AN: Throught this story superhuman beings like Angels, Demons and God have no specified gender. After much thought, I decided to use Ze/Zir/Zir pronouns for all of them, in order to avoid confusion with "They/Them" plural vs singular forms.


Prologue

The Father knelt before the altar, hands joined in a prayer and head bowing as he chanted verses to his God. A worn-out brown rosary hung loosely from his callous hands, curling and clutching around his fingers like a snake. His lips moved fast; rhythmic short sounds were being uttered in a low voice no one but his God could hear. Or so he thought.

His eyelids were closed shut, shielding the light and the marbles from his sight. There would have been no point in keeping watch: what his God could not see nor prevent, he would not have been able to face either. Or so he had used to think

Incense burnt near his right knee, its pungent scent easing his mind as his mutters continued. His tone did not falter when his keen ears picked on the sound of naked flesh brushing against the wooden floor of the chapel. He had known Ze would come.

One could say that Ze was the very reason why the Priest had hastened to that run-down chapel on the outskirts of town, seeking refuge and spiritual protection for his scarred soul. Conjuring charms would be of no use against Zir this late in the game, not after he had already opened his heart to the creature. Father Emmanuel was well-aware of this and had been prepared for death all along, if that was what would come out of this fateful encounter.

His long black clerical dress felt tighter as his back muscles involuntarily tensed when the presence behind him became more distinct. It was a familiar yet daunting feeling. He breathed deeper, lowering his timbre and yet making his words stark clear for the other to hear. He knew this would annoy Zir.

The moonlight shone through the stained-glass windows, tinging his hair with silver sparkle. The creature stopped, almost as if to admire the unique scene evolving in front of Zir. Father Emmanuel's eyes briefly opened, and he glanced behind his left shoulder, head still bowed, body unmoving. There was a shadow at the corner of his eye. A silhouette he had grown accustomed to seeing as of late.

'I see you have come,' the Priest said, interrupting the stream of prayers.

'Were you not…expecting me?' The voice was hoarse, creaky, as if the owner's throat had been scorched. It reminded the Father of the sound made by seared wheels forcefully sliding against friction on dry, rocky roads.

'Yes, indeed, I was.' The man of God rose, wiped his cassock clean from dust and turned to face the other.

It had been chilly already, and yet the air in the room froze in a gelid trap as they locked eyes; temperature instantly dropping by a full degree. They stared at each other, icy blue eyes melting into scarlet ones.

Before the Priest had the time to add any more words, the creature attacked. Ze went straight for him, sprinting at full speed. Accompanied by an ominous sound, a vigorous blow hit his chest and cut right through where his heart was located. Bloodied claws came out of his back, holding his vital organ tight, squeezing the precious red liquid out of it.

The Priest coughed. Crimson streaks drew a path from the corners of his mouth down to his chin and yet he smirked. A small sign of devious triumph which puzzled his murderer, if only for a moment, before his eyes turned to a dull grey and life abandoned him.

The empty shell of what once was Father Emmanuel Cardias crumbled to the floor with a loud thud. He was no longer a threat, the monster thought as Ze looked at Zir black claws covered in thickening liquid iron. He no longer was, Ze realised, expression blank on Zir ash-coloured face. Ze brought the heart to Zir teeth, then crunched it, eating it whole. Zir wings fluttered, and Ze left, without sparing a last glance to the Priest who had dared to defy God's rules.


Incense: a substance that when burnt is meant to purify one's soul.

God: the "God" of this story is not the same as the catholic God, despite the resemblance. There is no Christ in this fictional religion.