Holy Hell | Teen Ink

Holy Hell

June 4, 2011
By ElizabethPerry BRONZE, Grand Junction, Colorado
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ElizabethPerry BRONZE, Grand Junction, Colorado
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There is Happiness for those who follow their fate, for those who don't, Glory." -Adel (princess Tutu)

Author's note: I was inspired to write this piece three years ago in freshman Literacy class. After our shakespeare unit I decided Romeo and Julliet to be the most outrageous story ever. So I decided to kind of re-write it to be A: interesting, B: occult, and C: not have the world's stupidest couple. WEll, 2 out of 3 isn't bad. I hope people don't come after me because it's a litlle religiously... loose? Blasphemous? not quite sure.

The author's comments:
This may seem random o the rest of the book, but it ties into the ending, so bare with me please.

“Listen well my children,” the old woman coughed, “for this is my final story to tell.” A hush fell over the crowded town square. All ears tuned into the old woman’s words. She cleared her throat, an awful rasping sound of one not new to sickness. “When I was a small girl,” She began, “war ravaged the countryside. Devastating everything in its path, nothing was safe from the onslaughts and battles. But this war was strange, as it was not fought between common men or even kings. This war was fought between the forces of heaven and hell, and the demons and angels residing in each.” her voice trailed off. A murmur passed through the crowd as a bolt of lightning flashed across the clouded sky.

“Since the beginning of this earth, our Lord above has fought for control of its inhabitants. But the Devil always seemed to stay even, sticking this war in a tornado of endless death and destruction. Until, God gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.” The old woman’s voice softened to a texture of warm honey, her mind flashing images of the small child.

“Don’t you mean God found our lady Mary and blessed her with a son, our savior Jesus Christ?” the town priest interjected. Many glares were flashed his way, but most of the people nodded in religious agreement.

The old woman shook her head, “No, the son of Mary was indeed a god sent miracle, but he was her prophet, not her son. When I say her I mean our Lord of course. For you see, God is a woman and she bedded a human male and bore him a child who was also a female. Whether you believe me or not, listen well, I am not yet finished.” The priest turned and stalked into his church, everyone else stayed to listen. “Now, God’s daughter held immense power, power enough to win this war. However, the year before, the Devil had taken a human woman of his own. She had given birth to a son.

“There were two children, both having incredible power, though in the opposite way their parents so wished. For when the son of Satan grew into a young man, he was caring and wished for the earth to be left in peace. And when the daughter of Gwendolyn became a young woman, she was a heartless killer, who cared not a whiff for the people of earth, but only for her missions.

“And it was prophesied, that in the end, one child would have to kill the other to stop this war. Or so they all had interpreted.” The old woman paused in a fit of coughing, her hand coming from her wrinkled lips stained crimson with ruby drops of aged blood.

“Who won?” a child asked, her large blue eyes staring innocently at the old woman.

“The powers of heaven of course!” Cried a nun, her face flushed with the blasphemous words coming from the old crone’s throat.

“Nay, none other than Hell, otherwise our Savior would not have had to die for our sins,” the Mother Superior sobbed.

The old woman held up her withered hands to silence the now furiously bickering crowd. “Neither,” she whispered. A gasp rang collectively through the crowd. A flurry of questions bombarded the little old lady. She sat in wheezing coughs. Before long the crowd was silent again. The old woman stood, and took two shaking steps forward before collapsing.

The curious child bent over the old woman's body. Her small hand felt around for any sign of a heartbeat. “She’s dead…” the child whispered. Her eyes clouded over with tears as her tiny trembling hands closed the old woman's eyes. The crowd shook their heads in disbelief at not getting to hear the end of the tale. Slowly rain began to fall, and as it washed away the child’s tears it washed away the old woman, melting her into nothingness.

The author's comments:
sorry to say not much characterization yet, that comes in the next chapter

The snow fell silently, blanketing the world in a white, so pure, the angels above reflected back to the eyes of the mortals.

“A little farther, I must go a little farther. Just a little –” a girl whispers. Her breaths freezing snow to her pale eyelashes. Her whole body numb from the cold slowly collapses into the snow. Her golden curls splayed out around her. For her, the white world went black.

The snow kept falling, covering her limp form completely. Only the velvety corner of her forest green cloak was seen above the drifts of crystal.

The girl woke with a start to the savory smell of baking bread. Her stomach growled, angry for going unfed for more than two days.

“So you finally come to.” A middle aged man rumbled. He sat dolefully by the merrily crackling fire. Flickers of red and orange danced in his hazel eyes, partially hidden by a dirty mop of dark brown hair a top his head.

The girl blinked a few times in confusion.

“How are you feeling?” he asked somberly. She just stared at him for a moment.

“Where am I?” She asked quietly, her voice cracking like that of a young boy. She cleared her throat and tried again. “Who are you?” her voice was much stronger than anyone would have suspected.

“I am called Malachi and I found you not ten feet from my woodshed. You were half frozen. We thought you wouldn’t make it through the night.”

“We?” the girl explored the room with her ice-blue eyes, expecting to see another occupant to the small hut. There was no one else to be seen.

“My wife and I,” Malachi smiled, the corners of his eyes crinkling like old parchment. A small woman not much younger than the man walked in timidly, her freckled cheeks painted a light rose color with embarrassment. “Alana, dearest, get the lass some food. No lady should wander around half starved, especially in this weather.” The woman nodded and retreated back to the kitchen. “Now that you know us, who are you?”

“No one really,” the girl sighed, looking away. Your identity is a secret, love. Tell no one. You are far too important for such trivial things.

“Come now, child. Everyone has a name.” Malachi pressed.

He did save my life, she justified internally. “Isabella. I am Isabella Alanis.”

“You have a surname?” Alana whispered, her voice was soft and sweet, like a bushel of lilacs. She nearly dropped the tray of food she held. Isabella nodded once, wishing for the questions to stop.

“Then how are you no one? Only those with very high standing can have a surname.” Malachi stood slowly. Alana placed a tiny hand on her husband’s shoulder, leading him back to his chair.

“Don’t frighten the poor lass.” she gently placed the tray across Isabella’s lap. Isabella hated to in-debt herself to these people more, but her stomach would have none of that. She ate quickly, barely paying attention to the blandness of the peasant stew.

“More?” Malachi pressed.

“You have been too kind to me already.” Isabella thrust the blankets from her lap. “I will send compensation for your kindness if I’m able.” She said somberly, shaking out her midnight violet skirts.

“You need not leave so soon. It is dusk already and a lady should not travel alone let alone at night.” Alana gasped, fidgeting slightly.

“It is best I leave now. Travelling at night is the path I am meant to take. Thank you for saving my life.” Isabella swept a low curtsy and clasped her forest velvet cloak around her thin shoulders. She curtsied again and ran out the door. Malachi tried to follow her, but was stopped by his wife.

“All we can do now is pray for her wellbeing.” Alana whispered, her head bent low.

I saw her run by, her golden curls streaming out behind her. Her cloak was almost black in the meager moonlight as it flapped in the icy winter wind.

Demetrius growled low in his chest as she passed. She glanced behind herself. I shrank back into the bush to escape detection. It is odd for a woman to travel at night, especially by herself. Could she be the one I seek? She certainly doesn’t look like what I imagine the Daughter of Heaven to look like. I will wait till she’s out of ear shot then I will forgo my hiding place and search elsewhere. Demetrius growled again, more viciously this time.

“Shh,” I try to hush him but it’s too late. The girl halts and stands perfectly still.

“Who goes?” she calls into the darkness turning in a slow circle. One of my small hands slips into the folds of my light purple skirts. Demetrius tenses, ready to pounce. I grab a hold of his collar to stop him, but he leaps out despite my silent orders, dragging me through the deep white crystals of snow in the process. The girl jumps back with a yelp, a small dagger glinting in her hand.

“You stupid mutt!” I sputter pushing myself back to my feet. I brush the snow clinging to my face. The girl began to laugh. The sound was beautiful, like a melody of spring ringing across the desolate snow. Demetrius trotted around her, his mood unexpectedly uplifted.

“You tried to tame a wolf pup? You are either very stubborn or very stupid.” she giggled, although she didn’t lower her weapon. Demetrius barked and wagged his black tail.

“Stupid as they come, Miss.” I bowed as flamboyantly as I could, thus imitating a drunk Lucifer the best to my ability. My hair brushes against to ground. She curtsied in return. “And where are you headed this time of night all by yourself? This forest is crawling with monsters and specters alike. Tell me, do you have a death wish or are you just braver than most?” I didn’t mean to jeer as such but it was all I could think of to say.

“Let’s just say I’m braver than most shall we? And besides, it’s not like I’m completely without protection.” she held up her dagger a little higher. Its slightly chipped blade glittered dangerously.

“One little dagger? Sure that works, if that counts as a weapon at all.” I give my my most charming smile. Hopefully she would internally melt like all the other women did and ignore the snotty comments issuing from between my teeth.

She gave me a smirk but my eyes were narrowed sarcastically. Damn, she’s smarter than she looks. “Don’t underestimate me boy.” she snarled. Quick as a flash one hand was back to the folds of her dress. Before any normal human could blink an eye she let fly two more daggers in my direction. If I had moved they would have pierced me through the heart so I stayed put. Thank the deity above her aim was terrible. Although, the blades did successfully pin me to a tree by the leg of my trousers and the arm of my tunic. “I’ve got three, and all three count as weapons if you know how to use them.” her seamless lack of emotions slipped from her voice as she walked slowly up to me. Demetrius sat on his haunches, laughing slightly.

“How did you throw these that fast? Not very many people could do that let alone a woman.” I was honestly shocked to say the least.

“Don’t ask stupid questions. It annoys me and I really don’t feel like killing you right now.” she said frankly.

“You kill everything that annoys you?” That was a scary thought. I was directly in front of me now. Her blade flicked up to my throat.

“Almost everything, some are too unfortunate and likely to die the next day anyway, so why bother?” she shrugged her face expressionless. She was so close I could feel the heat radiating off her aura. The position she had me in gave me the mind to observe this girl. It was clear she wasn’t normal. For one thing she was far too beautiful. Her skin was flawless, smooth as porcelain, and her eyes were July azure blue. Her left eye was darker than her right though, as if the sun in that eye had set. Her hair hung down to the back of her knees, curling at the ends. I imagined how that hair would sparkle in the sunlight. The color was enough to inspire such images, for it was almost the exact color of the sun itself, blinding gold. She was small, the top of her head barely reaching my shoulders. She was also very skinny like she had been starved in a dungeon all her life. I bet internally that I could wrap my arm around that tiny waist twice. If that were physically possible, I probably would.

The next thing I noticed was her aura. I’ve never seen one like it before. Around her heart it was pure silver. As it extended out it became clouded with blue so that the edges of it were the color of a starless midnight. Judging by the fact her aura didn’t waver at all, she was completely calm and comfortable with our current situation. Most definitely an odd girl. Odd enough to be my prey? I’ll have to test one thing first to be sure; I won’t kill an innocent girl, no matter how odd she is. If I touch her skin and I get burned, she’s the one I’m after. If not, I’ve got no idea what to do about her. It’s not like I can just let her wander alone in the woods at night. I supposed I'd figure that out if and when I get there.

She grasped the amethyst embedded in the handle of the dagger pinning my trousers and pulled. The chipped blade makes an almost sickening scraping noise as it slides from the bark. I’m glad to be able to move my leg again. She took a hold of the sapphire pommel of the dagger pinning my tunic and removes the blade. Before she can retract her hand I snatch her wrist. Her skin is abnormally cold, there is no burning sensation what so ever. She’s not the Daughter of Heaven. For some reason I had yet to fathom I am grateful for this outcome of circumstance.

“What in Hell are you doing?” She asked, her left eyebrow arched over her darker blue eye. I hastily let go of her hand less she decided to pin me to the tree again.

“Nothing,” I stammered quickly. Demetrius laughed harder, the damn mutt. She began to walk away, her steps fluid and light. So much so that there was barely an imprint made in the freshly fallen snow. “What’s your name?” I blurted out much to my embarrassment. She turned.

“Why should I tell you?” She was clearly skeptical of my intentions.

“I-I-I was just wondering.” I stuttered like an idiot. She must think me a complete fool.

“Where I come from if you wish to know someone’s name you give yours first.” She stated simply catching me off guard just a bit.

“I beg your pardon,” I said, bowing again. “I am Nicholas Ash.” I tried to seem charming. I think I’m utterly failing because she showed no reaction.

“Isabella, my name is Isabella Alanis.” She sighed. The frigid air circled around her lips as she spoke.

“Where are you going?” I have the unexplained urge to keep her talking.

“Not that it’s any of your business, but I’m not exactly sure where I’m going. My first priority is to find a church. After that only God knows.”

“Same here, only without the church part.” That got a smile to break from her rose quartz lips. She was even prettier when she smiled. “You should smile more often.” her face fell back to a scowl.

“Why? Smiling is pointless. It reveals unwanted emotions and-”

“Where did the giggling girl from just a few moments ago run off too?” I interjected.

She looked sad, as if I were reprimanding her for smiling. “I’ve no idea where she even came from. I suppose seeing a wolf pup no more than a couple months old drag a full grown man through the snow was a very comical sight to behold. And to have said man bluster about like a lady whose maid forgot to dust the mantle was far too funny not to laugh at. I apologize.” She curtsied.

“Don’t apologize, it was quite ridiculous. If I had been in your position I would have fallen over from laughing so hard.” I chuckled awkwardly running a hand through my hair with an absent mind.

“That’s where you and I are different. I’ve been taught to keep such tomfoolery under wraps, you clearly have not.” She was walking away again. I jogged lightly to catch up to her.

“I’m guessing you come from some wealthy or near royal family?”

“You could say that.” She replied smoothly. How is it that this woman speaks around me so easily while I’m reduced to a blathering imbecile? “Why do you ask?”

“I was wondering who could afford weapons like yours but not have the means to repair the blades.” I lied quickly. I’m disgusted that I can lie so simply.

She pulls a dagger from her dress, the one she had pulled out first, the one with a emerald in the pommel. She inspects it closely. “I see no problem with the blade.” She said after a moment.

“It’s all chipped up one edge.” I pointed out. she began to laugh silently.

“That’s the way it was forged. It is supposed to be so.” She laughed.

“That makes no sense.” I scratched my temple.

“Well, neither does your reasoning for asking about my family.” She smiled. I mentally kicked my own ass. She was observant.

“You’re beautiful when you smile,” I thought to myself… Or at least thought that I had thought it. I suppose I’d said the comment aloud because she turned to look at me, her face bright red, like a smoldering flame. It probably felt like a smoldering flame too. I slapped my palm to my forehead. “I said that out loud didn’t I?”

She nodded shyly and continued walking. “Why are you following me?” She asked after about an hour of silent travel.

“I’m not going to just let you go alone. It’s dangerous even if you’re armed and trained for battle. Like it or not you’re a woman. there are many things in these trees that would do you harm.” She probably hates me but I don’t care, my human heart will not let this girl get herself hurt or killed when all I had to do to protect her was walk beside her. I would have been walking anyway. I find her much better company then my servant dog to boot. Either way I win… sort of.

Slowly snow began to drift from the craggy gray sky. I couldn’t help myself. I stuck out my tongue and raised my arms so they were parallel to the ground. I spun in quick circles like a child.

“What in Hell are you doing?” Isabella asked, trying to suppress laughter caused by my foolishness.

“Trying to catch one.” I grinned from ear to ear. Before long I was very dizzy and fell to the ground; landing on my back with a hardy laugh. Spread eagle as I was I saw only one thing to do. I began to wave my arms up and down and my legs from side to side. Finally, finding my work complete, I stand and shake the snow from my now damp hair. “Snow Angel,” I smiled proudly.

Isabella smirked and fell backwards without a moments warning. She didn’t wiggle around at all but abruptly stood. With a finger she drew lines from the impression’s head. “Snow Demons are more... interesting.” I rolled my eyes, I doubt she has any idea what demons are really like. Just like a girl to be naïve about Hell and its inhabitants.

Before I could become too lost in thought I felt a snowball collide with the side of my head. Isabella’s laughter echoed through the trees. I grinned wolfishly and chucked a snowball of my own at her, barely missing as she twirled away. She tossed another snowball, this one smacking me square in the chest. I dropped down to form another projectile when the wind picked up, carrying the smell of burning flesh and fresh blood with it.

Everything was still.

With a sudden burst of speed both me and Isabella ran to the top of a nearby hill. I’ll never forget what I saw.

A painting of Hell on Earth couldn’t have depicted such destruction. Everything was torn to tiny bits and burned. Only the church stood, charred as it was, towering over the wreckage. Bodies of people and live stock, or rather, their splintered bones, littered the ground. Isabella dropped to her knees in stunned silence.

“How did this happen?” She whispered. For a moment I thought she might cry, but her features remained in a confused state and no tears fell from those crystalline eyes.

A flash of movement caught my eye near the broken door of the church. A small red demon sniffed around, hunting for some small morsel of forgotten human flesh. Rage gripped me to the core and I saw red. Before I could unleash a whip of Hell Fire in the insignificant scavenger’s direction Isabella was on her feet charging at the demon. Her amethyst jeweled dagger glittering with malice and a drive to kill. Of course Demetrius was much quicker than even she. With two graceful bounds he was over the demon, black blood sizzling in the snow. The demon corpse disintegrated as all demon corpses do.

Isabella slowed her fervent pace to a trudge. She was shaking and so was I. I didn’t expect to see any demons around. Monsters certainly but not demons. Something most definitely was wrong back home in Hell.

Chapter Two


My new traveling companion lead me into the charred church. The stench of demons embraced the soot of the town. I was certainly glad to be out of such evil air. The door snapped shut behind me, shutting out the grotesque scent. All was still and pure.

I looked over to Nicholas to see that he is trembling slightly. The poor boy, not very many humans have witnessed even the effects of such destruction and lived. I ushered him gently to a pew. He wasn't the only one trembling. My own hands shook as they rested on his broad shoulders. Stupid, how I should seem bothered by what was seen. This shaking made me look weak and vulnerable like any other mortal.

Perhaps it is a good thing. In order to keep up this guise I will have to seem more vulnerable and weak, though the very idea disgusts me. I sat with exaggerated slowness and breathed in the peaceful air around us.

The church is deathly silent as we sit on the uncomfortable hardwood. Demetrius whines for attention. With an absent mind I obliged, scratching him behind the ears. He lay his head on my lap and rolled onto his back. Nicholas chuckled nervously and reached over to scratch his dogs stomach. Demetrius' foot began to tap of its ow accord. He made a grunt somewhere between a human moan of contentment and a cat's purr.

Finally the boy’s nerves steady themselves and he stood. I try to push him down but he shrugged off my forceful hand as if it were no more than a small bother. He went over and stared blankly at the statue of the crucified prophet. It seems as if he was looking beyond it, or perhaps he was trying to find meaning in it. Either way he just stood there in silent contemplation. I let out a slow breath, releasing the strict leash I held on my powers only by the smallest of margins.

How did this save anyone? Especially as he watched that? Those poor people... His thoughts whispered behind my eyes. I shut off the connection, feeling like I had invaded on some very personal secret. Religion is seen differently by all people and the true extent of faith felt but someone is never shared, not even with their closest brethren. I stood and followed Nicholas up to the front of the church.

A small sigh escapes my lips as I knelt before the humble alter. My hands clasped, my head bowed, my hair falling over my face. There I pray.

“Dearest mother, why was I set upon this Earth. What evils am I to overcome? Was I supposed to save these poor people or perhaps others? These beings have such fragile lives yet our people of heaven praise them for all their imperfections… Please, show me my path, whatever path that may be. What is my purpose here? Why haven’t I been told? My most noble heaven, for you work in mysterious ways, please aid your servant and devoted follower. I will do thine bidding. Blessed be my way… Amen.” I remain still for a moment, allowing my words to hiss through the walls and ceiling of the stone church. I figure my mother will not hear me, she has many more prayers to hear whose pathetic worries outscore mine, but it never hurts to ask. I feel the warm presence that I am coming to associate with Nicholas all but disappear as he moves away. A shadow passes over my head, but it is not the presence of Nicholas I feel… The rotten smell of demons thickens in the air.

“For the sake of the Father thou sinners shall DIE!” screeched the demon ridden corpse of a nun as she swung a simple kitchen cleaver wildly about. With little effort I roll from the knife’s path, popping to my feet with inhuman grace. With some luck, Nicholas would be focusing on the crazed corpse to notice my inhuman agility.

Bright orange light singes the ends of my hair as a torch flies by to strike the raving nun in the face. She drops her knife and claws at her burning flesh in mock anguish. Her cries of torment and pain mold smoothly into hysterical laughter. Instantly she stills, a slow and menacing grin reaching across her death distorted features. “Pathetic,” she hissed. She licked her lips seductively and raised her right hand toward me.

“Isabella move!” Nicholas shouted, bolting down the center aisle. The nun turned to face his assault, her eyes blinking into small black beads as the knife flies into her waiting hand. she grasped her knife once again. With a truly evil cackle the demon ridden woman swings the knife down, catching Nicholas’ arm as he attempts to ward off the attack. His blood hit the stone floor in a flurry of red rain.

“Tsk tsk, been slacking in your training again, I see. I expected more from his little majesty.” she grinned. This grin was so wicked it sent chills down my star iron spine. This demon was powerful, that much I was sure of. Silently I willed my daggers Azure and Azalea to slide to my hands. A small hissing noise issuing from Nicholas’ wounds covers up the sounds of metal sliding across stone; his grunts of pain more so. “Far too weak,” the demon spat. Anger clouded Nicholas’ peaceful features. He let loose an animalistic growl and sprang for the possessed. She hissed and sliced, cutting through nothing more than fabric and a small bit of skin, though due to the hissing I’m certain the blade is poisoned. Without external aid, Nicholas will surely die. For some reason, some reason I'm not at all familiar with, I don't want to see that happen. Perhaps I have been studying with Gabriel too often as of late.

The demon’s taunting has frustrated me; half of what she says makes no sense. In less than a flash I shoved Azure through her back into her heart and Azalea through her throat. With a scream that could rival a banshee, black smoke erupted from the open wounds. Before I could with draw my blades and seal the wretched thing, it dissipated through the broken stained glass window.

The nun’s long dead remains crumpled to the ground. For an instant I am blinded by a sudden burst of flames, most likely a demon trick. When my vision returns the body is only a pile of ash. How pitiful the life of a mortal must be. To live and die and eventually be nothing more than a pile of ashes with not a single soul to remember you ever once existed.

“God damn demons,” Nicholas hissed. His blood dripped from between his fingers clenched around the wound on his arm. Demetrius sniffs at a gash on Nicholas’ arm before sitting back on his haunches and whining.

“Let me see,” I keep my voice calm and cool, picturing my words were a soothing river rather than just a simple gust of air. I must try harder than usual as worry has clouded my heart. It was a sickening emotion that I am not used to feeling in the slightest. Nicholas pulled away wincing as he goes. I make sure to huff indignantly as I stride behind the alter. A small vial of holy water, wrapped in a small velvet bag, sits just where I expected it to, just within the priest’s reach when he would stand for service. Gabriel once told me that holy water, when given just a small bit of magic, is the best antidote for any poison. He always did give good advice as such, worrying old goat. I took the bottle back to where Nicholas sat attempting to stop his bleeding and failing miserably.

“Let me see,” I say again, this time making the words more commanding. He pulled away once again. This made me angry; I wasn’t used to being disobeyed. I smashed my open hand against his slightly stubbly cheek. He turned back to face me with exaggerated slowness, anger glinted behind his brown eyes. The slight red tinge I found in his left eye was more prominent; it almost looked like his eye was bleeding. His nose wrinkled into a snarl. His mundane teeth were bared. I met his gaze, keeping mine as steady as Michael. I wondered if my eyes had faded to gray, they used to do that whenever I didn’t blink for a long period of time or whenever I was terribly frustrated with someone. Michael told me I had grown out of that quirk but occasionally I could see his features change to match mine, but mine hadn't shifted.

Nicholas finally relaxed, lifting his injured arm into my outstretched hand. “This will most likely sting like hell,” I told him softly pulling the cork from the vial out with my teeth. The water within shined blue as it came into direct contact with my holy powers.

“What is that stuff?” Nicholas asked. His voice rang with caution.

Letting a few drops fall onto the steaming cut I replied “Holy water.” He gritted his teeth with a sharp snap against the pain I’m sure the affects of the holy water on the poison caused. It took only a moment for the entire wound to close, leaving behind only a thin scratch where his skin had been sliced apart.

“What in hell?” he breathed in clear astonishment.

“The best medicine is usually overlooked as medicine at all,” I shrugged, “Take off your shirt,” He raised his eyebrows at me.

“A forward one aren't you?” He smirked. Chauvinistic bastard.

“Do you want me to let you die?” I stared back at him. Finally he groaned and pulled off his tunic. The gash on his stomach oozed poisoned blood. “Lean back,” I commanded. Nicholas did, his weight supported by his arms caused the muscles in his shoulders to bunch. I dripped some of the water onto the deep gash. Once the wound closed I leaned over him so that I could easily access his back. His gaze never left my face. I continued to heal his shoulder and other arm in turn. As I did this, I noticed three ragged, white scars running across his chest. I tried not to stare. I was not successful.

“Do you mind if I ask you a rather personal question?” he sounded sheepish as he looked out from under a curtain of pitch black curls. I sent forth a bit of my telepathy for a clue. Why the hell did you just ask that you dolt?! He thought.

“I suppose,” He gave me no clues, so I might as well go for it.

“Your eyes… they’re different colors, but not so much as to catch everyone else’s attention… Do you happen to know why they’re like that?” he started to fidget under my heavy stare. I paused to contemplate an answer. I couldn’t very well tell him my eyes were different colors. Because I was only half human and the other half of me was angel. He wouldn’t believe me and if he did it would definitely cause problems. Aye good one Nicholas, point out her only flaw. That's going to get her to treat you like a human being. He thought sarcastically. Why not just ask her to marry you right now, she'd probably respond better...

His gaze bore down through my insides making me wish I were home again. “Your eyes are different colors.” I shot back hoping to catch him off guard so he would drop the subject. It didn’t work. Aye but that's cause I'm a freak of nature...

“Yes, well yours are so much more…” he fished about for a word as I narrowed my eyes into a hateful glare. He caught sight and stopped. He knew he was treading on exceedingly thin ice. Beautiful. His thoughts found the missing adjective.

His earthen eyes looked up to stare into my sky ones. Pink embarrassment crept into my cheeks as I realized his eyes held me captive. Like soothing sand by the seaside, they melted my insides. With out think I leaned forward a bit.

“I don’t know,” I lied turning away, “I suppose I’m just a freak of nature.” Damn, I let his thoughts slip into my words. … That was ironic... I just thought... I shut off the connection quickly. Too quickly, I had to restrain a wince as the 'trap door' I kept over my abilities literally slammed in my face.

“No, no, no, that’s not what I meant… I didn’t mean to offend…” Demetrius barked his agreement to his master’s statement.

“Then you should watch your words more carefully,” Nicholas hung his head.

“I'm sorry,” He sulked for a moment. He really was like a child, easily embarrassed, overly regretful, foolish, and yet... there was a light about him that fascinated me.

“I forgive you,” I sighed, sitting back on my haunches. “But... If I may ask a question in turn?” My gaze flickered back to his chest where the scars stood out staunch white against summer tanned skin. Nicholas' gaze followed mine.

“My father,” he replied to my unspoken question. “He wasn't... well isn't, the most upstanding of men. He...” Nicholas struggled for words. “He liked his liquor and when he drank he would beat my mother and me. When I was ten he took the pitch fork into his fists. I jumped in front of my mother and...” He let the sentence hang.

“You suffered this for your mother?” I hesitantly drew a finger across one of the marks. Nicholas shivered under my touch.

“Of course, my mother's a wonderful lady. She's kind and gentle but as stubborn and strong as an ox. She's the only thing that keeps me from becoming like my father.” He chewed his bottom lip. “And that's the one thing I don't want to become.”

“I wish I knew what that was like.” What an odd thing for me to say. But he statement was true nonetheless. My tongue grows loose.

“What?” He tilted his head and so did his dog. They made quite a pair, it would have been funny were we not having a serious conversation.

“I wish I knew what it was like to have a mother I would risk my life for. Mine never paid me much mind. She would hand me off to the next... relative waiting for their turn to watch me.” I shrugged, the story of my life was never all that interesting. Unlike most sentimental mortals, I did not hold emotions connected to my past. It was the past and silly emotions could not and would not change it. So why should I linger in it.

“What about your father?” Nicholas prodded. He seemed to be fishing for something good in my life he could point out and make me smile with.

I thought about lying, making up a story. But he told me of his life, so I felt I should return the favor. “I've only met him twice in my life.” Vague enough to keep him blissfully ignorant but still the truth. “And then it was only for an hour or so.”

“I can't imagine.” He shook his head.“Were you ever lonely?” He gazed into my eyes, or rather through them, drawing toward him once again. I wondered if he knew of his compulsive skills.

“Oh no,” A grin replaced my usual stoney face. “I have my relatives. My uncle Micheal was one of my favorite tutors and Gabriel was almost like a sister to me. I was never alone.”

“Gabriel was like a sister to you?” He quirked an eyebrow.

I flushed at my thoughtless outburst. “He's a bit flamboyant.” I muttered.

Nicholas kept his expression the same, though after a moment his raised eyebrow started to quiver. I felt a giggle bubble up in my stomach and I tried to suppress it with a cold memory. I seem to be unsuccessful in most endeavors this night.

Demetrius ran up and down the pew causing me to erupt into peals of laughter. He was a very silly wolf pup for certain. Nicholas joined in my laughter as Demetrius began to chase his own tail. His laugh was hardy and reminded me of thunder. It was a pleasant sound, warm and perhaps one day it would become familiar.

Such a silly thought. Nicholas and familiar did not belong in my mind together.

Before too long my insane giggles melted into a yawn that consumed my whole face. Distantly I heard a bird begin to sing as beams of light ran brokenly through the cracked church glass.

“You should get some rest,” Nicholas smiled, “We did travel all night after all. I’ll wake you when the sun goes back down and we can decide what to do from there.” I stared at his smile for a bit before a coherent response could be formed. It was an odd smile, slightly lopsided but nice all the same.

“What about you?” as a human he needed the sleep more than I did. I've gone for days without sleep before and never lost an ounce of power.

“I’ll keep a look out for demons.” He suddenly glowered.

“You would be quickly overcome should one decide to appear.” I couldn’t stop the condescending tone from leaking into my words. Not that I cared, he was being a foolish mortal and I regarded foolishness with much disdain.

“Just because one demon caught me off guard doesn’t mean I’d be overcome the next time.” His eyes were narrowed and he looked, I’m not quite sure how to describe it, evil… “besides, if a demon came knocking on the door with you standing guard, it would eat you faster than you could say ‘mother of Jesus’.” He smirked as if the issue was resolved.

“Tell that to the demon that just left.” I said coating my words in honey and cream.

“Lucky break,” he scoffed.

“There is no such thing as luck in combat.” I sneered, “Only skill and victory or failure as it were.”

He scoffed, “And I suppose a sweet, innocent, lady such as yourself would get the training necessary to gain skill enough for victory against demons?”

“I see you are in need of another lesson,” I picked up Azure and slowly wove her pommel through my fingers. He froze, his eyes growing wide. He remembered being pinned to that tree. Though knowing humans like him, he assured himself my aim was off and I would have actually hit him if I could have. Ah conflicted men, how much fun I have breaking down their mindset of male superiority.

“No, I think I’m good.” He coughed. “But seriously, you should sleep. You look as if you might keel over at any moment.” His eyes were soft chocolate and pink roses tinted his cheeks. Damn those eyes. Haw dare he use them to hold me against my will.

“Scream if you so much as hear the ashes outside disturbed.” I sigh. With fluid movements I rise to my feet. I walked away, shoving down any unease I felt. As I wander from the main chapel to find a more suitable place to rest I could hear Nicholas mumbling to his pet. I didn’t hear him distinctly, I was out of ear shot for even my sensitive hearing.

I found my way to a small room with a simple bed. I supposed this was where the priest slept, it smelled of man and priests’ robes hung in an open closet. I was unsure Nicholas was truly up to the job of keeping watch so I set up a few wards below every entrance to the room. They would alert me to any sinister presence. I curled up in a ball under the blue quilt of the bed. Sleep came easily as it always did.

I waited till Isabella was out of ear shot before turning to Demetrius.

“If it’s not too much trouble, can I have a word with you?” I asked. My “wolf” hopped off the pew. Before his furry paws hit the ground they melted into booted feet and giant hands.

“Yes, my Prince?” he grumbles, running a hand through his mat of waist length pitch hair.

“Do you happen to know who decided it was a good idea to attack me and on who's orders?” I whispered, suppressing my urge to yell and slam his smug face into a pew.

“Lilith, on her own orders, most likely.” he said solemnly, though a slight smirk played at the corners of his face.

I breathed a frustrated sigh, “Of course it was... once our venture is over I will make sure she regrets it. What do you think of locking her in an iron maiden for three weeks?”

“She would most likely enjoy the experience, my Prince.” Demetrius said once again. He began to shift back to his pup form.

“I'm not done with you yet.” I growled, he reversed the effects of his shifting obediently.

“What else do you require?” He stood stoically, like a stone tower as he loomed over me. Quite a feat, seeing as I, myself, towered over most men by at least a head and a half.

“I was wondering about that holy water... I was taught that such things, holy things, would do nothing but harm me... how is it that the water nullified the poison and healed my wounds?”

“It is a mystery to me, my Prince,” he finally admitted, “It could be because of your human blood, or perhaps the girl had something to do with it. She's very odd, no?”

“Odd is an understatement. No mortal woman even so much as dares to look at a weapon let alone learn how to use one. She's quite the mystery.” I couldn't hold back the small smile that played at the corners of my mouth.

“Do you suspect she could be our quarry?” Demetrius rumbled, his hand resting on his hip where he kept the hilt of his sword.

“Hardly,” I scoffed, “I may be odd but she's not nearly... enough to be the One. I'm not even sure our prey exists.” I yawned before continuing, “The daughter of god? What a fantasy, the very idea is a joke. Her very existence would be contradictory. The purity of heaven mixed with the impurity of man? It's not possible.”

“Your existence is so different? Half human, half devil...”

“Two impure things combined make sense. I make sense...”

“Yes, my Prince... May I ask then, why are we following this girl? This Isabella? If she is so undoubtedly innocent, why don't we leave her and continue searching. Or better yet, we could kill her,” a wolfish grin oozed across his face.

“Because regardless of what I am, I don't wish to add to my sins by allowing her to go off alone into definite harm. These woods are crawling with pathetic demon spawn... doubtless she'd walk right into their filthy hands.” I hold back from raising my voice but only just. My eyes glinted slightly as my internal Hell Fire flared with the disgust I held for my adviser.

“If I didn't know better I'd have to say that you're taken with the girl. Good luck with that, my Prince. Your human heart might not make it out of her icy grip. ” Demetrius bowed and shifted quickly, signaling the end of our conversation.

“Rat bastard... running away... I'll make you pay for that last statement you son of a...” I grumbled to myself. “I'll show you taken.” My face burned cherry red, so I buried it in my arms as I lay back on the pew. Sleep followed me quickly though the pew was incredibly uncomfortable.
Demetrius paced around nervously. His demonic senses alerted him to the presence of supreme holiness close by. But where? He growled low in his chest, the girl... could she be?
And so the prophecy ensues.

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