6.5 - DOM PÉRIGNON
Prepared though he was, Cain still didn’t expect the dark angel to slam him like a juggernaut. Propelled back he landed amid the sharp, brittle carpet of heather, the giant form of Beelzebub straddling him and punching his face over and over. Blood and spittle flew from the pounding, coating the small purple flowers.
Rage flared, flooding Cain with a newfound strength. As the angel brought down his fist again, Cain’s talons closed around it. They bit deep into the flesh, stripping the skin, exposing sinew and bone. His other hand clawed at the angel’s face piercing an eye and shredding his cheek, leaving it tattered.
Beelzebub roared with fury, clasping his mutilated face. That was all Cain needed to gain an advantage. Pulling the angel with him, he rolled, grabbing a wing. Digging his nails deep he severed part of the feathered appendage from the shoulder. He rolled a few times more and then kicked Beelzebub off keeping a tight hold of the injured wing. It ripped more, blood streaming down the seraph’s shoulder and back.
Cain quickly regained his feet as his attacker tumbled over the ground in pain. Injured or not, he knew the angel would not cede the fight and before Beelzebub was even on his knees, Cain leapt over and pinned him to the ground.
“This is not possible!” Beelzebub roared as he tried to deflect the deadly talons. “You should not be able to harm us.”
Cain’s hair hung loose, the tails flitting over the angel’s face as he moved in closer. “Well I can and I will! You are putrid, corrupt and anything which is rotten at the core is mine for the taking!”
Cain was once more thrust through the air. He landed on the flat of his back amongst broken stone. The impact winded him. Pain was not out with his remit - he still felt it, acutely - but he always rallied thanks to the unusually expeditious recovery granted from his evolution. He rolled to his side, gasping, spitting blood, waiting for the pain to recede.
There to his left stood Zepar; shock still apparent in her slow-burning, blue-flamed eyes. Had the night been cloudy and the moon obscured she could have been an eerie sight to behold. But, with his preternatural sight, he could make her out perfectly, right down to the scorch marks on her face. The wind played with her hair pulling it back from her cheeks displaying old scars. It took him but a moment to register the Fallen did not possess the same abilities as he did. They did not heal completely.
He suddenly found himself being flung through the air again and he suffered yet another awkward landing. As he pushed himself up on his elbows he caught sight of the injured Beelzebub approaching. He was bleeding heavily. Black, glistening trails had ran down his back to his buttocks and trickled around his hip and thigh. He was a walking feast in Cain’s eyes. Having already slain one of them, he now knew that angel blood could probably be considered as the Dom Pérignon of all ichor. He could not suppress the grin which curved over his extending incisors.
He just heard a warning squeal from Zepar as he shifted; too quick for the mortal eye to see and equally as fast for the Fallen. His arm locked around Beelzebub’s throat, the momentum carrying his body round to land him on the angel’s back. The angel was halted in his tracks, teetering from the impact.
Gripping the torn wing Cain yanked it down further and sank his fangs into the gaping wound. He drank fervently, his jaw widening to ensure very little blood escaped his consumption. The angelic fluid flowed like a raging torrent over his throat, the rush almost causing him to gag. But, it was also ecstasy, the likes of which he had never known. A glow, a heat, formed in the pit of his stomach and spread out to all extremities, tingling, pulsing. His veins thundered from the infuse, vastly different to anything he’d experienced before. He wanted more.
Beelzebub tried desperately to dislodge him, but his efforts were futile. The one good wing flapped and buffeted but soon his strength began to wain and his enormous stature started to fold, collapsing in on itself. His feet dragged through the heather, sprigs gathering between his toes, skin grazed and cut from some of the sharp and brittle plant life. He sank to his knees in front of Zepar. Glancing up, he reached to her, weakened, pleading, but the Lady Cupid took a step back dodging his hand. Confusion lined his face. “Zepar,” he croaked.
She took another step backwards and watched as the last remaining light in his eyes dwindled, his body crumpled and stilled.
Cain had finished his draft before Beelzebub had slumped to the ground. He rose from the dead angel and fixed Zepar with an unforgiving stare. Relishing the dregs from his feed his tongue ran over his lips before he dragged his hand across his mouth, a crimson streak smearing across his cheek. Obsidian eyes zoomed in on her throat; it fluctuated with a nervous gulp. His foot crunched over Beelzebub’s ruined wing as he stepped forward and stopped directly in front of the female.
“Why?” he asked, his voice guttural.
Zepar just stared at him, dumbstruck. Her eyes flickered timorously
He grabbed her arm and yanked her close. ”Why?” he repeated. “Why do you toy with people’s emotions!”
She blinked, the understanding now evident on her face. “I - I wanted to bring you some happiness,” she replied, trembling. She fixed on his fangs as he sneered, the moon affording her a clear view of Beelzebub’s blood still clinging to the deadly incisors.
“Happiness is not you or your kin’s forte! So tell me now, why did you make her... make Melantha...?” His voice faltered as he spoke the name of the woman he’d loved.
Zepar’s flames petered out, replaced by tears once more. She took a deep breath. “Because I was forbidden to show you how I truly felt. About you.”
Cain exhaled and released her, repulsed. He stepped back. It had not been the answer he’d expected - nor wanted.
Zepar closed the gap between them. “Your father forbade me. He knew I looked at you favourably. He knew that I - I loved you. And so he ordered me to make the woman fall in love with you, partly to rid me of this... desire. The main plan, however, was for you to create more vampires. With my intervention, he thought success with her would make you build an army to change the talking monkeys into creatures God would loathe.”
Silence prevailed. He had no sympathy for her, she was as vile as the others for all she claimed to have felt love for him. It was a declaration he would not contemplate. Not only had she robbed him of the fleeting bliss he had once embraced, but she had also confirmed what Xaphan had hinted at, even though he did not want to believe it. “Adam was my father,” he said, tight. A new agony was building with rage simmering just below.
“No,” the angel replied, shaking her head. “At least not biologically, Cain.” She waited, watching his face closely.
A memory swam into focus; the day Havel’s body was found...
One of the village curs had sniffed out the body. It had been found digging, scratching at the soil, uncovering the body.
When Qayin had staggered back into the village, he’d found the inhabitants in a circle. They parted as he’d neared. His eyes rested on his mother who was kneeling on the ground, cradling Havel’s body to her breast. Qayin’s heart ached as he’d witnessed her crying, holding her younger son, repeating his name over and over. He could not look at his brother’s limp form though; guilt and grief were consuming him.
Leaning heavily on his staff, his father stood next to Eve, grief wracking his features also.
As Qayin came to a stop, silence befell the villagers and Adam looked up. “You!” he said, his voice filled with anger and heartache. “You hath done this! You taketh the life of a good man, a loyal son, and he was brother to you!”
“Father, please, I beg of thee...”
“Do not call me that! You are not, nor hast thou ever been my son!”
“Husband!” Eve muttered, her grief paramount. “Please, stay thy tongue.” With a sorrow so profound she looked upon her firstborn. “I saw thee, Qayin, in a dream. Thoust were covered in blood as thou stood over Havel’s body. You...you drank...” Her voice faltered.
“Get out!” Adam ordered him. The circle of villagers shifted again, opening the way for Qayin; the way to an uncertain and lonely future.
He took the rejection hard, the words had cut deep and he’d tried to beg forgiveness and understanding, but, Adam would not hear him. He just demanded he leave and never return. Qayin was banished.
Now, as he stood amid two dead Fallen angels and one still breathing, he finally understood Adam’s words were literal, not, as he had always thought, from anger spoken through the pain of finding his youngest son murdered.
“Samael is your father,” Zepar whispered, unbidden.
The monster in him surfaced again. He gripped Zepar by the throat and squeezed. She offered no resistance. “Do it,” she choked, tears streaming. “I have wronged you and I have hated myself for it ever since.”
Cain loosened his grip slightly. “There are some things in this life which should not be forced lest they lose their beauty. You have destroyed the only thing I ever had worth remembering. I would never have changed her had I not believed her words...” His voice trailed off.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Moments passed, then his fingers tightened around her throat once more. A dangerous scowl lined his brow, his eyes flitting to the still open cellar door a few feet behind Zepar before he focused on the angel once more.
“No, I have not tampered with her feelings,” she said in answer to his unspoken question. “Whatever she feels, it is of her own volition, I swear.”
He squeezed, his nails tearing into the soft flesh of her throat. Scars which ran down from her cheek to her breast slit open. One violent snap and her neck broke. He grabbed her head with his other hand and ripped it from her body. The torso twitched and jerked, talons still digging in just above the collarbone and the head held in his other hand. He cast both parts aside. He would not feed on this one.
The air warped around him and he just caught sight of something plummeting down through the cellar door. Dust and splintered wood spewed up into the night air. A scream rang out from below the ground. Becky!
A new level of ferocity coursed through Cain’s body as he bolted to the cellar door.