude said and grabbed a chair, throwing it at the glass. It cracked, and Jay nodded, ripping the lamp from the wall and slammed it against the window. Glass satisfyingly shattered, and they both hopped out of the window. There wasn’t enough time to pay for the damage—they had to run.
He heard the sound of flapping wings behind him, and looking over his shoulder, his eyes widened at the sight of two large men with red, glowing eyes.
“Go, go, go!” Jay screamed at his brother, and his brother jumped into the driver’s side, attempting to turn the ignition.
The engine failed to turn on, and the sound of a whine came from the engine, refusing to work.
“Oh, baby, don’t do this!” Jude whined with panic, and looking up, he let out a gasp as the demons held up their arms, and darkness was sent towards them. The Mustang flipped over, and Jay let out a yelp as his head banged against the top of the old vehicle.
A loud ring sounded in his ear, and he moaned slightly as he vision blurred and his head pounded with excruciating pain. “Jude…” he murmured, shaking his head as he forced his eyes to remain open. He couldn’t concentrate, think…
“I hear you,” Jude said, and when Jay looked over, his brother was still beside him. Blood lined the top of his forehead, and Jay then looked up. The night sky glared down at them, and Jay took off his seatbelt.
“Are you able to get out?” Jay whispered to him, and Jude shook his head, cringing with pain.
“My arm… it’s stuck.”
“You can’t get it out?”
He shook his head, wincing. “It’s jammed.”
“I’ll get you out,” he said to him.
Jay moved to help him, but something banged against the door, and he whipped to face it. Crap, he thought, and he cursed under his breath as he heard the metal get pulled.
He reached for his brother again, but something grabbed the scruff of his neck, and he let out a yelp. Something forced him outside of the vehicle, and he fell over to his side, cringing.
“Jay!” Jude screamed to him.
He fought against whatever it was that took him, and punching it in the face, he quickly crawled away, reaching for a large rock on the ground. He went to hurl it towards the thing, but something held his arm down.
He looked over to his side, and the man was coming straight for him. “Oh god,” he whispered, and he couldn’t move his body to get away.
“Jay?” Jude called, but Jay didn’t respond.
The man lifted his arm once again, but as he did so, he was thrown to the ground, and he heard a deafening crack.
“Jay, answer me,” Jude called again.
“Stop,” a female voice snapped at him, and Jay looked at her with squinted eyes.
“Who… who are you?” The men from before… the demons. They were lying on the ground, lifeless. “What are you?”
His arm then slackened to his side, but he continued to hold the rock.
“Jay, what’s going on?” Jude called from inside the flipped over Mustang.
The female walked towards him, and Jay tensed, causing her to halt. “I’m not here to hurt you,” she said softly to him.
“I’m sure as hell you will,” he growled.
She smiled at him. “Do you think I would have killed those demons if I was going to harm you?”
Jay paused for a moment, thinking. “You’re not going to kill us?”
“I just saved your life, and you’re going to accuse me of harming you?”
Jay shook his head, confused. “You murdered that demon? Both of them.”
A nod. “Precisely,” she responded and turned to the Mustang. “Is that your brother in there?”
“Don’t touch him,” he snarled, but the girl responded with a laugh.
“Oh Jay, the youngest Mauser, but the most protective brother.” She moved towards it, and her arm placed against the side of the vehicle, and without much effort, she forced it back onto its four wheels.
Jude let out a gasp of pain, and Jay quickly ran to his side. “Let me see your arm,” Jay said and gently touched it. Jude flinched away.
“I think it’s broken,” Jude said and took it back from him.
The female walked towards them, but Jay pointed a finger towards her in warning. “Don’t come any closer.”
She held her arms up in defense. “I’m not going to hurt you,” she reassured them. “Let me heal your brother.”
Jay furrowed his brows. “How the hell can you do that?” he inquired.
They couldn’t just assume that she’d be wiling to help them with open arms. Yeah, she killed those demons, but what if… what if this was a trick? A misinterpretation? She came out of nowhere, and after that dream… She could be the one here to truly hurt them.
Jude looked at him and said, “Jay, maybe she’ll help. I’m no use with a broken arm.”
“You don’t know that,” he hissed back.
“You know I can hear you,” she said behind them, and Jay glared at her.
“I’m not just going to trust you because you killed two demons.”
She crossed her arms. “After all I’ve done for you, you’re going to throw me under the bus?” Darkness crossed her vision, and Jay flinched back.
“Yes,” Jay snarled.
Jude touched his chest, and Jay winced. Looking down at it, it was the same burn from his dream. “What is it?” Jude asked.
“Impossible…” he whispered.
“Indeed it’s possible,” the girl said. “That burn is a marking. To prevent other demons from finding you temporarily.”
“But I dreamt it…”
She smiled at him softly. “Jay, you know nothing of dreams.” She shook his head slowly. “I marked you to keep you safe, but I wasn’t fast enough. But I did get here as soon as I could.”
Jude looked at her. “Do what you have to do,” he said, looking at his arm. “I don’t want to be walking around with a broken arm.”
“Not buts,” Jude interrupted him. “I’m the older brother; it’s my decision and mine alone.” Jay glared at him stubbornly, and Jude winked at him.
He let out a sigh, and staring at his brother for a long moment, he nodded. “Fine,” he gave in. “But I swear, if you hurt him, you’re dead.”
She chuckled. “That’s adorable,” she replied and stepped in front of his brother and took his arm. Jude winced, but instantly, a glowing light illuminated from her hand, and Jude’s eyes widened with surprise.
“It’s… it’s fine,” he said in awe. “I’m… healed.”
He’d never seen anything like it.
Jay took a step away from her. “Tell me what you are,” he said, shaking his head with disbelief. She couldn’t be a demon… This was something else. Something far more powerful.
“My name is Shannon Louis,” she said to the Mauser brothers. “I am an angel of the Lord, and I am sent from Heaven to protect you.”
Jude let out a scoff and stepped away from the smashed vehicle. “You mean Shannon, the girl from Tim Horton’s?”
Shannon nodded, casting both a cheerful grin. “It was a temporary job,” she said to them. “Heaven told me that I’ll cross paths with you both there, and their predictions were accurate. And then I went to you, Jay, in your dreams.”
“You look… different,” Jay said as he began to remember her.
“My true form,” she told him. “This is a vessel.” She looked down at herself.
“You’re possessing a girl?” Jude said with a shocked tone.
Shannon shook her head. “It was with consent. I only possess if prayed to do so.”
“Who in their right mind would do such a thing?” Jay challenged.
“A girl named Laura Vincent,” she replied. “I won’t tell you her life story, but she said she had enough of earth’s… in lighter words, problems, and she wanted to be taken away. So, she’s tuck deep inside her consciousness, sleeping. She’s happier now.”
Jude nudged his arm and said silently: remember what you said earlier? If you see her again, it’s fate. Jay frowned at him.
“But why now? Why show up out of all timings?”
“You were both strong enough together,” Shannon told them. “Very powerful with your brotherly bond. But today… that wouldn’t have been enough. Those demons were of a higher class, but they were no problem for an angel.” She looked at the vehicle. “I didn’t expect them to go to such extents, but you are the current marked Mauser.”
“You never protected anyone else in my family,” Jude said to her.
“No, I know.” She let out a sigh. “But you two serve a greater purpose on this darkened world.”
Jay rubbed at his head, and Shannon went to touch it, but he quickly pushed her arm away. “Don’t touch me,” he said.
Jude cast him a look. “She can help you,” he said quietly.
He didn’t care about that. “I’m fine,” he muttered.
Shannon looked hurt by his reaction, but it quickly faded away beneath a mask of no emotion.
“Then what purpose do we serve?” Jay asked her after a moment of silence.
“That’s something we should discuss later—“
“Why can’t you tell us now?” Jude cut her off, taking a step towards her.
“It’s not my information to share.”
A muscle ticked in Jay’s cheek. “But it’s about us—“
Shannon walked towards Jay, and she looked him straight in the eye. “Don’t you ever think that you can tell me what I can and can’t do,” she snarled into his face. His eyes slit as he eyed her. “I’m an angel of the Lord, and I serve him alone. Not you. And you won’t know what I don’t want you to know.”
Jay gulped slightly, and he took a step back. “Then what will you tell us?”
She lightened up slightly, and the tense aroma around her faded. “That nowhere is safe for you, Jay Mauser.”