Nemesis

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5

“What is hell like?” Theo asks. After we finally stop for a short break. My feet are killing me. Along with my spine that is strained from the weight of my wings. I watch as Theo is intrigued when I allow them to slip away but he doesn’t question it.

“Is this an interrogation?” I sit looking at him. Am I simply being paranoid? Or is he just making conversation? For so long I’ve been alone. Even at home, living in the dark forest to not risk all those others at home.

“It was a question. If we are going to be walking along with one another then why not get to know each other.”

“Fine. I’ll play your get to know game. Hell is like no other place. It lacks the brightness you’d see all day and night. But we have a sun, makeshift as it is. Made from hellfire. Replenished over and over by hell. It sets like the one for this world would. Our stars are also hellfire. The palace is completely over the top.” Demons. We are over the top as a species.

“A lot of people live in it?”

“Yes. The four sub princes of demons. My grandfather Asmodeus. My parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles. Which all include children of the princes.”

“That must be busy. Or crowded.”

“Like I said it is over the top. Creative for sure. You can go days without seeing other people that live there. I went months. Not venturing from my given rooms.”

“After your power started becoming uncontrollable?”

“Yes. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore so I left. Moved into the forest and only conversed with my family via letters. It was the most I’d spoken to them in close to a year.” This is how I and my twin had begun the idea we would leave for earth. Her with a different plan in mind than myself.

“It sounds lonely.”

“And you are not lonely Theo? The question is simple but I fear your answer is not.” I watch him closely. An angel so pure but couldn’t help but wonder why would he seek pleasure if he was satisfied with his life. “Are you coupled?”

I find myself asking. Frowning slightly having not considered it before. Good looking, tall, handsome, fair, he is everything someone would find attractive. All supernatural creatures seem to be created in such an alluring way. I wonder if before all this I would have been attempting to tempt the Theo. He is certainly appealing. Even I who doesn’t feel anything when it comes to lust can see that.

“No.” He seems to reply quickly enough. A certainty to his tone like he didn’t like the idea of it. “Yes, I’ve been lonely. I told you how I have no power. My grandfather was never unkind but I know he was disappointed in both me and my father. My father was too much of a kind man. The only time he ever finally made my grandfather proud was when he came here.”

“Even though your grandfather would have known that I would have the ability to kill him?”

“Yes. It made him even prouder. My father was willing to do whatever it took to make him happy.”

“You don’t find that pretty messed up?”

“Any more than I find walking with a demon to slaughter the world?” He chuckles. His chest is vibrating with it. I watch him quizzically. He glows vibrantly. His tousled hair blowing gently in the warm breeze. “You watch like you're jealous.”

When had he stopped chuckling? Was I jealous that he could feel such joy he would laugh? It is ridiculous. Ridiculous and yet I feel jealous. It boils and runs silently through my veins. I feel it as strongly as I do to keep moving.

“What could I be jealous of?”

“Life. Living. You watch me when I smile. The slightest tilt to your head as though you are trying to work out why I might be doing that. Has it truly been that long since you smiled? Laughed? Or anything else.”

“You think you know me?”

“I think I’ve spoken too close to the truth for you to agree with me.” He is right on that count.

“Do not push me towards anger. Is it not already obvious how close I sit to it?”

“Always angry but nothing more. Do you not get fed up?”

“Stop it.”

“Why Nemesis? You can’t be anything else?” Is he trying to drive me past controlling it? It’s as though he is. I try to close my eyes, squinting them tightly together. Breathe, in and out. Ignore the words. Ignore the pain that threatens to be engulfed by rage. “You are jealous that I feel.”

“Enough.” I shout. Theo is thrown backwards. Hitting a tree and slumping forwards, his face hitting the ground with a solid thud.

Why would he do this? Push me so far that I cannot control it. Cannot take it back. Mis and Uni are still hunting but I imagine they’ll now be heading back. Sensing the danger, I bring.

“Why, why would you do that? Try to anger me?” I’m shouting but I don’t know if he can hear me over the raging winds that whistle through the trees.

“You can control it.” Theo pushes himself up with his hands. His face lifting. Every hair on his head is being swept by the wind to one side. The dusty blonde with lighter streaks. “You just have to learn.” He climbs to his feet now. “I’m sorry Nemesis.”

“Why do it then?” I scream back at him. The wind picks up and he has to reach for the tree behind him to hold onto.

“I’m sorry I said those things.” He has to shout loudly for me to hear him over the raging winds that threaten to pull the trees from the routes. “You are not jealous and you do feel. It’s still their Nemesis. You said I was innocent. See that.”

“I can’t.” I close my eyes and all I feel is anger. Hurt. I feel everything that this plague wants me to. It annoys me further that I’m following a path that doesn’t feel like my own. It doesn’t feel like destiny. It feels like … A plan. Something set to make me, a demon, be exactly as people expect.

“You can.” I open my eyes to watch as Theo lets go of the tree and moves towards me. His wings hugged around him but his head remained visible. His eyes locked on mine as he tries to force a path closer. “You do not need to be jealous. You will smile again.”

“I won’t.” I holler this time. So certain that it isn’t something I’ll do. His lies mean nothing, they cannot penetrate me. Or the darkness that keeps a thick swamp in my mind.

“You will.” He doesn’t falter on his tone. He stills sounds so certain as he slowly makes pace towards me. I watch fighting against my power. He is moving through it even at a struggle and slow pace. I'm not completely fighting him I realise. Some part of me wants to believe his words even if I cannot find the faith to do so. "Be who you are meant to be. Not what your power demands."

He doesn't need to shout now as he has made groundwork and is so close. His light. Is that why he hurts to touch? My darkness isn't going to blow that light out. It's afraid. My powers are nothing without my body that keeps them. I may not have complete control but that does not mean I cannot fight to do so. I wish I didn't remember the final day the last of my light was blown like a candle topping a birthday cake. When mum had tried again. Tried to reach out and comfort me as the room shook. Windows cracked. She still tried even as I saw her hesitation. Even after I had harmed her before. When she had touched me and my powers had surged into her. Leaving her a slumped, unconscious mess on the floor. No regret came, no remorse or guilt swamped me and this is when I knew I was past saving.

"Breath." His forehead pressed to mine and the pain is intense yet stable. I can cope with pain, concentrate on it. "I'm sorry I didn't give you a warning. I wanted to see if what I believed was right."

"Don't. Don't touch me." I whisper. The storm of emotions is enough to evaluate. This new lease on wanting to control my future. Try to fight the dangerous urges that come with my powers. Yet his warm forehead doesn't move from mine. The lightest of touch as the rest of our body remains a part.

"Forgive me." My eyes spring open at his words and then I realise why. His arms wrap around me and pain shoots through every inch of my front that is pressed against his. Hard against soft. I know I'm hurting him. I feel my power stop causing the storm of wind. Instead, it shoots from me in short sharp bursts that aim to extract him from me. "Breath." He speaks through gritted teeth.

I do as he says. Begrudgingly but there is no other option as he holds tight. His warm clean scent hits my nostrils and almost burns the back of my throat. Pain. So much pain. This is my reckoning. Him. He is my weakness and my uncontrollable power seems to know that. A sense that he will try to tame it. Some need to maybe help the poor helpless demon. When finally, all I feel is pain cursing a path through every cell and vein in my body I slump and he allows me to lower to my knees. He follows putting a hand to the floor to steady himself. His forehead has sweat dripping from it. I watch as a single drop makes the slowest movement from just above his top lip, teasingly drawing over his top lip. Then his moist pink tongue slips from between his lips and licks the single drop away. I was almost mesmerized. His pink full lips, the cupid's bow, his slow sensual movements.

When I look up the slim ridge of his nose his eyes are on mine. He has been watching me and if I didn't know better, I see intense lust flashing in his deep green eyes. Had I seen that before? It seemed familiar but before I didn't identify the look, he was giving me. With an inch between us, this feels too close. Too intimate after the stunt he just pulled. So, I am the one to pull back.

"Do not do that again. I do not need to be teased and then harmed." I speak finally, ending the silence. "How did you hold onto me for so long?"

"When your grandfather is an archangel and has a grandson with no power, they do every test to find out what power I may have. Pain is something I can endure."

"You are not powerless. Your grandfather would have seen that. Maybe that is why he put you through testing."

"I don't know why but I know that it was never enjoyable."

And yet he is so pure. His soul isn't blemished with hate and disgust towards those that have put him through gruelling tests. He is still kind and forgiving. Even to a monster like myself.

He makes me question the lines between innocent and evil. How can someone be so kind to someone who murdered their father? He obviously thinks with his mind more than his emotions. His father came here knowing that I was more powerful and unhinged than anything he had seen before. I'd seen red at them hurting my hounds. My beautiful loyal hounds that are so willing to protect me even from myself. That and them coming here to hurt me had led me to explode with uncivilised anger that had taken over.

Rage.

It's a cruel thing to live with such rage that it cannot be expelled. To constantly feel it surging a course through your veins and engulfing your mind. I had been a normal demon before. One that never classed herself as a hybrid because I was guilt free and a challenge. I'd never expected beneath that this would be me.

A wrath onto all worlds that cannot be stopped nor settled. Peace isn't something I've known in a long time and when you've been stuck in the dark for as long as I am. Seeing that glimpse of light is almost blinding. It makes you want to pull the covers over your head and hide away from it. Theo is not giving me that choice. He is determined that there is something else going on here. Maybe a deep belief that not everything and everyone can solely be evil. He is wrong. I am. I will be until I take my last vengeful breath.

"I have an idea." Theo says a smile on his face as he puts his hand out in front of me. An offering for me to take? I stare at it for so long that seconds move into minutes. He waits, patiently, silently without pushing me towards a decision. I am suspicious of everything, everything that tries to take me away from the path I am destined towards. That urge, the tug that is constantly tightening around my neck.

"What idea?" I ask. He doesn't remove his outstretched hand and his small welcoming smile doesn't falter.

"You need control Nemesis. You need to allow yourself to explode. I saw you light up into flames when fighting my father. I've seen what comes from the ground when you destroyed that pack town. You cannot fight it because you don't understand your powers. Almost like you are afraid of them."

I furrow my brows. Of course, I am afraid of my powers. They are not gentle or kind. They want to explode and kill everything. I'm waiting for the time that I am a nuclear bomb just laying waste to everything around me. I wouldn't expect anything less. Why does he have such faith? What could he possibly want to do with allowing me to let my emotions go uncontrolled? As though I have more than one emotion.

"I cannot take a long time before I move again." I touch my neck. A reflex but Theo's eyes watch the movement and I see a flash of sympathy run through them. Dropping my hand into his, finally deciding. "Do not feel sorry for me, angel, I'll probably kill you before this is all over."

"Then I guess all I can do is try and make you see that you shouldn't." He smiles. His fingers wrapping around mine. It sends small jolts of pain but nothing I cannot bear. His smile borders on being almost playful. Here I was thinking I am crazy.

With his wings stretching out giving me a moment to realise that he intends to fly. Where? Why? I don't expect an answer not yet.

"Wait." I say to my beautiful hounds and then I take flight.

Is it a glimmer of light I feel swell inside of me? It was for the briefest of moments before I felt the urge to pull at the imaginary collar around my neck.

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