Tides of Sorrow

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5.1 - INTENTIONS

“There is no need for this!” Cain shouted at the Fallen. “Release them. Release them all!”

“Why do you complain? It is a banquet which awaits you.” Samael mocked.

"No! I only feed on the corrupt, I will not take innocents.” Perspiration trickled down Cain’s temples, a rosé streak painting his skin.

“Your pitiful crusade will never end, you fool! You will not find nor achieve redemption. The war continues and you are a crucial player in it.”

Cain’s agitation was rising. Fangs and talons sharpened again, initial defence mechanisms in place blighted only by the uncertainty of his ability to defeat such a creature. “You are wrong. I am no player in your battle and whether you are willing to admit it or not, God is victorious!”

“God has won nothing!” Samael screamed.

In a blur, ethereal wings replaced the suit. They unfurled leaving Samael naked, exposed in all his celestial glory. Buffeting open, the enormous angelic pristine feathers first fluttered before becoming taut and powerful. Cain stood helpless as the Fallen rose above him, taking to the skies; mocking laughter being all that could be heard.

Blood started to bubble and fuel the vampire’s veins; his ‘adrenalin rush’ fired up. His limbs nonetheless seemed sluggish as he turned back towards the three figures outside the restaurant.

He needed to reach Becky. What he would say he knew not, but she had to be removed from this spot and quickly. Speed, at that precise moment, however, seemed to be a problem. The torpor was starting to affect him too.

He grimaced as his legs struggled to carry out his bidding. He felt he was caught in an invisible mire, preventing him from making progress and reaching his goal. He roared his frustration.

Familiar sounds then caught his attention. As he fought his way forward he glanced over his shoulder.

The strange inertia was subsiding. Resembling a slow tidal wave, motion was gradually returning and the streets were coming to life again. He considered waiting until the flood hit him but he knew not how long that would be.

A shadow drew his eyes skyward. Samael’s body flickered, losing its density, becoming transparent. He hovered, the displacement of air around him offering no deception to Cain’s eyes; he could even make out the taunting lines of the angel’s laughing face.

Samael looked down to the street and taunting Cain, he pointed to Becky.

Summoning all his strength Cain forced himself onward, the time phenomenon gradually starting to wane. With a sudden burst of speed, he was projected forward and bumped into a couple who had just resumed movement themselves. He stumbled to the side, his shoulder hitting a wall. He grunted from the impact, mild pain spreading down his arm.

“Watch it, mate!” The man growled, apparently unphased and unaware of what had just happened to the town.

“Sincerest apologies,” Cain replied quickly, rubbing his arm. He checked Samael’s location. The angel was now above the hotel.

“Look where you’re going and you won’t crash into people then!” The woman hollered after him.

“Yes,” Cain muttered, nodding, distracted.

He returned his attention to the three people outside the entrance. He saw Becky’s head move slowly. Languidly she turned away from him, down the street where stillness still reigned. She looked back at her friends. They were starting to move but painfully slowly. Her awareness that something strange had just happened was apparent in her eyes as finally, she faced Cain. Her mouth formed a question, but no voice came forth.

He staggered towards her. One more glance up. Samael was gone! Yet, something lingered in the air, a scent, an essence.

Closing the distance to Becky he witnessed his hand lift towards her; an unbidden gesture, yet one he was compelled to follow through. “Come with me,” he said. His voice was harsher than he meant it to be. He’d tried to sound welcoming, friendly but the sense of dread he’d felt as Samael had indicated his intentions refused to leave him. He inched closer.

“Hey! Wait a minute...” The Egyptian mummy beside them protested, moving forward as if in a bid to protect Becky.

Cain glared at him and his companion. He fought the urge to push them aside; his need to protect Becky now running full bore. There was still some unnatural essence floating in the air making him unsettled; the Fallen were well concealed. It reinforced the urgency to move Becky away. Forcing himself to remain calm he focused on her again. “I mean you no harm, I promise,” he said a little gentler.

His eyes dropped as he sensed the movement of her hand. Her fingers flexed repeatedly, uncertainty seeping through every pore. ”Please,” he whispered again, somewhat longingly as his eyes lifted to hers again.

She stared at him, surprised, a little concerned he was sure, then a twitch played at the corners of her mouth. Relief washed over him as in that second he saw her take his hand.

“Becky! What are you doing? Do you know him?” The kohl-painted companion was insistent.

“I’ll be okay, Nick.” She faced her two friends with a soft smile. “I will meet with you later. Don’t worry.”

The zombie then shuffled forward trying to keep his voice low, eyes darting to Cain as he spoke. “Be careful.” He paused, waiting for her to at least agree with a nod. “You’ve got our numbers, right?”

“Yes.” A small laugh tripped from her lips. Cain liked how it sounded, a little nervous, but sweet. “Now go, I’ll be fine.” She gestured to her friends.

Cain remained impassive as the costumed couple looked him over. Reluctantly, they moved away, agreeing to meet with her later and holding their hands to their ears - thumbs and pinkies extended - signifying she call if she needed them.

Finally left alone together, Cain felt a moment’s awkwardness. He had not intended to follow through with the irrational desire to find this woman. Logic had warned him against this and yet, conscience had fought it. And the Fallen had forced his hand. Why?

His lips were dry, his tongue felt adhered to his palate. All his vampiric traits had receded, he once more bore the resemblance of just another man; well, as close to one as he could be.

“My name is Becky,” the woman offered without prompting.

He nodded and a slow smile curved his lips. “I am very pleased to make your acquaintance, Becky. I am Cain.”

He noted the pinch of her eyebrows and wondered if she understood to whom she was speaking or if she simply considered his name unusual.

His mind quickly cleared as he remembered the reason he had so desperately wanted to reach her. His senses addressed the issue; the angels and their essence were no longer nearby. The threat, if indeed that’s what it was, was over - for the time being.

He doubted, even if Samael and his cohorts returned, that they would risk any further confrontation in public. For all they had powers which no doubt surpassed Samael’s display of freezing time, he hoped they would not be foolish enough to exercise them in the busy streets. After all, he reasoned, they were as ignorant of what he was capable of as he was of their full potential. He realised he had played a dangerous game with the angel, but it seemed some rules were followed regardless; even if it be simply in keeping with a strange etiquette.

The safest place for Becky, therefore, was in public with Cain as her chaperone. “Let’s walk,” he suggested, offering his arm, a warm smile playing on his lips.

She hesitated for a moment, her eyes studying him, curious yet no longer afraid. She linked with him and together they set off on a stroll among the costumed music lovers.

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