"Hands." I find myself saying as I put my hands palms up ready. The abruptness in my tone is usual. My hounds understand each command even if I give it in sentences but I realise the lack of contact with others seems to have made me even more abrupt. When his warm hands, yet cooler than mine slip into my palms I hold them gently. "Place your forehead to mine and close your eyes."
Dumb angel. He doesn't even question me. The demon who killed his father and yet he excused it saying I had due cause. I've never met someone so forgiving. He bends to put his forehead to mine and I hear his deep inhale. He relaxes. That's it. I breathe deep and encourage him as I loudly exhale. His breathing moves in time with mine. His chest spreading wider before slowly sinking back and tensing his muscles.
I open up the door. Just ever so slightly. Almost as though the slight gap wasn't enough to peep around. I feel it. Remembering what I'd felt when I walked into the first town. Mostly vampires but some humans. They'd sold themselves and yet were being used for more than food, sex. Lust is not a sin I feel within a soul. The act was not the issue. One human soul had stood out significantly more than any others. I'd searched for reasons. Her jealousy and rage. Killing a fellow of her kind. Throwing her body away in a river. The vampires all had dark souls. Almost matching my own. But the humans had surprised me. The inhumane things they would do to remain the top pick for the vampires. The favourite toy. Hurt each other, kill, hunt others, younger ready to take the next place.
I ignore what feels like an electric current that spreads up my arms the longer I hold his hands in a light grasp. The almost pain that links to my head from the gentle pressure of his forehead. I allow him to glimpse what I see. What I feel when I am surrounded by others. Until he steps away taking the pain, electric jolts and the contact with another away.
"You cannot stop it?" He searches my face and I see sympathy in his blue eyes.
"Not without a great deal of effort. It is why I do not remain in one place for long. The woods and back roads are easier."
"It will never stop. Those you allowed to live now, it will be a circle."
"Yes." I move away and back towards the comfort of my hounds. Turning my back on him so he cannot witness the bone tired look that marks my face.
Destiny is a cruel thing. I know this is mine. I've felt it like a rope around my neck pulling me closer to this day, every day. Who would choose this life and yet the pull will start again soon. I'll feel it tightening around my neck until my feet walk. Until they move one in front of another for hours on end. Finally reaching another town that will not stand minutes after I arrive.
"You cannot stop." It isn't a question and the seconds pass into minutes as the silence stretches out between us. I keep my hands crossed in front of myself. Even Uni and Mis cannot be a distraction now, as they lay fast asleep. Obviously having decided the far to pure Theo is no risk to me. "Do you control it? The powers of destruction?"
"Yes and no."
"Help me understand." I hear him take a step closer but when I turn around he is still feet away.
"There is no understanding. I control my power as long as I control my emotions. I move forward because something inside of me tells me to do so. It has done for some years now and being in hell has been torture. It's as though one morning I was cursed with an itch I'd never manage to reach. Each town I enter seems to be more dark than the next and that makes me lose control. The swell of souls I see like black, white and grey colours spreading out in front of me. It is too much to control. So at that point, no, I do not always control the power I hold." Uncrossing my hands I look around the warm sun setting over the thick trees. "Why are you still here?"
"My grandfather encouraged it. Having been the only one to survive meeting you thus far."
"That isn't testament to the fact you'll continue to do so."
"You've seen my soul and believe it is pure. I assume?"
"Yes but a lot can change. For all you know your time with me now can darken it. Our souls are more difficult and complex. There is no such thing as good or bad. There is always an in-between."
"Do you let the in-between live?"
"No. After what they've seen. Their future is almost set in stone."
"They die?" He asks and I nod without a line on my straight face. I speak of death like I am choosing lunch from a menu. So simple and yet it isn't but if I cannot understand then how can he? "I'll go get food."
"No need. Uni and Mis love to hunt."
"I do not eat meat."
"And I don't eat people but animals. My hounds will be snacking so I may as well join."
"A simple choice you could change." I thrown at his words.
"Well you dislike those that harm others and yet kill people in the hundreds and even eat animals that you find innocent. Or have I gathered that wrong?"
"Shall I also make my hounds eat fruit and veg? Or shall they just chew on the grass in front of them?" I tilt my head at him. He doesn't change his expression though. He simply shrugs and begins to walk away.
"Hunt." I tell the girls who both slowly rise to their feet and bound off into the wooded area.
Stupid angel. Had to be so right with his words and yet I enjoy meat. I enjoy the texture of the earth's animals. My soul is already beyond saving and continuing to eat wouldn't really hurt that. I need to have nourishment for today at least before I begin again. How strange I see everyone's souls and cannot see my own. I know it is beyond saving though. Each guilt ridden slaughter I complete the urge, pull, itch is not enough of an excuse. No other demon has been like me. Cursed. The word I like to describe my destiny.
When Theo comes back and we both sit down eating. Him and his freshly collected berries and me with a cooked pheasant. He doesn't look at me whilst I eat and it's quiet as the girls have gone back into the woods. It's when we both sit. Finished eating and still remained in awkward silence.
"What is your grandfather's plan sending you here? I assume he has one? It seems he always has one. Usually something to do with killing a member of my family." I feel the usual rage beginning to rise. His family have judged mine for as long as earth has stood. They believe we are below them. Which is funny because technically the realms of heaven and hell are neither here nor there in heights.
"He wouldn't explain any further. I explained I didn't believe you actually wanted to do all this. I could see how tired you were the first time. I watched as you flew to your hounds. I've watched everything you've done. You never fly. You drag your wings as extra weight. Punishment."
"You think you have me figured out? Don't get cocky angel. You do not understand me." I do not understand myself. I only hoped that finally coming here and beginning would help. Would ease the pull. It hasn't instead my powers have intensified and surprised me more times than I'd like to admit.
"I do not understand you Nemesis but for as long as I'm allowed here then I'd like to try."
"No." I stand up brushing my clean hands against my dress. Needing to move. My feet are unable to stay still any longer. I've stayed in one place for too long. The pull. I twist my neck like I can crack out the strange pull that over takes me. "You must go back. This does not involve you or your kind and no matter how pure your soul. You will die if you remain with me. Mis, Uni." I shout.
"What are you doing?" He asks, stepping closer.
"Don't." My hands clench and unclench as I try to wait for the girls. Why had they strayed so far? I start walking my wings coming out as the heavy weight of them pulls at my back straightening me up. "I have to continue."
"You can't stop. Literally, can you?"
"No." I snap at him as I continue forwards. My hounds soon started jogging to be at either side of me.
I hear his footfalls behind me. Hours stretch on. Natural darkness takes over the sky as we walk down a dirt ridden once tarmac road. The stars and moon above our only light. Why? I've asked the question so many times. One morning I woke with this need to deliver retribution. I dreamt of it every night since. My dreams have ended since being here. I can only praise that when I finally allow myself to rest that I am so exhausted nothing could sink into my unconsciousness.
"Why are you still following me?" I ask as dawn breaks. Not once has he complained of his feet. How heavy his large white wings must be to walk for such a long time. Not once has he spoken and his presence is unsettling as I try to continue forward.
"My grandfather asked nothing of me. Allowed and even encouraged me to come back. That confused me. He was never a loving man. Duty calls, kind of archangel. My father and mother have always lived to please their parents. Me being powerless has left me alone. I see that you also are alone."
"I have Uni and Mis."
"How can you tell them apart? They are identical."
"Uni always likes to be at my right side when we walk. She also has more brown than yellow eyes. Being large with thick black fur means most people only see that. Looking closer you'll notice their differences. Mis is the boss of the pair." As if to say damn right girl Mis bumps into me and sways her large lethal tail slightly more.
"How did you come to have the hounds as company?" He walks a bit quicker to move alongside us now. Still some feet away from Uni but I'm no longer calling out behind me.
"They found me."
A simple answer that doesn't truly explain much but it's the truth. Months after the plaguing nightmares I'd run from the palace. My usual place of sanctuary within Lilith’s gardens no longer felt that way. Instead the dangerous dark forest is where I'd run to. Maybe even hoping for an end. Knowing deep down it wouldn't come. At some points I'd truly lost my mind. Isolating from family and even moving from the palace into a hut in the forest. My powers overcome me in times of great emotional distress. I'd wake from dreams with cracks throughout the walls of my room. My parents standing away from me were too afraid to reach out and wake me. Again. So Mis and Uni had found me. Lost. Scared of myself and weeping like a new-born baby thrust into the cold evil world from the warmth of its protective mothers stomach. They've been by my side ever since. Knowing I need them. Understand me as no other does and they do not fear me. They almost feel sorry for me. I'm sure of it. Though I don't know why and the lack of communications means I may never know, but I feel it in the way they remain at my side. Travelling to earth without even a whine at the change in temperature and environment.
"Why do they not hurt me?" He pulls me from my thoughts asking another question. Inquisitive angel.
"Because you are safe. Or so they believe. Your soul is pure even though your cock is not innocent." He stops walking but I continue. My words obviously shocked him for a nanosecond before he caught back up. "Do not be shocked. I do not see into your mind. Just that that marks your soul. We do not count lust as a sin. As you are well aware demons encourage it."
"You don't see anymore?"
"As in you in the act?" I turn and look at him. If I had a sense of humour, I'd be smiling, maybe laughing. Lost along with the smile I once occasionally wore. When this damn urge began. "No Theo. I can't see how well you performed to give you a number out of ten for performance. Some of my family members hold that ability."
"Reassuring." He replies with a gentle smile. His face lights up when he smiles. And I don't just mean from the pull of his lips revealing perfect teeth. The way he lights up. Like a lightbulb with a dimmer being turned on full.
"Don't rate yourself highly then?" Is this banter? I'd almost forgotten how it felt. It does stop the invisible leash that keeps my feet moving forwards but it relieves some of the discomfort. Having someone to communicate with, that can actually talk back.
"Was that a joke Nemesis?"
"I couldn't even tell you." I reply honestly before looking forward again. I suppose I shouldn't be enjoying this. Not with what is to come. I feel it. I'm getting closer to the next town. The inevitable slaughter that is to come. Will this be vampires? Humans? Wolves? Or a mixture like another strange city I visited where they seemed to be mingling amongst one another. Cohabiting. Which I never assumed possible.
"Shall we rest?" Theo says some time later. He seems to have the ability to draw conversation from me but also knows when it is too much and gives me space. My short time with him I'm beginning to understand him more. Inquisitive and yet not judging, kind of course as an angel should be, not angered by the idea he has no power, grateful mostly, he seems happy with everything. I can't remember the last time I felt that emotion.
"I cannot. We are close. You should fly away now."
"I came this far."
I stop to turn and look at him. Even that has me wanting to crack my neck at the uncomfortable pull that threatens to drag me onwards. He may be understanding of what I am, what I do and am capable of but watching it and experiencing is different things. Watching death on TV performed by an actor is nothing like seeing someone's light go out of their eyes.
"You do not want to see this. You'll try to interfere and stop it Theo but there is no stopping it. I was literally created to be the wrath of the earth. Do you understand?" I try to make him realise that no ordinary person could watch what I'm about to do and not intervene. An angel of such purity definitely couldn't and yet I'd harm him if he tried. There is no stopping me once my powers take over. Is that how werewolves feel? Once the wolf takes shape the human takes the passenger seat and there are no spare pedals to push a break when a collision is coming. You can only watch and feel.