this was the first official novel i ever wrote
it sucks a lot i think? but you guys might think differently im not entirely sure about that
uuuuuuuuuuuuh whatever i'm posting it i guess
it's all finished so expect regular and fast updates
The moon was shining through the stained glass like a giant spotlight. It was full that night, blocking out the light from the millions of stars that littered the sky. Out here, in the middle of nowhere, the sky sparkled with a thousand crystals hanging in the blackness, so clear that you thought you could just reach up and grab one.
I walked through the isle, gliding my fingertips on the tops of the pews. The altar looked menacing, towering, and almost evil. But it was just the darkness, transforming the world into a set for a horror movie. The organ looked outlandish, touching the ceiling with its golden pipes.
A nun was slowly walking to each pew, replacing bibles and songbooks. She was the only other person in the church, in the middle of this dark night, on the very outskirts of town. Cornfields surrounded us. If they came to attack, we'd have nowhere to go. We could always go up, I supposed, but that wouldn't go over too well with me. She wasn't exactly a supermodel; she'd be hard to carry.
I was a foot from the altar, and I bent down on one knee. I bowed my head, seemingly praying, but I was glancing over my shoulder. Behind me, the light of the moon flickered, and my heart skipped a beat. A tree? No, we were in the middle of a field. A bird? No, it was far too large a shadow. Then what . . . . ?
Christmas Eve. A deserted church, in the middle of nowhere. Why wouldn't they come here? I set myself up for disaster on purpose, of course. There wasn't another way to get them to come out. Though, coming here with another person near me would hinder my fighting and make me less reckless. I couldn't work as well trying to protect someone.
Trying to hide myself, I slipped out my knife dipped in qeres. I took a deep breath and waited.
The nun screamed.
I spun around, my knife pointed to the floor. I saw two, giant black wings and didn't think as I charged the thing in front of me. My blade hit its mark, until I was interrupted.
Another one of them jumped in front of me. It screeched, ruffled its wings, and drew its claws. I shook off my shock, hardened my eyes, and stabbed forward.
It swiped at me, catching my shoulder and making a deep gash. I felt it slice through muscle and heard it slash through skin. I cringed as tears sprung to my eyes, but I managed to pierce the heart despite my pain.
The screech was unbearable. I covered my ears as it fell to the ground, writhing in pain. The wings crumpled, turned to dust, and then the rest of the body followed. Nothing was left but a pile of ashes.
Suddenly, the nun's scream struck my reality cord and I lunged at that one, slicing instead of stabbing. It wasn't very happy about that, because it took to the air, rising up to the top of the chapel, ready to dive bomb.
"Get down!" I shouted to the nun. She had tears streaming down her face, and she was whimpering like a baby. I rolled my eyes and pushed her under a pew roughly. She fell with a clatter, and I rolled out of its path.
It dove down and struck a pew, wood splinters flying. One hit my cheek, and I wiped the blood off with my sleeve, grimacing at the sting. I gripped my knife and ran it through, getting black ashes stuck to my blood-stained shoulder.
The ashes blew around me, and a screech like nails on a chalkboard filled the air, before it dissipated into the darkness.
Then, it was totally silent.
It took a few seconds for the pain to register in my shoulder before I collapsed to the ground in pain. I had no way to heal it; the shadows in there simply weren't dark enough. I had to find my way out into the woods, but the moon was full. I hadn't thought about not having any shadows to use.
The nun was whimpering in the corner. I walked to her, trying to keep my footsteps light so I wouldn't show how hurt I was. I covered the wound with my waffle-comb shirt, and reached out to her shoulder.
"Ma'am?" I asked. "It's alright. They're gone now."
She sobbed, muttering something like, "What were they?"
I couldn't tell her. It would destroy her heart to know what they really were. After all, she was religious, and I'm sure she didn't think any of this was possible. So, I did the best I could.
"They're gone now. Please, come with me; we have to get out of here."
In a daze, she followed me to my father's car and we pulled out the parking lot. I kept the speed at a minimum, mostly because I had a senior in the vehicle with me, but also because if one of them came out in front of my car, then I wanted to have more reaction time.
"Where are we going?" she asked, now calm. She was going into shock, I was sure of it.
"To the hospital."
"I'm not hurt."
"I want them to check on you. Just in case."
It took us a good half an hour to get to the ER, and I ran every red light I was able to. What a Christmas present, I thought in my head. Poor woman; she should have been home with her family, not out battling these things.
When we pulled into the parking lot, I parked under a low-hanging tree. The shadow was dark and thick, and I felt power surging into me. I decided to preserve my power, though, as healing in front of a human who might already be in shock wasn't the best way to go about things.
"Ma'am," I said as I helped her out. I looked directly into her eyes, using the shadow around me as and aid. "You got attacked by a group of men and I saved you, but not before I got stabbed by one of them. They ran off and you didn't see their face. You were walking home. Correct?"
Her eyes got misty and she nodded. My control was coming from the shadows, obviously. It allowed me to use my powers to their full extent. I helped her out of the passenger's seat and we rushed inside.
The light from the fluorescents made me feel powerless. But there was no way I'd have enough shadow to heal tonight; I needed human help, as much as I hated to admit it.
A nurse at the front counter saw my badly bleeding shoulder and her eyes widened. "What on Earth happened to you?" I could tell she was new at this job.
I glanced at my shoulder, getting lightheaded already from loss of blood. I was woozy, but not too disoriented to be able to communicate. "Stab wound," I muttered. "I need to get this woman into someone's care; she might be going into shock."
The nurse agreed, not taking her eyes off my shoulder. I wondered what she was thinking then. Did she think I was crazy? Did she think I was a troublemaker? The thoughts of humans confused me sometimes. She went behind a pair of doors and came out seconds later with a man at her side.
He wordlessly took the woman into the back hallway, while someone came behind me and guided me to another room, where they patched up my shoulder.
I was sitting in bewilderment, not paying attention to my surroundings. Another night, I supposed. Was it ever going to change? I zoned out as I tried to remember the last night I had gone without collected any qeres. It had been far too long, in my personal opinion. When would I get to stop my sins?
"So, what happened to you?" I vaguely heard a doctor's assistant say to me.
"Angels," I answered back instinctively. "They don't like me very much."
He harshly laughed once, and then went back to wrapping my wound.
Of course, he didn't know how utterly serious I was.
"Wait here," the nun told me as I was about to go home, to regroup before I went back out hunting. "I want you to meet my daughter. She should properly thank you for saving me."
I smiled and stayed silent, noting the paternal instincts this woman had. She probably spent half her life teaching her daughter manners. I supposed it wouldn't hurt to meet her offspring, but I knew I had to get home soon.
Seeing my anxious face and my body language that showed I was dying to leave this place, she said, "Don't worry, they called her when they were bandaging you up. She should be here-"
"-Now, mom," said a lean woman, who was standing in the doorway. Her hair was a mousy brown, and she had bags around her gray-blue eyes. A girl appeared behind her, and she had wheat-colored hair accompanied her mother's eyes. She looked to be about seventeen. For some reason, she was uncannily familiar to me. I shook of the feeling and said, "Hello. You must be this woman's daughter?"
The woman came up to me and shook my hand, nodding to answer my question. "Thank you so much for saving her. I'm Elena. I heard about what happened. The doctors called as soon as you brought her in. I don't know how I'll ever thank you! Can you tell me your name?"
(I hadn't really stopped to think, but I know now that the grandmother had become a nun in her later years, after she had a daughter. She had a sudden realization sent from Christ and decided she wanted to wear the black cloak.)
I smiled, my mind flipping through fake names. "Drake."
"Well, Drake," she said, "You really are a good kid. I mean, all you went through just to protect my mother . . . it's simply unbelievable."
The blond girl gasped. "You're hurt!"
She was staring at my shoulder wound with her piercing eyes. Subconsciously, I attempted to hide it. "It's . . . just a scratch."
The girl looked at me with skeptical eyes and she seemed to be thinking about why I would lie like that. I shifted my weight uncomfortably.
We stayed there for a while as she asked me general questions about myself. Where I lived, where I went to school, what I wanted to do with my life. I lived down the road and went to Sanctuary High. My life ambition was to do something in the outdoors, like be a Park Ranger. Lie, lie, lie . . . I wondered if I would ever be able to tell the truth without worrying for my life, or my eternity.
"Lisa," Elena said to her daughter. "You have to be getting home. I'll stay with Mum-mum, but I know you have homework to do over break."
Lisa sighed, which blew a little of her golden hair out of her face. "Fine. I guess so."
She walked up to me, looking at me like she totally didn't believe any part of my story for a second. She had good reason not to. I don't even trust myself anymore. She held out her tiny, pale hand and said, "Thanks for saving my grandma."
I glanced into her blue-gray eyes and tried to read her thoughts, even though I knew I couldn't. I shook her hand gently. "It's not a problem, really."
Her mother brought out a phone. "I'll get Mrs. Nerthorton to pick you up. I still have to stay here."
An idea popped into my head. If the Fallen were after this woman, who's to say they weren't after her grandchild? I couldn't take chances like that, not this far in the game.
"I'll take her home," I piped up suddenly. "I have my father's car right outside."
Her mother glanced at me, then her daughter. "Are you sure? I mean, she's quite the burden."
Lisa glared at Elena. "I can handle it."
"Awesome," I said, reaching into my pocket for the keys. "Let's go."
It was quite the trek out to the car, as I hadn't parked that close to the hospital. She walked along the sidewalk, chattering idly. I wasn't really listening. To be honest, I was glancing around to see if there were any shadows out of place. I was very terrified something was going to come out at us and grab us.
Usually, my instincts are right. This was no exception.
"Drake!" I heard Lisa scream. I swerved around, knowing this would happen, and that's when I saw them.
The first was female. She had long, black hair and her skin was a deathly pale that contrasted with her flowing dress. She gave me a wry grin when I readied my blade.
"Hello, Daisul," she said with a sugary-sweet voice. "Long time, no see."
Suddenly, I recognized her. "Ch-Belial?"
Cackling followed. I narrowed my eyes at her haughtiness, knowing that she was just trying to intimidate me. "Didn't remember me? I wouldn't think so. I am a bit different."
On the contrary, I remembered her quite well. She was in of my garrison, back when I was in Heaven. She had obviously Fallen. Her usually vibrant but onyx-colored hair had a loss of life to it. Her skin, which was usually so bright and smooth, was now pale and pitiful, as if she hadn't seen sun in days.
"Daisul?" Lisa said quietly, confused. "Who . . . . ?"
I mentally kicked myself. She'd be asking about that one from now on. That is, of course, if I got us out of this mess. I started running plays through in my head like a football coach, trying to figure out a way around her minions to get to her.
There were two other Fallen next to Belial. One seemed to take up so much space he looked like a giant wall, towering over my teenaged body. The other was just as large, but had a less threatening feel about him, as if he was new to the way Fallen lived. I felt smaller just looking at them.
Belial glanced at the two Fallen, raised her eyebrows, and they had Lisa in their arms before I could even move a muscle. They were a double threat: strong and fast. My hand clenched around my knife, ready to slice through their arms to get to her.
"This girl is of great importance, Daisul," she chimed. Her sickeningly sweet voice rang through my ears. "She is needed by the Fallen."
I scowled menacingly. "Really? Why is that?"
"For reasons you could not possibly understand," Belial responded. It was short for saying she was hiding something from me.
"Just let her go," I pleaded, trying not to sound desperate. "What did she do? She's just a girl."
"A girl who just happens to be involved with those who haven't fallen yet," she told me.
This made me think. "Lisa? She's . . . a girl whose grandmother I just rescued from your kind."
"My kind?" Belial scoffed. "They're your kind, too. And you mean my garrison."
"Garrison," I scoffed. Her expression changed from cockiness to exasperation. "You're Fallen, Belial. You couldn't be in a garrison even if you tried, let alone run one."
She smiled at me. "A garrison doesn't necessarily have to mean God's garrison."
My eyes hardened. "You're forming an army. You're planning something."
"See, there you go," she squealed with excitement. "You finally figured it out! Now if you don't mind, we're taking the girl. Toodles!"
I flung my knife in a frantic attempt to save Lisa. It impaled one of the Fallen holding onto her arm. Just as I had hoped, the monster let out a screech that could be heard for miles as it revealed its true form in the moonlight.
Black wings shot out of the back of the suit he was wearing, tearing fabric and spewing black blood everywhere. His skin became grotesque, and as the shriek faded, he was reduced to a pile of ashes.
"Qeres," Belial whispered. "Where did you get that, I wonder?"
"You could not possibly understand."
I quickly re-dipped my knife and stabbed the other Fallen, receiving the same effect. Now there were two piles of ashes and one Belial, standing in fear.
She glared at me. "This isn't over yet, Daisul."
"Oh, I think it is," I seethed, tossing my knife. It would have been a bull's eye right in her forehead had she not dissipated. My knife clattered against the sidewalk behind her lingering form, and then there was silence.
I turned to see Lisa, shivering and wide-eyed. I looked at the two piles of ashes, my knife, and then her. This was probably the scariest moment of her life.
"What . . . " she began, "Just happened?"
I bent over and grabbed the knife, sheathing it in my belt. "The Fallen."
"And who're they?" she asked incredulously.
"They're fallen angels," I said quite simply. "They disobeyed and got cast down. They became demons in Hell. Then they climbed out and are wreaking havoc on the Earth as a sort of punch in the face to Heaven. I have to kill them for my own redemption. Make sense so far?"
"Hey, you asked what happened."
"And . . . and how did you kill them? Make them burn to ashes like that?"
"Easy," I shrugged. "Qeres. It's this substance the Egyptians used in their mummifications. You know, the ones who built the pyramids. It was used to provide the first breath of the after-life, and it's a lethal poison to angels, fallen or just normal."
"You expect me to believe that?"
"Well, it's the truth. You don't have to believe it. But you asked for the truth."
She shook her head. "I don't understand."
"We can't just stand here. We have to keep moving, but I don't think it's safe to go to your house now that I know they're looking for you."
"Why? Why me?"
"Probably because you have something to do with angels. I don't know, because I don't know you." I mulled over her importance for a moment as she, frustrated, ran a hand through her hair. "Though, this is very interesting."
"So, where do we go?"
"The safest bet would be my house. My adoptive father and I are experts at this kind of stuff."
She put her hands on her hips. "You just expect me to accept this?"
"Of course not. You should be completely skeptical of this. But if you don't come with me, then you're dead."
"Dead?!" she half-shouted. "An hour ago I was studying for a Geometry exam!"
I sighed, starting to walk towards my house. "Welcome to my life."
We started walking down the sidewalk again, and she began rambling a lot more than she was before. It was mostly just about how crazy this was, how crazy I am, and how crazy everything else is. She liked the word crazy.
"That . . . lady. She called you Daisul. You're name isn't Drake?"
I bit my lip. "Yeah. Sorry I lied. It's just that Daisul isn't a very common name."
"No, that's okay. I understand. But how did she know you?"
"If this makes sense, I'm a Fallen."
She threw her hands up, as if she had enough of all of this crap. "But I thought you were trying to kill them?"
"No. See, I disobeyed a few hundred years ago-"
"Is 'what' your favorite phrase or something?"
"A few hundred years! You look seventeen!"
I smiled a little. "I can make you see whatever I want. You don't want to see the real me."
"So, you could make yourself look older?"
I cringed. The first time I tried to change my appearance I couldn't stand up for days. "It's pretty painful. I haven't changed in a while. But in theory, yes."
"Wow," she breathed. "I wish I could do that. But anyway, you were saying?"
"Oh, yes. I disobeyed, and I was cast down to Hell. Eventually, if you spend enough time in Hell, you become a demon."
"That's a pretty big transition."
"It's also painful."
She winced. "Is everything about this painful?"
"Just about everything, yeah. So, eventually, I crawled out. I decided I never wanted to go through with that again and set a goal to do something no demon has ever done."
"Redemption. I wanted to get back up to Heaven. So I started killing the Fallen. They were the atones for my sins."
She stayed silent for the rest of the way. I assumed she was trying to wrap her mind around the fact that a demon was trying to get back into Heaven. It's a thing most people wouldn't consider.
We approached my house, which had an appearance that may scare people off from the start. It was old, maybe two centuries, with gothic structure and towering two stories high. It was completely symmetrical, so each window had a companion. The build was stone, and inside, the floor slanted. It wasn't much, but it was home.
"Whoa," Lisa said. "That's your house?"
"It certainly fits the demonic nature."
I grinned. "It's not that creepy, is it?"
I opened the front door, careful not to step on the creaky floor board. We almost made it unnoticed and into the kitchen where the stairwell was. Unfortunately, Lisa placed her footing in the wrong place, and we were discovered.
"Daisul?" my father called. "What are you doing home this late?"
"I, uh, brought a friend home."
He rushed in; his spectacles fell a little off his face and his hair was a bit disheveled. He had obviously been studying his angel history, because this is how he got when he never understands something he's working on.
"Daisul?" he asked. "Who's this?"
She waved a little. "Lisa. I was sort of dragged into this."
My father gave me a barely tolerant glance. "What did you do?"
"Dad, it's not my fault. These Fallen showed up, and they took hold of her, and they told me that I had to hand her over, and-"
He put his hand up. "We'll discuss this later. In the meantime, what shall we do with the girl?"
"Can't she stay?"
"Well, apparently, the Fallen want her. Is that safe?"
I shook my head dismissively. "I can take them."
"You're not that strong, Daisul. Even I know that. However, we can't throw her in the streets, so she can stay in the guest room."
"What do I tell my mom?" Lisa asked me cautiously. "I can't just tell her I'm here; she'll flip out. And it's a Thursday night."
I shrugged. "Turn your phone off so she can't call you. It's safer for her to worry."
As I led her up the stairs to the guest room, she said, "That's another thing. If you're so sure you can take these Fallen, then how come I have to be here? Why are we taking so many precautions?"
"Because Belial isn't an ordinary Fallen," I said. "She's more powerful than you can imagine. It's too risky to leave you out in the open."
"I won't be out in the open if I'm in my house."
"Lisa, I said no. I'm simply looking out for your safety."
She opened the door to the guest room and looked around. The room itself was painted burgundy, and there were two windows on the west side. It was dark, but there was a warm bed to the east wall and the room was small and comfortable. "I sleep here, right?"
She turned to me. "You've got a nice place. It's a bit dark and depressing, but it's classy."
"Classy, but depressing. An interesting combination."
"Take it or leave it."
I grinned at her. "Good night, Lisa. Tomorrow, I'll make sure you can head home."
She glanced away and lowered her voice substantially. "Okay. I hope you can."
I shut the door, wondering if I was telling her that or if I was convincing myself.