Part I: 1
Part I: Faith
But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that you should have fellowship with devils.
- 1 Corinthians 10:20
I knew what I was doing when I did it.
A sense of hatred and injustice filled me as I was lying in that hospital bed. I’d known from the moment I’d awoken in that stark white room that the hell I’d been living in would never end. That hell was the reason that I was lying there now, broken like a doll that had been thrown aside by a cruel child.
The only sounds I could hear were the various monitors around me as they beeped and whined. The tubes in my nose helped me to breathe properly and allowed me continued life as my body started its recovery. Yet this care only felt like further cruelty to me.
I call myself the victim of terrible circumstances. Everyone would’ve thought that I lived the perfect life when they looked in from the outside. I was supposed to be happily married to a very successful man. My husband was an officer of the law, a very successful one too. Many people respected him. My grandmother adored him.
They didn’t know the real man hidden behind that badge.
Leo was a cold, calculating person inside. It didn’t take me long to realize this after I married him. But I had thought at the beginning that I could look past it. In fact, I’d looked past it far too much. That was how I’d ended up here; when he’d nearly killed me.
There was no doubt in my mind that he intended to kill me that night. His beatings had become worse and worse every time that they happened, and this time they’d landed me in the hospital after he’d thrown me from our fifth-floor balcony. The doctors said that it was a miracle that I was alive. If I hadn’t hit something on the way down, then the glass canopy that hung over the entrance to our building, I most likely would’ve been killed instantly upon hitting the ground.
I, of course, did not see this as such a miracle.
I wished that I had died, especially now that I knew what everyone else thought about my “accident”.
It was my grandmother, the woman who had raised me from the time I was a small child, who told me about what Leo had said to the other police officers and those who knew us. No one believed that he had pushed me off of that balcony. Instead, they all believed that I had jumped.
Even my grandmother did. I could say nothing to convince her otherwise. He’d claimed that I was suicidal and that I’d been very depressed for quite some time. He even went as far as to tell them that injuries I’d had before were all self-inflicted due to my poor mental state.
They all believed it.
I felt so sick when I heard this, yet now, as I lay there by myself with only the dim lights from the hall shining into my room and the steady beep of the machines that were attached to me, I felt only hatred. That man had done this to me. He was eventually going to succeed in killing me, and he would get away with it.
I closed my eyes and held back the angry tears. I hated him. I hated him. He should be the one suffering like this. He should die in agony, not me.
But I’d never be able to kill him. Not like I was. All that was left for me now was to pray for vengeance.
I had almost fallen asleep, where I was certain I’d slip into tormented dreams, when it all began to change.
The first thing that I noticed was how quiet it had become. The room was unbearably silent now. I slowly opened my eyes, feeling confused at how dark it had become.
That’s odd, I thought, This room was not so dark before.
The thought crossed my mind that perhaps my injuries were finally getting to me. Maybe my mind was even preparing me for death. Could not a head injury affect one’s vision and even perception of things around them as death began to approach?
It was at that moment that I heard what sounded like footsteps near the window by my bed, effectively diverting my attention from such thoughts. I slowly moved my eyes in that direction. There was now a dark figure standing there. This startled me, though I couldn’t move. I had not heard anyone come in.
The quiet of the room persisted as I watched the figure slowly move to the side of my bed. I could make out the shape of a man, yet his entire being seemed to be cloaked in shadow as he stood there looking down at me.
I stared up at him as he leaned over me, my heart beginning to race. The feeling of darkness enveloped my mind, and it frightened me.
His voice penetrated the silence that surrounded us, the slightly deep richness of it echoing off of the dark walls.
“You know my name?” I managed to whisper.
“I believe that I know you quite well,” he answered.
“Who are you? Are you here because I am dying?” I continued.
“Not at all. I am the one who is answering your calls. But for the sake of conversation, you may call me Jade.”
The shadows retreated, allowing me to see the one that was speaking to me a bit better. I couldn’t make out much in the dim light that managed to sneak in from the hallway, though he looked to be a man in his early twenties. His hair was very dark, and he had vivid green eyes that stood out even in this terrible lighting.
All of this only cemented the feeling I’d gotten from the start. There was something inhuman about him, and his voice sent a chill deep within me.
“Jade,” I whispered.
“Yes, that is my name. As I said, I am here because I can give you what you have been wishing for.” he continued, “I can destroy that man who calls you his wife however you please. But in return, you must give me something.”
“It’s very simple. I will grant your deepest desires, but when you die, your soul will belong to me.”
Now I understood all too well what this man was, and as if to emphasize it, his eyes glowed red for a moment. It seemed that my hateful prayers had been answered. An evil angel had shown up to offer me his services.
Though I should have been terrified, I felt nothing of the sort. Instead, there was strange empowerment that emerged inside of me.
“You would kill him?”
“Of course, and afterward I would remain with you. That is your desire, is it not? You long for his death and someone to take care of you; someone who would love you and never harm you or allow you to be harmed. I would be that fateful companion and lover, and when you die your soul will belong to me. It seems a fair trade, wouldn’t you agree?”
I considered his words. Yes, those were my deepest desires. I’d wished many times for Leo’s death and to have a lover who would both protect and please me while giving me a comfortable life. But to give myself over to this thing seemed a bit much.
Still, I knew what my fate would be if I said no to him. I would soon die, whether by Leo’s hand or in an institution; and when I considered things, hadn’t I been living in hell with Leo for years now?
I stared up at the creature hovering over me as these thoughts went through my mind. He was waiting with a look that I’d dare say was expectant. It was like he knew what my answer would be.
But far be it for me to be an easy target. I wanted to be sure of such terms before I took the bait, which I was sure that all of this was.
“If I agree, will you keep those terms faithfully?” I asked him.
“Of course I would. Once I forge a contract, I keep my word in it to the end.” Jade answered.
There was no hesitation in his answer, which was enough to push me forward. That and knowing that I had nothing left to lose.
“Then I agree. Kill that man and have me for the rest of my mortal life.”
A smile crossed Jade’s face; one I could see even in the dim light. His eyes again glowed as he placed a pale hand over my face. His touch was cold, so much so that it almost hurt.
“Then we enter into this contract. I will kill that man and remain with you until your death, and you will give up your soul to me when that time comes.”
I closed my eyes, feeling a slight pressure and the terrible cold of his hand over my left eye. Then my eye was burning. It was painful, yet my attention was pulled away from it as I felt a pair of soft lips touch my own. They were quite soft and warm, making me long for more.
This kiss ended within a minute, then he slowly pulled away. I kept my eyes closed as I heard him whisper through the silence that still hung like a thick fog around us.
“This is our contract. He will die and you will be bound to me for eternity.”
The next thing I knew, morning had come. The bright sunlight was pouring in through the blinds of my window as I opened my eyes, and I could hear all of the normal sounds from the hospital around me. I looked towards the doorway, seeing people moving about. Everything was once again back to how it should be.
A dream, I thought. It was all a dream.
I admit that I felt a bit of sadness as I lay there. I was so hell-bent on wishing for revenge that I had even dreamt that something had offered it to me. No. Such a thing wasn’t possible. There were no such things as demons.
I closed my eyes and sighed. I wondered if today would be the day that they’d move me out of the ICU. I had been recovering well from what the doctors had said, so they believed that I could be moved soon.
I dreaded when that would happen. Once I was moved out of there, it would give Leo more of an opportunity to be alone with me. Would he attack me when that happened, or would he finally attempt to get me committed to an asylum?
I knew that he was seeing another woman, and it wouldn’t have surprised me if he tried to be rid of me to be with her. After all, we’d been arguing about that the night that he’d thrown me from the balcony.
The sound of a nurse coming into the room forced me to open my eyes again.
“Good morning Mrs. Evans.”
I nodded, not bothering to speak. But she became alarmed as she looked at me.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Your eye,” she said as she leaned closer to take a better look at my left eye.
“What about it?” I inquired.
I didn’t feel anything different, but now I realized that my vision was a little bit blurred in that eye. It was the same eye that Jade had touched in my dream.
I immediately tried to push the thought away. That had been just a dream. There was absolutely no way that it could have been real.
However, the nurse who was standing beside my bed did seem genuinely concerned by this sudden strange turn.
“Let me call a doctor,” she told me as she hurried out.
It didn’t take long for the doctor to come in there so that he could check me. After a few minutes of thoroughly examining my head and eye, he decided that he should call an eye specialist to see if he could determine what was happening with it. Once he arrived, I sat up in the bed as he closely examined my eye.
“It could be the result of head trauma, but I admit that I’ve never seen something quite like this before. Her vision doesn’t seem affected much at all,” he told them as he finished and sat back in his chair.
“Perhaps it is a cataract setting in from the head trauma that she suffered in her fall?” the doctor suggested.
“No, I don’t believe so. This certainly doesn’t look like any cataract that I’ve ever seen. I suppose that the best we can do at present is to give it a little more time and see if any more develops.” the specialist told him.
Once they finally left, I took the liberty of grabbing the small mirror on the nightstand beside my bed and looking into my eye. It did indeed look to be hazed over now much like what a cataract would do, but I could see that there also looked to be something else deep within it.
An eerie red glow suddenly appeared in my eye as I was looking at it. I gasped, throwing the mirror down on the bed. My heart raced as my mind tried to process what I thought I’d seen. Had I just seen that?
Once I’d regained my composure a bit more, I forced myself to pick up the mirror and looked again. The eye looked the same as it had when I’d first seen it, and there was no glow.
I let out a long breath, slowly setting the mirror back on the stand beside my bed. This must have been some kind of strange effect from my head injury.
The sound of someone coming into the room made me look up. My grandmother was coming in. She had been visiting me since what happened, although she certainly hadn’t been sympathetic. I laid back and watched as she sat in a chair beside my bed.
“So now you will be going blind in one eye as well?” she asked quietly.
It was quite obvious that she’d spoken to my doctors before she had come in there. Again, that was nothing unusual. She’d made it her business to do so since I’d been admitted.
My grandmother had taken care of me from a young age and although she was good to me materially, she tended to be a very cold person at heart. She’d hated my mother with a passion for running away when she was a teenager, but had taken me in after her death. Still, she barely showed any compassion for me whenever things turned bad. I did not believe that she was capable of that.
“They don’t know. It just appeared this morning.” I told her.
“Honestly Faith, don’t you think that you’ve done enough to your family now?”
“It’s not my fault that you don’t believe me about what happened.”
We’d had this argument since I’d awoken and found out that everyone believed my husband about what had happened. Grandmother had always believed Leo about any injuries that I’d had. It was yet another reason that I wished for his death.
“You always insist on causing trouble. You’re just like that no good mother of yours.” Grandmother complained.
“I don’t care. He needs to die and be cast into Hell now.” I responded.
“You shouldn’t wish for such terrible things, especially on your loving husband. You’ll bring bad things on all of us.” Grandmother warned.
“Maybe I want the bad. Surely calling a demon or something of the like would be better than going back to where he can kill me.”
I could say that because I was in that hospital now. If I wasn’t, she probably would’ve slapped me across my face. She had done so before when I’d had such an outburst.
My grandmother was supposedly a devout Catholic and would not tolerate such blasphemy, as she so liked to call it. I’d grown up with her reciting scriptures to me and warning me about all of the things that would send me straight to Hell. To her, most things would only bring you to an end in fire and brimstone, especially speaking of calling on demons.
“Don’t you ever say such wretched things! You will end up damning yourself!” she snapped.
She huffed as she stood up and walked out. I let out the breath I’d been holding, knowing that I’d driven out at least one tormentor for now.
But as I sat alone in there, I began to think about my dream again. Jade. Had he been real? Was he the reason that this eye was like it was now?
I was tempted to look in the mirror again but decided that it was better not to. After all, I had been almost killed in that fall. This very well may have just been an odd side effect.
My day would pass by quietly after all of that. I had no more visitors, but that was not a surprise. I’d been so isolated because of Leo that I didn’t have any friends now. So I made myself content to just read and rest.
As evening came, they eventually decided to move me from the ICU. I was a little more nervous about that one. Thankfully, by the time it was done, visiting hours were over and I did not have to worry about Leo possibly showing up.
Lying back in bed, I closed my eyes and tried to get some sleep. It was early in the evening, but I did not want to think anymore.
But as I lay there, I suddenly became aware of not being alone. I opened my eyes and quickly sat up as I realized that it was much darker and extremely quiet. Only the dim hall lights shined in, casting shadows on the bed and the walls.
“Good evening again.”
I quickly turned my head to see the familiar figure sitting in the chair by the window.
Jade smiled at me, keeping one leg crossed over the other while he rested his cheek against his fist. He looked the same as he’d been the night before; completely dressed in black, yet he was even less shadowed now.
He was an incredibly beautiful man now that I could see more of him. As I’d seen before, his hair was incredibly dark, and now I could tell that he had a rather pale yet flawless complexion. Yet his most distinctive feature was still his eyes. They were the most vivid shade of green that I’d ever seen and almost seemed to glow in the dim light.
“I trust that you’ve noticed our contract now. You seem quite observant.” he continued.
I touched my left eye, “Our contract?” I repeated.
“That’s right Kitten. Now all I need from you is the order of how to do it.”
“To do what?”
I was feeling a bit dumbfounded. Was I still dreaming? It certainly did not feel like a dream. But then, the last time had not either.
Jade stood up and walked over to me.
“Of how you want him to die, of course.” he elaborated, leaning his face close to mine. A smile was still playing on his lips and his already vivid eyes seemed to light up with amusement.
I felt myself nod with the comprehension of what he’d meant.
“You really can kill him?”
“I can. I can kill him in any way that you desire. It is part of our contract after all. That and my being with you afterward. However, I cannot do that while he is still alive, so I’d like to move on with things. You see, I hate waiting around, especially when my prize is claiming you in every way.”
Well, I thought, I did make this agreement.
Time to go ahead and set it in motion, even if I wasn’t too sure whether this was a dream or not.
“I see. Then it can be any way that I like?”
Jade appeared on the bed in front of me. I could feel his weight pressing down on the sheets around my legs.
I leaned forward a bit, taking my chances and touching his face with my fingertips. It was actually warm and as soft as it looked. Were these monsters supposed to be this appealing? I would’ve imagined so. After all, they did enjoy catching humans in their webs, and they had to be alluring enough to draw them in.
“I want him to suffer like I have,” I told him, “and I want him to die in front of that woman he’s with now. Make her suffer as well.”
Jade smiled, “This could be interesting. I may be able to have some fun with such a request.”
“Have as much fun as you like, as long as they both suffer.”
“I think that I’m going to enjoy being around you. You’ll keep me interested.” I watched his left eye light up, a strange-looking pattern coming out in a glowing red that filled the iris. My left eye felt warm as this happened, “This is our contract, Faith Evans. It’s written in both of our left eyes for safekeeping. Don’t worry too much about your vision in it. It will return to normal soon enough and only the eye will look hazed. Be sure to keep that as your reminder of what we’ve agreed to.”
“I know, but I don’t care much about what happens to me after I die now. I’ve been living in hell for years because of him.” I said, lying back against the propped-up bed.
“Ah yes. Humans do bring hell for each other at times, don’t they? That’s what gives us such wonderful opportunities. You’ll be my prize when it’s all over and I truly look forward to that.”
“You are truly a demon?”
Jade got up and stood beside my bed, laying a hand over my eyes.
“Let’s just say that I prefer the term Fallen One.”
With that, I blacked out.
The next thing that I slowly became aware of was the normal sounds of the hospital. Opening my eyes, I gazed around the room to find that it was morning again. I felt my left eye burn for a moment, then return to normal. It was my reminder of the night before when Jade had visited me.
My gaze fell on the chair where he’d appeared. Everything seemed normal. There was no sign that he’d ever been there. I let out a sigh. Was I making a deal with a monster, or was I just having very vivid dreams?
A nurse walking into the room brought me out of these deep thoughts. She greeted me with a good morning, then proceeded to check all of my vitals. I stayed quiet, not daring to mention these odd nightly encounters. It was bad enough that I’d probably have to deal with my grandmother again today. She’d more than likely lecture me on the bible now after my comment to her, and I’d dare not tell her about Jade appearing, if he had at all.
My morning remained quiet, and as the afternoon set in, so did my nervousness. Would Leo attempt to visit me today? I certainly didn’t want to see him again. Yet I knew that I would eventually. Perhaps in the hospital, it would be safer, but I still carried an immense fear of him.
After my therapy session, I returned to my room where I sat in the chair by the window and decided to catch up on some reading. A nurse had been kind enough to leave some magazines for me, so I tried to lose myself in them for a while.
But my peace was interrupted by my grandmother’s arrival. As soon as she walked in, I knew that something was wrong. Her eyes were intense and she seemed frightened. She immediately walked over to me, gripping my arm tightly.
“What did you do?” she managed.
“What do you mean?” I asked. I honestly had no clue what was going on.
“Don’t you dare play dumb! You wished for this, didn’t you?” she accused.
“Grandmother, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” I insisted.
She squeezed my arm a bit tighter, looking like she was ready to fall to the floor. I barely heard her words.
“Leo is dead.”
My heart beat harder and my left eye burned slightly. I could hardly find my voice.
“How?” I choked out.
Grandmother took a deep breath, managing to sit in the chair beside me.
“They don’t know yet. All they would say is that they believe that someone broke into his apartment and beat him to death. That woman who was there with him is a basket case. They have her in the hospital right now. They’re saying that she’s in complete shock.” she explained.
“Do they have any idea of who it was?”
“No, and she isn’t helping. She keeps saying that she couldn’t see anything, that something invisible attacked them.”
I knew at that moment that Jade was real. He’d done just as I asked. But I was astounded as well. My tormentor was now dead and I was in a contract with a monster.
Still, I tried to act shocked as I sat there. I didn’t want to get myself committed either by acting like a nut job in rejoicing about a demon killing my husband.
“I see,” I whispered, looking down and playing sad.
“Don’t you give me that! I know that this happened because of your evil prayers!” Grandmother snapped at me.
“Praying for bad things doesn’t get someone killed Grandmother.” I reasoned.
She was about to say something else when we both suddenly heard footsteps approaching the room. My eyes widened as I took in the young man who stepped in.
“My apologies for interrupting, but I promised my visit today.” Jade greeted us.
He looked just like a normal human being, although I knew right away that it was him. He was dressed in a black coat and black pants, but his eyes were a more normal shade of green now. His hair was the color of a raven’s feathers, which offset his pale complexion. A slight smile played on his face as he regarded the two of us. It was one that I would’ve likened to a knowing smile.
My grandmother stared at him for a moment, seemingly taken by surprise at the very sight of him.
“And just who are you supposed to be?” she demanded as she finally regained her senses.
“I’m sorry. I’ve been rude just walking in on your visit and not introducing myself properly. My name is Jade Mulliken. Faith and I met yesterday when they were transferring her out of ICU and we hit it off pretty well. You could say we were easily able to become friends.” Jade answered, sounding more sincere than I had ever thought any person could.
However, Grandmother didn’t buy it so easily. She looked at him as if he were a suspect in some heinous crime. But Jade remained flawless. Such must have been the way with those like him.
Grandmother finally turned her eyes away, apparently giving in for the time being.
“Very well. I suppose that we could use some company right now.” she relented. There was a hint of disgust in her voice.
Jade nodded, pulling up a chair near us to take a seat. He crossed one leg over the other and folded his hands on his lap as he watched us with amused eyes. Glancing at him, I decided that perhaps it would be better to just continue our conversation as if he hadn’t interrupted. It would keep suspicions low.
“So what now? If Leo is gone...” I started.
“We’ll have to wait and see. They are just beginning their investigation.” Grandmother interrupted. She looked over at Jade, her attention still focused on his being there. I did not doubt that she didn’t believe that the two of us had just met. More than likely she was considering that he may have been a liaison of my own, “So tell me, Mr. Mulliken, where are you from? I do not recall hearing your name before and I know quite a few in this city. You seem as if you would belong to the upper class here with your clothes and how you speak.”
“I just arrived in town last week to help my younger brother with his affairs while he recovers. He’s been quite sick and beings that we’ve always been so close I offered my assistance. You may not have heard of him yet. He is rather new to this area as well. He’s just hit a bit of bad luck with catching pneumonia shortly after he arrived and has not been able to procure his business expansion here as of yet.” Jade answered.
“I see. Then tell me, what is his name?” Grandmother probed.
“Grandmother, I don’t think that you need to ask so many questions,” I told her.
“I will ask whatever I want!” Grandmother snapped back at me.
I knew that she didn’t believe a word of what Jade was telling her. As I said, she more than likely was believing that he was my secret lover. To her, this just seemed too convenient for him to show up as he had.
But Jade took her suspicions in stride, “It does not bother me Faith. She has a right to be suspicious of those that she considers to be strangers.” he told me. He then looked back at her, “His name is Saffron Mulliken. He’s my younger brother by about three years.”
“Jade and Saffron. Such odd names for men, especially when one considers yours.” Grandmother commented.
“Our parents tended to be a bit odd, but we have found that it gives us a bit of notoriety wherever we go. People tend to remember us much easier.” Jade told her without missing a beat.
He sounded like he’d gotten such comments many times, although I had to concede that my grandmother was right about men having such odd names. Jade was not a name that was usually heard when referring to a man, and I was considering that Saffron was probably not either.
But as I thought that, I could not help but think that such a lie would be difficult to keep if it was looked into, which I was certain that my grandmother would. If Jade wanted to fool her, then he would have to find a way to make this Saffron Mulliken a real man.
“I see. Well, I’d hope your brother is doing better now.” Grandmother said, pretending to be concerned as she left the previous conversation. She must have figured that she wasn’t getting anything more out of commenting on his name. That, or she had something else that she wanted to hit him with to try and throw him off balance.
“He is. I was here to pick him up today once they have completely released him, but I thought that I’d drop in on my new friend first.”
Grandmother watched him for a moment, then suddenly stood up.
“Well, I really must be going now. I have an appointment of my own that I cannot miss,” she stated. She then turned to me, “I will call to check on you later.”
I watched her leave, listening to the click of her heels as they faded further and further down the long hallway, then looked back at Jade. He had been listening as well, and that knowing smile was still on his face.
“So you can be like a human,” I stated quietly.
“Of course. It’s a talent that we must possess. Besides, did we not say that I would be staying with you from this moment forward? For that, I must play the part convincingly.” Jade responded.
“Well, you are convincing. I will give you that. But you might want to make sure that you can prove this whole sick brother thing that you have fed to my grandmother. I do not doubt that she will look into it.”
“Now who said that I do not have one? After all, I certainly would not do something that is this important alone. Not when there’s something that I want so badly.”
“You would want me that badly?”
I was finding that one a little bit hard to believe. After all, I would have imagined that Jade had probably taken many souls before all of this. Mine could not have been any different from theirs.
Jade stood up. I could hear the loud sound of the chair screeching on the floor as he did. He walked over to me and I felt my breath catch as he leaned his face down close to mine, holding onto the sides of my chair.
“Would you like to hear the details now?” he whispered seductively.
“Of how I did it of course.” Jade clarified, leaning closer to my ear.
I felt like I was frozen to the spot as I stared into those green eyes. He was very close to me, and it was both exhilarating and frightening.
“How he died?” I managed to say.
I could sense the smile crossing Jade’s face, though I couldn’t make myself look at anything but those powerful eyes.
“That is what I thought, so I will tell you.” he whispered, leaning over to my ear, “I beat him mercilessly and broke every bone in his body.”
A memory flashed in my mind as he said those words. It was Leo standing over me with that horrible look on his face as I lay on the floor in agony that night when he threw me from the balcony.
I’ll break every bone in your body before I’m done with you this time!
“You knew?” I whispered.
Jade leaned back to face me again. The contract in his left eye glowed in a red circular pattern and I felt my left eye become warm with it.
“I know everything about you. I have been watching you for a very, very long time, and with all of this, I have finally gained my chance to claim you. For such, I also plan on fulfilling my part of the bargain. All you need do now is sit back and leave the rest it to me.”
I took a deep breath, forcing myself to close my eyes again in order to break our gaze at one another. I knew now that everything was real. I’d procured this contract and I would have to live with it for the remainder of my life.
Still, as I opened my eyes and allowed myself to take in the man that was still leaning down in front of me, a satisfied smile crossed my face. Leo was indeed dead, killed using the same brutal method that he’d attempted to do with me.
Now I had this beautiful man who would stay devoted to me until I died as well. Maybe my soul would belong to a creature from Hell, but at that moment, I didn’t care one bit.
I had my evil angel now, and I would continue to live on with him by my side.