I waken to delicate fingers tracing my bicep and a warm smile drifts upon dry lips. Drowsily I peak open an eye, meeting the face of a gorgeous chocolate skinned woman I picked up at a bar last night. She burrows closer to me, kissing my lips, trying to return to sleep and I do the same. Her naked breasts however press into my chest and I feel the warmth of her apex snug against my thigh. She giggles the moment my desire is known. “You are an animal.” She murmurs.
I grin wickedly. I’ve been called worse things certainly. Animal isn’t so bad.
I press her lips against mine, rolling her upon her back. Her long fingers grip into my blond hair tight and harsh.
The phone on my nightstand vibrates. With aggravation in her throat, a sound I very much like, she detaches from my lips. I simply continue my venture, my tongue careening down her lengthy neck, kissing along the path of her boney clavicle. She hisses at whatever text message she’s received. I don’t care for her life. I don’t even know her name. The only thing relevant is pleasure.
She taps me on the hip, “I have to go.”
I lower my lips to capture a dark round nipple in my mouth, “No, you don’t.” I mutter with it between my teeth.
She puts pressure against my shoulders, “Get off.” She throws me to the side as she crawls off the bed. It’s in that moment the front door shudders. “Shit!” She panics, forgetting to reach for her underwear and swiftly yanks on her jeans.
I collapse on the bed.
I really hate a spectacle. It’s such a human thing.
“Who is that?” I’m too tired to put any care into my voice.
She snatches her shirt. “My husband.”
I snap my head up watching her pull a shirt over her braless chest, her big breasts swaying from the disruption. She shoves her foot into high heels, snatches the bra and panties from the edge of the bed and stuffs them in a frumpy purse. The banging continues yet she leans over and kisses my unresponsive lips. “Call me.” She darts through the balcony doors, throwing a leg over the railing.
I slip on sweatpants before peeking out, observing her traveling the treacherous length of the fire escape. She seems practiced at sneaking out. She’s even doing such a feat in stilettos.
I step backward. My palms sweat and I hold the side of the doorway to ease my nerves. Heights terrify me. Most Angels chose apartments much closer to the ground. I tend to be rebellious on all fronts. Nausea starts to boil and I latch the door shut, taking a deep calming breath.
Running my well-manicured fingernails through long gold tresses, I stalk through my bedroom, bare feet slapping the wood panels of the rather expensive condominium. I pick up random objects as I go through the living room, not aiming to postpone the inevitable but if I’m to have a guest I can’t have my luxurious flat looking in shambles, can I? I fix up the couch, replacing the billowing pillows in their rightful place, removing wine glasses and small trays of appetizers, placing them in my steel sink. The vibrating door forces my feet into my motion, “Coming, coming.” I sing, hopping over to it.
I tuck blond locks behind my ears, quickly scanning the rest of me. My muscled torso is bare, creamy white with a nice bronzed that stems from a limited time in a tanning salon. I don’t particularly like the appearance of phony sunlight but it’s enough to give the impression that I care for my looks. I’m a doctor; I have to set off a certain façade. Humans tend to appeal more to those that indulge and pamper.
One more violent bang and I suck up enough false bravery to place my hand on the electric keypad. I can calm the human down with some of my Angelic wails; otherwise, I would have followed that woman down the fire escape.
I am the first one to admit, I’m a proud coward and confrontation is not my specialty.
Bolts unhinge, as locks twist and turn unleashing the door from its bind. It takes nearly a minute for all the mechanical parts to stop moving and with another deep breathe I force a nice, un-intimidating smile, yanking the four-inch thick door wide open.
“Oh.” All semblance of happiness deflates. Repugnance shines bright in my blue eyes. “What do you want?”
Tymician barges in unwelcome, as he always tends to do. I stumble to the side and he slaps shut the door, hurrying to the other section of the room, checking out the fire escape and then peeking into the bathroom. I inform him with a wispy air, “Your sister left already if that’s who you’re looking for.” His green eyes land on me with mirthless aggravation and I chortle lightly turning to my kitchen to grab an iced tea. I would offer him one but since he’s an Elder I won’t waste my breath.
“Lose your insolence quickly, youngling.”
I am a slightly cocky thing but Elders manage such a degree of arrogance that I could never master. Popping the top on my drink, I take a quick swig, catching a glimpse of him. My brows knit upon the tension in his arms and the flicker of his eyes. He can’t seem to keep still. It is unlike him.
My doctor interest peaks. “What?”
He throws his sight on me. “I need your help.”
It’s the height of my day and it’s barely morning. “Oh? The great, all powerful, Tymician, Lord of the Darkness, needs my help?”
Tymician is in front of me before I can blink and he slaps the drink out of my hand, “If you say anything to anyone, I will personally rip off your wings and drag into the deepest pits of hell.”
I swallow and it takes a moment, but eventually my balls uncurl and I rest a hand on his, “You gonna tell me what you need or just make threats.”
He stalks out and slams the door. Popping a peanut in my mouth, I notice only minutes have past. Now I’m full of energy and my mind is racing. It comes natural since I’m a resident for the Trenton hospital. I only go to low ranked, highly unknown work places so the Ruling won’t kick me out of my field. I’ve been working for the human race for hundreds of years. I love the human body. Giving up my passion would be worse than becoming a Fallen. Ruling Laws are for Clans. Not for me. At least, that’s the law I live by.
Tymician kicks open my door, unnecessary I might add, and within his arms a hundred and twenty, hundred thirty-pound female approximately twenty to twenty five in human age. Unbrushed black hair hangs down, an arm small and dainty wobbles with each movement he makes. A bracelet dangles. She is of Asian descent with pale white skin, unblemished. She looks well enough aside from being unconscious.
He looks at me as if expecting me to rush and aid. I instead point to the couch.
I check the door, relieve that’s it not broken and press my hand upon the keypad to lock the bolts into their rightful place. I have a Rune to ward away all creatures of the Undead from popping up into my apartment uninvited. He goes breaking that and I’ll have to buy a new one. They are expensive and hard to come by for someone young and clan-less like me.
I watch with careful inspection, evaluating the situation. I can’t help notice the way he is treating her. He lays her down tenderly, cautious of her head, placing her hands on her lap, gazing at her face with anxiousness.
It’s bewildering. Elders are callous creatures, known for their detachment. To act as he is, actually worries me more than his usual taciturn responses.
I shift my gaze down to the woman. Does he love her? Can that happen to someone like Tymician?
My attention soaks into the female draped upon the couch. She is beautiful, almost like Sleeping Beauty. I barely touch her fingers before I back away. Fallen have cold, dead skin because there is no blood in their veins. It’s disconcerting. I don’t usually work with our hell bound siblings.
“Let’s turn her over so I can calculate her wingspan.” I move around my coffee table, flicking on the side table light.
Tymician doesn’t help. He leans back, quiet and distant. Annoyed, I snatch her shoulder and lean her on her side. With her shirt up, I can’t move. I can barely think. My shaking hand slides up her spine, searching for the scars that should be there but there is nothing. Her skin is smooth and unmarred.
He stares at her face. “I got up in the middle of the night one day. Something called me. Someone was calling me. I ended up across the world in the middle of the woods. She was walking down a hunting road. She was covered in dirt and blood.” He straightens a wrinkle in her shirt. Ty looks up, “She’s special, Alex--”
“She’s a freak! What the hell did you bring to my house?”
Shocked by my sudden outburst, he stutters. “I had no choice.”
I snap to my feet, “Of course you did, you have armies and a clan! You have connections. You’re a Transcending Erelim, you can do anything!”
Tymician yanks me down to my knees, to meet his face evenly, my fear smothered by his aggravation. “They’ll take her. Lucius will take her. I can’t trust anyone associated with him.” He latches his hand on my shoulder, forcing my waning concentration. “So I’m trusting you.” He emphasizes. “And all I need you to do right now is wake her. Heal her. Then we’ll leave, Alex. Just do your job and then we’ll leave.”
Panting heavily through my nose I look down at the girl. She sleeps peacefully, seemingly ignorant to the yelling right beside her. I stretch for my kit sliding it across the wood floor. “Tell me what happened.” I question, pulling back her eyelid to shine a light on her pupil.
Tymician is in no better shape than me. He rests his elbow on the table, running his fingers through his hair. “It’s my fault.”
“I don’t doubt it.”
“I handed her this.” He digs in his pocket and places a small stone on the table. “It was the only thing she was carrying when I found her. I don’t know what it is. I’ve had witches and mystiques look into it. I’ve taken it to the lower levels of Hell. Maybe someone in Heaven would know but I don’t trust anyone. No one can read it or feel it. It’s like it doesn’t exist.” He pauses and glances at our patient. “Like her.”
“Did she pass out then?”
“A powerful shield went up, knocking everyone to their feet. Destroying the building. She collapsed instantly. It was beacon or something. I ran.”
“You ran here?”
Tymician rolls his eyes, “You ever think there is more to the world than you?”
“Sorry if I’m afraid for my safety.” I bite. “Why’d you give that thing? What did you think would happen?”
He’s on his face, pacing. “I searched for ten years to figure out who she is. Then I’m told that the world is going to end if I don’t save her. I needed answers. I thought. I thought it would return her memories.”
“You put my life in danger by coming here. You bring that ‘thing’ here knowing that there is something coming after her. You have an infinite resource pool. I don’t want to be a part of this.”
He grabs my arm, stopping my retreat. “You selfish little prick. Open your eyes, Alex. This world isn’t about you. You are not a being with purpose. You are an ant meant to obey those that have reason--”
“This is that fucking clan mentality I despise. Get out of my house.”
He spins me around, “Look at her, Alex. You are young and ignorant of our societies and yet, even you understand the implications. I brought her to you for safety. I am alone, for safety. No one knows where I am. Not even my clan mates. But you are the best at what you do. I am trusting in you.”
I clench my teeth, feeling the weight of his green gaze.
Tymician steps closer, “Tell me what’s wrong.”
“She’s in shock.” I clear my throat, hoping he can’t tell I’m lying. I don’t want to find out what’s wrong. I want them out of my house. “An overload of the senses, too traumatic for her to digress and her Soul has completely abandoned reality. She has reverted inward until she believes she’s safe. It happens to Newborns. They call it--”
Tymician returns to her side, grasping her hand tenderly. Whatever thing he gave her, couldn’t have been good for her. So my theory can’t be far from the truth. For a clean soul, it is typical for one to break under the duress. A broken soul is hard to mend. As an Angel, it’s one of our duties to repair if we come across them. It’s a long process and certainly one I don’t partake in often.
I work in a hospital. I see broken Souls on a constant basis. If I tried to restore every broken Soul I found, I’d have a list three miles long of people that await my help. Call me crude but I’ve given up that lifestyle long ago.
Physical needs are much easier to mend then spiritual, as well as pleasurable ones.
My thoughts stall when I see the woman on the couch move slightly. I step toward her as Tymician shifts in excitement. She groans, her lips, full and red, move in a whisper I can’t make out. I unconsciously move closer, down to my knees, trying to hear whatever it is she is saying in her dream. “Help.” She murmurs breathless. “Help.”
He grips her hand desperately resting his lips against her ear. “Kyla. Wake up. Heal.”
“For what? Don’t be sorry, Kyla” He touches her hair, moving a strand behind her ear.
“I can’t.” A tear falls down her temple.
Shock riddles through me. Fallen cannot cry. They cannot sweat and they cannot bleed. I’ve worked on Fallen and Angel alike, I know these facts as well as every part of the human anatomy. I tossed upside down by this woman that I haven’t even officially met yet.
Her body suddenly thrashes. “I can’t.”
Tymician latches her shoulders in fear. “Kyla. Kyla, open your eyes. Wake up now. Heal.”
“Who, Kyla? Who’s coming?”
Her body stills radically. Stiff and rigid, her limbs lay stretched out, hard as stone.
I jump at the sudden pounding on my door.
Vaguely, I hear her last whisper, “Shhhh.”
My heart thumbs and breath comes in wild pants as we both ogle the door. The hammering rattles the four-inch thick metal pallet. Tymician fastens to his feet and I stumble to mine, knees wobble with unbridled terror.
Tymician meets my eyes, the image of his visage reminding well that he is an Erelim and I couldn’t be safer. I force a reassuring smile.
“Tell me,” Tymician wonders with dead sarcasm, “You expecting anyone?”
My reply is automatic, “Just your sister.”
He makes a noise of disapproval, “For someone with a profession as yours, I can’t see how you can be completely immature.”
“Immature, or I have a sense of humor. Depends on whom you ask.” My voice quakes. I hope he can’t hear it.
“Do you have any weapons?” The door cracks under the violent strain. Pieces splinter and fling off.
“I’m an Angel. You really think I have anything?”
“Do you know how to fight at least?”
“I have lived for 1000 years. Think I picked up some skills watching TV.”
“Hm. Just like your doctor career.”
My musings only stall the inevitable. The hinges peel from the wall little by little. Tymician steps forward a fraction but it’s significant. It is a sign that expresses his plan to protect.
I encourage him by taking a step back.
The door pops off the wall finally and hits the floor with a loud and disturbing thud. I wince hoping they didn’t damage it much. I don’t have any homeowner’s insurance.
Leaning up against the entranceway, are two-- human beings. I stutter and stall. I was thinking of some demon oozing blood and large horns sprouting from its head. The one on the left is short and stout, bald headed, with massive black tattoos decorating biker muscles. He wears only a black leather vest with leather pants. I can imagine he’s got a hog right outside that he rode in on. Piercings stick in all parts of his skin: his ears, eyebrows, lips and nose.
His friend is over six foot with bleached white hair, cut short, messy and sloppy as if he just got out of bed. His Haitian black skin has only a limited number of painted tattoos. He does hold back on the piercings and the leather, wearing a ripped up t-shirt and dirty jeans.
The fatty is grinning while the other barely lifts his drooping eyes from the floor, seemingly going to sleep right on my doorstep. I sneak a glance to my Fallen counterpart, “Who are they?”
Tymician clenches his jaw, “You don’t want to know.”
I, being the person that am I, greet them, “Can I help you gentlemen?”
Tymician gives me a side look and I shrug.
Mister biker laughs heartily. “I thought I’d never see the day. An Angel and demon side by side.”
I know the Fallen despise being called demons. Tymician tenses drastically and I feel the strength of his Soul expend.
I begin to worry about my condominium. I paid tons of money for this place. I wonder if I can talk them into taking this conversation to the park.
“What do you want?” Tymician demands.
“Not much. Just her Light.” He grins again showing his black fanged teeth.
I have to say something. I wouldn’t be a good host otherwise. “How about a kick in the ass instead?”
Sure, call me lame. I didn’t get classes in being evil like some people.
“Tsk.” The silent one gets out through his nap.
Porker looks to his partner, “Hey Sloth, which one do you want?”
“Don’t play any fucking games, Wrath. Let’s get the prize and go. I’m tired.”
“You’re so fucking lazy. You get the one on the couch. I’ll take wing boy. ”
Tymician doesn’t like their conversation, “And what about me?”
Wrath lands his black nasty eyes back on us. “Stay out of our way.”
“You aren’t here for me?”
“Should we be? What does a Fallen have that we want?”
Wrath stretches his ugly lips into a grin, his boots slapping upon my wood floor. He reaches behind him and pulls a large club he must have had strapped to his back.
I roll my eyes: how stereotypical.
Wrath rushes and Tymician steps in front. He doesn’t care however, swinging his club over and over again. I’m grateful. I, as terrible as it sounds, jump away, giving them space, with my hands up before me trying to keep cover. I never fought anyone. I can use the excuse that I’m an Angel and live to serve and protect God’s creatures. I can continue using the excuse that I’m a doctor, my hands were made for healing not harming.
But if I’m nothing else, I’m honest.
I’m a coward. A fact I’ve had to face for the last six hundred years. I lost Ariel because I didn’t fight for her, and every single girl I’ve ever been with since has left me because I’ve made no attempt to continue a relationship due to the fact of my inability to try when things got rough. I’ve actually come to grips with it and I’ve accepted it a long, long time ago.
A club smashes so heavily on my wooden floor, it cracks and breaks apart, splitting it right between Tymician’s legs. The spider web stretches toward me, seeking me out. I stumble out of its way, tripping over myself and latch onto my island bar top.
Tymician latches his big hands upon the club and slams his shoulder into Wrath and they both fall away from the weapon, rolling into the dining table. The chairs topple in protest, clattering in random directions.
I flip my gaze to the other one. Sloth lazily watches them smack each other, breaking my furniture with little interest, yawning. Black fingernails spread over his lips.
I cannot make out his Soul. It’s almost as if he doesn’t have one.
His eyes slip onto me.
I wonder if he can sense my fear. Does he expect me to fight him? I can usually find a way out of any confrontation. At the hospital, police are always nearby; or orderlies and tough-ass nurses that can give one hell of a punch. My Angelic sweet words allow me to talk to muggers before they hurt people, managing to change their mind. There has never been an instance that required me to be violent.
Sloth’s gaze rolls to Kyla. He steps onto the broken doorway, inching closer to her. I swallow and my body tenses. I have to do something. I take a step forward but I haven’t a clue on what I should do. “Don’t.” I find myself saying.
Good, I chastise myself. That will surely dissuade him.
Tymician has gotten free from Wrath and comes running up, crashing into Sloth. They slam on my brand new nine hundred dollar, Eli glass top coffee table and it shatters with a terrible piercing sound that wreaks my nerves.
I’m sure my neighbors are going to complain. I can’t afford another grievance. I am already on thin ice considering that my last girlfriend had a terrible tantrum when I told her it was over.
It is not the time to be thinking of things, I know. The glass flies everywhere. It sprays across my wood floors and into the cracks Wrath’s hammer had caused. I glance to Kyla, yet she is undisturbed even though glass has marred her skin and decorated her clothes.
Tymician tries to block Sloth’s foot but it slams right into his chest nonetheless and his body flies back landing against the far wall knocking down one of my rare and collectable pieces of art “The Three Ages of Man”.
My mouth drops open in concern, as terrible as it may sound, for the painting rather than for the Fallen. As Tymician slowly regains his footing, I’m relieved that the canvas suffered no injury.
Wrath and Sloth, realizing that I am of no consequence, face Tymician, their backs to me. Tymician meets them seemingly unbothered by the brutal beating he’s taking. He requires no need to breath. If he could bleed, I’m sure it would be pouring from his face. He has taken several massive hits and from his stance, it won’t be long until he loses this fight. And it would be no thanks to me.
I notice though that his gaze does not touch me in hate, in confusion, or in help. He never expected me to partake in this.
I watch his eyes dart toward Kyla. Desperation shines bright. He worries for her. He wants to save her and he’s realizing he can’t. Fighting these creatures is impossible for him.
Which is unbelievable for me!
He is more than ten thousand years old. There is unfathomable power that he hasn’t tapped into yet. What is holding him back?
I stare at Kyla.
I’m looking right at the reason and I’m too slow on the uptake because fear clogs my usual fast paced thinking skills. I’m not typically so dense.
I race toward her. Tymician’s eyes must have given away what I am doing because one of the creatures turn to look but Tymician attacks them. I grab her as he punches Sloth, kicks Wrath.
Where do I take her? The only exit is blocked.
Holding her tight in my arms I run into the bedroom and slam the door shut, locking it. I find myself laughing at this.
Like that will keep that darkest creatures of the universe out, for God’s sake.
I rest her on the bed, dusting off the glass pieces. The wounds stay open, further proving my theory of hibernation. I wrap her body in blankets to keep any other injury from forming. Fallen can’t get infections but every wound she receives will scar.
I leave her be, going to my balcony, wincing as I hear the unmistakable sounds of my bar being smashed apart. The sun has set and though there is a war going on in my apartment, the calmness outside is eerie. There aren’t any cops heading my way, no nosy neighbors freaking out and no humans walking the street below. It’s like a dead zone.
I can only surmise that a Net surrounds us.
I stand outside on my balcony, seemingly here for a breath of fresh air. Like the streets of my home that I have lived for four years, I am outwardly calm and serene with little disturbance. But like the inside of my apartment, I am self-destructing in tangible fear.
I have to get away. I need to run.
I snatch my jeans off the floor and a shirt from my dresser. On the nightstand, I seize my car keys, wallet, checking for money. Two hundred; typical amount for me. Breath mints, condoms-you never know, and my favorite doctor pen, it has my name on it, given to me for my year anniversary as senior resident. I grab my pre-packed luggage, which has all the necessities, and drop it by the bed. My hands are shaking even as I try to pretend this is just a typical routine heading to the hospital.
I shove the bed to the left. It slides easy on the wood floors. I pick at a flayed piece of wood, wincing when it cracks a piece of my nail. I fling the plank aside and hastily reach in, grabbing a big black book. Untying the sash I check to make sure everything is still inside. Twenty-three different IDs match with social securities and bank accounts. A lifetime of running leaves me prepared for this sudden attack on my home.
That’s when the door busts open. At first, I don’t know what hits me in the face. The floor is cold against me and as I roll on to my side, I see the doorknob beside me with blood on its handle. I hold my temple, groaning in pain, grunting and trying to get rid of the terrible flashing of light before I manage to get to my knees.
The pain however is gone by what greets me.
Sloth holds Kyla.