6.8 - A COSMIC INCEPTION
Lahash drew his last, gurgling breath as Samael and his crooked accomplice approached the scene of carnage.
The thunder was now miles away, just a low rumble in the unsettled sky. Silent flashes illuminated the ruins highlighting celestial bodies lying prostrate, broken, impaled. The rain was reluctant to move on and it pooled around Lahash’s body. His reflection rippled in the dark little puddles surrounding the rod on which he was skewered. His face was serene, almost cherub-like, as if he’d felt no pain at all.
The auburn-haired leader’s jaw was tight, lips stretched in a thin line and his eyes were brewing with repressed fury as he surveyed the bodies of his troop.
The other angel shuffled in behind, mumbling incoherently, glancing at Beelzebub more than he did any of the others. With a creak and a snap, his dishevelled form straightened and he stood shoulder to shoulder with Samael. Golden wings fluttered, unfurled then folded back, all neat and pristine.
Samael strolled between the bodies of his comrades. He stopped as he came to Zepar; her head, face down in the heather, the rest of her looking almost graceful in her death pose. He stooped and picked up the head. Tenderly, he stroked the hair, adjusting it over her scarred cheek, just the way she wore it. Then he held it high, his hand glistening from the blood and torn flesh of her neck and he gazed at her pixie-like face. “A pretty little thing was Zepar,” he said, absorbed, turning the head from left to right. “Such a shame really. Her speciality was quite useful.”
“Is that what you would call it?” Cain growled, his fingers flexing, extending.
Samael dropped the head; it landed with a thud. He watched while it settled back in the heather then he turned to face Cain. “Yes. I would actually. It worked for you, didn’t it?” he said with nonchalance.
The grip of Becky’s hand on his arm stopped Cain from acting rashly. He glanced askance at her, noting the look of concern on her face. His mouth curved at the corner, more of an involuntary twitch really, but it served as reassurance for her. She was still trembling, cold and afraid, but she seemed to possess a clarity of thought. He ceded to her wisdom and turned back to Samael. “Turns out she failed; as have you all. Your plans are centred around hate, revenge, disgrace...”
Samael’s lips rippled in a snarl. “You are far from perfect yourself! Have you forgotten why you were marked?”
Becky inched past Cain. He made to pull her back but she dismissed his hand. She faced Samael and although she trembled, she wasn’t about to be silenced. ”He was cast out of his village, yes,” she said, jerking a thumb in Cain’s direction. “But he was issued a task by your ′God’. I guess you could say he was given a chance, an opportunity to prove his worth and he has done so with a penitent heart. You, on the other hand, were simply cast from Heaven. You were just rejected, dismissed and disowned and you have never attempted to seek redemption. So, tell me, which one of you is nearer ‘perfection’ now?”
The moors became unearthly still. Then the silence was broken by Samael’s sharp, manic laugh. His wings, fiery-copper, flexed as he moved forward. His cohort took a couple of steps nearer also, still mumbling as he always seemed to do. Cain shifted so to shield Becky from the two Fallen.
“Well, well,” Samael said, menacing. “Seems you have found another misguided disciple, Cain.” His eyes flashed orange and gold, like flames reflected in glass. “How is it God’s little minions are drawn to a monster such as you?”
“He is your son!” Becky responded quickly, peering around Cain’s arm. “You call him a monster yet you have been trying to manipulate him for eons. What the fuck does that make you?”
“Becky,” Cain muttered. His lineage was not something he had accepted even though he could not forget his Earth father’s face and words when he’d ousted him from the village.
She would not quieten. “As for me, you are mistaken. I am an atheist, for all I stand in front of angels and vampires. I see you as nothing more than supernatural creatures which perhaps hail from another dimension or planet for all I know, but I do not and never have shared the faith or belief in this supreme being of which you all talk. If you must call it God, fine, people have given it many names, all with their own twist, of course. I prefer to call it energy and matter; a cosmic inception.”
Cain sighed. Quite where or why she had found the nerve to face off a celestial he knew not, but it was unwise. These were not just bad men in front of them, they were beings of infinite power - potentially at least - and he had yet to assess what powers they possessed.
“Enough, Becky,” he said, low. Whether she heard the warning in his voice he couldn’t be sure, but she fell silent and remained concealed behind him. He gestured for her to move further back. He heard her footsteps crunching the undergrowth as she inched away.
His eyes, cold, hard and fierce blinked slowly as he scrutinised the latest arrivals. Both stood in their ethereal forms, naked, muscular, beautiful. And deadly. It was like High Noon, albeit at night. A showdown, a display of endurance, power, ferocity. He assumed Samael, being leader, was probably the most powerful of the troop. In what way was yet to be determined.
He measured up his side-kick and reckoned he could take him easily enough, but if timed wrongly Becky would become a casualty. He nonetheless, sensed time was not in his favour. And angel blood was a supreme elixir, one which Cain’s body now craved. Hungrily, he eyed up the golden angel who muttered and mumbled endlessly, the sound like a pagan chant - a way of life far removed from the angelic caste.
Samael grinned. “That’s right, boy. Keep your little pet under control.”
Cain flashed Samael an admonitory glare. “I suggest you do likewise,” he retorted.
The incoherent mumbling escalated suddenly, the golden adversary appeared to have taken umbrage at being referred to in the same capacity as Samael classed Becky. He lunged at Cain.
"No, Apollyon!” Samael shouted.
Too late. The angel came to an abrupt and violent halt. Eyes wide and disbelieving he stared at Cain’s twisted features. Slowly, he cast his gaze down. Cain’s hand was buried deep inside his chest, the talons clutching, twisting, pulling. With a savage tug, he withdrew his hand. Pulsing between his elongated fingers was Apollyon’s heart; the aorta, veins and arteries slick, dripping, glossy, writhing like alien-styled tentacles. Cain bit deep into the still-pumping organ, his face smeared in the dark liquid which oozed from its centre.
Becky retched, horrified.
Apollyon’s body crumpled, falling into a heap of feathers and contorted limbs at Cain’s feet. The night was suddenly illuminated in bright orange and yellow. The eruption was so intense, both Cain and Becky staggered backwards, momentarily blinded by the flare.
Samael had turned to flame. His entire body was bathed in fire, even his wings were alight, but they did not burn. They moved as deftly as they had when in their feathered form. He was walking fire and brimstone.
Becky stumbled and fell, but Cain couldn’t help her up, he didn’t dare risk taking his eyes from the blazing leader of the Fallen.
Samael’s mutation, however, had brought forth an irregular anomalism in Cain himself - a more primaeval element of his persona.
Muscles twitched, flexing, tightening with a rapidly growing heat coursing through his veins. His body tingled, he felt something akin to sparks bolting about his innards as if lighting a deep, buried fuse. A slight rattle resounding in the back of his throat intensified, the pitch rising, reaching a sonority which caused the very ground to shudder.
Samael staggered with the vibration below his feet. Even being licked by fire, dubiety was still evident on his face.
Another yelp behind informed Cain a horrified Becky was now finding the confrontation unbearable. She would just have to cope as best she could. He had no idea himself what was happening.
But, he could see he was evolving.