A Fresh Start

Grievances

He stomped away from the gun store, fuming over being rejected once more. He needed to protect himself from these…creatures, and no one would believe him. Darian Becket ignored the traffic and walked right into the street, horns blaring and tires screeching to a halt as he looked up. “None of you get it do you?!” he yelled, his hysteria overwhelming him. He couldn’t get a gun — he had tried three times now over the last month — and other weapons would probably be useless against these beings. What else could hurt an angel? he asked himself as he walked on, bumping into people carelessly in his ire. Angels. He would have never even thought of such a thing unless he had seen proof with his own eyes.

It was three months ago, when his mother lost her job and his father had left them, that she had started praying again. His father was against it, but with him out of the picture, she jumped right back into it with fervor. Darian remembered scoffing at the idea, always laughing at her behind her back. That memory brought angry tears once more, the hate for these creatures building in him with every step. Angela Becket prayed for answers, for a sign, and it wasn’t long after, that he came.

The man introduced himself as Gabriel, a messenger from the church. He wore a white suit, immaculately clean, and carried a small white briefcase. He had long dirty blond hair and green eyes like liquid emeralds that could see into your very soul. Darian would never forget those eyes as long as he lived. The man came right to the door, knocking lightly, and walking right in as if he owned the place. Within minutes the man had his mother eating out of the palm of his hand. Things like “It’s what He wants,” “It’s His message,” and “Just have faith.” Darian was suspicious and of course followed them around the house, listening to this man sweet talk his mother into whatever scheme he had going. Darian wasn’t stupid, he knew the streets and how these guys operated. As they walked through the kitchen, heading for the living room, he saw the shadow of the man from the fading light of the setting sun through the window. The shadow was warped, showing wings on the man, even though there weren’t any there. Frightened, he grabbed a large knife out of a wooden block near the stove, yelling for his mother to get away from the man. Darian remembered the man turning, a smile on his face as he looked down at his shadow, and shook his head sadly.

“I’m sorry son, not many people catch that,” he had said, a strange look in those emerald eyes.

Darian had panicked, adrenaline flooding his body, as the man took a step closer. He lunged with the knife, a killing blow with the force behind it; yet it never struck this being. His mother had rushed in front of the man, yelling for Darian to stop. The knife plunged into her heart, his momentum carrying them both into the man. Gabriel caught them both effortlessly, and lowered them down. Angela Becket was dead before she hit the floor.

Darian stopped near an alley, the memory of his mother’s death weighing on him. He looked and saw a man standing in the shadows, at ease, like he belonged there. “What you want man?” Darian asked, stepping into the alley with a caution born of someone on the run.

“My name is Natasha and I want to help you with your…problem,” the man said, stepping out a little bit so that the light fell on his face. He brushed blond hair out of his brilliant hazel eyes and smiled. He was dressed in an expensive suit and seemed unarmed.

Darian looked at the man’s feet, searching for his shadow, but the man wasn’t in the right spot for it; not enough light. “What problem is that?” Darian asked.

“Why, how to kill an angel of course,” the man said, his relaxed posture throwing Darian off. “I, too, was wronged by those beings and have sought for years for the right tool to avenge that wrong.” He opened his suit jacket, producing a red card and threw it at Darian with ease, the card fluttering effortlessly into his reach.

Darian caught the card and looked up, but the man was gone. He looked at the card, turning it over in his shaking hands, and saw that there was a red side, and a black side; both identical. “Arnor’s Desires” it read, listing an address here in Old Miami. There was a phone number as well as something called a fax number, whatever that was. Darian looked again at where the man used to be and walked out of the alley, new hope replacing his dour mood.

The Healer

She walked among the sick, a smile on her tired face, and encouraged them with her words of a better day. Raina placed her hand on one boy, his arm infected from a knife wound, and channeled her power slightly. The infection vanished like darkness in the light of dawn and the boy closed his eyes, restful sleep finally finding him. The woman that went by the name of Raina ran her pale hands through her bone white hair and sat down, frustrated tears falling down her face. She could instantly heal everyone here with a flick of her wrist, yet that would draw too much attention. She was slender and pale, dressed in a light rose sundress with a white belt. Though her hair was white, it was not her age that made it so; she appeared in her early thirties at best. The archangel Raphael got back up and resumed her rounds, knowing that she couldn’t save everyone at the improvised hospital.

“Sister Raina?” one of the other women asked, coming in with an urgent look on her face.

“Yes Greta? What is it?”

“There is a man here asking for you,” Greta said, a look of concern on her weathered face.

“Is that a problem Greta? What has you worried so?” Raina asked, placing her hand on the woman’s shoulder and channeling positive thoughts to the poor woman.

“It’s just…he said he was your brother and you’ve always said you were an only child,” Greta admitted, wringing her hands together. “I fear he means ill towards you.”

“Did he give a name?” the angel asked, wondering if Michael had finally come to stop her meddling in the affairs of these mortals. He hated the fact that she used her powers so blatantly in front of them all; it was one of his rules for them, and the one she always broke.

“Yes, he said his name was Gabriel.”

“Thank you Greta, you may show him in. Don’t worry, he is like a brother to me,” Raina said, her smile broad indeed. She hadn’t seen the archangel Gabriel in almost ten years; it would do her good to lay eyes upon his visage once more. She walked towards the large window as Greta went to let her visitor in and looked up at the beautiful clouds drifting overhead. They parted and a single ray of brilliant sunshine came down to shine on her pale face. I miss you too father, but these people need us so, she thought as a feeling of contentment washed over her instantly. She had always been the closest to Him out of all her brothers and sisters; even Michael.

“You are a radiant example of any species dear sister,” Gabriel said entering the room. He looked at the mortals as he passed them by and clicked his tongue. “Poor fellows, you’re taking such good care of them for father aren’t you?”

“It is good to see you too Gabriel, and yes, someone has to.” The archangel embraced her brother, feeling his warmth as he embraced in return.

“I’ve been searching for you for a while Raina,” he said, using the name she had taken to walk among the mortals. Some of them kept their originals, as the names didn’t really stand out; others changed them to be more comfortable. “I need your help in mending an individual that I may have scarred.”

Finding each other was not easy, as they moved around constantly to avoid suspicion from the humans they were sent to guard and protect. “Surely not you Gabriel, you usually aren’t violent, that’s Aleksandr’s province,” she said, thinking of her dark haired brother Azrael.

“Not physically no, but it happened nonetheless,” he began, his hands behind his back as he walked once more with her. “He attacked me and in so doing caused the death of his mother. I couldn’t bring her back, nor help his fractured mind. That is your area I’m afraid.”

“How long have you been searching for me?” she asked, knowing his answer would confirm her fear. She could indeed return the dead to life, but only in a certain amount of time. True resurrection had a time limit of three days.

“Alas, it has been months I’m afraid,” Gabriel said, his eyes full of sorrow. “I also had to intervene in another mishap between Michael and Cain, of all people. Though thankfully I was only needed to encourage, not battle.”

“Well, let’s go find this person so I can see what I can do to help.” The pair of archangels left shortly afterwards, walking into an alley and letting their wings out. Gabriel’s were a gorgeous two-tone white/brown, hers, an almost diaphanous silver. All archangels had wings that no one could see. They’re kept dis-corporate, almost inside of them. When released, humanity cannot see the angel unless they will them to. So it was that the two soaring beings flew over the city and out across the plains, towards their destiny.

Weapon in play

Darian stopped outside of the shop and looked about nervously; they could be anywhere. Opening the door and walking in, he noticed that the shop was empty despite being on the main strip. Every other shop was bustling with patrons, yet this one was dead.

“Can I help ya laddie?” A voice asked from behind the counter.

Darian couldn’t see anyone, yet footsteps continued to sound from behind the counter. As if on cue, a small man popped up and rested on his elbows. The man was only about four feet tall and had a slight hunch to his back, standing on a stool so he could reach the counter.

“Yes, yes laddie. I’m a wee person, you can stop staring now,” the man said, nodding his head. “My name is Arnor and I am here to sell you what you truly desire.”

Darian looked at his feet and then back at the man. He pulled out the card he was given and handed it to Arnor. “I was given this and told you have an item that could be used to help me,” the young man said. “I need to kill an angel.”

“An angel! Whoa, big plans indeed. Tell old Arnor laddie, is it the fallen one you seek to injure?” The shop owner got down as he talked, walking behind a red curtain. The sound of rummaging and falling objects echoed throughout the store as he obviously searched for something.

“Fallen one? You mean Satan?”

“Aye, that’s the one.”

“No, this one’s name was Gabriel,” Darian said, remembering the name like it was yesterday. He had cursed that name for months, and now it was almost over.

“Really? Truly? Well, then, I have just the thing.” Arnor pulled a vicious looking dagger made of weathered stone out of a sheath as he walked back. He slammed it down on the counter, making Darian jump, and laughed at the young man’s reaction. “This here is the blade of Enmon and is made out of the stone tablets God himself supposedly gave to Moses. They of course fell to ruin after centuries, and Enmon made a weapon out of them to slay the devil. It should technically work on any angelic being though.”

“How much?” Darian asked, knowing that this may be out of his price range. He had a lot of money, but faced with the history and age of the seeming artifact in front of him, he might not have enough. He wasn’t worried about it being authentic, he could feel the pulse of power from here; the same pulse he felt when the angel lowered them to the floor.

“For you laddie? The ring finger on your off hand,” Arnor said in a serious tone. No smile, no joke, no smirk.

“You’re kidding.”

“Didn’t ya notice there is no cash register in the shop? I don’t take money, no. I take things that people value,” Arnor said, producing a rather sharp looking blade. “Don’t ya worry though; this blade seals the wound as it cuts, so you’ll be fine.”

“How?”

“Why, magic of course laddie. Now, how about that payment?”

Confrontation

Darian walked the street in shock, looking down at his hand with a mix of horror and awe. It hurt something awful, yet there was no blood. He hefted the stone dagger in his good hand and smiled. He was so close now. Darian saw the perfect place he was searching for, a small statue in the park near an open area. He sat there and closed his eyes, praying to Gabriel just like his mother had all those months ago. He squeezed his eyes shut harder as he called to the angel, finally hearing the whoosh of air in front of him.

*          *          *

Gabriel heard the prayer and knew that he had found the boy. “This way,” he called out to Raina, flying beside him. They angled down towards Old Miami and saw the park and the boy sitting on a bench praying. They landed and folded their wings, approaching the boy slowly.

“I knew you’d come,” Darian said, opening his eyes. Tears fell slowly from them as he stared at the two.

“Hello Darian, I brought a friend to help you,” Gabriel said, feeling the pulse of power in the weapon that the boy held. He knew then that it was a trap, yet this boy couldn’t overpower the both of them.

“Help me? I begged you to save my mom that day and you didn’t. You just flew off and left us there.”

“I couldn’t son, she was already gone.”

“You’re an angel for Christ’s sake!” Darian surged to his feet, brandishing the blade before him with very little skill.

“Darian is it?” Raina asked, stepping forward with her hands out. “I want to help now, all right?”

“Who are you?” the boy asked, swinging the blade back and forth between the two archangels.

“My name is Raina and I’m a healer,” she started, walking closer. “I want to help, but you have to put down the blade before I can do that,” she said, trying to calm him from where she was. His mind was a jumble of pain, hate, and guilt. She could feel that he was damaged, and deeply, at what he had accidentally done. He blamed Gabriel, yet deep down the boy knew it was his own fault that his mother was dead. It was literally tearing his mind apart.

“You can bring her back?” Darian asked, his watery eyes looking at her with hope.

There was such light in those eyes that Raina felt her own tears starting to fall, the silver drops gliding down her face. “Yes I can,” she lied, knowing that once she was done, he would be whole once more. That was the only good thing about not having a soul. The morality was taken out of the equation for beings like her. She watched as the boy dropped the stone blade, then stepped in and placed her hands on his face, sending her healing into his mind. She looked over at Gabriel, his guilt obvious on his face, yet he smiled at her anyway.

“I…feel her,” Darian said softly, closing his eyes. He wept openly now, great sobs as the angel held his face in her two hands. “She’s at peace.”

“As are you, now, my little one. Go through life now without guilt or shame; those memories are purged from you,” The archangel Raphael let go of the boy and hugged him, her tears falling on his shoulder. “You have a fresh new start now. Go now and live your life how she would’ve wanted you to.”

Gabriel placed his hand upon his sister’s shoulder and nodded his thanks. He looked down to pick up the blade, but it was gone. No matter, it probably went back to where it came from, he thought, as they watched the young boy stumble away. They unfolded their wings and left him, whole and at peace for the first time in months.

Plans

The man known as Natasha sat back and spun the stone blade in his hands, feeling the pulse of power that could end his very life. He had been trying to get his hands on this weapon for many years, but stubborn old Arnor would never give it up. He laughed as he placed the dangerous artifact back in its sheath, placing it with the other objects he had collected over the years. He had snuck right under his siblings noses and taken it whilst they were busy healing that fractured soul. Very predictable indeed. This one was special though, it was going to play a major part in his ongoing plans.

The fallen angel Lucifer sat back and let his wings out, the glorious, white, feathers betraying his dark heart. He laughed again and plotted his next move, one which would see his family torn asunder at last.

The end?

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