New York, 2009
The instant he set his feet on his mansion’s grounds, Vergil was greeted by a sour looking staff member. His mother must be in one of her famous moods, but being the creature she was, it wasn’t a surprise! Lilith Larsa was the head of the Italian Mafia located in the United States and it was one of many masks that his mother wore in order to deceive the stupid humans, after all, her real self was the first demon ever created on this planet: Lilith.
And as such, the Great Lord Lucifer had entrusted her with a very important task: prepare the way for his arrival on Earth! This mission explained much of his mother’s obsession with excelling in creating chaos around her and more chaos meant more souls that she could bring into their folds and offer them to the Prince of Darkness.
Marcus’ voice sounded nervous and he knew why. If there was one thing on the entire planet that Marcus Di’nardo was terrified of, it was Lilith Larsa. At five feet eight, his dark haired friend had the athletic body and agility of a street fighter, but when it came to facing his terrible mistress he was always fidgety. Something expected of his human condition.
“Boss, can I go home?” his friend asked in a pleading voice. “No offense but if the security staff is sourly than usual, Missus Larsa must be in an extremely awful mood, and I prefer not to take...”
“Get the hell out of here,” Vergil cut Marcus off before the stupid boy could say something about his mother that would piss him off. “I can deal with her alone.”
“Thanks, boss! That’s why I love you!” His dark haired friend embraced him and made kissing sounds by his ear.
“Oh, Gods!” Vergil exclaimed pushing the young man away. “You’re so gross!”
Watching as Marcus wave him goodbye and left the mansion, Vergil’s mind flashed back to their fateful encounter eight years ago. At that time Lilith wanted to monopolize all prostitution in New York to use the whore houses as feeding grounds for her Lilus and Lilitus. Their special diet, after all, included human life forces.
During this time, she had sent Vergil to make a pimp work for them. He didn’t remember the name of the place, but within the establishment he had met Marcus Di’nardo, who had been working as a bouncer at the time. It was obvious to him that the boy had hated his boss’ guts with a vengeance. The killer instinct in Marcus’ eyes… The desire to get rid of the worthless bastard could be seen as bright as day and Vergil figured that same instinct could be useful to him in so many ways; so he offered Marcus the opportunity to work with him as a part of the family, never once regretting his decision.
That boy looks harmless and cheerful, but when he gets angry it’s as if he transforms into a demon; one that leaves fear and destruction in his wake. I wonder…
As Vergil entered the mansion a slight tremor ran up his spine. This isn’t good. It’s as silent as a grave in here.
He started walking around the place, searching for someone that could reassure him that his mother didn’t go into a killing spree. But as Vergil neared the kitchen area, the delicious aroma of grilled human flesh drifted from the dining room.
Maybe Lilith was just calmly eating her dinner.
Please Gods of Old, I hope she’s eating and not killing off all the servants again! But when Vergil entered the dining room the only ones that he found there were Lilith’s favorite bodyguards and spy; and neither of them were on their human forms.
The bodyguards, two burly demons that were identical in looks, even in their human appearances, were Irdu Lili twins; something extremely rare in she-devils and the reason behind his mother attachment to the siblings. One that sometimes surpassed the professional boundaries.
Nergal and Nockrish were eating a fillet mignon, at least Nergal was. His athletic brother was more occupied with the sexy white haired succubus leaning over the table than in his food.
Oblivious to Vergil’s presence, the Lilitu reached out and stroke Nockrish lips as she bit her lip.
He had seen enough. Let’s find out what the hell is happening here… And scare the shit out of his servants in the process.
Vergil cleared his throat loudly, making his presence known to the demons.
“Why aren’t you in your human forms?” he asked, authority in his voice. “If someone were to see you…” He left the threat hang in the air to let the demons imagine what would happen to them in that scenario.
As a silent response to their prince’s commanding voice, the three demons instantly changed to their human form. The brothers were in black suits while Ariashka had put on a short red dress that showed off her body. She quickly hopped down the table and turned to leave the room.
“Excuse me, Prince,” Ariashka whispered when she passed by Vergil’s side.
After she left, Nockrish excused himself too, leaving the dining room in the same direction she went. Alone, Nergal was left to answer the questions of his master.
“All the human staff was sent home early, shortly after you left the mansion, my liege,” Nergal informed him in a submissive tone. “If it is plausible, my lord, may I return to my true skin?”
“Yes, you may.” Then, after the demon transformed, Vergil questioned him again. “Why was the staff sent home? And more importantly, who did it?”
“The Queen did. I’m guessing she felt it was coming to her and wanted to avoid unnecessary bloodshed”
“What do you mean, Nergal?”
“About two hours ago the Queen’s eyes glazed over. It looked as though she was having a vision; my guess is that she felt the symptoms this morning and sent everyone home because she didn’t know when the vision would hit her.”
“Or even how she would react,” Vergil finished for him.
Suddenly, the room was filled with the bird-like cries of passion of a Lilitu. It could be heard, even through the thick walls.
“Damn you, Nockrish!” Anger flashed in Nergal’s blood red eyes. “I told him not to fuck a Lilitu. The queen is not in any mood for this kind of fault, especially when we are on duty watch, and he cannot afford to be knocked out cold for a few hours!”
The prince smiled wickedly. The younger twin was always getting in trouble for his carefree ways. Returning to his serious countenance, he asked, “Where’s my mother now?”
“She’s in her room,” Nergal replied. “There she has been since the vision hit her. My brother and I tried to enter, but the queen almost ripped Nockrish’s head off, so we left her alone.”
“I’ll go see her.”
“Then I’ll accompany you, my prince,” Nergal said with a steady voice, yet his aura showed fear for his actions.
When they arrived at her bedroom Vergil tried to open the doors but found them sealed shut by his mother’s powers. Apparently the vision had shaken her up. Vergil tried calling to her but the only response he and Nergal got were her loud screams inside their heads.
Leave immediately! I shall not tell you a second time. Leave now or I swear I’ll rip off your pretty heads! I don’t care if you’re my son, Vergil! And Nergal, I specifically told you I didn’t want ANYONE near my bedroom! NOW, LEAVE!
“Mother, please…” Vergil started, but she cut him off with a mind shattering scream.
I said GO AWAY!
With a heavy sigh, he spun around and left the place followed closely behind by the Irdu Lili.
Some hours later Vergil sat on the living room looking through the glass window. The sun was setting, but this time there was a sort of anxiety around the place that you could almost taste. The reason for that was his mother’s vision; which must have been bad if she didn’t want to tell him, and her awful temper only confirmed his thoughts. In time, however, Lilith would speak of her premonition when she felt the need to do so. Until then he’ll just had to wait. Only then would he know what the future had in stored for them.
Mina Argeneaux stood in front of her wall mirror finishing her makeup. Her dark hair had been pull up into an elegant bun leaving a few strands to curl around her face. Sparkling star-like earrings graced her ears with a matching necklace adorning her neck. She wore a black silk blazer with a white blouse underneath and black silk pants matching black and white heels.
Now it’s time to keep working.
She sat in front of her laptop and started revising her doctoral thesis. Time flew by while the computer screen shined with activity.
“Oh! That’s it! Now it’s perfect!” Mina exclaimed, typing the final corrections but in her enthusiasm she stood too quickly, stumbling over the chair and falling into the bookshelves on her bedroom wall. A few paperback novels had fallen down with the impact and when she moved to stand up, one last book fell, hitting her and opening up on top of her stomach.
“Ouch! That hurt!” she groaned rubbing her throbbing head with one hand and picking up the book on her stomach with the other. “What do we have here?”
“Only the Hell’s Key can open the gates of the fire realm and give its dwellers safe passage to the human plane.”
The mess around her forgotten, Mina sat cross-legged on the floor and took a peek at the book’s cover.
Myths and Tales of Heaven and Hell by Arthur Smith.
Mother’s last gift… She hadn’t used that book on her thesis because her mom’s death was still too fresh in her memory. It had only been two years since she had passed, but every time she tried to read the book, tears flooded her eyes. Now it was different. It was as if the spirit of her mother was guiding her.
Mami, is this what you want? This is what you want me to research?
“An angelic artifact in nature, it harms demons but it’s useless in the hands of angels. The Key is guarded by the Archangel Uriel and hidden away from all who would use it for evil. Only a human may find and use it on behalf of light or darkness. That is the curse of the Chosen One, to carry the burden of a decision on her or his shoulders, because their decision will determine the fate of all.”
Mina jumped out of her skin when her alarm clock sounded. “Oh, shit! Only thirty minutes left for my presentation!” she exclaimed, quickly getting her stuff ready to head out. “I’m so stupid! Getting distracted on the most important day of my life. How could I? Damn it, I’m not going to make it!”
Heading down the stairs at a dead run, she arrived at her car in record time but the traffic slowed her down. As the minutes tick by and the cars moved like slugs, she look at her watch; twenty minutes left. At this rate she will never make it in time and her dreams will dissolve into nothing; like chalk in acid. Mina could already picture the disapproving face of her mentor for her tardiness as well as the disappointed look from her father. If she lost this presentation she could kiss goodbye her mythology degree and the chance to prove wrong every person that laughed at her mother.
The GPS suddenly spoke, advising her to take an alternate route and successfully taking Mina out of her mental nightmare.
“It’s about time you help me, maldita mierda!” she screamed at her car and took the designated turn to a secondary street.
There were only minutes left but thank God the traffic was lighter on this route, now maybe she could arrive on time. Mina gripped the steering wheel tightly until her knuckles turned white from the pressure. Her nerves always made her feel like a train wreck but since she was close to the University, she knew everything would be alright in just a few minutes.
Phew… I did it! I made it on time! The brunette thought, trying to calm her nerves as she straightened her dress and re-arranged her hair.
There she was, standing in front of the last obstacle to become a professional mythologist. If she passed this last test, Mina Argeneaux would have her degree! “Not if,” she corrected herself. “I will pass this test.” Then she would get the money to prove her thesis was right. I’ll be the very first person to prove that angels and demons really exist. Only then can I clean mother’s memory. Only then…
However, the thought quickly left her mind as out of the blue ghostly hands touched her shoulders while intangible lips kissed her cheek. The sweet perfume of her mother enveloped her and a cold but loving wind rustled her hair.
Even her dead mother was rooting for her success. Tears threatened to fall but she kept them in check. I will set things right for you, mami. I promise...
With all the courage she could muster, Mina put her hand on the handle and opened the door.