War In Heaven

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Alexander

Alexander

I don’t know what wakes me, perhaps one of the females asleep beside me. Under each arm, their weight is slight but their hair tickles my armpit. I stretch my naked limbs, the animal hides scratching delicate areas that have been overused during the rough night. The girls whine in dismay. They grasp an arm and a leg to keep me still. A chuckle vibrates my chest.

How could I leave them in their distress?

A hand falls on a plump breast while my lips descend to her friend’s or sister’s (I’ve forgotten) delectable lips. Their fingers twist beneath the furs, raking shape nails along ticklish skin and I can’t help laughing.

The flap to our humble abode peels back, shining in the brutal sunlight. We cower beneath the furs like vampires, hissing and growling.

“Oh.” Terse aggravation vibrates in such a little word.

As I pull away from a wet slippery tongue, a smirk heavily plasters on my lips to meet the intruder at my door.

Though her figure casts in shadow with the sunlight blaring behind, I perceive every wonderful physical attribute of Erelim Angel Ariel. Gold hair wraps mostly to the back of her head with wool and squirrel bone for support but a few straight pieces hang down past the hard line of her jaw.

The snow white of her skin enhances the red of her cheeks, seen only when I manage to make her furious. A tiny nose, thin pastel red lips that only plump when she relaxes. But most importantly are the blue green eyes that swirl with every new temperament, revealing each emotion she fails to expose otherwise.

She observes my visitors with disdain in her haughty stance, “They tell me terrible inhuman sounds were coming from here. They thought you were dying.”

“Only living to the fullest, darling. Do you care to join?” The girls cackle, hiding their faces into my skin.

Ariel has never been easy to humor and steps aside, “Out.”

With a heave, I obediently follow her order. Naked and proud, I stand.

She scoffs, falling away from the opening. “Get dressed.”

I casually put on an ox jerkin and deer leather pants before tying up my moccasins and following the girls out to face her wrath.

There is a crowd surrounding my hut. They ignore their fires and the horses, too interested in what their chieftain will do about the prodigal son and his mischief. The girls aren’t prepared to meet the distaste of the village and sink into cowardice. Ariel whispers to her Second and quickly a subordinate comes to their side to take them home.

She waits for me it seems. Does she believe I will apologize or beg for mercy?

I look out to my own kind with pride. “What business do any of you hold on who I bed? I ask you, do humans not deserve pleasure as well?” My grin cannot stretch further. I notice so many of them shake their head, whispering terrible obscenities they haven’t the gall to say to my face.

Ariel does not readily reply. Dressed in fur and feathers she is as intimidating to any lesser being as she can be but I find her only arousing and stimulating. What would I do if I could get through the layers of her guard and make her smile?

“You think this is a game?”

I sigh tiredly at her dismissal. I want her to get angry. I want her to yell, to experience rage, to know that there is life in her Soul. I see it, lingering in her gaze. She’s simply refusing to let it out.

“I allow your presence to learn. But you are not above anyone.”

As cocky as I am I can’t help shove that back in her face, “I’m the best pupil you have. You know it as I. Who else here has the ability to become an Apothecary? Do not treat me as you treat others. I am above everyone. I can do what others can’t.”

She giggles. “Look at you. Nothing can bring you down. You have it all figured out, don’t you, you proud little man. You take whatever you want. No consequences. Suffer no pain. Gain only pleasure. Oh, what a fantastic life you must lead, Angel. How grand it must be to be you.”

“Do not mock me.”

Ariel steps up. Though I am taller, I feel inferior, as she wills it. “I do what I please. For you see, I’ve lived ten thousand years and I’ve earned my place in this world.” She bites crudely, “Your life is but a blink of my eye. You are a fly, who lives but a day. Why do I waste effort on you when you will surrender your Light before you even begin to grasp the meaning of it?”

A smile swells and I murmur, leaning down, willing myself to kiss her, “Because you love me.”

She blinks, the colors of her eyes changing. “Hn.” She rotates on her foot. “Do not bring another human to this place or I will bar you for life.”

I laugh as I watch her leave. The Angels sneer and ridicule behind their hands, unhappy with her light punishment but I couldn’t be more sure of my own words. Erelim Elder Ariel is in love with me and I will have her say it one day, perhaps when she is writhing beneath me in gratification.

--

A bump in the road jerks me awake and I snap my eyes open with a deep inhale, fear fastens in my heart and I’m quick to find Kyla, comfortably curled beside me, sleeping soundly. I sigh out calming myself. The bed of this truck is not snug in the slightest; the metal hurts my exhausted muscles. But I’m thankful.

I found a road after traveling for a mile or so, stopping only to rest my limbs. I walked the unlit pavement for hours, uncertain if Angels or Fallen would find me. Part of me hoped they would.

I’ve killed.

Not just a human anymore but an unknowable amount of Angels.

Why am I doing this? Why am I going so far?

I reach over, tuck a stray strained of black hair behind her tiny ear, and adjust the blanket around her in a vain attempt to make her content.

My brows knit about the sight of blood on the fabric. It’s torn a little but logic doesn’t spark as I look to myself, searching for any injury. Aside from my healing face and a couple of bruises, I’m fine.

My hands twist in the fabric, pulling it harshly down revealing her arm. A red streak lies across her skin. I get up on my knees in panic and rub it away only to witness fresh blood pool at the cut.

Fallen don’t bleed. Fallen don’t cry. Fallen have mutated Light and yet, she fits into none of these categories.

A Hybrid. Does that make any sense? Why make a Soul as complicated and intricate as hers? What purpose is she supposed to serve and why out of every person on this planet am I protecting her!

I look toward the sky, as if He will be there to provide answers or aid but aside from clouds, there’s nothing. I’m alone and helpless. I cling to Kyla if only to gain comfort from her comatose form. I can take some refuge in the fact that I am not as defenseless as she is. I can still fight with my own two hands and though they are weak, at least they are usable.

I lean back against the truck. Dreaming of Ariel is the only pleasantry I have. It’s selfish but I wouldn’t make this car ride and stay sane otherwise. My time with Ariel had been brief and so long ago.

In the early 1400s, we lived in the undivided lands of Northern America, off the coast of what would become the regions of New Hampshire, but back then, the bay was frozen over and most of the lands were harsh and covered in frost. It wouldn’t be long before Global Warming extended lower and dispelled the area into lush greens and flowing rivers but as it were, we lived in terrible conditions. Ariel owned half the continent with many territories overseas. She had over five thousand Angels in her court with seventy-five Elders to obey her every whim. Ariel dominated the world and there was not one willing to tempt her wrath.

Except me. But I simply did it for attention. Perhaps I did it to make her laugh as well.

--

A carnival had the village in all a buzz. I don’t care for their celebration really but women dance, naked and free flowing and it keeps my attention.

A fire burns along the water’s edge and I spot Ariel propped in her throne chair. She is as bored as I but she pretends as she must. A false smile stretches her thin lips. Her eyes sparkle red from the flames. She observes the Angels dance and laughs when it is expected.

There is no jubilation in her heart. This is mundane for a creature as grand as her. Am I the only one here who can appreciate the magnificence of her Light?

“Alexander.” Approaching me is a petite figure of a woman. The furs barely cover her but it is as she wants them. Her large breasts sway and my eyes can’t help swing with them. I gain composure quickly. Sakura lost her lure considering how easy it was to bed her.

“Look at you. You want her bad, don’t you?”

I roll my eyes, tired already of her voice.

“The most prestigious healer can’t get what he wants. How sad.”

“Is there a reason you’re here?”

She giggles, her hazel eyes narrowing with her giddiness. “Well, considering Ariel only talks to you, we wanted to know if the rumors were true.”

“There are many rumors. You’ll have to be more specific. Are you talking about the one where you opened your legs for the entire Arch family? Or the one where you--”

“Ariel’s leaving.” My words catch and Sakura stares triumphant. “I hear she’s handing over the entire Icelandic Range to Hikmah Elder Isis.”

“Isis? I’ve never heard of her.”

“A youngling like you wouldn’t have. She’ll be an Erelim soon enough. Ariel is going to Heaven. She’s been offered a spot amongst the Seraphim. Her Second means to follow.”

I stare at Ariel. Her eyes flutter around the arena, unseeing, uncaring. Soon her gaze falls upon me and so swiftly, she looks away. Guilt or shame forces such a response. I can see it on her golden brow, a flash of emotion. A sign she still has a fire burning inside the icy compound of her heart and it blazes for me.

I fasten to my feet, pushing through the crowd and interrupt the dancing ritual. Ariel’s bright anger readily ignites her beautiful features and she straightens her spine, preparing to knock me down before I can start. There is for once, excitement. She loves my rebelliousness as much as I love her brutality.

“I have an announcement.” I begin cutting through the clan’s peevish whispering as they glare at me. “Ariel, we all can see that you hurt. Your Soul Mate betrayed you, this is general knowledge, past on for thousands of years. It has made you ice and steel. It has turned a genteel heart to stone.”

She leans back upon her chair, resting a hand against her cheek. She bores already.

“You are tired of loneliness and now you wish to abandon all that you have strove for and hide away your pain in the arms of God. I will not let you. I am a glorified healer. I can undo the damage the bastard has done to you, if you let me try. Allow me and I will get your heart to beat once more. I love you, Ariel.”

Sitting as she is, withered and weary, she stares at me with a humorous smile on her lips. “You are an imprudent lad.”

I step closer hoping to reach her but her next words stop me from touching her.

“Your love is unwanted and unwarranted. I crave not your affection or your touch. You sicken me, Alexander. You appreciate so little of God that you betray Him with every breath you breathe. You think you understand me? You comprehend not the sun in the sky or the ground on which you walk. Your ignorance bypasses a human babe and I cannot forgo the sight of you any longer. I keep you because you would die otherwise and I am committed to God past any personal abhorrence.”

My knees quake. There are snickers and my ego shakes.

“You love me? What do you love? This face? If I cut it into pieces, scar it beyond the capacity for even God Himself to look upon, will you love me still?” She giggles resting her elbows on the dais, leaning forward, “Or is it my adoring personality? Is that what you love? No, sir, I think not. You are lost in the illusion of a grand ideal that will never come to present. Now run, child. I grow weary of observing such shame riddled upon your pathetic facade.”

--

[Run.]

I flip my eyes open. My heart’s beating fast and breath comes wildly. I want to move. I need to move. I have to get off this truck.

I knock on the glass behind me and shortly after the F150 pulls over and comes to a stop. I stand up, my eyes squinting, finding the morning sun beaming through the buildings. Horns and random sounds blare from all around. “Where are we?” I ask him.

His window is down but he’s fearful. He doesn’t want to get out of his car. I’m sure he takes a number of hitch hikers but we are the oddest set he’s ever selected. “We just exited Lincoln tunnel. I was gonna take you up 10th Ave and drop you off at a hospital. You look like you need some help.”

I thank him, holding out my hand. He throws a twenty-dollar bill at me before telling me to get the girl. It’s obvious he’s uneasy so I do as he bids and whisk Kyla into my arms before he zooms away, scared for his life. I look down at her.

[Run]

I know if I continue straight, I’ll be heading toward the busiest of New York. I instead turn around and dart in between the streets, getting easily lost on the back roads. I know little about New York now after so long.

After I left Ariel, I stayed away from Angel villages, distancing myself from the society that always saw me as no good. I didn’t care what happened to the Icelandic Range even as I began to suspect it’s plunge from grander into its meek present state. Ariel left it shortly after I did and the new owner was failing in her fight against the Fallen and Mother Nature.

The only thing that I kept with me after years of altering myself so many times, was my healing hands. It was the only thing that Ariel didn’t hate about me. If she ever wanted to find me, to seek forgiveness, she would know where to find me.

Ariel would know what to do with Kyla. I need her. I need Ariel more than I have ever needed anyone.

Down a few blocks, I’m in a quiet section where the population has relatively thinned out. Kyla’s getting heavy and I would really like a place to set her down. I need somewhere to remove the stitches from my face before they remain a permanent part of my skin.

On the 35th, I find a small pizzeria and I contemplate going inside. To my dismay, it isn’t open yet. It’s barely seven in the morning. Not even new Yorkers would want a slice of pizza at this time.

Turning around, I venture across the street and rest on some steps leading up to an abandoned building. I prop Kyla against the rusted cast iron bars that barely cling to the sidewalk. I rub the sweat from my forehead on the sleeve of the white t-shirt, desiring water. My lips are cracked and dry. I could use a hairbrush too. My hair is twisted and sticks to the back of my neck. I almost wish I didn’t have long hair.

Peeking up at the building behind me, I wonder if I could hide in there for a while. I don’t know what else to do. I can’t find a car, food, or even a new identity with Kyla in my arms the entire time. I need to leave her for an hour or so.

I’d come back.

Of course, I’d come back.

I try the door and though it’s locked, with a simple push the wood shatters from termite-infested rot. I lean my head inside. There’s enough light from windows to see my way around. Taking a breath, I gather Kyla up and trudge through.

I cringe stepping on the nasty, dust covered floors. I kick up years of foul buildup. I don’t like it here but it’s obviously vacant. I won’t have to worry about Angels or Fallen finding us.

It’s bigger than I thought. The front of it is wide enough to portray a house but behind it extends backward lengthy and long. A never-ending hallway greets me, leading off to other rooms. It’s not a home, that much is obvious but it isn’t a normal space. It’s been altered, made into its own work environment. Religious artifacts post on the walls and carve into every piece of furniture. All versions of the cross, the Chi Rho, the lamb, the Lion, the Lily, the Keys of the Kingdom, and the Alpha and the Omega sporadically decorate throughout the elongated dwelling. Hymns post on the walls as well, written in Latin, screwed into crude frames.

I hesitantly step down the hall bypassing the rooms that have closed doors. On the left, the first door actually opens is a small schoolroom with stacked desks and a black chalkboard. All the windows cover with thick dark curtains, keeping the sunlight from shining through. I keep heading further.

The next room is oddly a place of worship. The five-foot tall cross tilts to its side, having fallen from its pedestal. Hundreds of candles litter the floor and shelves. Wax pours down the walls and pools on the floors. Years of dust darken its white canvas.

I set Kyla down in front of the decaying cross and notice odd indents in the floor. My knees fit perfectly in the round arches. Someone was very devout, capable of leaving such impressions.

I remove her blanket, damp from my sweat after the long excursions from walking. Glancing around, I tug on the curtains watching as the rod easily gives way and they fall, producing a cloud of dust. This room used to be a sunroom but whoever lived here before apparently didn’t like the light. I look into the backward, noticing fields of empty seedbeds, ruined by infesting weeds. It must have been years since someone lived here.

Unsurely, I tiptoe up the stairs. Each step however proves to be loud and obnoxious. No matter how lightly I place my foot or where I set it, the steps cry out in dismay. The entire way up the thirty wooden steps, it announces to the sleeping ghosts.

Another long hallway greets me. It’s the same as downstairs with the religious artifacts drowning every inch of the walls to an obsessive degree. This time I open the first door I come too.

My brows knit finding a medical ward. White curtains hang separating six beds, three on each side with a window on the end. It’s small and compact, barely an acceptable place but there are enough supplies to apply the minimalist medical help. I close the door quickly, feeling disgusted at the sight of it.

To the other side of the hallway I open that door and come to a bedroom. Down the entire length of the upper level, it fits ten small cots. I step in, my brows knitting in sympathy. There is a nightstand between each bed but that is all the space that divides them and enough to walk down the aisle. Ten people slept in this room, lived in this environment, knowing no privacy, and having little life.

On the last bed, I sit.

I’ve never prayed for anything. Praying is accepting the fact that I am helpless and my pride never allowed such a degrading idea. But now, I am slowly digressing to a sense of powerlessness.

I won’t pray to God. I’ve not stooped so low.

“Ariel.” I grit my teeth, bitterness pooling into my chest, “I know I haven’t the right to ask anything from you after all this time. But if you’re still alive, I need you now.”

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