One thousand two hundred and twenty-three. That’s how many years I had walked amongst mortals making sure that those that had love in them to share found the person they should be sharing it with. That’s how many years I had secretly hoped that one day I would find what I had helped so many others to experience. That’s how many years I had felt alone, adrift. I had once tried to make a mortal fall in love with me. That’s how I had come to Fall, the Seraphim Council taking my wings from me. It was that hope that allowed me to get them back by joining with Aliona so that I could live a life free of their tyranny so that I could have what I wanted as she did.
Ninety-seven and a half. That’s how many days I had had it before it was taken from me.
Her left wing shorn from her body and a gaping hole in her chest from Vasaa’s sword, Serielle lay still in my arms, growing cold. I didn’t know that there was something beyond wrath, but there was. I knelt in the destruction of the street, holding her and rocking her and crying quietly, for a long time. It was minutes, but it could have been hours. When I looked up Gavin was still standing with his feet apart and his camera pointing at us. Vasaa’s corpse was to my right and her sword on the hard concrete beside me.
Cassidy came out from behind the van, walking slowly to where I was. She put her hand softly on my shoulder, there was hiss like hot steel quenched in cold water, and she flinched back. I felt the heat growing inside of me. What was left of my clothes smoked, smoldered, and then burst into flames. I held Serielle’s broken and torn body close to my chest, her clothes and hair flaring with the fires coming from inside of me. A she burned in my arms the flames turned green and crackled and flared and scorched away her flesh and bones. Soon she had fallen as ash from my grasp, her Spark joining mine and Vasaa’s and the bits of Raguel’s. Joining with the little bits of those we’d had no choice but to destroy in the last few months as we’d torn through those standing against us. Those that hadn’t chosen to fight for what was right as opposed to what they had been told was right.
I stood slowly, still and calm, naked, and flexed my wings once before hiding them. I bent and took up Vasaa’s sword in my hand and the flames flickered lower and died as Serielle had.
“Samael,” Cassidy said. “Are you…”
“Do not ask me if I’m okay,” I said, then turned to Gavin. “Are you still filming?”
He nodded mutely, his normally placid face betraying emotion. He was sad. They both were. It wasn’t just sadness though; there was fear. Fear of me.
I looked into the camera and spoke quietly. “Look now at what is coming for all of you that stand with them. I will find you all. This is the only ‘Truth’ you need concern yourselves with from this day on. I promise you this doom.”
I turned and walked to the van, righting it on its wheels with one hand.
“Turn the camera off,” Cassidy said to Gavin.
He got behind the wheel and she climbed in the passenger seat. There were sirens and lights; I didn’t know when they had arrived and didn’t care. Our credentials would get them past them.
“Where are we meeting you?” she asked me.
“Serielle’s place, I need clothes.” My voice was flat. My pulse was slow. My breathing was even. I felt…nothing.
Cassidy nodded and I took to the sky.
I flew high above the city. ‘The City of Angles’ they called it; one less now. I remembered every conversation, every kiss, every warm embrace. I recalled every time we’d smiled or winked at each other. I thought back to when I met her the first time, how young and foolish she’d seemed. I thought back to meeting her again in Kendra’s living room and how she had still seemed young and foolish. I thought of her insight, fresh and genuine instead of jaded. I tried to make myself feel something, anything but the hollow cold clenched fist inside of me. I tried and failed. All there was was the empty space Serielle had once filled. If there is anything worse than having no one, it is having someone and then losing them. The vacant place inside that screams to be filled is far larger once it has been occupied by another.
I looked at the naked blade of the sword in my hand and saw again Vasaa lopping Serielle’s wing off and then driving it downwards into her chest. A small surge of pain flared inside of me, and then was gone. I’d never imagined that one could feel as numb as I felt in that moment.
I felt her presence before she spoke, but didn’t turn to face her.
“Samael,” her tiny voice said. “Samael, I’m so sorry.”
“It’s not your fault cousin. It is theirs.”
I felt her tiny hand on my shoulder, felt her presence next to me. Her voice broke as she spoke, shaking with her sadness at our loss. “I felt it, Samael. I felt that Vasaa had come. I’m so sorry. I flew as fast as I could…”
“You’ve done nothing wrong,” I said quietly.
“I’m so sorry,” she repeated through her tears. I turned my head and looked at her then, her usual mirth gone behind an expression so full of sorrow that it could have shaken the world to its knees. Her face was wet with her tears, her lips quivering.
“As am I,” I said.
Aliona put her arms and wings around me and yet still I felt nothing. She put her tiny hands on the back of my head and cried into my chest, her tiny little body shaking. “Can’t you cry?”
“I feel…nothing. There is a vast void behind the wrath, cousin; and it has taken me.”
She turned her tear streaked face up to me, her eyelids and mouth twitching as she spoke into my mind. “I’m so sorry...for you both.”
“Save it for what I will do to them,” I said coldly. “They will pray for someone to save them before I am done.”
“And none shall answer their prayers,” Aliona said quietly as she wrapped her wings around me again.
“None,” I said softly.
The Absence of Love is Not Hate…
There had been a funeral. We had wanted it to be small and quiet but somehow word had gotten out. Hundreds of people none of us knew had crowded the cemetery. People we had never met spoke praise of Serielle and remorse at her death. We hadn’t known exactly how much of an impact she and Samael had been making until then.
Samael had stayed as out of sight as he could, quiet and calm. He refused to speak to the crowds, refused to give a eulogy, refused to talk to those that had been following their exploits on the internet. Gavin had filmed the whole thing, Cassidy speaking to the camera for those that couldn’t attend. I think it was probably her that leaked the time and location of the funeral, knowing that it would serve the cause; Serielle striking one last blow against our enemies from beyond the grave.
Mark and Lisa had been there too, standing on either side of me with their hands on my shoulders. I knew this terrified them; it brought into focus the exact gravity of the situation we were all in. We all knew the stakes, but having the first of us fall in the fight was something you just can’t prepare yourself for. I’d honestly always thought it would be me, and now the people I loved the most shared my fear.
That night, after the funeral, Samael had taken Vasaa’s sword and they’d left. He and Gavin and Cassidy went off to another city to do there what they had done in LA. To fight their way through our enemies, to find another Seraph that Sam could use to quench the heat of his wrath. It was terrifying to look inside of him at what he’d become, but I let him go. As much as I hated to admit it, what he had become would help us. He was wrath, he was vengeance. He’d told me before they left of Serielle’s theory that this was all already written down somewhere and looking at him I could see the truth in it. Most of what was written in the past was coming to pass. He had become everything the Talmud said he was; accuser, seducer, destroyer. It was written that he was the angel of death, and in the past that had seemed so hilarious to those that knew him. His blank stare and single minded determination to lay waste to all that stood before us removed all humor from that particular line of thought now. His gentle soul had turned hard and cold and ruthless. He was no longer a man nor an angel; he was a weapon. I was glad he was with us and not against us.
Christopher and Avrielle left that night as well, calling in another of his seemingly endless favors to get them a spot on a military transport heading back to the Middle East so we could continue our own part in all of this. We had been working to turn several powerful and influential Elohim and Seraphim to our cause when all this happened, and it was important we not lose momentum. My mortal family needed me now though, and I wouldn’t leave them until they fully and completely knew the depth of all of this.
It’s not that I had kept anything from them. After destroying Raguel I had touched Mark and Lisa so they would see; but seeing isn’t the same as knowing. I needed to explain all of it to them in a way that would make sense to mortals. All freedom hung in the balance. It took hours, once again more because of me than because of them. More than anything I regretted bringing this into their lives. Once again it was Love, raw and pure and strong, that saw us through.
You don’t have to like something to accept it.
More than anything I wanted to feel Mark’s strong hands hold me, to feel Lisa’s soft touch against my skin. As silly as it sounded I needed desperately for them to tell me that everything was going to be okay, and as only loved ones can they sensed it. In our bed I lay on my side between them, Mark holding my leg up gently as he entered me from behind while Lisa touched me and kissed me. Our usually frantic love making was instead slow and soft and delicate.
For hours we rolled around in each other’s arms and I lost myself in the feelings and sensations both in my heart and in my body. I surrendered to them, giving up the fierce control I normally liked to exert in bed and just letting them care for me. I brushed against their thoughts, hearing and feeling that they felt important and that they were actually doing something to help. Over and over they brought me to climax after climax. They never wanted to let me go, but knew that in the morning I would be gone again. We made that one night feel like an eternity because we had to.
None of us said it, but all three of us thought it; what if this was our last night together? What if we parted and never saw each other again? The danger I faced once I left was immense.
In the midst of it all we fell asleep in each other’s arms, not a word having been spoken since we’d undressed and lost ourselves in it. It was the most peaceful sleep I’d ever had, but morning eventually came and with it the dawn of the first day of the rest of my life. I lay awake as they both still slept softly on either side of me. Thinking about leaving I considered doing it right then, before they could wake up and have to drag themselves through a long goodbye. The thought of leaving them once again made me feel sick and I slid from our bed and tip toed quickly into the bathroom to throw up.
I felt something I’d never felt before as I knelt by the toilet. It was awkward and invasive and strange. My stomach lurched once more and I vomited again. I put my hands on my stomach and leaned against the wall. Grief is such a bitch. It didn’t feel like the pangs of loss or parting though; it was something else. I used my mind like a comb, running through myself to try and figure out what the hell was wrong with me.
It wasn’t possible. Not just impossible like ‘I can’t believe this is what’s happening’, but genuinely and actually impossible. It just doesn’t work that way. It was completely and utterly impossible. With a thought I could end it all, but I didn’t want to. I was leaving to go to war, a type of war that no one can be prepared for. This was not a good time for this. That, and it just couldn’t be true.
And yet it was true somehow.
“Hey you,” Lisa said, leaning into the bathroom to see me sitting cross legged on the floor, leaned against the wall with my arms around my middle and a look of shock on my face. Her nose wrinkled as she smiled at me. “What’s going on? I thought angels didn’t get sick?”
“We…we don’t,” I said, my voice shaking as I felt panic taking me. “Lisa…I…uh…I…”
“What?” she asked with a curious look on her face turning to worry when the tears rolled from my eyes. “What is it Ali? What’s wrong?”