7.0 - UNWRAPPED
Becky scuttled backwards in the heather. Brittle little branches and buds clung to her jumper and mud had spattered her jeans and jacket. She was cold, drenched, oddly exhilarated and also unnerved. But, her eyes were fixed on the two adversaries a few feet away; Cain silhouetted against the inferno that was Samael.
Never did she imagine herself trapped in the middle of such a scene. Having scaled buildings, jumped over rooftops and travelled across the countryside at great speed in the arms of a vampire, it still felt utterly surreal - like a dream, a fantasy. Perhaps that was why she’d mouthed off to the fiery Fallen without actually considering what he could do to her. Part of her clung to logic, practicality - this wasn’t - couldn’t be real. Yet here she was, somewhere on the Yorkshire moors, cold, soaking, watching a vampire and a Fallen angel face each other off.
It had been hard to believe Cain in the beginning. She’d found him intriguing, mysterious, alluring, yes, but she’d also thought he was just some ardent cos-player who frequented the likes of the Goth festival and similar events.
Even after he’d hurtled her over the Whitby rooftops and spoken of the Fallen she was still between thinking it was all a dream or at worst, he was just an expert traceur acting out some weird fantasy. But, as his personal story started to unfold, she could not deny the sincerity behind his words, the agony he carried within, the desperate need to be forgiven. His was a passion she had never encountered before. He was a self-confessed monster, a killer yes, a grim-reaper of the unjust, yet she could not help but feel sorry for him.
Now, that sympathy had become wretched anguish. She glanced at Lahash; the body mutilated, limp, skewered upon the metal spike. His revelation about Abel/Havel must have torn Cain apart. To find out his crime had been orchestrated, engineered by a sadistic bunch of rejects trying to trick him into exacting their revenge on an equally tyrannical being, must have been, literally, soul destroying. And she’d thought her life was a wasted journey!
Cain’s voice, when the heinous reveal had been announced, would haunt her forever - there was a forlorn nihilism in every word he’d uttered. Even the thunder and rain could not conceal the sound of his brokenness. He had lost his purpose, the drive to carry on, his reason for doing what he did. He’d wanted to die.
She’d witnessed immortals dying just moments before, so she knew they were not denied death - they simply possessed an inordinately long lifespan. Perhaps it took one to end one. After Lahash’s cruel revelation, however, Cain was at the point of giving up. She imagined he’d just slope off somewhere obscure, cold and dark and allow himself to fade away, leaving the world behind.
And then she’d demonstrated another moment’s madness by rallying him, encouraging him, spurring him on, telling him he owed it to his brother to survive and finish off these despicable winged barbarians.
Well, he certainly dealt a blow to Lahash and Samael’s last accomplice. But, how would he endure now, knowing what he did? She did not know which she feared more - him losing or winning the fight against the leader of the Fallen. Either way, his torment would weigh heavily on his shoulders.
A tremor in the ground stopped her moving. She waited, uncertain, unnerved. Another tremor; escalating. Panic, tight in the pit of her stomach, began its shaky ascent as the vibrations continued. She looked left and right. Moonlight afforded her a picture of the immediate area - the plant-life shuddered, droplets of rain were shaken from branches, leaves and buds, vanishing into the already sodden ground. Small pieces of rubble scattered on the moss covered floor of the long forgotten ruins shifted and skittered as the unsettling tremors persevered.
She looked at Cain. He stood with his back to her, a tall black shape against the fiery glow of his father. His hands were still gnarled claws, flexing. The wind, although it had dropped considerably, played with his damp hair, flicking it as it dried.
She sidled to her left for a better view of Samael. He was a mass of rippling flame, yet his stance suggested he was apprehensive.
A strange unearthly sound began. Staring at the ground again, Becky wondered if it was some ultrasonic source making it tremble; yet another strange phenomenon to add to the many she had experienced this day.
But, no. The source was Cain himself. It was guttural, primaeval, bestial. She stared, focusing hard in the limited light. She thought she saw his body ripple. Pushing herself up she kept her eyes on him, almost afraid to blink. There it was again! She swiped at the rain which trickled down from her saturated hair, clouding her sight.
Samael side-stepped, his movements slow yet articulated. Cain turned with him, never allowing him an opening. As he shifted side-on, Becky saw the distortion again.
Then Cain unwrapped.
Becky staggered back to the right, mouth agape, eyes wide as she saw his clothing give way to powerful, obsidian wings. They unravelled and opened, shuddering as they flexed, their enormity beyond comprehension. As they reached capacity she also noted he was now a foot taller than his opponent.
Clouds dispersed, scuttling across the moon affording her occasional glimpses of his nakedness, but these magnificent wings were what drew her attention. They spanned a good 7-8 metres. They were beautiful, black as night flecked with a shimmering midnight blue when the moon touched them. Slowly, they furled to frame his body.
Treading carefully, she moved slightly further to the side. She did not want to be caught in any quarrel between these two. She was pretty sure Samael would fry her with a single look and the new gigantic Cain could knock her into next week. She just hoped his intention of protecting her had not changed as his unexpected appearance had.
Samael’s voice was once again clear, precise, with no traces of trepidation as he faced his son. “Finally! Your potential has been realised.”