“I’ve prepared your kind’s bodies. The angels can take them.” I speak. Holding his gaze feels almost impossible. Like he can see into my soul. I feel him and know him worthy of life. If he could see mine, I know he would see that I am as destroyed as I destroy. When my path is complete, I will only have one other to deliver retribution to. Myself.
“Thank you.” His deep yet soft voice replies.
“How can you thank me after killing your father?” I tilt my head at him confused. As though I could work it out. Or maybe spot a flaw in his physical form and soul. Hoping to do so. Wanting a reason to end his life.
“They attacked you. My father knew that going against you was risking death. You reacted and killed them. That is why I argued with my grandfather about his plan to capture you.”
“Who is your grandfather?”
“Archangel Michael.” He responds without hesitation or shame. Uni grumbles next to me and I place a hand on her healing side. Feeling her relax beneath my palm.
“Your grandfather tried to kill my mother and now me. Not that I know the details but also would have killed my sister if he’d been able.”
“So, your father was Theodore. My mother spoke of him and Atara.”
“Atara is my mother. She was roommates with your mother for a time.”
“So, you have a strong angelic bloodline.”
“No stronger than your demon bloodline. Though you are part angel. I know your grandmother.”
“She is not my grandmother.”
“But …” He argues.
I interject. “She is not my grandmother. The woman betrayed her own son in hope to hide her sins. Her downfall was then. She has no right to be called anything in my bloodline and as you can see, I have no part angel. That is my twin Mari-Cate and uncle Caine. My younger brother and I are very much demons. Why did you not try to kill me?”
“Even if I had wanted to, I wouldn’t have been able. I have no powers beyond wings and the immortal life of an angel.”
I look at him confused. Every angel and demon are special in something. Each has a unique ability that links them to something. Even the angels and demons that teach abilities. They are specialised in something. We cannot be amazing at everything. I stand up and both hounds lift their large heads ready to follow.
“Wait.” I command and they lower them once more relaxing comfortably.
He watches me walk towards him. I feel his soul. See his purity beyond anything I’ve seen. It is almost blinding. Dents of lust bite at the edges. He has obviously not starved his libido but when measuring someone's soul a demon doesn’t count following one's nature. Only the harm they've caused or wanted to.
“What are you doing?” He finally asks when I stand over him. His head hung back to look up at me.
“You have power.” I say before putting my hands to either side of his head, I cannot ignore the sparks that shoot up my palms. I bend down to look into his eyes. “What is that?”
Who am I asking? He is empty and yet full of power. I see nothing in particular. No fire, earth, water, fire, fighting or speed. The list is endless and yet none of those are what he is powerful in. The harder I look the more a pain shoots through the centre of my skull. As though punishing me for looking so deeply into him. Finally, I cannot take anymore and have to wrench my hands away. I frown. What is that? Why had it affected me to even look into his power?
“What did you see?” He asks just as confused as me. I move a few steps backwards. Squinting my eyes at him.
“I saw you should leave. Take your father home and tell your grandfather to stop hunting me. What I do here has no involvement with him. I will only kill those that come for me.” I flick my wrist and his restraints slip away from him allowing him to stretch his arms out in front of him. When he stands, he looks torn and confused. Turning to look back towards the area his father’s body remains and me.
“You were looking for my power and saw something. I have none, right?” His eyes remain on mine. Brows knitting together and lips forming a tight line. “Right?”
“Every angel and demon hold power. Leave before I change my mind.” I turn away from him with that. I never got to know his name and when I hear him flap his wings and take flight towards his father’s body. An unease washes over me.
What had that been? Was it him being so good, his soul so light that it tried to burn through mine that only holds darkness? Whatever his power is, he holds the ability to do more than any have let on. An archangel would be able to see the ability he holds even though it hasn’t made sense yet. Would see the power he has hidden in his light. Why would his grandfather tell him any different?
“Come. We continue.” I tell Uni and Mis. Both fully rested now whilst I’d spent the night making the angel’s bodies more dignified, before washing once more and then sitting to watch the sun rise. Trying to find peace in the beautiful landscape earth holds.
If I wasn’t created to be so damn beautiful the black that stains beneath my eyes would have huge lines and bags to match the colour. Instead that is the only indication of my exhaustion. Of the punishment I give myself. Nothing can compensate for what I do and yet it calls to me. Even now. The darkness, telling me to be the wrath of earth. To ravish the world with everything that is me. Evil and dark and leave it with nothing more than those deserving. My wings are back out and the weight feels heavier than ever. My simple slip-on black shoes hit the floor with blistering pain. My eyes with each blink become harder to keep open. How long has it been now? When did I last eat, drink or sleep? I flick my tongue to the roof of my mouth and find both dry and sticking. I may not need to eat like a human but my body needs nourishment, just not as often. When darkness engulfs me and my eyelids fall closed refusing to open my body limply falling to the path is the last thing I remember.
I wake with something soft, warm and furry beneath me. Another lying curled against my front. Dwarfing me in size. I sit myself up and notice the dark sky. Uni at my side and Mis had been my pillow. Had she stopped my head from hitting the floor? Of course, she had. I cannot see their souls but I feel them. They love each other. Their bond is like nothing like I’ve experienced. Of course, I can see my mother and father together but I don’t feel what they do. I see their love. With Uni and Mis, I feel their bond, their light that makes them my ally whilst also their dark that gradually begins to stretch further and further. With each town and city, we walk through.
“You should leave me. Go and live in the woods and be happy. You’d have good snacks. Wolf might taste good.” I speak softly, my voice is as dry as my throat now.
To continue. To complete my task, I must eat and drink yet climbing from the floor feels like a great effort. I refuse to slip the weight of my wings away. This is my punishment. This is my path. I force myself to stand even with the weight of almost my body on my back. My thick feathered wings could carry me but I refuse. Uni and Mis stand and keep close to my side. Like they are prepared for me to stumble again. I walk. Slowly. Stumbling into my hounds that keep me moving straight even as my legs try to give way. Finally, after hours a town comes into view. Food and water. I need rest. If only for a short while. What I hadn't accounted for was each town being more prepared than the next.
As I descend upon them. The sky blackened and the sun was blocked out. The air becomes deathly cold, a complete contrast to the heat of my body. Each breath rising steam in my face and that of my hounds. This time is different though. Vampires and humans do not run around pointlessly. They are being efficient and readying themselves for a fight. I don't have time for this.
"Hunt." I breathe out in a breath of steam. Uni and Mis charge forwards and without them at my sides my knees slack and I crumble to them.
My hands bracing the floor I feel that pull of my power reaching forwards taking control. Though my body is exhausted my powers are itching to expel themselves. To show their glory that I'm yet to fully experience. I know with each time it becomes stronger that I am yet to fully understand it. Leaning back on my hunches I let it free. I don't fight the inevitable.
As though hands themselves come up from the depths of the earth clawing at what stands in their way. Rather than rumbling as rubble is sunk into the depths. This time those hands crunch down and everything within their grasp breaks apart, pulled down with a force that echoes into the sky. Uni, Mis and I are left standing on the only pieces of solid ground as screams puncture my ear drums. It doesn't last long. The screams sink with that of buildings. I watch as almost clay like fingers clasp together and sink once more. The scene shocks me and yet I couldn't stop it if I tried now. The final quakes and screams fall away. Eerie silence takes over and I fall forwards bracing myself with my hands to not hit my face.
"Mis. Uni. Water and food." I whisper into the empty silence before falling to my side. My eyes sinking closed once more as the door holding back my powers stays slightly ajar. Will I ever be able to fully close it again?
I feel weightless as though I'm being carried through the air. I even hear the gentle flap of wings. Is this death? Have I completed my task already? My retribution is death? Darkness sinks back into my consciousness and I don't fight it. The screams no longer haunt me in this sleep. It's peaceful and feels endless. At some point I feel a damp cloth to the scolding skin of my forehead. Another tiny sliver of water slipping between my lips. But my exhausted body and mind refuses to awaken. That is until I hear speaking.
"It's time to wake up. Your hounds will not eat and they take it in turns sleeping. Though I suppose that is to watch me more than you." His honey deep voice washes over me. As consciousness forces itself back within my brain. I sense him. The glow of his soul is warm and inviting yet dangerous to someone like me. Someone so dark that it would hurt to touch it.
"Mis. Uni." I call out as my eyes open. I hear the gloriously angelic man's footfalls as he steps back. The heavy thuds as my loyal beasts move across to me. I peep through slits of my eyes whilst throwing my arm to the side. I'm lying on something and as I roll, I realise it's a bed of leaves. Sitting up my hounds move to either of my sides ducking beneath my arms and forcing it onto their backs. Turning to each I put my face into their fur. "Good girls."
"They are mates?"
"Yes." I finally look at him now. His dusty blonde hair seems slightly more unkempt than last time we met. His white cloak is gone revealing more of the wide expanse of his shoulders, hidden beneath a plain white t-shirt. "I suppose I should thank you for tending to me. What is your name?"
"Theo and you are welcome." He nods politely sitting himself down on what seems to be another makeshift bed.
"As in junior? Your father was also Theodore."
"Yes, it was either to be Theo or Michael. I appreciate that it is a shortened version of my father’s name. Why did you allow yourself to become so fatigued?" He asks and I find myself willing to answer.
"Why continue if you are riddled in guilt. I can see it isn't out of pleasure so why?"
"Angel's do not name themselves after gods. Demons on the other hand have found a pattern in doing so. Especially my family. It is believed with our name we are linked to our powers, a destiny of sorts. I've felt that very urge from a young age." Not that it had felt so miserable back then.
"Nemesis. God of retribution. Distributing harmony through consequence, misery and happiness. Yet I don't see happiness from the actions you've committed. How many towns and cities has it been now?"
"Too many to count. If the Angel's watched closely you would see those innocents are left."
"Children. Left without parents that did what they must to survive." His response angers me. Mostly because I understand it. I see his view point and if I considered it the guilt, I already feel would plague me. When I cannot control my emotions, nothing good can come from that. Each emotion must be distributed evenly or kept calm. Guilt I manage through myself neglect and punishment.
"Do the Angel's believe that those I've slaughtered would still be alive to the average age? Though that has become a lot less over the past hundred years here. You must see that this world cannot continue as it is."
"And yet your twin believes differently. Though she killed entire clans she never did so without a reason to protect others or to free them."
"Mari cannot feel someone’s soul. Do you know how it feels? Would you like me to demonstrate to you what I feel when I am not alone? I can give you the smallest glimpse of my ability and we will see if you could live without taking action."
I stand up and move a few feet towards him. Allowing him to close the rest of the distance between us. Giving him a choice whether to understand me or judge me at face value. Not that I deserve any less.
Theo stands and moves towards me. I am not a small demon. With my wings retracted I simply look like a beautiful yet tired human. The height of five seven means by no means do I tower anyone nor look up to far, usually. Theo on the other hand is abnormally tall. Over six foot five. He leaves a foot of distance between us and the light that glows from him is warm and heavenly. How we deceive. How the angels and demons were created to be so stunning that those with weaker minds and souls could be so easily corrupted.
"Show me." He declares.
His pure soul is like poison to my own and yet rather than striking him without provocation I am willingly encouraging contact. Theo may not know his power. Nor may I, but I do understand his understanding, innocent and kind demeanour may have something to do with it.