"Let it be known that no lesser angel may father nor bear any child of human or demon heritage.
Children found of such disgrace will be cast to the playground and their maker to purgatory. There is no hiding from the council or Our Father."
Sinners will be found and severely punished.
"Should we really be concerned over this?" Kali asked while leaning against the wooden railing. Her eyes were focused on the little boy running around the front of the house. "I know he's grown faster than we've anticipated but I think we would've noticed a small pair of fangs by now."
"That's sort of the point though, isn't it?" I sighed softly.
It's been nearly two weeks and he continues to grow remarkably- if not impossibly- fast. In fact, his growth was starting to cause stress across the entire island and all of it's inhabitants, and how could it not? Kylan was accepted as a member of their family without having their blood run through his veins. In their eyes, he wasn't just the heir of the Mahona family. No, apparently our son was next in-line to lead and protect an entire species.
Of course, that was only if we could prove Kylan hadn't inherited the most damning trait of ancient blood.
"Well," She let out a deep sigh. "I guess we could try triggering it, if you're really worried about it."
"He's running around and talking like a toddler," She said while giving me a sympathetic look. "You said his fangs would've developed within the first few months, right?"
"He's not a toddler." How could she not understand that he was only two weeks old?
There were no other creatures like him in existence, and no one to seek answers from. Our son was just, simply, a mystery to the both of us… and a very large concern, especially if he developed the my taste for blood.
"We've checked his teeth hundreds of times in the last few hours," She reached out for my hand, her gaze growing softer after each passing second. "He doesn't have any pain in his mouth and he hasn't shown any interest in blood of any kind- human, animal or otherwise."
"Yet," I stressed almost instantly. "His appetite could be far worse than anything we've ever experienced if you continue to ignore the dangers of having decided to allow me to bring any sort of child into this world."
"I'm not ignoring anything," Her eyes narrowed as she squeezed my hand, but her message was loud and clear. "I take our son's life very seriously but I just don't believe he's inherited the trait you're burdened-"
Kylan soared past the patio, squawking in unison with the birds in the sky. His arms were stretched out enthusiastically, doing his best to mimic the actions like Kali had taught him.
"Mom, look!" He shouted with a huge smile across his face. "I'mma bird too, see! Caaaaaaaaaw!"
In a fit of frustration, Kali slammed the metal door shut behind her as I managed to quickly slip the small blanket behind my back and out of her view. The rough and loud sounds of the train moving on the tracks had easily overpowered my heavy breathing. Quickly, my companion moved her ear against the door for a better listen but I doubted her ability could extend so far. She might've been the best in her family, but she couldn't possibly hear over the train and all of its screaming passengers. There was no way she'd get an exact location on our pursuer, not like this.
"I hope you're not going to question my impeccable talents for the entire duration of this trip," I felt myself starting to smile at her words as Kali rolled her eyes and moved her head off the door. "Do me a favor and try not to feel so much doubt when you're standing so close to me. Coming from you, it really rubs me wrong and I'm not a huge fan of how that feels."
"Or you could try not looking into every little thought in my head," My smile grew. "Believe it or not, there are boundaries with these sorts of things and not everything I feel is actually meant for you to tune in at any moment of your choosing."
"If I wasn't supposed to, Michael wouldn't have given me the power to do it." Kali shook her head briefly, dismissing the subject and focusing on everything else going on outside of our own train cart.
In her silence, I took the opportunity to look at our surroundings. There had been small and large crates piled all around the train cart, even some opened boxes harboring what looked like fine winery. I approached one of the opened crates, wanting to take a better look and pull out one of the clear glass bottles of dark red liquid. It was corked and slightly dusty, though the container itself was in pristine condition.
"Nothing in those bottles could compare to spiced rum," Kali commented while I set the wine back into the box and turned around to face her.
"For someone without a sense of taste, maybe, but perhaps a glass of this particular wine will keep you out of my head for a few minutes?"
"You know, you spend many lifetimes with someone, and they still nag you over something you've done each and every day." The ashen haired beauty commented with a rather charming smile and it was the first smile of hers that I'd seen in… well, it didn't matter because I'd gladly let her bully me if it meant that it would keep her smiling. "I mean, really, you'd think they'd just let it go already but no. They just bitch about it… and then again, and again and again and again and-"
"You're a bit meaner than usual," I cut off the creature before she could finish. If she ever planned on finishing, that is.
"You think I'm being mean?" Kali's words suddenly grew warmer as she leaned forward and stared at me with a gentle gaze of affection. "Well at-least I know that you won't leave me for being a complete bitch, not that I'd actually care if you left."
"Well if you don't care then perhaps I should," The words rolled off my tongue just as her eyes began to radiate their familiar red glow, revealing her true feelings on the subject. She didn't appreciate such thoughtless words, but then I didn't very much appreciate her thoughtlessness either, not that either of us could ever stop our words from daggering the other.
"I didn't mean that," I attempted to reassure her as I reached for her hand and squeezed tightly. "I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry too," She answered softly, pecking my nose with a gentle kiss. Her eyes slowly began to dim out, returning to their original light blue as she squeezed my hand back.
Before I could answer back, her nose twitched and her expression suddenly twisted in pain. "Ash, I swear to-!"
Realizing that she knew, I scrambled but she proved to be much faster. Angrily, Kali reached behind me, and snatched the small cover from my hand and far out of my reach.
In one swift motion, she rose her hand and gestured for me to simply remain silent. Quietly, she brought the material to her face and took a gentle whiff. Her expression fell momentarily as she swallowed hard to try and keep herself in check. Every fraction of her soul seemed to be in more pain than she cared to let on, but I could feel her struggling with how to approach the situation.
"Where did you get this?" She started sympathetically before her words grew harsh. "You know, what? I don't even care where you found this! His scent attracts the very worst of them all, so why in the world would you think to bring this thing with us?"
"It's the last thing we have left!" I raised my voice to her as she narrowed her eyes at me. "There's nothing left of our house, Kali! All of it– every picture, every little thing- burned to ashes!"
"I don't care if the fucking island had gone with it, you're not keeping this cursed thing!" She growled as her grasp on the blanket tightened. "Listen to me, your obsession over this is doing more harm than good. Whatever happened that day doesn't matter now, Ash. It was a freak accident, ok? That's it. We're not talking about this anymore."
"Kali, you cannot keep brushing this off!" I argued. "This wasn't some freak accident that-!"
Her eyes and voice rang with frustration. The voice of an alpha's sheer power alone shook me from the very core so much that even her canines had revealed themselves and attempted to intimidate me further. She was finished talking about it and she wanted me to be done with it too.
"Y-you just don't get it, do you?" Her tone suddenly became pleading and desperate as her voice cracked and betrayed her. "I literally can't talk about this with you, Ash. Please just stop carrying around all his stupid blankets and stupid toys, and whatever other stupid things you took before you ran off! I get that you want to hold on to him, I do, but I can't stand seeing you so obsessed with this idea you have in your head! It was an accident, Ash. That's it!"
As I parted my lips to speak, I found her palm pressed firmly against my mouth and a finger of her own gesturing me to keep silent. Suddenly both of our bodies sliced through the air, moving at an incomprehensible speed and blurring my vision entirely.
Someone's here. Her voice echoed through the depths of my mind as my body had landed against some large vertical crate. Despite our argument, she had one arm wrapped tightly around my waist to keep me well under her own protection.
The similar shrieking sounds of fingernails to a chalkboard drove goosebumps all across my body as I cringed, though Kali's body had only become tense to the noise.
"Smell that?" A rough and mature man's voice growled as one of the doors flew open. "The shapeshifter is definitely closer than before."
Shapeshifter? Seriously? Kali's irritation echoed as I stared at my wife with astonishment. Of all the things going on in our life right now, the fact that they had called her a 'shapeshifter' seemed to piss her off the most.
"The magic grows stronger as well," A more sinister and feminine voice chimed in.
She has an affinity for the ancient craft. I thought as Kali gave a brisk nod, confirming that she had heard the woman as well.
Guess they're not just tracking me… they're tracking you too.
"Kill the shapeshifter if you'd-"
I tried to grab a hold of her, but she had already moved out of my reach and out of hiding. All I could do was watch from the side-line as the color of her eyes turned bright and bold. Because of our bond, I could see the white-coated beast within her. The ghostly sight of a sabre-tooth tiger had been ripping violently at her soul, desperately trying to claw it's way out and be given the pleasure of killing them where they stood.
"Careful," The female warned her brute of an ally. "This one may not be an alpha, but she seems stronger that any other shapeshifters we've encountered."
"Alphas are no stronger than the ones I've already choked the life out of." The large male growled before directing his words to Kali. "You've got the scent of a child I've been tracking but you're obviously not the kid's parent, right? Why not give the brat over to me, huh?"
"There are no children here," I swallowed hard as I stepped out and allowed my entire right arm's nerves to begin burning. The sensation caused my fingers to tingle and numb, keeping my talent at bay as I stared into the eyes of those who thought it wise to threaten either of us.
"But there is an ancient artifact around your neck," The woman acknowledged with a twisted smile, her hands glowing with a pale yellow light. "Perhaps you can explain to me how you came across such a rare gift?"
"My amulet isn't worth your lives," I tried to reason with them both. "Walk away from this and find another to-"
Suddenly, Kali appeared behind the shapeshifter. Though her eyes were bright, they were completely vacant with who she was and filled with the eyes of a darkness that I remembered all too well. Before either of them could turn around, Kali had already sank her canines mercilessly into his neck and ripped his limbs without so much as the slightest hesitation. The fur of her tiger's spirit was drenched in the shapeshifter's blood and, to my surprise, Kali's eyes flashed with her once buried cannibalistic hunger.
"I really don't like when people threaten my family," Kali's voice held no emotion as she turned onto our final pursuer.
Before she could perform the final blow, I shot my entire arm out. The sudden burning sensation quickly livened with vivid blue sparks erupting from my flesh and engulfing the arm as a fine lash of electricity rocketed past Kali and all across the cart. As it came into contact with its target, a flash blinded us all momentarily.
The woman collapsed lifelessly with the burning of an archangel's mark melting into her once flawless skin. Like lightning, I left my mark on all of my victims and watched as every nerve in her body became sickly visible. I looked away quickly and took a deep breath, trying to focus on anything but this woman's corpse. Taking her life was a mercy compared to what Kali might've had in mind for her.
"What a waste of time," Kali said almost as if she were bored. I glanced up only to find that the red-eyed alpha had lost complete interest in the situation and had been wiping the blood from her mouth with the back of her hand. "You'd think they'd send someone capable of lasting at least a few seconds longer against us. Anyone would've been funner than a mutt."
"You found this entertaining?" I asked in disbelief, turning my head to look at her and what I found was a hollow shell of the woman I loved.
She didn't answer.
She just looked elsewhere.
But it didn't make a difference because I already knew the answer.
The corruption of Eden and her past life as a slave could never truly be forgotten. A darkness like the one inside of her doesn't just fade over time. We may have curbed her taste for the flesh of her kind over the centuries but looking at the empty monster before me…
I could clearly see that that was no longer the case.
My vision was wiped and all I could hear was an eerie, discomforting silence only to be followed by a distinct high pitch ringing. I grasped onto the closest thing near me, desperate to shield myself from the gunfire that I knew was happening all around me but I couldn't see more than a few inches from my face. I was in the middle of a war-zone, and I still couldn't believe the horrendous timing to hear the sound of my mother's voice.
The sound of my name echoed faintly, barely becoming audible but just loud enough to know someone I knew had found me. I shook my head in an attempt to shake off the dizziness, waiting momentarily before I had felt a large hand grasp onto my shoulder and give a push in the direction they wanted me to move towards.
Though disoriented, I pushed forward as the surrounding sounds of gunfire began to raise in volume. My sight was still a mess though, blurred as I struggled to keep from collapsing to the ground.
As far as the district knew, all of this bloodshed was because 'the Infantry felt like it' but it's only gotten worse now that they've got naive teenagers ready to slaughter countless civilians in the name of their own beliefs. And the survivors from the territory they've claimed so far? Headed straight for the calvary to be sold as slaves or crucified for having faith in some other God, but what the infantry really wanted was information on a subject no one really knew about.
God and his angels was a topic that no one truly knew anything about, not even their own children. But the Infantry, no, they knew more than everyone else because they served under a demon themselves and they never attacked cities without physical evidence of an angel's presence.
"It's not funny, Sam! You shouldn't even be out there!" Elika shouted in frustration as the connection on my tech began to waver. Her very image had begun breaking out into static and dust, even the audio was starting to cut out.
"I'm sorry," I laughed. "I'll be back home within the next few days and it'll be like I never left. But I need to help Finn and his men move shop before another raid. You'll see that you're worried for no reason. Besides, I always come back home."
"I'm not worried that you won't *static* it home." Her cheeks puffed in annoyance and I soon felt myself smiling like a complete moron when she did it. Of course, Elika gave me a stern look in response and pushed further. "You're not- *static*!"
"Elika?" I called out, immediately trying to pick the signal back up on the tech. Twisting and turning knobs in the hopes that something would happen, but I wasn't anywhere close to being an expert on this type of technology. "Shit," I cursed as the infamous 'signal lost' flashed on the holographic screen.
"Wonder if your girl knows all about your dirty little secret," I heard as I turned to look at our latest guest. With blood trickling down his lips and a knife in his knee cap, he seemed almost certain that none of us could break him. "Looks like the hunters in this district need to be gutted for letting you disgusting animals roam free," He spat blood at my feet and chuckled humorlessly. "When I get out of here, I'll be sure to drive this here knife right down your throat for them."
"You won't be the first to try," I said while looking through the crap in his backpack.
Forged papers and IDs, several documents of slave names and their owners, blood money, pornographic magazines, one case of extra ammo… and bingo.
"Found something?" Brick asked as my arm shot straight up in victory.
"Proof of membership," I tossed the red-engraved coin into the air briefly before tossing it over at the prisoner's feet. "Brand new blood-coins, courtesy of the Infantry."
"Blood-coin? I'm pretty sure we could leave the district with a good bounty," Mark chimed in, "if we decide to keep him alive, that is."
"Bounty?" Jester scoffed before kicking the man's chair over. As the prisoner's bruised face struck the ground, he groaned in pain but still proved defiant. "The information we fuckin' need is bigger than any fuckin' bounty."
"Look, I'm all for whatever final choice we make but are you sure we're on the right trail?" Brick crossed his arms over his chest, frowning at the demon's carelessness but all demons did whatever they wanted. "Angels aren't exactly the easiest creatures to find and, if you ask me, this seems a little too easy."
Rules never applied to them, and they most certainly didn't apply to Jester of all people.
"Why the fuck do you think we're here?" The demon's eyes flashed red as he glared between the two of us, careful to not expose himself to the bleeding man on the ground. "You brought me along because I can sense them when they're near, remember? Of course there's an angel in the fuckin' area. It's descended somewhere and it hasn't even been de-winged yet. That means we need to get to it before it fuckin' flies off into the sunset. So the way I see it, we have two options here: either help me get information out of this spit-fuck or get the hell out of my way and let me perform an art I'm pretty fucking amazing at."
"Swear jar," Mark shouted from across the room. "What is that, like 60 bucks?"
"You ain't getting shit from me," Jester rolled his eyes. "Fuckin' swear jar? Get serious."
"That's 20 more for the-!"
"Alright, enough!" I cut them off before turning my attention over to Jester. "Do whatever you need to. We need to find an angel more than we need this piece of shit breathing." Then I looked over to Mark, who had his legs propped up on the table while he read the newspaper. "And you, quit with the swear jar already!"
"See, Sammy-boy? This is why we're friends," Jester's face soon emerged with a malicious smirk as he glanced down at the prisoner. "Hear that, pretty boy?" The demon's right arm suddenly engulfed in a bright blue flame, filling the man with fear as his eyes widened. "Sounds like I got all the permission I need to hear you scream for me."
"Y-you're s-some kind of-?" The man stumbled over his words, terrified upon witnessing Jester's true nature. "N-no! No, wait! I-i'll tell you what i-i know! I swear!"
"I don't think so," Jester grabbed a firm hold of the chair with his left hand and raised the man back up with ease. "You, my friend, get a first class all-you-can-experience seat!"
… what was described to be an animal attack by Detective Gremmins.
The holovision began in the background.
"Hey, raise that up!" I called out as grotesque images began to fill the screen.
We have confirmed that there were two victims, both of which were found inside of Dyson's storage carts. Christina Megara has been identified as one of the bodies, along with an unidentified male whose body had been discovered violently mutilated. Some of our viewers may want to turn away from the findings of this horrible scene.
Images began displaying, each one more disturbing than the last. Whoever the guy was, there was barely anything left of him. Sure, there were some visible claw marks but that was only on the skin that was still intact. Exposed muscles and other organs splayed out across the floor and walls of the cart, while mangled and dangling bones were cracked, broken or crushed.
"That's here, isn't it?" Brick asked.
"Two districts over," I heard Mark say from across the room. "It's all over the major news sites, but there aren't any suspects or leads to go on yet. All they got is a bloody cart and two seriously damaged corpses. Nothin' angel-related though."
"No suspects or leads," I commented. "How do you know it isn't angel-related?"
"Come on, Captain." Mark laid the newspaper down and frowned, "You really think an angel would rip someone apart like that?"
He had a point. Angels might not have committed this crime, but angels weren't exactly angels. They'd kill you without so much as flinching. Most of them were as cold as ice, not knowing how to feel sympathy or compassion. They weren't these holy saints that priests painted them to be.
In fact, they lived by a simple code:
Get out of the way, or get put down.