02 | the fall (ii)
“I warned you!”
Lucifer’s head snapped up and he was faced with a livid Raphael and a scared Anauel. He gave the latter a withered look. “You went to him.”
“I’m sorry.” Anauel looked to his feet. “I was worried about you after I left you. I came back and you weren’t in your room. It wasn’t hard to figure out where you could have gone.”
Lucifer looked between Raphael and Anauel. He could say that he’d just gotten to the gates. That he noticed that Madan was gone and went looking for him. But judging from the look on Raphael’s face, they’d see through the lie. He knew that Anauel was only doing what he thought was right. He smiled at him. “You did the right thing, Anauel. I’m sorry for making you worry again.”
Anauel chuckled. “As if you could ever cease to do so.” His smile fell as he placed a hesitant hand on Raphael’s shoulder. “He is still very young, Raphael. It’s only natural he let his curiosity get the better of him.” He looked to Lucifer. “Surely there something we can do to prevent him from coming back to the Garden.” Raphael didn’t move. He didn’t speak. “Raphael?”
“Leave us,” Raphael said. He glanced over his shoulder. “Before I change my mind, Anauel.”
Anauel gave a curt nod. “Goodnight, Raphael. Lucifer.”
“Goodnight, Anauel,” Lucifer said. He watched as Anauel flew away before his gaze went to his brother. “Please don’t punish Anauel, Raphael. He didn’t know anything about my coming to the Garden tonight.”
Raphael turned to face his brother. “Give me your hand, Lucifer.” Lucifer pulled his brows down. Raphael sighed and outstretched his hand. “Your hand.”
Wary, Lucifer held his hand out to his brother. Before his skin grazed Raphael’s, he saw it: his forearm wasn’t glowing. Just like the patch of skin on his leg. He made a choked sound at the back of his throat. “What’s happening to me?”
“Humanity,” Raphael answered. “You’ve been spending all of this time in the Garden, worrying about those humans.” Lucifer didn’t miss the disgust in Raphael’s tone as he spoke of the humans. “Your Heavenly glow is starting to fade.” He shook his head. “This is why Father forbids us from seeking out the Garden, Lucifer! To protect us!”
Lucifer snatched his hand away. His eyes blurred with tears. “Am I going to be cast out?”
Raphael sighed and put a hand to Lucifer’s cheek. “No, you aren’t. But let this be your lesson: stay out of the Garden. We Heavenly beings are to watch and nothing more. Being fascinated by the humans isn’t worth giving up your Heavenly gifts.”
Lucifer nodded. “I’m sorry, Raphael.” Raphael pulled him into a hug. As he cried into his brother’s chest, Lucifer’s mind went to the humans. Over the months he’d been watching them, he hadn’t viewed them as threats. He watched the man go from being born alone to his confusion at his partner’s birth. He saw them both go from strangers to acquaintances. From friends to lovers. Even tonight, he saw them as two people with the choices he’d never have.
He envied them for that. He envied their freedom, their bond. The more he sat and observed the humans, Lucifer realized that his entire existence had been mapped out before he was created. He was a Heavenly being with immeasurable power at his fingertips. He was beautiful and intelligent, eager to learn and explore. But he could never leave Heaven. He didn’t get to ask questions. Not without someone telling him that he put his faith in his Father. All roads lead to God.
Did that make him bitter, being alone? Yes, he had Douma and Anauel but they had each other before he was born. He had his brothers. But they were the Seven Archangels. They never saw him for longer than a few minutes at a time except for Raphael. They were bound by duties he didn’t have. In a place where everyone had purpose, Lucifer was an ornament. Did he not learn the same laws and Word as his siblings? His peers? Did he not learn to battle like the Powers and the Seven? Where did Lucifer fit?
Raphael pat his back, bringing him from his thoughts. “I won’t speak of this to Father.” He put a hand to his cheek. “But you must stay away from the Garden.” Lucifer nodded. “I mean it, Lucifer. I won’t always be there to protect you from yourself.”
Lucifer gave a half smile. “Yes, Raphael.”
Raphael smiled and put a hand on his shoulder. “Let’s get you back to bed, yes? You must be exhausted.” Lucifer nodded. Raphael turned on his heel and started walking. As Lucifer lagged behind, he looked down at his skin. The Heavenly glow had faded in both arms and up to his shoulders. Then, a thought occurred to him. “Raphael?”
“How do you know what losing your Heavenly glow looks like?” Raphael stilled. “You never told me about it when I was younger. In fact, I don’t remember seeing anything about Heavenly beings being able to lose their glow at all.”
Raphael whipped around, his blue eyes hard. His jaw was tight. “For once, Lucifer, just do as you’re told!” Lucifer flinched. “Stop questioning everything! Just — ” He blew out a breath. “Please, Lucifer. Just let this go. Stay away from the Garden.” Raphael looked down at Lucifer’s arm. “Your glow is fading fast.”
“That it is,” a calm voice answered. Both men turned, eyes wide. It was rare to see their Father in their Sphere. When he did visit, it was never for leisure. Despite what many thought, or rather what He allowed them to think, God wasn’t old in looks. He had short, white blond hair that curled at the ends. His eyes never stayed the same color though he claimed to prefer green. He wore white robes with gold stitched throughout them. Raphael told Lucifer once that their Father enjoyed walking amongst the other angels because no one suspected he was the Almighty Father. He found it amusing.
Raphael dropped to one knee and bowed his head. “Good evening, Father.”
God arched a brow at his youngest son. “Are you not happy to see me, my morning star?” Lucifer clenched his jaw and bowed his head. “You seem to have gotten yourself into quite the predicament, my son.”
“I’m sorry, Father. I should have been watching him more closely,” Raphael said. “I take responsibility.” God gripped Raphael’s chin and lifted his face upwards. “He’s just a boy, Father. He didn’t know.”
“You have exceeded my expectations, my son. When I created you, I wanted someone who was loyal and compassionate to be one of my Seven.” God’s eyes cut to Lucifer. “You care deeply for your brother. He should be proud.”
“And I am,” Lucifer said. “But both of you have lied to me, Father.” God arched a brow. “How would Raphael know what losing one’s Heavenly glow looks like? There has never been anything written about an angel losing their glow.”
“I told him.”
Lucifer frowned. “Who else knows? Why haven’t you told the rest of us Heavenly beings?”
“Lucifer!” Raphael hissed. He turned to his brother. “You don’t speak to Father — ”
God held up a palm, a smirk on his face. “Let him speak, Raphael.” Raphael pursed his lips and nodded.
“Why do you keep us separate from the humans?”
God shrugged. “Why do you think? I’m curious to know.”
“I think you keep us separate to Lee up your farce of us having ‘free will’ under your rule.” God’s face fell some. “You claim that you are just our creator, not our master. But that isn’t true, is it Father?”
The winds howled and the sky darkened. A crack of lightning shine through the sky. “You’re treading dangerous waters, my son.” Lucifer has only heard of his Father’s anger in stories. God’s wrath was something to be feared and fear it he did. But even still, he stood tall.
“So are you,” Lucifer said with cold finality. “For the whole of my existence, I have watched as we Heavenly beings blindly follow you. You tell us we cannot interact with humans, we obey. You tell us we are bound to Heaven, we accept.” Lucifer snorted. “Have we no autonomy? You created us in your image and yet we are slaves, not family. We do not get to think for ourselves. Why?”
“Clearly autonomy isn’t an issue for you,” God said. He circled Lucifer, a frown on his face. His green eyes seemed to burn under the moonlight. “May I ask where these feelings came from?”
Lucifer’s brow furrowed. “What do you mean?”
“You’ve never expressed these grievances to me before. Where did they manifest from?”
Lucifer opened his mouth to protest but Raphael spoke first. “Father, Lucifer never aired his grievances because I told him not to.” He looked to his brother’s shocked face. “I told him that I would tell you myself. I lied.”
Lucifer’s body shook with anger. Tears lined his eyes. Raphael reached out for him but he backed away. “You never told him?”
“No,” Raphael said. “I was protecting you.”
“You were protecting yourself! I’m not a new being anymore, Raphael! Who are you to decide what’s good for me and what isn’t!”
Raphael put his hands on either side of Lucifer’s face. “Asking such questions, having the doubts that you have about Father and His intentions.” He shook his head. “I was trying to help you.”
Lucifer shoved him away. “Help me? You’ve ruined me!”
“If I may interject.” The brothers looked to God. “I believe that Raphael has done a fine job. Though you may not think it, Lucifer, he saved you a great deal of pain.” Lucifer snorted. “Do you think your peers would believe your theories about me? That I’m keeping them as ornaments for my own gain? That they have no free will of their own?” God out a hand on Raphael’s shoulder. “Your brother was simply acting in my stead.”
“Of course he was,” Lucifer spit. “That’s all he’s been taught. To serve you. To fight for you. To protect you. That’s all any Heavenly being knows to do.” A sharp pain bloomed in Lucifer’s chest, sending him to his knees. It started slow, like his heart was beating too fast. Then it turned into a glaring pain, spreading from his chest to his limbs. His throat burned and constricted. His eyes watered and ached.
“Lucifer!” Raphael knelt beside him. “Father, what’s happening!”
“Move away from him, Raphael.”
Raphael frowned. “But, Father — ”
“Move away!” God’s tone was forceful. “He can’t be saved. Where your brother is going, we won’t be able to help anymore.”
Lucifer gripped Raphael’s forearm. Even as his tears blurred his vision, he could see his Heavenly glow leaving him. “Raphael…” he croaked.
Raphael squeezed Lucifer’s fist with his free hand. “I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you better.” He pressed a kiss to Lucifer’s forehead and rose to his feet. “Will he be okay, Father?”
“Of course, my son. No harm shall come to him.” There was silence and then the sound of wings departing. A gurgled cry left Lucifer’s throat. God crouched down. “I’m sorry it had to come to this, my morning star. Of all of my children, you truly were my favorite.” He sighed. “I suppose because you were my favorite, I overlooked things with you.” Lucifer let out a pained groan. “If you would like to change your stance, I’ll happily return your glow.”
“You…?” Lucifer choked out.
“You knew that it was me all along, didn’t you? That only I could give and take away your Heavenly glow?” God chuckled. “Of course you did. You’re the most perceptive of my children. Always quick to question and get to the truth of things. A double edged sword, in this case.” He sighed and brushed away a few of Lucifer’s stray curls. “Such a shame. To lose out on the potential you could’ve had.”
Lucifer woke with a pounding in his head.
The sun shine bright and he could smell…honeysuckle? Lucifer pushed himself onto his elbows. He looked around and saw the familiar foliage of the Garden. The same y’all oak tree that he hidden behind last night was beside him. He could hear the running stream to the northeast of him. His entire body was bare, like the two humans.
“Oh, good, you’re awake!” He looked to the left and saw the human woman. The sunlight caught her eyes, brightening them into a warm brown, reminiscent of gold or honey. Her hair was curly and wild, a deep chocolate and not black like Lucifer thought. She was still naked but she wasn’t ashamed in the least. Her smile was broad as she regarded him. “I was worried you weren’t going to wake.” Lucifer pushed himself into a sitting position, wincing in pain. The woman rushed to him and helped him the rest of the way. She eased him onto the oak tree behind them, a frown on her beautiful face.
“Why does my body hurt so much?” Lucifer said with a groan.
“From the wounds on your back, I would assume,” she said. “Do you remember anything from the night before?” Lucifer shook his head. “My companion, Adam, and I came across you early this morning. You didn’t have any other wounds other than the gashes down your back.” She pursed her lips. “I cleaned them as best I could without waking you.”
“My back?” Lucifer reached back, tensing. Where he expected to find the softness of his wings, he found skin.
“Careful,” the woman warned. “The cuts are deep. I’m surprised you’re alive, if I’m honest. I’ve never seen such wounds as yours.”
Lucifer flexed his shoulders, his hand still at the top of his back. Pain shot up and down his spine but he didn’t pay it mind. My wings. He took my wings. Tears pricked at the corners of his eyes.
“Are you all right?” The woman’s thin fingers wiped at his face. “You’re crying.”
“He took my wings,” Lucifer croaked.
“Wings? Like a bird?”
He nodded. “I am — ” He cleared his throat. “Was an angel.”
“What is your name?” she asked.
“Lucifer.” He raised a brow. “And what do I call you?”
Lucifer smiled some. “That’s a beautiful name. It means to live. Did you know that?”
Eve shook her head. “I did not.” She reached out to him, her fingertips catching his curls. Lucifer watched as her eyes surveyed his face, his skin. “I must admit you’re different from what I imagined angels to look like.”
Eve smiled. “I imagined them to be golden: gold hair, gold eyes, gold skin. Even their wings would be golden.”
Lucifer pulled his brows down. “My hair is blond. And I have blue eyes, not gold.”
Eve shook her head. “No, your hair is dark like mine. I would say black.” She worked her fingers into his hair and plucked a few strands from his scalp. She held the hair up to his eyes. “See?”
Lucifer took the strands. They were springy curls like Micheal’s hair was. He held the strands up to the light. They did not reveal themselves to be a shade of brown like Eve’s. No, his hair was obsidian, so dark not even the sun’s rays reflected off of it for long. Is this what it means to be cast out? Am I human now? “My, how I have fallen.”
“Is that what happened? You fell from Heaven?”
“No,” he said. “I was banished.”
Eve furrowed her brows. “Why?”
If he were being honest, Lucifer couldn’t say why he’d been sent away. His Father made His disappointment with him plain, he knew that. “I suppose Father would say pride.”
“What would you say?”
Lucifer leaned back against the tree trunk, his eyes cast to the sky. “I was too curious.” Memories of the night previous flashed in his mind. Raphael’s face, stricken with sadness. Father’s — God’s hard gaze on Lucifer as He watched him writhe in pain. It made his blood boil.
“Lucifer?” He blinked. Eve was looking at him, worry on her face. Just like Anauel. “You need to rest.”
“I’m fine!” She eyed him suspiciously. He held up a hand. “Honest, Eve. I am fine.” Lucifer smiled. “This will all take some time to adjust to.”
After a pregnant pause, Eve sighed. “If you’re sure, Lucifer.” She looked over her shoulder. “I’ll gather some fruits for us to eat. Adam should be back soon.”
“Where has he gone?”
“He likes to stroll around the Garden. He says it helps him clear his thoughts.”
Lucifer perked up. “I’ve always wondered what’s beyond the Garden! Are there other humans? Villages near here?”
Eve shook her head. “Oh, no. We don’t leave the Garden, Lucifer.”
He furrowed his brows. “Why not?”
“Because God told us not to.”
“And you’re fine with that? Both you and Adam?” Eve lifted one shoulder. “Did Father give a reason why you’re confined to the Garden?”
She shook her head. “If He told Adam, Adam never told me.”
“Strange.” Lucifer blew out a breath. “How long has it been just the two of you?”
Eve gripped her chin between her index finger and her thumb, her eyes cast upwards. “Adam had been alone for some time before God created me. Not that I’d have known at the time. It’s just what He told me.” She looked to Lucifer. “Did you know Lilith, Adam’s first wife?”
Lucifer shook his head. “Father had her banished a few years before I was born. Whenever I asked about her, I was told that I needn’t worry about her. She was a willful woman and did not deserve to be known.” Lucifer carded a hand through his curls. “I considered her a cautionary tale from then on.”
Eve arched a brow. “How so?”
Lucifer lifted a shoulder. “I’d only heard about Lilith in stories Father and Raphael told me. When Father created the Garden, He created Adam and Lilith from clay. I asked what they were and He told me man and woman. When I asked why, He said that they would be the beginning of humanity. My brother, Gabriel, is a wonderful artist and did the portraits of Adam and Lilith in the texts I was taught from. In Adam, I saw a Heavenly being with no wings. He didn’t have the same pale gold skin as we did or the same fair hair. I asked Father why that was and He said that Adam was not supposed to resemble angels. Lilith has the same dark skin as you and Adam as well.” He flicked his fingers towards Eve. “But her eyes were a lighter brown. When Raphael saw them interact, he could see that she adored Adam. But Adam treated her like a servant rather than a wife.”
“When Adam mentioned her to me, he said that she was selfish,” Eve said.
“I found it strange that Father chose to create Adam and Lilith, at first. He spoke of them as being equals. That they would create life organically and multiply in the Garden. The way He spoke of His plans, I could see it. Humanity right before my eyes.” He frowned. “Yet He allowed Adam to treat Lilith poorly. Raphael said that he would see them argue often. Adam would shout but Lilith would not back down. He said he even saw Adam raise a hand to her.” Eve looked to her feet, worrying her bottom lip between her teeth. “Then one day she ran off.” Lucifer shook his head. “Raphael told me that Michael and Selaphiel found her outside of the gate that led to Heaven and they retrieved her. I do not know where they took her. Just that she was dealt with accordingly.” Eve nodded to herself. “Why do you ask about Lilith?”
“I was always curious. But whenever I asked after Adam first mentioned her, he would get upset and tell me never to speak of her. I wanted to know if he loved her more than me.” Eve threaded her fingers through her curls. “Sometimes I wonder if he misses her.”
Lucifer cocked his head to the side. “Why? You and Adam are happy, are you not?”
She lifted a shoulder. “I want to believe we are. It would be naive to say that I love Adam because I feel like I don’t know anything about him other than the fact that I was made from him. The night that I woke next to Adam, I was afraid. A man that I’d never see before was beside me and I had no recollection of the day previous. Adam told me that God had bore me from him, made him a new bride. I asked him why me and he told me that if it was an act of God, I should not question God.”
“What was it like for you in the beginning?”
Eve smiled. “Everything in the Garden excited me. I’d never seen such beauty before. I wanted to learn as much as I could about everything. I’d discovered that each sunrise and sunset was a new day. I learned what plants were good for eating, for medicine. Which ones were lethal to us.” A rosy tint darkened her cheeks and nose. “I would tell Adam of my discoveries. He told me that my job was to take care of him. I was to bear his children and nothing else.”
Lucifer’s throat constricted from the anger blooming in his chest. Even in their short time together, he felt an overwhelming need to protect Eve. Was it because she was a woman? In Heaven, there was no distinction between man and woman. Yes, he and his brothers went by “him”. So did God and other Heavenly beings. The Powers and Cheribum did not identify as “him” but they did not correct any of the other angels when they regarded them as such. But Douma was the first being Lucifer knew that did not want to go by the pronoun. They would correct anyone that referred to them as “he” with no hesitation. All of this to say that Lucifer could not understand the purpose of gender. What did it matter if two beings were different? Were they not bred from the same clay? Same skin? Though God identified Eve as a woman, he sensed no difference in her demeanor. Yes, she looked different and did not have the same body parts as he and Adam but she was sharp and capable. She made him laugh and cared deeply. To hear that Adam looked down on her because she was simply a woman angered Lucifer.
Eve blew out a breath. “I’m afraid that if I speak up, I’ll end up like Lilith. Banished and alone.” Her gaze was past Lucifer as she continued. “It’s strange. This place is my home and yet, I know that there’s more beyond it. I’m not sure what but I know it’s out there. Then you came along.”
“Do you want to leave?”
Eve chuckled. “I couldn’t. God said that I am Adam’s wife. If I leave, he’d be alone, wouldn’t he? That seems a fate worse than death to me.”
Lucifer shrugged. “I think being bound to someone and living for them is worse than death.” He held a hand out in front of him and flexed it. “You have choices here. All of your actions can change the course of the rest of your life it you want it to.” He smiled at Eve. “Take you, for instance. You decided to tend to me, a strange man you’ve never met. You could’ve left me to my own devices. But without hesitation, you tended to my wounds and stated by my side. You haven’t questioned the fact that I claim to be an angel despite never having seen one before. This moment is going to change your life and I envy that.”
“Has being here changed your life?”
“You couldn’t begin to understand,” he said with a smile.
“You being here has changed me as well,” Eve said. “For the first time, I feel like an equal with someone.” She shook her head and chuckled. “Listen to me prattle on. I’m sure you’d rather talk about anything else.”
He didn’t. He wanted to know everything about Eve. Her dreams, her fears, her wishes. Her truth. But from the sadness in her eyes, Lucifer could tell she wanted to talk about anything but her life with Adam. He smiled at her. “Have I told you about my friends, Anauel and Douma?” Eve shook her head. “You would love Anauel. He’s like you — fierce, compassionate, nurturing. He was the first Heavenly being I met when I was born. Though he would never admit it, Anauel enjoyed doting on Douma and I. We were more than friends.” Lucifer chuckled. “I remember the first time I’d gotten hurt during one of my spars. He pleaded with Iaoel, the general of the Powers, to let me retire for the rest of the morning so that he could tend to me. He was always so worrisome.” He hated that he had to speak of his friend in the past tense. Anauel wasn’t dead. Neither was Douma. But Lucifer may as well be dead to them.
Eve smiled. “He sounds lovely.”
“He was,” Lucifer said. “Douma, on the other hand. They’re the exact opposite of Anauel. They are blunt and serious. Sometimes too serious. They seem almost incapable of smiling but when they do...” Lucifer smiled. “It was nothing short of beautiful. Anauel always chided them for being too blunt with me. Yes, it would hurt my feelings but I knew it came from a place of care and not malice.”
“They sounds more like family than friends,” Eve said.
Lucifer nodded. “In a way, they are. Besides my brother, Raphael, Douma and Anauel were the closest thing I had to a family. Beings that cared about me.” He looked towards the path that led to Heaven’s South Gate. “I wonder if they know I’m gone yet. I don’t know if God has spread the news of my fall. I wonder if they’re mourning for me.” Lucifer pushed himself into a standing position. Eve reached out for him, startled. Lucifer smiled, his hand stopping her. “I’m fine. My legs are just a little sore.” He stretched his shoulders. “My wounds don’t hurt as much anymore.”
Eve stood and moved to his back. “Let me check your wounds to be sure.” Her fingertips against his skin were soft, barely there, as she wiped at the salve she made. “What…?” Her palms were on his back now, frantic against along his spine and shoulder blades. “Impossible,” she whispered.
Fear thrummed in Lucifer’s chest. “Is something wrong?”
“Your wounds are almost healed.” Eve’s fingers pressed into his once tender flesh. “Which shouldn’t be possible this quickly.”
Lucifer flexed his back muscles. The pain from earlier in the morning was dull, almost gone. If anything, he almost mistook it as his mind playing tricks on him. “Maybe I haven’t been completely banished,” he murmured.
Eve came around to face him. “What does that mean?”
“I have no idea.” He started towards the path to the Gate. “But I intend to find out.”
“Lucifer, wait!” Eve yelled after him.
He didn’t respond. His feet picked up their pace, breaking into a run. Once he got to where the Gate should have been, he was met with more wooded area. His heart sunk. He didn’t. Lucifer pushed through the foliage and brambles. Thistles and branches cut into his skin but he didn’t stop. He wouldn’t dare. He pushed forward, tears brimming at the corners of his eyes. His foot caught a tree root and he fell. He heaved out a shaky breath and clenched dirt between his fists.
Lucifer wanted to scream. Curse his father to the highest Heavens and cosmos. “Is this my punishment?” he spoke. He knew God could hear him. He even knew that He wouldn’t answer. “Is this what I get for questioning you?” A snort left his throat. “Then so be it.” He pushed himself to himself onto his feet and turned towards the way he came. If his father wanted to separate him from Heaven, he, too, would turn his back. He’d made it halfway back to the Garden when Eve bounded up to him.
“What’s the matter with you!” she chided. Her hands went to his face and shoulders, surveying him for any new wounds or bruises. “You’ve got cuts on your arms and face, Lucifer! What were you thinking running off like that!”
Without a single word, Lucifer wrapped his arms around her small frame. He dwarfed her, having to bend over to bury his face in the curve of her shoulder. Eve looped her arms around him. His sobs were soft and his shoulders shook. They held each other like that for what felt like eternity to Lucifer, Eve’s hold on him tight and warm. After a moment, he pulled back. Eve wiped at his face. “Though we’ve only known each other for a short time, you’ve become a dear friend to me, Eve. Thank you.”
“What happened?” Lucifer shook his head. “You don’t wish to speak of it?” Again, he shook his head, a small smile on his lips. “Will you tell me when you’re ready?”
She gave him a sad glance before patting his back. “Then it’s been my pleasure, Lucifer.” She disentangled herself from his arms and smiled. “You’re the first person that I’ve been able to talk to since being created. I didn’t realize how lonely I’ve been before you came.” She chuckled. “It’s been nice.”
Lucifer smiled. “I will be here whenever you need me, Eve.”
Eve wiped at her face, laughing. “Look at us. Crying and blubbering like this.” She extended her hand to him. “Come on. I’ll show you more of the Garden.”