Uriel stared at the candle sticks that were outlined in front of him. Gabriel had been working with him on this for two weeks now. He had to get this right. He had to make sure that he didn't disappoint.
Uriel could feel the energy flowing through him. He could feel the light. He had never done something like before but he had to try. Gabriel was depending on him. They were all depending on him.
Within the next few seconds several of the candle sticks started to light up.
"Keep going," Gabriel urged him on.
Uriel somehow sought out more energy. It was the happy thoughts that did it. They always seemed to do it. He thought about strange things. He thought about the first time he rode a bicycle. He thought about the times when he was a child and his mother used to read to him. He thought about the night of high school prom. He thought about the first touchdown he threw in football. The happy thoughts filled him with the energy the most.
More candles lit up one at a time until the circle of candles that Gabriel had surrounded him with were completely lit up.
"Damn...can't believe I did it," Uriel told her.
There was no one else in the office building. Cham called the old office building Angels Inc. Uriel got along with all of them for the most part...even Raphael who seemed to put himself above the others. Gabriel was his favorite of them though. Uriel didn't understand what role he played in all of this but he knew he was preparing himself and he didn't mind preparing himself with a beautiful girl like Gabriel around.
"You are very gifted," Gabriel stated, "With your flame guiding the way, I think everyone rests a little easier."
"What did you guys do before than...to protect yourselves against the things in the darkness?"
Uriel called them the things in the darkness because he didn't know what else to call them. Raguel had been telling him to focus on getting stronger and understanding his gift. He wondered if they thought he couldn't handle knowing what was coming for them. He wondered if they felt like he wasn't ready to know about the things in the darkness. Maybe he wasn't. Maybe he was. For right now he would follow their rules. The power was addicting honestly and they were bringing out a part of him that he didn't know existed.
"Old fashioned blessings. Like the church. But now that you've been making candles for everyone to go home with, I think people feel safer."
"You worry about him don't you?"
Uriel hated to admit it. He didn't know why he thought about Michael's safety at all. Michael wasn't nice. He was the opposite to be around. Uriel felt like he put up this wall where he didn't let anyone in. For some reason though Uriel just wanted to break down that wall. Maybe it was the fact that Uriel had grown up with him. They were never close. They never really even spoke but they had still grown up together.
"He could be in danger."
"Don't worry. Rag sent Ariel and her animals to watch over him. He's in good hands."
"He'll come back one day," Uriel stated.
He didn't know why he felt like telling Gabriel that. It had been two weeks since they had all been around Michael. Michael had gone onto live his life. Uriel didn't understand how he could make that kind of decision. He wanted to go see Michael. He wanted to talk to him.
"Maybe he's not the right Michael," she replied, "You've shown your abilities. What abilities has Michael shown?"
"Didn't you guys say something about an eye?"
"Speculation. No proof. It could have really been just a dream," Gabriel stated with a testing demeanor, "Who knows? It could have been nothing at all. Michael could be one big fraud. That's what Raphael says. He says we shouldn't count our blessings when it comes to him."
Gabriel was right and Uriel knew it. Uriel's abilities had manifested themselves rather quickly. Uriel had also recognized the abilities in all the others. Gabriel's name meant the strength of god. She literally was stronger than anyone that Uriel had ever known. Uriel remembered when Gabriel had thrown Michael in the stair case a few weeks ago. Michael had laid in the staircase cowering. If it wasn't for Uriel's blinding light, Michael would have just continued to lay there.
What if Raphael was right? What if Michael really wasn't the right Michael?
Uriel shook off the thought. How else would he explain the connection he felt to Michael otherwise?"
"Michael's just misunderstood."
Gabriel was close to Uriel at that moment. He hadn't seen it coming. He hadn't noticed Uriel's hand until it was gently on his face. Gabriel head leaned over to him and kissed him.
Uriel was shocked when his lips were pressed up against hers. He had wanted this. He had wanted this for the few weeks that he had known her. It wasn't long but they had spent hours together just lighting candles over and over and over again. Gabriel was patient and caring. She was the kind of girl that Uriel could really find himself in love with. She as the kind of girl that Uriel could possibly settle down with.
He looked over at her and smiled, "I'm not complaining, but what was that for?"
Gabriel shrugged her shoulders,"You. I mean you're the nicest guy I've ever met. From what you've told me Michael treats you like shit but you always still seem to put your best foot forward even when it comes to him. Good people are hard to find Uri. You're a good person..."
He smiled. He leaned in to kiss her again but right when their lips touched he heard it. A trumpet. The trumpet echoed in his ear drums. At first he thought there was music coming from somewhere. Cham constantly played the piano so maybe he had picked up the trumpet as well.
It wasn't until Uriel looked at Gabriel that he knew something was wrong.
Her face solidified in fear, "It begins..."
She looked afraid. Uriel had always looked at Gabriel as though she was a strong female. Physically, emotionally and mentally, Gabriel was one of the strongest people he'd ever met. However she seemed to crumble at that moment. At that moment the strength of God was reduced into a little girl scared of a horrifying sound.
"What begins?" he asked her.
It was a Sunday and I had gone to church with my mother. Things had started to get weird around the house and it freaked me out honestly. The Bull was who was freaking me out. He stared at me. He stared at me more and more almost with these frightening eyes. Last friday I had woken up out of my sleep. I wouldn't forget. It was 3 am in the morning.
I had to pee and the bathroom in my room was clogged up so I was going to the bathroom that was attached to the kitchen. As soon as I opened my bedroom door he was there.
The Bull was outside of my room just staring!
I had wondered how long he had been out there. He looked like he had been out there for a while. Nothing had ever freaked me out like that before than to wake up in the middle of the night and just have someone staring at you from down the hall. I remembered how his face looked too. It could have just been the shadows in the nights playing tricks on me but it seemed like he had no no whites in his eyes. His pupils had expanded until all I had seen was darkness.
From that night forwardered, I locked the door and barricaded myself into my room every night with everything that I could find.
"I'm so glad you came," my mother had said.
Service was over. We were in the reception after service. People gathered there and ate little white bread sandwiches. They talked among themselves. My mother seemed well known in this church. I watched how people like her. It also came to my attention that the Bull never came to this church with her. He said that he wasn't really religious but I wondered if it was something else.
"Michael, how have you been doing?"
It was Father Jensen. He looked over at me.
My mother had gone off to talk to someone.
"Can you and I have a talk?" I asked him.
He looked at me. Maybe he had noticed the fear in my eyes. I had not been having much sleep especially with the Bull around the house. I had no idea how to deal with the Bull and the fact that I didn't feel safe in my own house.
"Sure...let's go somewhere a little bit private."
Father Jensen took me back into the main hall of the church. The church was a relatively medium sized church. It was one of those Episcopal churches with the stained glass windows and the huge altar. There were several rows of pews that stretched all the way down. The walls were made up of hard stone. The church this real authentic character to it. I had to admit walking into this place I felt flushed with understanding how people could fall for it.
Honestly I was a skeptic and the more I thought about it, they just made a not-so-old building look really old for whatever reason.
Father Jensen sat with me on a pew. There were a few people still in the pew behind us left over from service having personal prayer.
As the priest and I sat I looked up at the the stained glass at the head of church of Jesus on his cross.
"Jesus. Jehovah. Messiah. Whatever you want to call him. Interesting dude," I stated crossing my arms, "The idea that he died for our sins. Isn't that funny? You would think he would have told them all to fuck off, die for your own sins. Oh. Excuse my language priest."
Father Jensen looked over at me, "You think it's weird for someone to sacrifice themselves for a better good."
I nodded, "I think it's silly. I don't know about you. I mean I understand if he died for your sins. Damn. You're worth it. A guy like me...shit...he just wasted his life dying for my sins. I didn't learn a damn thing. You know."
Father Jensen nodded studying my face and attempting to understand me.
"You don't think you're worth dying for?"
I shook my head, "Hell no---I mean---Heck no. I'm a promiscuous, gay, rude non-believer who would trade the cross for a slim-jim if given the chance. I'm not worth dying for."
"You're God's child so that makes you worth it," he replied at that moment, "Is that what you were worried about?"
"Your mother said you seemed very worried about something lately."
She would go straight to the pastor about it. If only she knew what I was worried about was the fact that her boo was stalking me around the house and scaring the hell out of me. I wondered if she would be so eager to spread our business around if she knew that detail.
"I'm worried about...something else..."
I didn't know why I felt comfortable talking to the priest about this or even bringing it up at all.
"Something like what?"
"I feel like there's darkness around me. You know. Like...Demons or something..."
"Everyone has demons inside of them. It's natural to want to combat your demons---"
"Look. Priest. You're. Not. Listening," I broke it down at that moment before crossing my arms and looking up at the cross in front of me, "I'm not talking in metaphors here. When I say demons I mean it. Literal demons. You know. Like the kind from hell. I know it sounds crazy. Trust me, I feel like I'm losing my mind everyday."
Father Jensen paused. I couldn't believe I was talking to him about this. I felt like he was judging me with each stare. Even talking about him with this though I felt afraid. Even talking to him about this made me completely nervous. I just started to breath heavily.
"There are demons."
Just at that moment there was a slamming of the main door!
I turned. There was a dark figure that moved through the shadows of the church. The person went over to pray. Still even with that I just felt so uneasy talking about this.
I looked over at Jensen desperate for answers, "You don't think I'm crazy then. You don't think I'm crazy if I see demons all around me?"
The pastor shook his head, "No. If I believe in good, I must believe in evil. If I believe in God, I must believe in the devil. If I believe in angels I must believe in fallen angels."
"Angels! Right. You're on to something here. Angels. I need to know about angels..."
"What about them?"
I was shocked. This man wasn't calling me crazy. He wasn't running off to my mother to tell her that I needed to be institutionalized. This man was just going along with the conversation. It was getting so weird that I was beginning to wonder if he was crazy. He seemed so comfortable talking about it. Me...on the other hand...I felt odd.
I had this sinking feeling in my chest that I was being watched. I had a feeling that eyes were following me. They were all over me.
"Michael," I desperately stated, "The archangel Michael, that is. Ring a bell?"
Father Jensen nodded his head, "Of course it does. Michael is an archangel. The archangels are the principal seraphim in the rank of angels. God would send them on missions. They are beautiful holy creatures. You were clearly named after Michael who lead the army of God. He is the most well known archangel. You should be blessed to have such a powerful and ---"
"And Yadda, yadda, yadda...look priest, save me the small talk. Something happening to me."
He seemed worried, "Michael what are you saying?"
"I need to know if it's real. The angels. The demons. I need to know if it's real."
"Of course it's real."
"Look priest. I'm not talking about metaphorical. I'm talking about... I'm talking about. What the fuck is that----"
The trumpet was loud. It was so loud that I jerked my head from left to right trying to figure out where I heard the trumpet. It scared the fuck out of me.
"Michael are you ok?"
I jumped to my feet. The horn. The horn scared the hell out of me. My heart was racing. Everyone else was sitting around as if they hadn't heard it. How could they bear it? How could they bear to hear such a loud ignorant instrument without going fucking crazy.
"Don't you hear that?" I asked Father Jensen.
He looked at me. His face wrinkled a little bit.
I fell out into the pews all of a sudden. The few people that were there seemed to notice my weird behavior. I couldn't take the sound. Something about it horrified me. Something about the sound scared the fuck out of me. The trumpet couldn't have been a good thing. It couldn't have been a good thing at all.
I was walking away from him. I needed to get out of here. I didn't have time to wait for my mother to have her small talk. She had driven but I'd catch the train home. I needed to get out of here now.
Father Jensen looked over at me, "Michael, talk to me. If you are in trouble...you have to talk to me."
I looked back at Father Jensen, "There's nothing you can do to help me."
I ran at that moment. I ran as fast as I could. I ran out into the street. The street was dark.
It was pitch black. It had happened again. It was the middle of the day but it was as dark as night outside. There was a storm being raised over head.
Then I saw the birds. Black ravens circled over head. The ravens circled around the church. Around. Around. Around. As I looked up at them I could have sworn they looked down at me. It was almost as though they had heard the trumpet too. it was almost as though they were afraid too!
I watched in awe as the flock of ravens collided with one another. I promise I felt like they have formed a 6 in the sky!
I had been so enthralled by it that I didn't feel the cold, slim hand touch the back of my shoulder.
I jumped all of a sudden as I was pulled down the few steps of the church!
"GET OFF ME!"
I screamed trying to get away from the hand. The person was hooded. The person continued to grasp at me even as I tried to pull away! I could feel myself struggling to get away and falling to the ground.
As I got to the ground I heard it. Growling.
I turned to my right.
Not just any dog. It was wild...savage looking black dog. It growled at me and showed me it's teeth. It's eyes had this glaze of intent as it looked down at me. It came closer to me. Closer. Closer.
My heart raced as I dragged my body away. I turned to the mask figure. The figure was mimicking the dog. It came closer and closer as well.
All of a sudden the hood came down.
I recognized the person almost immediately.
It was the blond haired girl that was with Rag. I had forgotten her name but when I looked over at her I watched as he pointed her finger into the distance.
"Leave," she ordered.
She was talking to the dog. The dog looked up at her glared for a moment and then ran away disappearing almost as though it obeyed her every wish. The girl looked down at me. What kind of the game was that? This girl was able to control animals.
"How did you...how did you..."
"My name is Ariel," she stated at that moment, "It means the lion of God and my dominion is over animals. You'd do well to learn what your dominion is over soon and stop being so afraid all the time."
"I wasn't afraid."
I stood to my feet and brushed myself off at that moment. She had been the one that had crept into the church.
"Sure you weren't," she smiled in a cheeky way, "I guess it's the new thing to fall to the ground screaming and getting your clothes all dirty. Here I thought I was up on all the newest trends."
"I didn't think I asked for asked for a stalker with a side of sarcasm on this fine Sunday afternoon."
"Well you got it anyway. For free."
I had to admit her attitude was a little bit edgy. I crossed my arms and even though embarrassed I had to admit I found her more bearable than Uriel. I couldn't stand being around Uriel and his holier than thou attitude. This girl was clearly a little bitchy and she seemed to own it.
"Why are you following me?" I asked her coldly.
She shrugged, "I don't know."
"You don't know why you're following me."
"You think the first thing I thought about doing today was following you? I mean it's Sunday. Department stores are at their peak right now. No. I don't want to be following you. Michael. I was ordered to follow you. And just in time too. Did you hear it?"
"The trumpet dumbass."
I bit my lip, "I did hear it. I thought I was the only one."
Ariel shook her head brushing her blonde hair away from her eyes, "No. Sorry to disappoint darling. You're not that special. And if you know what I know you'll get up right now. We had to head back."
I looked over at her, "Head back where."
"To Rag. I'm sure everyone else heard the trumpet as well. Rag can explain when we get there."
"I'm not going anywhere with you."
"Fine suits me. I'll just leave you here with her..."
Ariel pointed across the street. My eyes followed her finger to see who she was pointing out. About two blocks away was a woman in red. It was the same woman that I had seen so many times before. She was just standing there.
"Who is that?"
"Besides a woman in an extremely tacky hood. I started the hood thing. She couldn't even have picked a better color. Blood red? Be original right."
"Ariel---I'm serious. Who is that?"
Ariel shook her head, "We aren't sure. We just know where she's not on the good side. She hasn't approached any of us yet. You know how heaven has archangels. Hell has ranks too. I'm guessing she's further up the ladder..."
She was stunning. The woman's red cloak flickered into the wind. Ariel was right. There was something menacing and powerful about her. The way she stood just watching us as though waiting for something. I was stunned and amazed at the same time. I had never seen a woman who stunned me before. Hell if that was the case I probably would have been straight.
"How do you guys not know who she is?"
"We don't know everything ok?" Ariel stated as though annoyed by me, "You want to go ask her? I didn't think so. We need to get going Michael. Seriously this time. We may not know everything but we do know the trumpet is the beginning of something."
"The beginning of what?"
"The war of heaven on earth," she replied.
We started to walk away. I didn't know why I was going with Ariel. I didn't want to get involved with this stuff. In fact I wanted to run as far away from this as possible. Still I felt like in order to make these horrible things stop I would have to find more answers. So I went with Ariel walking to a BMW she had parked at the end of the street. It was clear she had money and must have come from a wealthy place.
I turned back to see the woman in red one more time but she had completely disappeared. She wasn't on the block any longer.
"Why does he make you so nervous?" Chamuel asked Raphael.
They were in a coffee shop. They were best friends. It had been normal for them to hang out in the coffee shop from time to time when they weren't training their angelic abilities back at the office. At first Raphael had rubbed Cham the way that he rubbed almost everyone else. He had been patronizing. Cham however didn't take it as serious as most of the others. Raphael was confident and Cham found it amusing. He found most things amusing actually.
The conversation had turned to Michael. Uriel had joined the group and in the last few weeks was really taking his duties seriously. Michael continued to refuse however.
"Doesn't it bother you?" Raphael asked, "We all left our homes. What were you doing before this again?"
"I was a phone sex operator," Cham stated.
"Chamuel. Seriously. Don't you take anything serious?"
"Don't you ever lighten up?" Cham stated.
Cham looked at the coffee. He barely talked about his past. He tried to hide it from the others. Some people dealt with their pain through being sad about it. Cham just ignored it. He had been around these guys for years. He was the first one with Rag. If it wasn't for Rag god knows where Cham would be right now. Rag took him in. Rag was like a father or mentor to him. He had abandoned the life he had before this. He didn't have to go back. He didn't have to think about it. He didn't have to bring it up if he didn't want to. It had been years later and now people barely asked him about it anymore.
This was his new life. He was a Nephilim, the son of an archangel, destined to follow his father's footsteps and fight against the darkness. This was the only thing he would admit to.
"Well whatever, I worked in a phone center in Houston," Raphael replied, "I was making decent money. I had a life. Italians are close to their families. I loved my family. I dropped everything for the duty to this cause."
"Phone center really? Were you like a phone sex operator."
"Because your voice gets real deep and almost Barry White-ish when you get real serious sometimes. I'm telling you man. Fuck this angel shit. You missed your calling. You would make a 50 year old housewife spend up all her phone credits with that voice."
"Ok. Ok. I'm listening. We all dropped we had going on. I get it. I get it."
"Except for Michael. Who does he think he is?"
"Let's see. He is the head archangel who reigns over all other angels. He is the closest to God," Cham noticed the look that his best friend was shooting across the table at him at that moment before quickly correcting himeslf, "Oh right. I mean. Not like that's a big deal though. Psh...isn't it?"
"I'm not talking about Michael the Archangel. I'm talking about that cocky piece of shit that we met. Who does that guy think he is?"
"He shouldn't bother you like that. I didn't think it was possible?" Cham stated.
Raphael looked at him at that moment, "What?"
"I didn't think it was possible that the overconfident Raphael would think someone else was being cocky and conceited. I didn't get that from him. I know these things. You know. My third eye."
Chamuel pointed at the middle of his forehead. He liked to think that this is where his third eye was but he had no idea really. His name meant he who sees God. He was literally able to see things that other people couldn't see. Even with years of experience with it he wasn't too good at it. Sometimes he just could read people's energy. He could tell whether or not they belonged to the beast. Other times Chamuel could see more. He could see visions of the future and visions of the past. They were never clear as day though. They were always almost like solving puzzles.
There lied the problem. Chamuel hated puzzles with a passion.
"Could you sense...what it was about him that was...you know?" Raphael asked from across the coffee table. Raphael took a long sip of the coffee before finishing what he was saying, "Could you tell what was off about him?"
Chamuel looked at Raphael. It was clear that Raphael was nervous and that made Cham nervous. All of a sudden Cham could see in his third eye. He wasn't seeing visions of the future or the past. He was seeing visions of the present. Raphael was exposing himself showing him his memories and somehow in his nervousness exposing what had happened between him and Michael.
"Oh my god."
That was all that Chamuel said.
"What?" Raphael asked.
"You two kissed. Oh my god! Wow. It's all coming to me now. Oh my god!" Cham rubbed on his forehead pretending as though he was cleaning out his third eye, "There's more! You liked it. You're embarrassed right now about how much you liked it. You are..."
"Don't say it."
"You're attracted to him."
Raphael reached over and slapped Cham's hand away from his forehead. As he did that the coffee on the table spilled over burning Cham's hand. Cham squirmed in pain.
"Sorry about that...here. Let me."
Raphael reached over with his hand at that moment. He rubbed on Cham's sore. Raphael's name meant the healing of God. Cham could feel himself being immediately healed. That was another reason he kept Raphael around and on his good side. When the battle began it would definitely be nice as hell to have a healer close to him.
"Thanks," Cham stated and immediately got a little quiet, "I ah...I stopped looking through my third eye. In case you wanted to know."
What Chamuel had seen didn't make sense. Raphael had always been straight. He had even known Raphael to have a crush on Gabriel before. The fact that he had just seen these things was so strange.
"You're third eye has been wrong before."
"It's never wrong. I just misinterpret some of the harder visions. The vision I just saw was clear as day. Unless there is another way you can explain your tongue down Michael's throat."
"It was part of the mission Rag sent me on."
"Was you getting hard part of that mission too?"
"Yo...your third eye is a pervert," Raphael stated quickly.
"Listen Raphael. If you want to---you know----fuck Michael, that kind of stuff is completely normal. You know."
"What are you calling me gay?"
It had never occurred to Chamuel that this could be honestly true. People usually thought he was gay when they first met him. Raphael was much more macho than he was. Chamuel was as straight as they came though, french braid down his back and all. He just so happened to like the finer things in life. He remembered the jokes he made about gay people now. All those things flashed into his mind. He didn't mean any of them. What if he had offended Raphael in some sort of way?
He looked at Raphael and shrugged his shoulders, "It's 2015. I don't know what you are. I don't believe in judging people. Do I like girl's only? Yes. But maybe it's possible for some guys to like both, you know?"
"I'm not bisexual Cham," Raphael stated harshly.
"Brother. Let me tell you. I saw a lot of...other visions. You know I got to keep it all the way real with you right? Those visions. Oh Brother! You are not all the way straight either. You wanted to do some things with Michael."
Raphael kicked Chamuel under the table. The waitress had walked over and cleaned up the spilled coffee. They waited silently not saying a word as the waitress went about her business wiping the table clean of everything that that was spilled on it.
"That's the thing. Just Michael though."
"What are you trying to say?"
"Maybe he's like some I don't know. Seducer or something. Maybe he's like a succubi. You know? What if he is deceiving us? What if he's one of the ones in the darkness?"
"You trying to call Michael a demon?"
"I'm saying---what if?"
Chamuel thought about it for a minute, "There is something."
Raphael leaned over on the table towards Chamuel. It has become clear that he was suspicious of Michael and his intentions. Chamuel calculated this and maybe it's why his third eye re-evaluated Michael's aura.
"Something around him. A darkness. I don't think it's in him though. It's just around him. I don't know. Dark energy follows him. I've seen it before from the demons."
"Don't call them demons."
"OK those from the darkness. Whatever. I've seen it before. But----nah....can't be. That's Michael. That's our leader. Like it or not. Believe me I was expecting something different too, but we get who we get."
Chamuel worried about Raphael's reaction to this. He watched as Raphael leaned back, thinking more into things than he probably should have. As far as Chamuel knew Raphael should have been the leader. He was the responsible one. If Chamuel had a vote, he would vote Raphael. Angels didn't have votes though. Chamuel had come to terms with it. He wondered why Raphael was still fighting against it.
"Would you boys like anything else?"
A waitress had walked by. Cham was about to respond when something else caught his attention.
The sound of the trumpet sent eerie notes through the air that made the hair stand on end. He looked around. Across the table Raphael was doing the same thing. The trumpet was so loud and so piercing. It was almost like someone had walked up to him and blown the thing right into his ear.
The waitress looked over at them impatiently, "Are you boys ok?"
"What? What did you want?" Raphael asked her.
"I asked you guys if you wanted something else. Is there anything else that I could get you. Jeezus..."
Raphael looked over at Chamuel and Chamuel knew exactly what the trumpet met. He thought they would have more time. He hoped they would have more time at least. He rubbed on his forehead. Why hadn't his third eye seen this one coming? It worked so randomly sometimes.
Everything was about to change. Everything was about to begin. Chamuel wondered silently if he was ready. Raphael was. He could tell he was. Chamuel was glad that Raphael didn't have the third eye to see that even though he was smiling at this moment , Cham was extremely afraid.
It was Chamuel who shook his head at the waitress, "Check please."
Everywhere we drove I felt like there was an animal around us. Ariel kept these animals around her somehow. There were two cats in the back seat of her car. There was an eagle flying over head. At every red light it seemed like there was some sort of dog barking or insect crawling on the hood of the car. It freaked me out really.
"Do they follow you around?" I asked her.
We were at a red light now. I pointed outside of the window. A dog had gotten off his leash. He was looking at the car that we were in. His owner hustled to chase behind him.
"The animals. Do they follow you around?"
Ariel shrugged her shoulders and nodded as though forgetting how strange this would be to an outsider, "Yeah. They are attracted to me. I have a connection with them. You know. Even before I knew who I was and what I was born to do, I always had a connection to animals."
"Real live Snow White?"
"How am I Snow White?"
"Don't you remember the Disney movie? They followed her around and what not as she sung to them."
"You don't want to hear me sing," Ariel laughed at that moment, "It's more like the animals sing to me. They communicate with me. It's hard to explain. We just have a connection I guess. Sometimes they come and sometimes they go. I cater to them when they come. I feed them. I give them attention. Some stay with me for a few minutes and some stay with me for a few weeks. Some return and some never come back. I don't mind. They never belonged to me. They never gave me some false expectations---like people do. I trust them even more than people."
"Wish I had that connection. I hate people too."
She nodded, "Despicable things really. Hypocrites and traitors. Like my ex husband."
I looked at her. She was young. She had to have been in her early 20s. I didn't expect her to have been married before for some reason. However even though she did look young there seemed to be something very mature about Ariel the longer that I paid attention to her. There was something very majestic and refined about her. If her name did mean the Lion of God, it suited her well.
"All men lie," I stated.
She laughed, "Tell me about it. A bird never lied to me. A dog never cheated on me. A cat never broke my heart. I'd rather the animals any day."
I think it was that moment that I made up my mind that Ariel wasn't so bad. There was something very authentic about her. The fact the she lost herself in her relationships with these random animals that
"What happened to your ex husband?"
"He tried to kill me..."
Ariel shook her head, "He had the mark of the beast. The numbers."
"You know. 666.That's the sign that the demons who walk among us carry. When I noticed it he tried to kill me. He almost did too. I ran outside. Luckily there were some stray dogs around. They ripped him to shreds for me."
I got quiet. I didn't know what else to say. It seemed like a sensitive topic to talk about even though she didn't seem ashamed or even moved at all about the topic. The last thing I wanted to talk about was how her ex husband ripped to pieces by her animal friends. It made me respect her a little bit more though. She definitely wasn't anything close to a Snow White. This girl had an edge about her and she was far from some victim.
It about ten minutes we pulled up to the building. I opened the door at that moment and Ariel parked the car in the parking lot of Rag's old office building. I followed behind her as we climbed the stairs. By this point I wasn't surprised to see a dog and two cats following closely behind Ariel as though she had food in her hands. I literally had to walk behind her and her band of animals. It was an interesting sight to see.
By the time we got to the suite I noticed that others had just been walking in as well.
"Ariel, you're late," Raphael stated, "The trumpets were almost 20 minutes ago..."
"Can you stop bitching for once Raphael? Why don't you use those healing abilities of yours to fix your fucked up attitude. Besides---I brought you guys a present," she replied.
She stepped aside and exposed me to them.
Stares. Some cold, some warm and some curious.
"You came back?" Uri stated.
He had walked over to me. He looked like he was about to do something. I wasn't sure. Maybe he was going in for a hug. Maybe he was going in to shake my hand. Either way I took a step back before he got too close. He seemed to get the hint. The last thing I wanted was attractive ass Uriel touching me. Being around him meant catching feelings and the last thing I needed was to catch feelings.
"Where's Rag?" Ariel asked.
"He's not here yet," Gabriel stated, "The trumpet calls and we are gathered here together because of it, I presume. Did you guys hear it as well?"
Ariel nodded. Beside her was the boy with the french braid. I remembered his name to be like Samuel, no. It wasn't that it was like Chamuel. Yes. That was what it was. He gave me a quick smirk but his glare didn't last too long. Gabriel and Raphael didn't even seem to want to try to fake friendliness though. Raphael avoided eye contact all together and Gabriel just stared at me. Grimacing.
"Did you hear the trumpet?" Gabriel asked.
She was glaring at me almost suspiciously as though she wanted something from me. I felt annoyed standing next to her.
"Yes," I replied.
Uri seemed to get excited, "See. He is Michael. I told you."
I was interested in how excited Uri was when he said that. Had they doubted something? I would have said something but I didn't care. If they doubted me that was OK because I had my own doubts and reservations. A part of that meant that I didn't want to be in this goddam room with these goddam people.
"Where's Rag?" Ariel asked again.
"Relax. He's coming. Hey! HEY YOU! Get away from there. That's my desk!"
Gabriel was talking to me. I had walked over to one of the desks. I was looking eagerly around the office suite trying to understand what these people were about. On Gabriel's desk I saw a bunch of photos. All over the desk was the woman in red. Gabriel had a collection of photos of her. The photos were arranged on the desk. On some photos Gabriel circled the woman's face. All around the desk were photos. I picked up a folder and realized it was all of the same. It reminded me of one of those crazy people who saw UFO sightings and connected everything back to it.
Gabriel grabbed the folder from me snatching it so hard she ripped the folder in half. The photos fell to the floor and Gabriel quickly began to scurry to pick them up.
"What is this supposed to be some sort of private investigation firm?"
"If you mean privately investigating demons then hell yea," Cham replied with a hard, forced snicker.
"Don't call them demons," Raphael corrected him.
"Whatever they are," Cham stated.
'We saw the lady in red again," Ariel announced to the room in a distant tone, "She's getting bolder. She's getting closer. She follows us everywhere we go."
"You think she heard the trumpet too?" Uri asked her.
Ariel shrugged, "Hell who knows if they can hear it."
"What is this trumpet?" I asked.
The others looked at one another. It was a simple question for some reason half of them seemed like they didn't want to explain it and the other half of the room seemed like they didn't know how to explain it. Raphael seemed to fall on the half of the group that seemed like just didn't want to be bothered with my questions.
His face said it all even before his mouth spoke, "We have better things to do than answer all your questions. I hope you know that."
The room got quiet. He was rude.
It was actually Uri who stepped in between us, "Yo. You don't got to talk to him like that. He's just curious. He has a right to be. All that's happening is a lot."
"I don't need you to defend me," I told Uri.
Uri backed up. He looked up at me. The others were looking at me as well. Gabriel clearly seemed to not trust me or possibly even dislike me but Raphael's eyes had a different sort of connection. There was something behind those eyes. I wondered if it was hate. I was amused really. The boy barely even knew me and he seemed like he was ready to hate me.
"You got a problem with me?" I asked Raphael.
"My problem is that you would know the answers to some of the questions you have if you were around. Rag explained to you how important this was. I'm sure he did. Yet somehow you think you are above this. You think you are above us."
"I don't need this."
I turned at that moment. Uri grabbed my hand, "Where you going?"
Fuck these people. It was Raphael who pursued me. Funny. He was the one making me feel uncomfortable but now he was the one who was pursing me.
"Can't take it, can you? Can't take it? Look at me when I'm talking to you."
I didn't know what came over me. Maybe I felt like I was getting defensive. Raphael was coming after me so hard. He was coming after me and he was pissing me off.
Right before he grabbed me I turned back to him and something happened. It seemed like for a minute time seem to stop and I could feel this presence all around me. I didn't know how else to describe it but a presence. It was almost as though I was not alone. Something was guarding me protecting me.
And it was...angry!
"AH!" Raphael screamed.
I didn't know what happened until I saw him grab his hand. A gash had appeared on his skin. He held back away from me. I didn't know what came over me but I wanted to get him even further back. I pressed forward taking a few steps towards him. Raphael's right shoulder jerked backward. I watched as his entire sleeve came off. The next step I took another sleeve came off. The presence was getting angrier and angrier with each step I made.
Soon I realized that it was my anger. It was my anger that was doing this!
Raphael's shirt tore into a million shreds all over his body. Cuts started to appear all over his body.
I didn't stop. I kept moving forward. With two steps all his clothes had been torn into small pieces. Raphael stood naked in front of me bleeding and burned!
What was I doing? What the fuck was I doing?
I heard a voice scream from behind me, "Stop it! STOP IT!"
I think it was Uri. Maybe Rag had come in and screamed it. At that moment I wasn't sure. I couldn't stop myself. It didn't matter who was screaming and it didn't matter what they were saying. The anger had taken over me and this presence demanded me to move forward even more. The presence slashed...
It was as though an invisible blade swept through the air.
I didn't see it but I felt it. I felt this blade...blazing with a blue fire.
It cut through him...impaling Rahael!
And all of a sudden it was gone.
"Oh my god," Gabriel had said to me as she ran over to him. The others had formed a barrier around him separating him from me. They looked at me. They all looked at me with these fearful eyes.
Raphael was bleeding all over his body. All I saw was blood. I didn't know what happened! I was standing away from him. I didn't know how it was possible for me to cut him like I did. I didn't mean to. I didn't fucking mean to.
Gabriel's mouth opened with shock as she looked up at me, "What have you done?"
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