I woke up, thinking I was drowning. Water was dripping on my face, blurring my vision and making it hard to breathe. I coughed, shaking my head.
“Easy, easy.” I heard the voice say soothingly and the water moved away from my face. I blinked a few times to clear my vision just to find Samael staring at me. His hair was wet and the water was beating on his back now, warm if I had to judge by the steam rising off of him.
I tried to rise but slipped and almost dropped back on the sleek bathroom floor. His hand wrapped around my waist, pressing me against him. It took me about a second to realize he was completely naked and another two to realize that so was I.
I let him steady me on my feet, placing a hand on his hard chest and pushing him slowly back to create at least a breathing space between us. It was hard concentrating when he was dressed, and now this. I wasn’t going to let him manipulate me like that. Not after what had just happened, now after what I just saw.
“Why are you here and why are you naked?” I asked with what I thought was respectively even tone under the circumstances.
“If you didn’t notice my other form is much bigger than this one so my clothes will not cover much of anything.” He said with a smile and while his eyes remained firmly locked on me, I still felt the urge to wrap my hands around myself. I didn’t. “And I couldn’t wake you up, so I brought you under the shower.”
“And why am I naked?” I asked with the same tone. As if receiving permission to look, his eyes moved slowly down my body. I cleared my throat.
“Your clothes were soaked with blood. You needed a shower.” I was very close to punching him in the nose, but then I remember what happened to my bat and decided against it.
“Leave,” I said through gritted teeth. I already knew my command would fail because I knew how hot my body felt even without the hot water running down my chest. His smile confirmed he knew that too.
“Try again.” He teased, his tongue licking his lower lip as he stared at me.
“If you presume to know my mind so much,” I said, taking a step closer to him. My hands pressed against his chest and his smile grew. “Tell me what I will do right now.”
“I have no claim over your mind,” he whispered, leaning closer to me. I almost lost control over my thoughts and leaned closer to him. “But I can tell you what your body wants right now.”
“Too bad that us humans are controlled by our minds, not our bodies.” I said, giving his chest one final push. He grinned, his hand moving towards my breast, but I slapped it away. “I am going to shower now. Alone.”
I stepped back, drawing the curtain between us and taking a deep, calming breath. Samael chuckled on the other side.
“You’re no fun,” he said mockingly.
“Your loss.” He chuckled. The door closed and slid down to the floor, leaning my head on my knees as the water beat my back. This was getting all too much.
It was supposed to be simple. Come home, have the funeral, sell the house and leave to live your normal life. Now I was dealing with all these secrets, demons and betrayal.
Elijah’s face emerged in front of my eyes even with them open. His head bashed in, blood pouring relentlessly on the floor while his eyes slowly lost its spark. I wanted to hate him, I should have hated him for trying to kill me without hesitation, but I could not just forget all the sweet things he did for a lonely child. And now he was dead, killed by the demon that was somehow bound to me. A demon who said he’d kill me the moment I released him from our bond.
My helpless tears mixed with the hot water and I cried until my eyes were empty.
* * * * *
By the time I got out of the shower and got dressed, the police were gone. The clock on the nightstand said it was nine pm, but there was no way in hell I was closing my eyes tonight. I stepped into the corridor, listening for any telltale sound. There was some scratching coming from downstairs, so I moved down the stairs slowly, scanning the area. I noticed Samael with his naked back on me, muscles bulging as his hands moved the washcloth over the red floor only to put it in the bucket and repeat the action again. My stomach turned.
“Are you alright?” I heard Samael’s voice and when I looked back at him he met my eyes. I nodded, not sure if I could count on my voice. My eyes moved to the hole in the wall with the size of my head, and I wondered what getting your head blown off would feel like. “I’ll fix that tomorrow.”
“There is no need. Let it be a reminder that I’ll probably need to duck faster next time somebody tries to kill me.” I turned, climbing back up the stairs while Samael said something behind me. I didn’t hear it and I didn’t want to hear; apparently it wasn’t a question either, since he returned to his scrubbing while I took a hesitant step towards my father’s study.
All my troubles had started because I couldn’t follow one simple rule.
Never, ever go into the study, Nora.
If he could see me now, he was probably going to be holding a rifle to my head too. It was strange how I moved from the bottom of people’s Christmas list to the top of their murder list in just a few days.
I turned the handle, stepping in and taking in the smell of old books and cigars. My father didn’t smoke but allowed himself a cigar or two every time Elijah came to visit. I didn’t know how I didn’t notice that the place reeked of a weird mix of tobacco and a faint tinge of eucalyptus. I wondered how many times they had talked about Samael and what they were going to do with him. I wondered how they caught him and put him in the box in the first place, but that felt like a story for another time.
I moved past the desk and towards the chair, hesitating before sitting. I scolded myself and sat down at the comfortable chair, pulling the first drawer on the top again. I fumbled inside, taking out an old compass, a notebook and three weird metal balls. There were a few tiny bags filled with some spices, but the smell from them was so strong I had to rub my nose to breathe properly again. I put them back along with the weird metal balls and the compass, untying the ties around the notebook. It looked old, its cover made of real leather and its pages yellow with time. The handwriting on the first page was wide and hardly readable and definitely not my father’s.
I flipped through the pages quickly, only to realize that the handwriting changed every twenty or so pages. By the time I reached the last written ones, my eyes slid over the neat, tiny strokes of my father’s hand. I eagerly returned to where he had started writing:
July 17, 1993
We just passed through Denver and checked with the local police about the fourteen bodies and twenty-nine disappearances. They don’t think the deaths were connected, but we know they are. Unfortunately, we cannot share the details of the creature responsible for them. It will only cause mass hysteria if they believe us and or we’ll get locked up, if they don’t. Emma believes she has found the spell one of the previous hunters used to trap him. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get to him before any more innocent people die.
I paused, moving my finger over my mother’s name. She had known about all of this; she had been part of it. And was that what they were - hunters? What were they hunting exactly? Demons? What else was out there?
November 26, 1993
The trace grew cold in Denver. We think he may have sensed us drawing near and skipped town. I wonder what he thinks of us - are we just a nuisance for him or is he actually afraid we may succeed? He may have heard we have the spell and a witch to perform it. We are looking into some strange disappearances in Bismarck, but nothing solid yet. We have found four more hunters to join us, considering what we’re trying to catch. We are looking for a way to kill it, but so far we’ve come up empty. We’ll keep looking.
April 4, 1994
Jeremy Parker, Gordon Pestry and Angela Cunningham are dead. Good people, honorable hunters. He ripped through them like they were nothing. We lost our witch too. He killed her before she could perform the spell. Emma volunteered to do it, but I can’t let that happen, not in her condition. I am not letting that monster anywhere near her or my baby.
My breath caught in my throat. April 1994, about seven months from my birth date. That was probably the only time he had shown any kind of concern for his daughter. At least now I knew he could, he just chose not to.
“Anything interesting in there?” A voice inquired from the door and I raised my eyes to look at him leaning on the doorframe. He didn’t bother to put a shirt on, probably for my benefit, and his smile grew as my eyes lingered on his chest before returning down to the pages.
“Graphic sex? Murder? Both?” He said, moving into the room. I sunk further in the chair as he hopped on the desk in front of me, spreading his legs so they could fall on the two sides of my crossed ones. “You seem too composed, no sex then.” His eyes lingered on my cheeks, which no doubt had turned a darker shade of pink. “Come on, who died?”
“A lot of people, apparently.” I said, closing the book.
“Do we care about those people?” He asked with a smile definitely not appropriate for such a question.
“I do.” I said with a cold tone despite the burning inside me. “I doubt you know how to care.”
“That hurts my feelings.” He said, pressing a hand against his chest where his heart should be. He probably had the organ, alright, but I doubted he used it for anything more than pumping blood.
“You don’t have any feelings.” I said. I uncrossed my legs and lifted them, dropping them unnecessarily hard on the end of the desk an inch away from his crotch. He looked at my feet and then at me with raised brows.
“Oh, I have plenty of feelings, Nora.” His voice sounded more like a soft purr than words as he leaned forward, his hands grasping the armrests. For a second I thought he’d lean closer, the only thing between me and him were my legs and I most certainly didn’t plan to move them, when he pulled the chair with a quick jerk until it hit the desk. Before I could even adjust myself his hands wrapped around my waist pulling me up in his lap, my feet on the desk behind him.
“Do you want to know what I’m feeling now, Nora?”
My entire body was painfully aware of what he was feeling, his erection pulsating against me. His hands moved up my back, pressing me closer to him. His grin widened as I bit my lip in an attempt to stop a groan. One of his hands moved all the way to the back of my neck, squeezing it gently as if expecting me to jerk back. And I was prepared to do so as his face moved towards me, his eyes focused on my mouth.
His lips brushed against mine and something inside of me growled - or maybe it was him. The sound pulled me back into reality as his hands pressed me harder against him, making it almost impossible to think.
“Let me go, Samael.” I said with what I hoped was a firm tone. His perfect lips pulled back just a little, his chocolate eyes boring into mine. “Now.”
“What are you afraid of, Nora?” He asked innocently. I wanted to scream. Why did he have to say my name like that? Every time it rolled off his tongue, I could stop but imagine that tongue all over my body. He knew that. He was doing it on purpose.
“Now.” I repeated almost without voice.
He smiled, his hands moving down to my ass. I was going to tell him to stop it when I realized he was lifting me and setting me down in the chair he had kicked back. He then pulled away, raising his hands in surrender.
“That was really close, Nora.” He said with a mischievous grin, slowly backing away towards the door. “Next time I don’t think there will be any part of you that will want to say no.” He winked at me and I grabbed one of the pens from the desk, throwing it after him. I missed by a lot, and he chuckled. “I’ll be in your bed if you need me.”
I rolled my eyes, adjusting back in the chair to get to the notebook. It took me good ten minutes to pull myself together and focus back on the words instead of my mind conjuring treacherous pictures of Samael’s hands making my body do things that it should not do with a demon.
December 31, 1994
We caught him. He was weak. Demons are always weaker without an anchor, and we finally wounded him enough for the magic of three witches to subdue him. We lost twelve hunters in the process, but their sacrifice was not in vain. They did the world a great deal of good today, and no more innocent will die at the clutches of that creature. Emma refused to listen to reason and says she will perform the ritual with or without me. I don’t know how to stop her - I am not sure I should. But our daughter should be born any moment, and I am afraid a spell of this magnitude may hurt the baby. Is my daughter’s life worth the imprisonment of such evil? I wish I could stop this and take Emma’s place. But she is the only one strong enough to do it.
I realized I was holding my breath as the text ended. My hand shook as I hesitated before turning the page. My mother had been a witch, the witch that imprisoned Samael. And my father was a hunter, the one that caught him in the first place.
My fingers flipped through the pages to find only two more entries.
January 1, 1995
The demon is locked into his tomb and I swear upon my life that as long as I shall live, nobody is going to get even remotely close to this evil. The burden is mine to bear and should anything happen to me, Elijah will take responsibility for his guard and will find another suitable guardian after his death.
Emma gave birth to a healthy baby girl. She barely survived the ritual, her powers were completely depleted. We named her Eleanora, which means light, fire, because she is the light in our lives. She is the most perfect creature in the world. Everything I do, everything I sacrifice - it is all for her. It is all so she need not know of all the monsters that are out there.
A drop fell onto the book’s old pages and I gasped in surprise, reaching out to touch my face. To my astonishment, I found my cheeks wet, my sight blurring from the unexpected tears. I took a couple of deep breaths, trying to calm myself. I rubbed my eyes, shaking my head to get rid of the annoying lump in my throat.
August 24, 2018
My heart skipped a beat. This was the day before my father’s death, before the call I never answered out of spite for the man.
They have found me. I need to go so they can come after me. They will never think to look for him in my home. Nora didn’t answer my call. Nora, if you are reading this, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the things you had to live through, I’m sorry for keeping away from you, I’m sorry for leaving you this burden. Go to Elijah and give him this diary. Leave the house, forget about it, and forget about this diary. Do not go anywhere near it and if you are as stubborn as I remember and if do find the tomb, do not touch it. Please, for the love of God, for the love of your mother who sacrificed so much to protect you from it - do not go near him. Let Elijah handle this and live your life away from this.
Be safe. I love you.