“There now… Hush, it’s okay…” Michael mumbled softly, resting his chin on the top of my head, running his hands up and down my back in an attempt to comfort me as I cried into his shirt. A sudden flash of lightning and a crack of thunder loud enough to make the windows rattle made us both jump.
Michael stepped away from me and I mourned the loss of his arms around me.
He crossed the living-room, heading back towards the kitchen and I followed a couple of steps behind. He moved over to the counter and got a paper tissue from the box then turned back to me. I stood there as he gently dried my eyes and cheeks and nose, and all I could think of was how that kindness and compassion would turn into hard, cold rage and fear when he realized what I was.
The smell of butter, mushrooms and onions burning made him turn away from me with a curse. “Dammit!” I watched as he lifted the frying pan off the stove and drop it into the sink. “I can rustle up a couple of sandwiches or a salad-”
“It’s okay”, I said. “I don’t need to eat.”
“Oh.” Michael turned those beautiful eyes to me again. “I didn’t think… Are you a spirit, Mary?”
I shook my head, then shrugged. “I am, kind of. I have a physical body. I can’t make myself invisible or walk through walls without using the door like everyone else, but I have abilities mortals don’t.”
“What can you do? Other than throw your fist through windows and fight off demons?”
“I can use mirrors as portals, moving between them and through them.”
“It must save you a fortune in cab-fairs.”
His attempt to joke made me raise an eyebrow. “Funny cop instead of good or bad?”
Michael’s eyes sparkled a little. “Something like that. So, that’s it? You’re undead, you heal instantly and you can walk through mirrors.” He ticked them off on his fingers.
“More or less.”
My evasive answer brought a small smile to his lips. “I’d hate to have you on the other side of the table in the interrogation room.” He crossed his arms in front of his chest. “You said you would help me find out why I’m on a demonic hit list if I helped you out in turn. I’m guessing it’s something more serious than taking care of a speeding ticket?”
I took a deep breath. “I need information about the Angel of Death.”
Michael’s eyebrows knotted. “That’s an ongoing investigation. I can’t disclose anything without jeopardizing the case.”
“He’s killing angels.”
I watched his eyes widen as he processed it. “Angels? As in…?”
“As in half-breeds, influence peddlers, descendants of those who remained at God’s side when Lucifer fell.” I looked up, meeting his gaze. “Those part angel, like those with the demon’s touch, are living along side us.”
“Heaven and Hell behind every corner, every doorway, is that it?”
I shrugged. “Something like that.”
Michael slowly sat down on one of the barstools at the counter. “This is… I can’t believe it… Even with all the shit that’s been happening lately, this takes the cake.” He looked up at me, his eyes the color of aged brandy, dark and confused. “First demons and now angels? Where the hell does God stand in all of this?”
I could only shrug again. “I don’t know. No one does.” Another rumble of thunder drowned out the words, and lightning cut a jagged flash through the darkness outside, and making me flinch. This wasn’t real thunder hailing an oncoming rainstorm. It was the sound of something demonic punching through to our plane. Before I could stop him, Micheal climbed to his feet and headed for the window that stood ajar. The hot wind that had begun to whip through the street caught it and it jerked and shook, trying to get free from its tether.
He reached up to unhook it so he could close it when an impossible hard gush of wind snapped it from his fingers. “Shit!”
I could feel the demon approaching. And this was no low-level hellhound. This was a full-fledged soldier demon. The sound of leathery wings echoed between the buildings. “We need to leave. Now!”
Michael was leaning half-way out of the window, trying to get it closed when the demon descended. I threw myself forward and managed to grab him by the back of his shirt, yanking him inside just as a great, sharp beak filled with needle-like teeth snapped. The shedim looked like the half-rotten carcass of a raven and it clung to the windowsill with talons, screeching, wings beating against the glass, smashing it.
Michael didn’t need any encouragement. He scrambled to his feet, but when he headed for the front door I grabbed his arm, pulling him in the opposite direction. “What are you doing?! That’s the only way out of the apartment!”
“No it’s not.”
“Wha-” He started but his voice drowned in the screeching coming from the shedim as it tried to force itself through the now broken window.
“C’mon!” I tugged on his arm. “Please!” With one last look at the bird-like beast, Michael let me pull him away from the front door, and the demon. The bathroom was out of our reach, but there was another door. “Does this lead to the bedroom?” I shouted to make myself heard over the shedim’s hungry howls.
“Yeah. Why-” I didn’t bother to explain. I simply pushed the door open and pulled him inside the room with me. Michael had the sense to close and lock the door behind us, and through it we could hear the sound of furniture being smashed into kindling. The shedim had managed to squeeze through the window and now it was crawling towards our sanctuary, its claws creating deep gashes in the floorboards.
Michael was breathing heavily. He had drawn his pistol and aimed it at the closed door. He glanced at me. “There’s no fire-escape and we’re too high up to jump. We’re trapped!”
I walked up to the mirror. The same mirror where I had spied on him. “There is a way.” I looked over my shoulder, meeting his narrowed eyes. “But you have to trust me.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Talons scraping against the door hard enough that it trembled drove home the need to hurry. I moved my hand in front of the mirror and it replied with a shudder, the planes sliding, opening to me. I closed my eyes. And when I opened them I was inside the mirror.
“Holy shit…” Michael stared at me, momentarily forgetting about the demon trying to claw its way through the door.
I extended my arm through the portal, holding out my hand to him. “C’mon! Before that thing breaks through the door!”