Rich notes floated in the air as Dr. Truman step inside. Piano music. In the corner sat a large organ piano. Father Joseph watched as Julian's hands flew over the keys. Truman recognized it as Far from Home by Five Finger Death Punch. Joseph noticed Truman first.
"Welcome Truman. Thank you for coming so quickly," he said, and stuck out his hand.
Dr. Truman took it. "Thanks for calling." In a whisper, he added, "Did Julian say anything?"
"Just those demons wanted to know where an angel was and they attacked him." The teenager never even stopped playing. A serene expression permanently stayed on his feminine face. His full lip in a sensual pout. The only thing out of place were those scratches, frost bitten arms, and a bit of his right ear missing. His hair horrible disheveled and covered in snow, blond bangs tipped with blood.
"Julian, will you stop playing." It wasn't a question. "I need to check your wounds. And where's your jacket? It's thirty degrees," Dr. Truman said and grabbed his wrists. Julian seemed to finally notice the good doctor. "What happened?"
"Let me finish Doc," Julian said and moved out of Truman's grasp. He continued playing while explaining what happened. Dried blood caked in the wounds. "Then more demons attacked me and wanted to know where an angel was. But they never said which angel. They must be pretty important if demons want them."
Truman rummaged through a brown bag and unwrapped bandages. "You need to come back to the hospital. Your ankle looks bad." He was right. His sneaker had to be taken off because he could barely move it. Now an ice pack had been tied to his ankle with gauze. Julian pounded the final key.
"No. Church is the only place they can't get me," he said and let Truman rub peroxide on his ear. "May I spend the night Father?"
"There is an extra room in the back. I'll find some blankets." Truman quickly caught up with him at the door of a storage room. Julian's music continued to fill the old church.
"This isn't wise Father. He needs to be back at the hospital." Joseph dusted off a heavy blanket and faced Truman.
"He doesn't have anybody left. Let Julian think people still care about him." With that, he headed down a hallway. Truman was shocked. The boy's mother and step-father haven't been to the hospital in years but he assumed they spoke on the phone or wrote letters. He watched Julian play God Rest Ye Marry Gentle, looking as serene as ever. He knew he never interacted with other patients or nurses besides him, but he rather enjoyed speaking with strangers. Could he be that lonely?
Truman gave in and let Julian stay. Giving one final glance up, Julian grinned.
Truman called out, "Night. I'm picking you up in the morning. Seven O'clock sharp. You shouldn't walk on that ankle." Truman had no idea this would be the last time he saw Father Joseph or found Julian at this church. He tapped the steering wheel, classical music playing softly, as the red light blinked. Traffic at night is as bad as day time traffic. He waived prostates off and continued driving. St. Ann's homeless shelter came into view. So that's where Julian was born. It wasn't that well kept. How could they allow a child to be born there? That can't be good for child birth. Smoke curled like snakes escaping from the chimneys. He noticed a tall teenager boy with bright blond hair conversion with a middle aged African woman, probably the woman who owned the place. The teenager had an angelic appearance. His hair fell in soft golden curls past his shoulders.
The first thought that popped in Truman's mind was Michael, the Arc Angel. Their gaze met. Truman snapped his head forward when a truck's horn blared, and when he looked back, the teenager disappeared.
The room Father Joseph prepared was small and cold. A cot pushed in one corner. A widen trunk in another. A picture of Gabriel hung on the far wall besides a cross. Julian stripped, and changed in the ones Joseph laid out on the cot. A thick knit aqua sweater, black pants, and thick knit socks. One of the nuns probably made the sweater and socks.
A bronze skinned nun carried a tray in. On it was an antique tea set with a small plate of bread and bisects and a bowl of soup. Curtsy of Father Joseph. Father didn't have to go through all this trouble, he thought, and gingerly tipped the flowered tea pot. Steam rose and hot raspberry tea splashed over the side. Julian breathed in the smell, enjoying while it lasted, and shivered. Luckily, there was a small metal fireplace so he wouldn't freeze to death. Next to it a pile of wood, paper and matches. Julian crumpled the paper, made a tee-pee out of thin logs, and lit it, the logs and paper going up in flames.
Michael shouldn't have left. We need him here. But he's searching for our brother. We have word there is another angel on Earth, located in the same region of America as Gabriel. Yes but a fallen angel. This cannot be helped. This angel may be able to help.
Gabriel, God's messenger and known for his androgynous appearance. Julian dearly wanted these voices and demons to stop, but doctors said his mind was fragile. Fragile like glass. Nothing can reclaim in. Julian lit a candle and straightens himself. Father Joseph must have fallen asleep already because no sound echoed off the ancient stone walls. The wind howled like wolves running down the corridor.
Julian pressed his hands together when a brown package caught his eye. It lay on the tray and was small, unpinned a note and read.
Julian, this belonged to my sister. I obtain possession of it after she disappeared. Thought you might enjoy a Christmas present. Merry Christmas.
It was a beautiful silver cross plated in gold. On each end was a white pearl and in the center was a midnight blue sapphire. It hung on a long gold chain. He had never gotten such a present. James would never spend so much on a simple cross.
"I won't loss this. I promise," he whispered, lightly pressing it to his full lips.
"You're still awake?" Father Joseph questioned. He gave a small smile. "You opened it. Do you like it?"
Julian nodded and almost knocked Father Joseph over because he ran and hugged him.
"Yes Father!" Julian exclaimed. "But why? It belong to your sister. Wouldn't you want to keep it? In case she came back."
A grave smile formed. "She's been missing for over a year. They found her necklace-yes that one-in a pool of blood." He shook his head and then started leaving. But Julian ran out after him.
"Father, can I ask you something?"
Joseph stopped, his brown eyes meeting Julian's blue ones. "Yes. What is it?"
Julian tried blocked out the voices. "Why didn't Michael just kill Lucifer? I mean, wouldn't killing him mean he won't rise from Hell and start the Apocalypse?"
The Father wasn't baffled. The Brooklyn native asked questions like this all the time. Joseph took Julian's hands in his. "Lucifer is locked in hell. All the angels are watching Hell to make sure he won't escape. It's late now go to bed." For two hours, the teenager lay awake, actually letting the voices flow. Of course, they kept wondering why Michael left. Midway through spying (Julian called it helpful investigating) there was an enormous bang out front. He shot up in bed, and shoved the covers off, and tripped making his way to his door, craning his neck to get a better view without making a sound.
Who broke in? Surely they knew the Father of the church slept here. Plus there aren't many valuable things people can pawn. All the money was kept in a box until it was donated. It'd be pretty hard pawning a six foot, two hundred pound stone statue of Michael, I'd imagine, he thought.
Somebody shuffled along, a strange cling, cling sound followed. What was that? Whoever it was, they might be searching for something. Julian made his way towards the front of the church, towards whomever entered.
In moonlight, a black figure stood motionless. It was clearly a guy, dressed in all black. He's like a ghost. His skin was so pale and had an odd glow. Moving silently despite wearing heavy boots. Julian figured he could fight if he had too. Gangs had fun beating the hell out of female looking kids.
The stranger turned. The stranger had glowing honey eyes, bright eyes. He's probably younger than me. Maybe fifteen or sixteen. Who is this and what's with that weird glow surrounding him.
"Who are you? Why did ya breaking in?" Julian asked, his voice the calmest it's been in a long time.
"Are you Julian Valentine?" the stranger asked.
"Yeah," he said. "And you?"
"Call me Danny. Don't even think about beating me up. It's useless." He turned and heading towards the gray wall, glanced back, and walked straights through the stone wall. Julian's jaw hit the floor. What the hell? Another hallucination. What an insane day it's been: Demons, wounds that weren't supposed to be real, and some apparition of a teenager. Julian started back but a white feather caught his eye. It was a foot and a half long and pure white. Though at a tips it was black. Weird. That wasn't there earlier. Then again this city isn't normal.
Well what is normal? A cookie cutter home with two kids and a dog. Julian scowled at the idea. He knew perfect family life didn't exist, but that didn't mean he stopped loving his family. Once he placed a foot inside the room, he fully scrutinized the feather. There aren't any birds with feathers this long living here or with this weird coloring.
Julian placed it on a small nightstand, threw a thick log on the fire, and fell asleep.
He had no idea that right now, he was being talked about.
Miles away on the Brooklyn Bridge, a golden haired teenager walked lazily, long golden curls gnarled as wind whipped and the bridge swayed. The teenage boy stopped and lolled back against the railing, waiting. Even just standing there, girls stopped and hoped he'd go home with them. Each time, they were shut down. Now isn't a good time for pleasure. There were better things to think about than being with a mortal woman. If a mortal gazed up at the sky, they wouldn't see the stars because of the intense lights.
Though Michael wasn't exactly human. As more time passed, less and less cars traveled. Michael seemed to be waiting for somebody or something because all he did was stand there gazing at the heavens, muttering words in an ancient language. Suddenly, a loud bang ran throughout the bridge. The honey eyed teen boy stuffed his hands in his pocket and wore a somber expression as he walked next to Michael. The stranger had on a black blazer, a black My Chemical Romance teen shirt, black pants held by a black studied belt and black boots. His neck was slightly bent and he had a small tick.
"You're late Danny." Michael sighed.
Danny's face stayed emotionless. "I have a job you know. Death doesn't like his Reapers slacking off and the other Reapers don't even like me."
Michael inhaled a huge breath of air. "Did you find him?"
"Yeah. If you Arc Angels are so friendly," Danny said friendly with lots of sarcasm, "why didn't you meet this Julian kid?"
"Sorry but there were more pressing matter to attend to. You were the closest person I could find. What did he tell you? Is he with Lucifer?"
Danny shrugged. "Not much but his name. He doesn't seem to believe what he sees."
"Were his wings completely black?" Michael asked quickly. He ignored the last part Danny said.
"Yes, they were as ghastly as Kano's."
Michael narrowed his eyes, "Don't mention that traitor's name. We cut him off because he rebelled and killed two of our brothers. But right now we need everyone. Even if they're fallen."
As Michael set a foot on the railing, thirty foot wings flapping, Danny called, "How's your search for Gabriel? Find him yet? Is he even alive? Nobody can find him. What makes you think you'll find him when no other can?"
The angel lashed out. "Shut up Daniel! Gabriel isn't dead. I'd know it. And what do you know anyway?" They really didn't get along. Even though they've helped eachother in several occasions, they never really spoke to each other. Danny rarely speaks to other people.
Danny opened his mouth to fight back, but another voice stepped in. "Danny, don't you have a job to do?" A man in his forties appeared. He had long black in a pony-tail and wore a black suit. An ashen horse wearing a black saddle and reigns trotted behind. A black scythe was tied at the stranger's belt.
Danny disappeared in thin air. "Death, aren't you supposed to be in California. For that earthquake you planned for tomorrow." Death pulled on the reigns of the horse.
"When one of my reapers isn't doing his job and an Arc Angel is harassing him, I have to check out." Death stepped forward. "Don't act like I'm stupid Michael. There are more demons that ever and your brother is still missing. A brother, I might add, you were every close to." He placed a pale hand on the railing beside's the angels. "But don't make my Reapers do you're dirty work. Remember Daniel isn't very fond of you. He was once human."
Michael lowered his gaze. "We need this…Julian Valentine. He's one of the few fallen angels who probably isn't working for Lucifer," the Arc Angel said and finally climbed on the railing, wings fully spread out. They were three times his height and an off white. "If he cooperates, he won't be so severely punished."
"Listen, I've been around a lot longer than you have and killed billions of people. Don't think because you're an Arc Angel you are all powerful," Death whispered, "And can do anything you want."
Michael scowled. "I just do what God tells me."
A strong blew just as Michael fell. The wind picked up his wings, which started flapping, and Michael was flying up to the sky.
Death watched until Michael flew above the clouds. Angels. This is why I like Reapers. Then he climbed on the ashen colored horse. California here I come.
Julian shot up in bed, sweating. He just had a very disturbing dream. He was being held down by demons as a young man with curly brown hair tortured his mother and father in front of him. For years, he's had very strange dreams like this. There was a knock and Father Joseph figure stood in the doorway. Truman was here. Julian dressed, thinking about the dream. Who was that stranger in his dream? The Michael Statue seemed to be watching Julian when he turned back.
What it would be like to be an angel. To have people worship you and have power. Michael pointed his sword towards the sky as he flew. Michael, please protect me from these demons, Julian thought, closing his eyes. He had no idea that the Arc Angel was listening in. On their way out, Julian kept fiddling with the cross.
Truman noticed. "Where did you get that?"
"Father Joseph. It's a Christmas present. It belonged to his sister," Julian said and smiled. "I think it's the nicest present I've got." Truman remembered the case. They drove in silence the rest of the way. As Julian looked out the window, he swore he saw a person with large white wings flying above the building tops.