Authors: Jessica Shirvington
„No one takes my life away from me.
I give it up of my own free wil ."
The angel had been ordered to make his choice. It had to be of his own free will. But what
they asked of him carried a high price. He would most likely never return. Most likely be
destroyed. Or worse.
And no one would ever know the truth.
„You have decided, then," a voice said to him.
I felt each moment as he did – the obscured version of time in what had to be an
otherworldly place – but could see nothing. It was surreal; no visible people – just their
presence or maybe auras.
It wasn"t question, what was said. They knew the moment he"d made the decision. They
probably knew before him. He could sense them all around, the mighty Seraphim. Supreme
knowledge lent them a powerful presence, but it was bitter this day.
„When the first of your tasks is complete you wil move on to the next. You must not
reveal yourself or seek companionship with anyone, especially exiles, unless for the
purposes of fulfil ing your objectives."
„You wil spend three years before the day on which you must act arrives. He has his role
to play. It is not possible without your actions first."
And he did – understand. He had made this decision of his own free will, despite the
sacrifice for he knew it had only been asked of him because
was the perfect choice.
He felt the universe around him, the freedom of unfettered domination over space and
realm, and wondered when he would again feel this, if ever.
„Take a name of the times when you are there. Now go."
And so it was. He made the transition amidst images of mobs and anger. To his destiny.
To death. The flash of a kiss. All things to come.
A fog cleared around me and my surroundings came into view. I was suddenly in my art
studio. Standing by the window was a figure recognised. The one I suspected was my angel
„What"s your name?" I asked, stil amazed by the way my words seem to float through the
air in these dreams, as if they had their own physical presence.
„It does not matter. But you may call ma Lochmet if you require a title."
„What does that mean?"
I swallowed, suddenly nervous. The way he said it – with such force and confidence –
made him seem so powerful.
„Why did you show me that angel? I don"t get it."
„Not yet. But you wil . It is but a strand of one existence, from a very long time ago."
„No, please don"t … just tell me."
He turned to face me, his shoulders squared, and I struggled with conflicting urges. One
drawing me towards him, the other, to cower away. I was sure he could see it, see right
through me, which only made me more vulnerable.
„We all have the capacity to find the wil to do what must be done – even when that which
we must do terrifies us most. Remember this."
„That"s it? That doesn"t explain anything. Who was he? I thought it was against angel law
to exile to Earth. How come the Seraphim asked it of that angel?"
He considered me for another delayed, vacant moment before his head titled towards a
painting beside him. The vision of a sandy beach with a midnight blue sea crashing against
rocks seemed to affect him. He stretched his arm out and brushed his fingers lightly across
the textured ripples of the oil-painted canvas. For just a moment, the silence between us was
But when he looked back at me I knew: he wasn"t going to tell me any more about the
angel he had shown me.
„Be mindful. A traitor is within your fold," he said.
He shook his head and turned back to the window.
„You must walk your path, leave the footprints as evidence of your journey. I cannot take
it … or change it."
His voice held the first hint of emotion – a small, almost undetectable, quiver.
„But you did help me," I started. „Two years ago, in that classroom …" Even in my dream I
felt the sickening memories and the lump in my throat wil ing me not to go on. „It couldn"t
have been anyone else. You sent that teacher across the school to intervene."
I swallowed hard, fought to hold onto my train of thought, not detour to that day, to that
teacher holding me down while I struggled beneath his heavy weight.
„You interfered," I said, then dropped my head. „Thank you."
His silence was all the confirmation I needed. I looked around the room, unsure what to
say next. My paintings surrounded me, but, unlike before, they now included those that I had
only planned. Envisaged. Somehow, this room held the paintings of my imagination.
From behind me, I heard a roar. The deepest rumble, so strong it reverberated up my
legs and into my spine.
," I whispered.
I spun around, in dreamy slow motion. There was nothing there. I turned back to the
angel. He was gone. Sprinkles of rain spat in through the crack in the window.
I stood, waiting.
And then everything around me exploded in a flash of colour that settled to nothing. I was
nothing , all alone apart from the rain, startlingly cold, stinging my face with every sharp
Shards of ice.
Cold enough to wake me up.
In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there
Robert Green Ingersoll
I held the dagger in my right hand. The hilt heavy and intricately carved, the blade long and slim. The sharp point made an impression into the tip of my index finger – just enough to sting and stir the memories. Choices had been made and now the consequences were mine.
Although I"d do it all again, although I knew now that there was something I had to do that was more important than anything else, the truth was - I mourned the life I"d left behind. I twisted the hilt slowly and watched the point pirouette on the pad of my finger.
My dagger – the dagger I killed myself with.
I put it down beside me – not wanting to touch it any longer, but unable to hide it away. I tried to snap out of it. Focus on the positives. For one – I got my period earlier in the week.
Never had I been so happy for an emergency dash to the pharmacy.
Everything I had once believed in was shattered. It was stil humiliating, knowing I"d been so naïve under Phoenix"s influence. I real y
I could trust him – so much so that I"d lost my virginity to him and unwittingly created some kind of emotional bond between us. A connection he exploited to destroy my already fragile friendship with Lincoln. Throw in jumping off a cliff, nearly being killed by a bunch of over-the-top psycho exiles, discovering that Phoenix was in fact the first son of the first dark exile, Lilith, and that he tricked me into becoming one of the Grigori and, well, condoms hadn"t been the first thing on my mind.
Shaking my head free of the memories – and questions – was hardest when I was on my own and as I learned a long time ago that Dad was more comfortable at work, where he could hide from his own memories, this was a problem. Solo time made it impossible to ward off the persistent whispers of my past.
I headed into my art studio and started to lay down some fresh paint – I"d just picked up a new supply of iridescent colours and had been playing around with them ever since I got home from school. My phone beeped.
I"m outside – where r u?
I blew out a breath and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I"d lost track of time. Now I was late and looked like crap. My long dark hair was twisted into a matted knot and the loose strands falling around my face were splattered with red and grey paint. I hadn"t even bothered to put on make-up this morning. Although I didn"t real y need foundation – most were too dark or yellowy for my creamy foundation – most were too dark or too yellow for my creamy complexion – mascara was a must for my otherwise lacklustre hazel eyes. But the only thing I had time to fix was my clothes.
Be down in 5.
I ran to my room, stripping as I went, and threw on my most reliable jeans, the only option when pressed for time, and the first T-shirt I could find – boring black, but clean. I tried and failed to rescue my hair finally just tying it up in a new version of the same messy knot and gave up completely on my paint-ridden hands. After a hurried attempt at applying at least a layer of mascara u grabbed my dagger and was out the door, pulling my trainers of between steps.
The mirror in the lift may as well have laughed out loud.
By the time I reached the front doors of my apartment building, I"d completely forgotten about my appearance and unconsciously but predictably refocused on Lincoln. Sick anticipation crept through me, circulating and intensifying with every breath.
Yeah, I have it bad.
If possible, I had it worse than ever.
There was a time when I thought my love for Lincoln was unrequited, but now … well, it"s more complicated than ever, but the vibe – the crazy wired vibe that sparks between two people who are dancing around each other while simultaneously champing at the bit,
vibe – was one I was walking, stumbling, hacking through a thicket of, whenever we were near each other.
„Hey. I know it"s cool to be late, but could we at least keep it to a fashionable ten minutes?" Lincoln asked, a smile in his tone. I felt his eyes take me in and quickly remembered my very average appearances. I tucked my hair behind my ear and he gave a quirky grin. He knew me too well.
„You know, when you talk like that, you real y show your age," I quipped, as I slid my swipe key into my pocket.
Lincoln"s eyebrows shot up.
Good job, Vi.
Less than a minute together and already made things awkward. The issue of our age difference had definitely taken on more significance since I"d found out that although he only looked twenty-two at most, he was in fact twenty-six. As I was only seventeen, it increased the gap to a hefty nine years. Then again, as Grigori, neither Lincoln nor I were confined to the normal parameters of life expectancy. Unless we got ourselves killed along the way, we would likely live well into the hundreds, the ageing process slowing the older we got. So the age difference in the end meant little. It was the
parameters that were our problem.
„Where are we going, then?" I asked, keen to change the subject.
„Griffin just called. He got a tip-off. Exiles have been spotted a few blocks from here. If we go now, we should catch them. You up for it?"
Lincoln wanted me to be good. He wanted me to be strong and capable. That was one of the things I loved about him. He didn"t want me to hide away and not be able to protect myself, but at the same time, I could hear the concern in his voice."
„Yeah, let"s go," I rallied, trying to sound as sure as I should be.
Since becoming Grigori, my life has taken a sharp change of direction. I am, for all intents and purposes, a warrior. In many ways, that suits me fine. I like being strong and having extra abilities by way of supernatural enhancement is a-okay with me. I have learned the hard way that exiled angels do not belong among humans. There is a very good reason we are divided by realms of time and space and angels were simply not made to cope with the emotional extras that come with having a corporeal form.
Humans are born with the ability to feel, touch, smell, to experience both love and pain physically. Angels are not. Becoming human is just too much for them to process. In the end they go insane and most of them are vindictive monsters well before that.
Yet despite knowing this, there is still a part of me that struggles with the concept of killing them. Technically, that"s not what we"re doing, since we are only stripping exiles of physical forms when we return them to their realm for judgement. But …
And as if that wasn"t enough, since embracing my angel half in the desert – plunging my own blade into the image of myself – I haven"t been able to use my dagger, though I rarely go anywhere without it. It sits in a sheath, carefully „glamoured" so it cannot be seen by normal humans (weird to think I am no longer one of the
), and whenever I train or head out for a hunt, like now, I have every intention of using it should the occasion call for it.
„Are you sure you"re okay? I could call Griffin and he could go out with some of the others."