Her Black Wings (The Dark Amulet Series Book 1) (4 page)

BOOK: Her Black Wings (The Dark Amulet Series Book 1)
13.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub














White-hot heat poked at Elliott’s chest. He lifted his dangling head and opened his eyes, just in time to see a dull iron rod jabbed into his side. Agony bore through him. He cried out. Bound to a stony wall by his wrists and ankles, he couldn’t protect himself against the orange tipped shaft. Sweat dripped into his eyes. Cloven hooved demons chortled and snickered at him, pleased with their torturing.

Letting his head fall forward, he closed his eyes. Lesser demons grew bored brutalizing someone who they couldn’t make scream. Most had short attention spans, and with nothing to keep them engaged they’d soon leave him alone. Or so he hoped. He gritted his teeth with each jab, but not a single sound passed through his lips.

“This angel’s boring me,” one of Satan’s servants with the poker drawled. The heavy bar dropped to the soot lined ground at his feet with a thud. Black dust rose up then settled slowly.

“What we do now?” the other smaller, ram-horned underling whined.

“I don’t know, wait, no…wait right here!” The little demon rushed off.
Clack tlot. Clack tlot. Clack tlot.

“Where you goin’, boss?”

Elliott snorted at the cloven hooves’ sounds. The remaining torturer grabbed his jaw, digging clawed fingers into his cheeks.

“What’s so funny?”

“You, princess,” Elliott breathed.

Ram-head crinkled his forehead, cocking his head from side to side. “Princess? I don’t get it.” Releasing his grip, he backed off.

“Of course you don’t, Leia.”

Ram-head paced around the cavern. His tail swiped at the air while he whipped it back and forth. Elliott tracked the red-skinned idiot with only his eyes as the beast prattled on.

“Leia…what’s this mean…princess,
?” The demon stopped in front of the angel poised to speak then moved away again. Eventually he perched on a boulder like Rodin’s
The Thinker
. However, there wasn’t a lot of
going on.

The angel peered around the chamber, keeping his chin to his chest. One wall was shiny with moisture. On the opposite side, a fire crackled. The flames blackened the reddish rock up to the low, claustrophobia inducing ceiling. He took a deep breath.

A waft of coppery scent brought Elliott’s chin up and he inhaled sharply. The bigger imp had returned.

With a chainsaw.

Soaked in blood.

Elliott’s stomach plummeted. In reality the angel knew he wouldn’t die. However, mentally and physically he was going to suffer.

A lot.

Although he tried to remember what had occurred after waking up in Netherworld, the memory remained murky. The only things he could recall were sensations—his shirt being torn off, handfuls of feathers plucked, wrists and ankles cuffed.

The chainsaw roared to life. A shallow slash was carved across his chest. Tears spilled from his eyes. The sting from the slice faded as blood oozed from the wound. Another pass of the blade dragged across his thighs. He sucked in a breath through his teeth. He pushed his back into the wall. A zig-zag pattern was sliced into his abdomen. Gashes were made on his biceps, shoulder, shins, and left cheek. He wasn’t howling in agony. He chanted under his breath,
“This too shall pass. This too shall pass…”

A final duty had been entrusted to him, and he would fulfill the assignment no matter how he felt.

I will not screw this up.

Spending forever trapped in this hell would suck.














Amalya felt the heat of the creature disguised as a handsome man; his breaths pelted her cheek. When he didn’t yell at her immediately she turned her head and peeked at him with one eye.

“What do you say to me?”

“What do you want me to say?”

He shook her like a rag-doll. The floor came up fast. Her teeth gritted. She sprawled on the marble in disbelief. The man-creature had let her fall. Her knees and palms throbbed.

“What do you say to me?” Man-creature balled his fists.

“Tell you what, why don’t you just
me what you want me to say?” She crawled away, her palms squeaking on the high-gloss floor. Hands curled around her waist stopping her retreat. “Let me go!”

“Never!” The beast simmered beneath the surface. His eyes turned red for a second. White steam blew out his nose in a short burst.

Amalya wanted to run. She thought about Reed and the trick she’d played on him. Of course, it had resulted in her death, but now this wasn’t an issue. His fingers crimped down on her sides, not tight enough to damage her, although she exploited the convenient man-handling anyway. Bracing the ball of one foot on the floor, she cried out. “Ow! Y-You’re h-hurting me!” Her tears dripped onto the floor and she sniveled in a convincing show.

The heavy hold on her waist eased just enough for her to escape his grasp. She took off running, spring loaded from her foot. Four years of track had finally paid off. The only useful thing she’d learned in high school. Her bare feet squeaked on the marble.

Amalya sprinted down the nearest corridor. At regular gaps along the walls, she streaked by blazing fires, the wind causing the flames to flare up, nearly igniting the train of her dress. She didn’t look back. There was no looking back at the man-creature. If he was chasing her, she didn’t know it. All she could hear was her own breath sawing in and out. She swallowed hard and licked her lips. Her mouth was a desert.

Reaching a fork in the hallway, she headed down the darkened path on the left. Right into a dead end. She slammed into the stone wall, hitting her head. She staggered backward then ass-planted. A flame to the right raged to life. Her vision blurred and blackness closed in on her. Her upper body collapsed to the pebbled stone floor and her head lolled to the side. Cloven hooves were the last thing she saw.














I’m going to screw this up.

Elliott’s earlier resolve waned. His head hung low. Blood covered his bare chest and the front of his jeans. The multiple gashes were in various stages of healing.

The chainsaw wielding demon whose name he learned was Aza’zel flung the tool at the wall. He grumbled while it jumped across the sooty ground until the motor died out. His companion had long since left the cavern, bored, still muttering about what Elliott had called him; “princess.”

The angel took a shallow breath. Some of the slices had gone deep enough to damage his lungs. They would heal, but more slowly. Painfully. He hated the position he was shackled to the wall in—arms stretched out to the sides at shoulder height, his feet planted an uncomfortable distance from each other. With his chin resting on his chest and his hair hanging over, shielding his eyes, he couldn’t see the slave but could hear his hooves. Elliott imagined he looked a bit like Cousin It, only his locks were the purest of white and only came to the middle of his back.

Aza’zel’s clacking ceased. The differential in light and shadow told Elliott the lesser demon had stopped in front of him. Elliott’s head was yanked up by his hair.

“How, angel, are you here?” Aza’zel cocked his head to the side. His beady steel-blue eyes stared into Elliott’s ebony ones.

Elliott’s laugh started out as a chuckle then progressed into a humorless cackle. His head knocked to the side. Bringing his head back around, he spat blood in Aza’zel’s face. The lesser demon’s punch landed square on his right cheek.

“It’s best you answer me.”

“Or what? You’re going to kill me? Oh, I know, you’re going to torture me.”

Yeah, Elliott was asking for it.

“You’re already dead, angel.”

No shit.

“I already torture you.” The fiend narrowed his eyes.

You don’t say? What a genius.

He produced an ivory handled knife from the waistband of his brown leather loincloth. What exactly the leather covered was anyone’s guess. Goat-legged imps had plenty of fur in that area to hide whatever

Aza’zel pressed the blade into the skin under Elliott’s jaw. A trickle of blood oozed down his neck. “How did you get here?”

“How did

“I was born here.” The devil’s slave answered as if the question were a serious one.

Elliott wanted to laugh. Everyone knew the half animal types were born in captivity. Weren’t they?
Keep him talking.
“That must
suck. I mean, have you ever been up top?”

“Up? Top?”

“Yeah, you know, Earth?” The realm wasn’t actually up, down, or sideways, but in another dimension. Portals could be opened between each plane of existence. However, to get into Netherworld you had to die and the same went for Elliott’s home realm.

“No,” Satan’s server said, lowering his eyes. He backed off, removing the knife.

Had Elliott hit a nerve? A soft spot he didn’t know existed for this goat.

“It’s beautiful too. So much fresh air and cold, refreshing water.”


“Lakes, rivers of it, vast
. And—”

“What else? What else?” Aza’zel had heard his master speak of the abundance of water on Earth. Cool water. Netherworld only had a stream of hot water that tasted horrid. Any moisture dripping down the walls was even less potable.


“What’s that?” he asked eagerly.

“Well, it’s green and soft on your feet…ah,” Elliott looked at the cloven hooves, “well, soft if you roll around in it.”

Aza’zel rushed up to the angel. “What’s it taste like?”

“What’s what taste like?”

“This green…?”


“This has its own flavor?” the slave asked with wide eyes.

Elliott smirked in disbelief. “Yeah.”

“You will take me there? To Earth?”

Elliott groaned.
He sighed. Wait…he had an idea. “Tell you what, maybe we can help each other out. You want to see Earth and I’m looking for someone—”

“Who? Was this why you came here? You seek someone?”

Goats weren’t so dumb after all. Elliott knew it was foolish to make a deal with one, but he didn’t have a whole lot of options. “I’m looking for a woman. She’s not supposed to be here. Your Lord abducted her.”

“Stay right here.” Aza’zel trotted off.

Elliott stayed right there, fastened to the wall. Angels couldn’t take off Abaddon’s shackles. After a few minutes he began whistling the
theme, distracting himself.

A rush of clip-clops echoed outside the cavern. One by one six goat demons entered.















Voices echoed all around Amalya. The cacophony made her cringe. She felt weightless, lying on a slanted hard surface, her head lower than her feet, the dress bunched up to her waist. She was sweaty and her face was streaked with ash. With her hands pinned straight out on either side of her, she couldn’t move them. In this position it was impossible to do little more than kick her legs. Already feeling weak, she tired quickly.

Clack. Clack. Clack.

Amalya adjusted the position of her head to see what the noise was and where the sound was coming from. Then she remembered the hooves like a goat or more like a bison. “No! No, no, no!” she screamed.

“The human’s awake,” one of her captors said in sinister tone.

The beasts had red skin and furry legs. Their knees were all messed up, bent in the wrong direction, or maybe they had too many joints. Each of them had a set of horns, the shapes and sizes unique to them. Patches of black hair was smattered across their chests and their hairless tails touched the ground.

“What should we do with her?” another one asked.

“Aza’zel will know,” a third voice offered.

“Let’s not bother him. New souls come here all the time. Nothing to—”

“Not ones that run through the halls of the church!”

The creatures bantered back and forth until they were screeching at each other. When they were thoroughly entrenched in their debate, she looked around for anything she could use to her advantage if given the opportunity. Leaning up against a corner alcove were two machetes. On the other side of her was a sunken fire pit, the flames barely licking above the surface of the ground. Long metal rods with tips that glowed were placed around the opening.


She couldn’t breathe. An involuntary whimper came out. “Demons,” she whispered. The struggle against her bindings started again. She prayed her dress would somehow work its way down to her legs. Another stab of fear made her yell. Was she wearing panties? Christ, she couldn’t remember. Couldn’t remember when she’d been running or when the man-creature grabbed her waist.

A deafening shrill filled her eardrums. Pain shot through her head and her throat. She was screaming. And not an ordinary scream, a scream worthy of the most terrifying horror film victim except this was her reality, not a movie.

“Lookie here, the human, she’s scared,” a demon drawled.

They collectively lurched toward her. One demon walked over to the fire pit and began tossing the red-hot ended rods to the others. The pokers whistled through the air and were caught with well-practiced precision. Not one bounced on the ground.

An iron was laid across her left thigh.


Ear splitting screams pierced the air. Amalya panted, tears springing from her eyes. She screamed as another—


This one was pressed into her side. The next jabbed into the bottom of her foot. Her wailing became a croak when her voice gave out. She couldn’t take anymore. Why had she wished for death all those years? She’d wanted to end things; to not feel anymore. This was not what she had in mind when she prayed for death. She’d wanted not to exist.


“Oh God! H-help me…p-please,” she pleaded, her voice barely above a whisper.

BOOK: Her Black Wings (The Dark Amulet Series Book 1)
13.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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