It was hard for me to sleep that night or the night after. I don’t know. I guess I felt a little responsible for what happened to Hannah. She said she tried coming to me but I was always busy. I was so wrapped up and absorbed in my own struggles that I kind of forgot about my friends. Hannah was like a sister to me. How could this happen? How could I let this happen?
“That’s it. I give up,” I spoke to myself as I tossed the covers off myself like they were disease infested.
This nap was not happening. We all decided to rest a bit before our big rad of the city tonight. It was also going to be Paige’s first outing to kick some demonic butt. My mind was spiraling with random stuff. Why was Cal, a fallen angel, stalking me? What good would my death be? Did I really meet my guardian angel and was he really Cal’s brother? Honestly I just wanted to believe I had a massive case of insanity. It made more sense to me that way. I plead insanity all the way; I wouldn’t even try to deny it.
I threw on my stretchy ninja, butt kicking clothes and instantly felt better. I was ready to lay off some stream from all this stupid stress. This was not my week. When I walked downstairs Pierce, Gabe, and Paige were already gearing up. Did I wake up late?
“Did you know you sleep like a log?” Pierce exaggerated while strapping on his sword to his back.
I resented that. “Liar. I could hardly sleep.”
His brows furrowed confusingly. “Umm I walked into your room like ten times and you wouldn’t wake up.”
What? How come I couldn’t remember this? I shrugged my shoulders and started assembling my weapons. That was so weird. Hmmm did Mathais pull me into another dream again then wipe my memory? Well if he hadn’t done it the first time I doubt he would do it now.
Gabe was helping Paige choose the right blades to protect herself with. It was cute but I had to wonder if she was ready. Doubt it. No one could be ready for the dark things we see.
“Are we carpooling?” Pierce asked directing it towards me.
I thought about taking my baby for a spin but decided against it. I might be too sore to even ride after.
“Yeah. I want to save gas.”
Pierce shook his head and I laughed. The ride into the city was quiet but all things were deceiving. The real threat was hidden beneath the expectations of human eyes. It was all a mask of deception. Walking into the club we were immediately surrounded by the dark influence of evil. It sounded too cliche but it was true. What I saw were people being steered like puppets to the rotten demise of evil entities.
People were high on drugs because Lord knows they weren’t high on natural life in this place. That was a destructive substance running through their veins and corrupting their minds. They couldn’t focus on anything other than the vibe of invidious content.
Gabe and Paige went for the back of the room while Pierce went for the center. He liked being in the middle of all the action. I on the other hand got the upstairs. I liked having a bird’s eye view of things. I guess it made me feel in better control of my surroundings. Going up the stairs I nodded to the VIP guards at the top. They immediately pulled to the side and let me pass towards the balcony area. We knew the club owner and struck a deal in order to patrol what we needed. I was standing alone in an empty spot away from the bustling crowd.
I crossed my arms over my chest and leaned on the rail. The fog was thick in the air and really distracted my view. I never understood why they had fog machines in such a packed room. Were the neon lights not enough, really? Maybe it was an upside for the guys. The darker the room the easier it was to deceive yourself, you’re dancing with a hot chick. Then again if they were drunk I doubted the guy cared what the girl looked like. A guy’s logic was something I did not want to wander into.
“Came to join the land of the eternal damned?”
His voice was like a sexy damn mistake. I wish I could ignore him, or heck I wish he would stop following me around. It was like I couldn’t use the bathroom without him following me. But his stincken voice was like a melody I loved yet hated to hear.
“Join? No. I’m not a follower tonight.”
I could feel the warmth of his body behind me. Ewww, what was he made of? He felt like a human heater or something. There goes the theory of him having a cold heart I guess.
“It’s an infectious disease and people are to blinded by guilty pleasures to see that their souls are rotting from the plague of sin.”
“Why are you so bound on this quest to find the faults in mankind?”
“Is that what you think I’m doing?” He arched a sexy brow my way then crossed his arms against the rail. He glared into the crowd as if disgusted and annoyed by the very sight of floundering people. “As if I care enough for mankind.”
“You did at one point when you were a guardian angel.” I said without thought.
I could tell I hit something of his when his jaw clamped extremely tight like a freaking anaconda. I gulped when his head slowly, and creepily turned at me with those menacing ice blue eyes. I froze in place.
“How do you know about that?” He growled.
He was not happy I found out his secret. Should I tell him the truth? Keep calm Laken. Play it cool. You have the upper hand here. I casually slumped my body a little to make it seem like it was no big deal that I knew.
“I had a lovely visit from your brother Matthias the other night.”
Cal huffed out his chest. “That’s impossible.”
I shrugged. “Well not technically. He came to me in a dream because physical form is forbidden apparently.”
In an instant reflex I felt his massive hand latch onto my throat. I tried ripping his fingers off to give me some kind of freedom from his gorilla grip but it was no use. His hand was like a crane in a stupid toy machine except he was actually getting lucky with his win.
“What did he tell you?”
There was no way in hell I was telling him anything. Nope. My clever mind thought I’d tease him instead. Let’s see if he’s the jealous type.
“You told me you had a brother but I wouldn’t have guessed a twin. Quite the dashing blond he is.”
His jaw clinched and he pushed me back against the rail. My spine was digging into the metal edge. That was going to leave a mark, no doubt.
“What did he say?” Cal fumed through his fang teeth.
“I can’t even remember. I was so taken by his enticing green eyes. I could hardly remember my name.”
His hand tightened even more around my throat and I was sure I was bruising. He was not a happy camper.
“You slut,” he sneered.
I wanted to laugh but my airway was completely cut off.
“Jealous, baby?” I taunted.
“Not even a little.” He pushed me over the edge a few more inches.
My head and practically my whole upper half was dangling over the edge of the raggedy rail. He wouldn’t push me over would he? We were at least 30 feet off the main floor. It would hurt. You better believe I’d drag him down with me and use him to break my fall.
“Then you won’t mind me fantasizing about him instead of you. I’ve heard blonds are more fun.” I barely spoke through my passageway because I could hardly breathe.
Then to top it off he dug his thumb into my esophagus, cutting the air to my lungs. I choked a bit and he lifted me higher over the rail. I swore I was going to drop like a watermelon if I didn’t do something quick. I wrapped my legs around his torso and held on for dear life.
“If I go down, you’re going down with me.” I choked out.
He huffed and released his jaw a few more times before his hand finally disappeared from around my neck. Oh gosh my lungs were burning from the lack of oxygen. Cal didn’t let me go though, like I wished he would. Instead his hands grasped my thighs firmly and again I gulped. He was literally scaring the crap out of me.
Cal was giving me that evil cynical smile that only serial killers obtained after witnessing hundreds of victims at their mercy. Then I felt it; his claw nails were scraping through my clothes like a beastly animal. Ouch.
“I can peel your skin off like an orange,” he stated.
Was he trying to remind me of how lethal he was? Because that was certainly something I couldn’t forget.
“And that is why I like your brother more.” I gripped his hands but no force of tugging would budge his barbaric hands. “He doesn’t treat me like his next meal.”
He chuckled with such a malice it made me cringe. “Maybe things would be different if you gave me something worth looking at.”
What was that supposed to mean? Was he calling me ugly? I tried not to let my emotions get the best of me. It was hard though. I was a girl, that immediately implied I had self conscience issues. Was I really that bad? Focus, Laken.
Cal yanked me up and whipped me around in a matter of seconds. My back was pressed deep into his chest while my arms were caged against his. Wiggling was no use. Why was I so defenseless against him? Was it the hot factor? Maybe if he was at least the slightest ugly I would be better inclined to fight off my strong hormonal crush for him. Stupid boys and their pretty faces.
“I’m not ugly,” I mumbled mostly to myself.
“Only ugly girls have to reassure themselves.”
I jabbed my elbow into his ribs which should have made them crack due to the force, but instead he laughed...again. He made me feel like such a weak school girl. I was not weak. I was abnormally strong for a human.
“Do you want to know who’s cute? That little brunette chick with the red leather jacket.” He even had the audacity to point in her direction.
Like the stupid insecure girl I was I stared into the direction and spotted my sister in law, Paige. That’s it. I was so beyond pissed and annoyed. But why was I even ticked? Was he messing with me? He most have known I would get angry. Man, I was supposed to be the one dealing the jealousy cards. Not fair.
I jerked in his arms and somehow managed to slip away enough to sock him in the family jewels. I was ecstatic to finally bring some pain onto my personal bringer of torture. Since the moment I met him all Cal has done to me was make my life hell.
My moment of victory was short lived when his massive arms coiled back around me quicker than I could blink. Seriously? That did nothing for him. I was completely disappointed.
“Try that one more time, you Lara Croft wanna be, and I’ll pluck off all your fingers and have real pigs in a blanket for dinner.” He groaned.
He was calling me fat now. I shuffled around but the madness wouldn’t end because my nightmare was just beginning.
I was so stuck and frustrated with myself that I didn’t register Cal biting me til I felt a sharp pain on my neck. Nail sized teeth were puncturing my flesh so deep I thought he had reached bone. And just like that he released me from his cage arms. I covered my hand over the gaping wound and added pressure. I felt my warm blood gushing out and did my best to stay calm. It was getting harder and harder to believe Cal was really an angel at one point.
I fixed my eyes on his hooded figure. He was now standing a few feet away from me acting as if I was infected with some kind of disease. Was I?
“Ok Dracula, I’m going to stake you so hard it’s going to make Vlad the Impaler proud.”
His crossed his lengthy arms cross his broad chest. “Now that’s contradicting.”
I took a lazy step towards him and clumsily collapsed to the ground. I felt so strange like I was drunk or something. My head felt like it weighed tons and not to mention the dizzy vibe I was suddenly getting.
“Feeling a little woozy princess?” His musical voice sickened me.
I was sweating profusely, worse than a whore in church. Only one thing came to mind. “You poisoned me?”
I crawled to the rail but even my hands felt as heavy as boulders. I wanted to put as much distance between us as possible. That was asking for too much though. His leather combat boots stomped into my view. My eyes were down cast since I couldn’t lift my head.
“Something of the sort. Poison comes in every form imaginable.”
Here we go again. This was the part where he was going to talk in riddles. I’m sure I wouldn’t even understand any of it even without my drunken state.
“Including jealousy. Is that why you poisoned me; got tired of me admiring your brother?”
Cal rammed his steel toed boot into my chest, knocking the wind out of me. I literally flew back a bit and crashed my head against the rail. I smelt more blood. Perfect, exactly what I needed.
“Yes, jealousy is a form of poison; along with greed, pride, lust, and my ultimate favorite fear.” He bent down to my level. “Fear has the power to destroy anything; your dreams, your life.”
My mind was spinning but I bit down on my tongue and focused. “Sometimes it is what keeps us grounded.”
“Mmmm how so cupcake?”
I groaned taking in a deep breath. My body was throbbing with pain; no doubt I had a footprint on my chest.
“We must fear the Lord in some forms. It is the beginning foundation of discipline and instruction that develops wisdom.”
“You worship God because you fear going to hell.”
Maybe if I wasn’t so drugged up I could answer him better. “I fear disappointing him. God gives us so much and yet we can never do enough. Fear of God is devotion in itself.”
“Your religion is based on biased beliefs. You must believe in Christ with all your heart in order to gain admission into the eternal Disneyland. Would a loving God really need to threaten his children with endless torment?”
“Some people take it that way but in the end all its supposed to do is motivate mankind to seek Him. It develops wisdom in every choice we make in life.”
“And you fear none other than Him?” He questioned but my mouth felt numb.
Whatever he did to me was shutting down my body. Cal placed his hand over my shoulder and I winced away. His simple touch felt like blades of tiny daggers digging into my flesh and muscle. Cal pulled me into his arms and everywhere he touched me I felt that sick tortuous pain. I crumbled in agony. Never had I ever felt such a burning and thrashing sensation of pain. He was the poison.
“Shhh,” he patted down my hair as he forced my head onto his lap. The unbearable touch of his hand felt like fire against my skin. “Fear is a fabrication. It is a demon that stops us from doing what we want.”
I shook my head, pathetically. “Why?” I stuttered. “Why are you doing this? You were good once; an angel. How does this happen?” How does an angel of God become this? So evil and relentless.
His eyes were a soulless universe to his troubled mind. “One day you realize that fear is a majestic part of your thoughts. Are you really poisoned or is your fear of me driving you to believe you are?”
The only thing cooling my pain were my tears. I couldn’t suppress them either. The wet moisture of my tears were my only comfort and felt like ice compared to his hot metal touch.
“We are infected with the belief that all can be achieved through him.”
“They can!” I shouted with all my mustered strength, which wasn’t much.
“Shhhhhh.” He petted me, knowing it felt more like stabbing puncture wounds to me. “There’s no need to be defensive. You’re blinded by what you think you know.”
“Then tell me.” My throat was drying up and my sweat was turning to boiling water. “You’ve been there. You’ve died and became an angel. What is it that I don’t know? What has God done to you?”
I couldn’t see his face. I couldn’t read his emotions. And when he didn’t answer I continued. “You think because bad things happen to good people that God is evil. You’re the blind one-”
“Your God is the reason for suffrage and death.” He cut me off in rage.
“My God is love. He is merciful and righteous. And his forgiveness is all that has kept you from burning for eternity. He could have easily sent you to hell but instead he condemns you to earth...to live.”
“You think this is living?” His sad voice was hollow with no emotion.
“Perhaps he is giving you a second chance.”
“Is that what this is? ‘Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.’” Cal quoted scripture with the intention of mocking me.
I continued the next verse. “‘I cry out to God Most High, who fulfills his purpose for me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; God sends his love and his faithfulness.’”
Cal leaned close to my ear and I felt his hot breath tickle me. “You are in the midst of lions, ravenous beasts and nothing will save you now.”
My eyelids were too heavy to lift and my mouth was numb. I wanted to reply but a coat of blackness was quickly settling over my mind.