Tides of Sorrow

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5.4 - MONSTER

A new scent filled Cain’s nostrils - fear - but it was not his own, it belonged to Becky. He stared at her, hand out-held. “If it helps, close your eyes so you cannot see what I am, but believe me when I say I will not hurt you.”

Her mouth opened but no sound came out, she was truly alarmed.

With only seconds to spare before the Fallen would reach them, Cain knew he had two choices; find out where her accommodation was or just run haphazardly until they found somewhere to hide. “How far is it to your hotel?” he asked, forceful.

The urgency in his voice triggered her response. “Not too far, it’s up on Crescent Avenue. My friends will probably be waiting in their room...”

“Your friends - from the restaurant? They stay in the same place?”

She nodded.

Cain’s lips curved, the fangs prominent, sharp.

Without warning he grabbed her wrist and pulled her towards him, clasping her to his chest. A small sound like a welp fell from her mouth. The flats of her hands slapped on his chest, her head burying against his shoulder. “Hold on,” he whispered.

Becky wrapped her arms around his neck as he bolted along the darkened road, his movements fast and articulated. He dodged in between parked cars and leapt over a row of traffic cones placed on either side of a small junction. In the narrow lane leading off from it, scaffolding had been erected. He quickly shimmied up the metal poles and onto the roof of the building. There he halted, slamming his back up against the chimney stack.

He checked Becky was not injured. Nothing physical was apparent but it seemed his preternatural swiftness had reduced her to silent tears. Blinking, she attempted to stem the flow, trembling in his arms, stricken. He knew she would be having immense difficulty in believing what was happening. In a moment of reawakened tenderness, he gently hugged her and stroked her hair, hushing her. “I did not mean to frighten you,” he whispered. “Forgive me.”

She merely whimpered continuing to stare over his shoulder at the street below.

Voices drifted up through the early evening air. Pressing himself against the cold stack Cain listened as they approached - the two Fallen were still pursuing.

It irked him that he knew not what they wanted, he could only speculate following Samael’s intimation. His instincts though were seldom far from the mark. They were supernatural creatures insistent on their war against the Almighty. It was possible they sought to recruit him - another unearthly being - to aid in their cause. Did they somehow sense his own internal conflict; his ever-increasing demons which constantly battled with his faith and conscience? He would get answers, but not now. His priority was Becky.

He gauged the two angels were a good 200 yards along the street still, but he could hear them plainly enough for all their spoke quietly.

“Fuck he’s fast!” a gravelly voice hissed.

“Yes, his ability is quite impressive.”

“We’d be better airborne, at least then we would find him easier.”

“No, he will use the darkness and the shadows to his advantage.”

“He has a passenger, Zepar, a hindrance! He would be easier to spot from above.”

“She will be like a feather in his arms; I tell you we’re best on ground level.”

A pause stretched between the two angels before the male voice spoke again. “You admire him, don’t you? Even the creature he has become!”

“Yes. He has evolved into something quite amazing. He has such potential...”

“And yet he wastes it! I reckon Samael is also losing patience now.”

“Hush!” the female retorted sharply. “I am trying to locate him, I know he’s nearby.”

Their voices were becoming clearer as they neared and Cain knew Becky would soon be able to decipher their mumbling too. Although he wanted to hear more of their conversation he could not afford to stay where he was. He surveyed the rooftops for his path to Becky’s hotel. It wasn’t much further but he had to stay within the shadows.

“Hold on, Becky. Please do not scream,” he whispered against her ear. Her arms tightened around him and another nervous whimper sounded.

He slunk along the length of the stack then crested the roof and down the other side, lithe, quiet. Scurrying over the tiles he once more vaulted forward to another building and another and another.

His progress was swift. At the edge of another abode, he glanced down to the street checking for anyone in the immediate vicinity. All was thankfully quiet. Scanning the way ahead, he found what he was looking for. Becky nervously turned her head in the direction he was staring.

“I’m going to jump down now, but I will need to climb again once we’re across that yard.” He pointed ahead. “Don’t worry, you will be safe,” he whispered, his lips brushing her temple. Securing one arm around her waist he stepped from the roof.

Her fingers dug into his shoulders as he dropped to the ground and she voiced a small grunt when they landed. The yard was inky black, no lights illuminating the area and the surrounding buildings keeping it in deep shadow. He wasted no time and skilfully avoided flowerpots and wheelie-bins before once more using drainpipes, ledges and window sills, he ascended a building with an almost feline nimbleness.

He slowed as he came to a skylight. Gently, he prised Becky’s arms from his neck. “Wait one moment,” he said. He knelt down and tugged at the small window. It was open a little. He leaned closer, ensuring no-one was under or approaching the opening. With a forceful tug, the catch gave way and he pulled the window wide.

Turning towards Becky, he held out his hand. “Come, I will lower you down.”

No hesitation any more, she bade as he asked and took his hand. Gently he lowered her through the rectangular opening, waiting until he could safely let go, dropping her to the floor unhurt. He followed through and landed silently next to her.

He was a little awkward as he felt compelled to tell her how he knew this was her accommodation. He gestured to the door along from them. “I’ve entered the building this way before,” he said quietly. “I know that is your friends’ room.”

She looked at the skylight and then the door. “It was you?" she breathed. Voices from within the room spurred her to move. “They - they must not see us.” She slipped past him and headed to the stairs. Her eyes, still glassy from tears had softened slightly but her mouth was subjected to a nervous tic; he could see the minute tremor pulsing at the corner of her lips. “Follow me,” she whispered.

She led the way to her room. Her hands trembled as she dug inside her bag for her key. Frustration and panic were building as she fought to insert it in her door. Gently, Cain’s hand covered hers. “Allow me,” he said.

He inserted the key, the lock clicked and the door opened. He then stepped aside. She moved into the room and turned to face him. He remained at the threshold. Silence. Awkwardness. Uncertainty.

The vampire traits had receded once more. He was ‘normal’ again.

“D - do you w-want to come in?” Becky stammered.

A brief smile stretched his lips. “Only if you want me to, otherwise I shall leave you be. You are safe now.”

She hesitated, dropping her eyes to the floor, thinking, contemplating. “Actually, I don’t feel like going out now. My nerves are a little shattered.” She laughed nervously. “I will call Nick and make up some excuse.”

Cain nodded and moved back. “Very well. I will bid you goodnight then.” He made to turn away.

“No!” she blurted stepping forward. “I need to hear more about them and...about you. I won’t sleep with so many questions running around inside my head. You can’t leave me like this not after... what you’ve just put me through. I have to know what is going on.”

He took a deep breath and held her gaze. She was right, he owed her that much. Yet, he still had to offer her a choice. Smiling wanly, his voice was once more soft. “Obviously, you now realise I am no ordinary man. I am sorry I frightened you, that was not my intention. But, are you sure you wish such a monster to enter your room?”

The sound of doors opening and closing elsewhere in the building forced her response. “Yes!” she said. Backing against the wall, she stood aside, inviting him in.

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