Is this how they had all felt? All the animals and the sitter and the priest? I have to convince myself otherwise but I know what I have done in the past to be wrong now. Pain is nothing, the process of dying is much more than pain; it’s emptiness, loneliness and all the things I had never felt to connect to the words. Constance doesn’t give a damn and it became apparent when she left me to lay on the sweltering asphalt alone and scared. The tears keep pouring out and out, warm and salty. I want to tear at the irritated skin under my eyes, but my arms are as broken as the rest of me. The sun is the only constant until a shadow passes over me. “Grandma?” It’s shaky, but I manage to grit it out. I hear movement and my head is lifted by two soft hands that are warm, so warm, I want to curl up in them. It’s getting so cold.
I should be dead by now.
Why am I not dead by now?
More movement is heard and softness settles behind my neck and the hands disappear. “You’re in pretty bad shape.” If I could I would laugh. “Bad” shape is an understatement. “I’ll stay with you, I promise.” Stay? Who will? Who is this? It isn’t Constance, she left me when the sun was high in the sky. I can’t tell anything about the one cradling me, the stranger’s voice is garbled and my eyes are too bleary with tears. I tried to say who only to get out a whoosh of air that sounded as “hoo”, pathetic. “I’m Angel….. You’re going to be fine. We’re all here temporarily, you’re just returning to our beginning. You’ll come back again. You won’t remember this life, but you will come back. We will meet again.” Fingers threaded through my hair and unknotted the parts matted down with blood.
I don’t want to come back. I want to stay. I don’t want to forget, to lose all who I am. I am Michael Langdon. “I wonder what your name is.” Michael. Michael Langdon. Please don’t forget me. I don’t want to be forgotten. Constance left me and I’m alone now. “Michael… Lang… Don…….” my hair was finger-combed until I no longer could hang on to the edge of life. I wonder if that stranger, Angel, is right about energy. I’ll see, and if it proves to be true, I'll pay a visit.
The boy’s body burned to ash on my lap, but the fire didn’t hurt nor did it burn me. I panicked at first. But something was supernatural about the golden-haired teenager I had found dying in the street and so I deemed it fine. I- Strangely I want to meet him again someday; if there is a someday for the now-dead child. I sighed inwardly with the sight of the setting sun. My parents are going to be angry. I make to stand only to see an azure stone where there once was a beautiful broken boy crying. I would have cried with him if not for the fact that my tear ducts had dried up years ago, some things can’t be helped. I deliberate whether I should leave it or not. My answer is decided when I feel a tug in my chest and an urge to protect it swells up within me. To keep it safe. I palm the smooth stone; maybe he’ll come back some for it. And he surely would come back to the living. I can feel it in my skin, my teeth, my skull, my being. He’d come back.
My parents were angry and I earned myself a few lashes from my act of mercy. I didn’t tell them about the boy or the stone. In fact, I hid the stone. They would take the stone and sell it. That’s what happens with most of my possessions, either that or they destroy it. I had a rosary once, they tore it to shreds and told me that I shouldn’t buy into bull shit.
Honestly, they were good parents when I was little. That was until they were introduced to a satanic cult and poured all their funds into it. In my opinion, Satan can’t be that bad, his only job is to rule hell, not cause misery for me because of my beliefs in a spiritual existence. Nope, that was my parents’ job.
I can’t wait for the day when I can get out of this hellish existence. I wonder when I’ll meet that boy. Probably when I’m in the workforce. No, wrong, not even that long. How do I know that? I shouldn’t think about it and for years I hadn’t.
Through the years I learned that nothing is as corrupt as humanity and nothing deserves to die more. For an angel, I sure feel filthy and stained with how much blood has caked on my shoes. My parents force me to go to those damned meetings. I’m fine with everything except when they kill a sacrifice or ask what sins I’ve committed lately. I’ve violated honour thy father and thy mother too many times to count, but that would stay with me lest they found out.
I’ve stolen bits of food for the strays in the alleys. I’ve killed animals that were suffering from major injuries. I’ve done many things, but they always had a reason that I perceived as virtue behind it. I always say “I don’t know, why not ask our lord what I’ve been up to? Killing animals and stealing, that’s my gig, but you knew that.” That usually earned me lashes when we got home. I say it because I don’t want to be like the other docile murderers in that godforsaken place. I want to be the hunter, not the hunted. I want to make my own rules.
Today was my initiation, the black mass. I had been shoved out the door first thing Saturday morning and we set off for the church. The only abnormality at the church was the dozens of crows perched on the desolate grave markers. It should have unnerved me. Emphasis on should. Instead of being unnerving it was rather welcoming, warm, it filled my stomach with a hard to place feeling. Something was coming. Something that had been drowned out by the day to day drone of drivel and nothingness. Something I had forgotten.
The black mass was in full swing when the priestess attempted to hand me the dagger. Only for it to fly and settle into the hallowed stone. There was silence, then an uproar. They tore at my robes, hair, skin, anything they could reach. I curled in on myself on the floor to shield my soft underside. From my peripheral, I could make out my parents joining in on the assault. There was the cawing of crows, shrill and hollow. As hollow as I felt. I remember the boy, the boy who turned to whispered ash and stone in my lap. What was his name? I wish I could remember.
They made sure I was nearly dead before they left. For, if one is nearly dead they cannot reach to another for aid. They cannot heal from it. They are doomed. It’s why I kill hurt animals. Why I cry over the tiny mounds I make to hold their bodies. Because from the day I was born I’ve been nearly dead, just like them. I wanted to treat their death how I wished mine would be.
Funny that I’m the sacrifice of the day and not the supposed pure-hearted souls on the altar. What does pure even mean?! Pure evil?! Pure good?! There is no fucking good or evil! There is only the now, the past, and the future. Fuck the powers that be, I just want to escape from my life of despair. Why was I born if I was just going to die like this? I’m all alone. No more noise. No more anything.
I guess this is how he felt.
I’ll just nap a little and see if the pain lessens.
The air pulses faster, harder. I don’t understand why I know, but if I don’t reach my destination in time then the source will be lost forever. Gone through my hands like sand. That’s not allowed. Not for the antichrist. Not for Devan Campbell. The pulse trickles faster and I step harder on the gas. There are sirens but who cares about pests like them. They can’t do anything to me. Although to be truthful, no one can. Not truly. A chapel comes into view and the pulse reaches out to me. The sirens continue their chase. Ugh, it’s revolting how persistent they are. How about I just disillusion them. I don’t have much time after all. I pull forward the fiery inferno thrumming in my veins and take aim at the officers. I would smugly smile as is my way, but the pulse largely wavers and fades. No. Not when I’m this close. Fuck! I run, run as fast as my legs can carry me. When I slam open those doors I see a crumpled form upon the floor. The source of the pulse. Small whimpers are emanating from the shrunken form. And whispers of something. I draw close enough to hear it and find it to be the word “Langdon”, the hell is a Langdon?
The things I do next are fluid in motion, but so foreign I should have baulked more than once. I sit upon the floor and place the head of the form upon my lap. “You’re in bad shape.” The form which was once limp went as rigid as a taut bow. “Mi- Michael? You-“ a cough interrupted the raspy words. Michael? It felt right, but that was wrong. My name is Devan. “You came back….. Your body burned on my lap you know…... All that was left was a stone. I kept it…... I kept it because I knew you would want it, need it. Too bad I can’t give it to you… not this time ...” I pulled back the hood and saw a girl’s delicate features, she was very nearly a woman. Her face swollen with bruises. A possessive sense swelled in me. Who did this and where are they? Because I’ll kill them. No, I’ll do better. Hold them somewhere and dole out punishment until they are nothing but skin and bones in a bloody pile. Yes. That sounds delightful. But for now, I must focus on her. “What if I give you the chance to give it to me. Would you like to make a deal with the antichrist?” A sense of dread cloys onto me. I shouldn’t have said antichrist. What if she says no immediately. “What do I have to give in exchange?” Nothing. I just want you to live. I just want to stay near you. I want you to stay near. “Stay near, that is all I ask.” She’s trying to move her hand. I cradle the soft hand with my own. “Ye- ssss.” Her lungs seemed to be collapsing now, fuck. Time for some effort on my part. I sighed inwardly and turned her body to lay with her back down as gently as I can. With a lungful of copper air, I breathe the life back into her. The more I give, the more I feel like my blood is boiling. It’s too much, too warm. I never feel warm, always cold. I feel too human. Too much like before. What before? Just… before. That’s all I’m supplied by my memory.
My pains ease and broken pieces crack back into place with each second Michael hovers over me. All of a sudden my breath is stoppered and I feel light-headed. What? What’s wrong? Something is wrong. My consciousness flickered and I fought against the waves threatening to pull me under. It felt like if I did succumb then I would never wake again. “Stay with me. Don’t leave just yet. You said you’d stay right?” I hummed in the positive and sluggishly tried to nod only to meet immense resistance. Hands slapped me on the cheeks. “Don’t leave damn it!” I vaguely smiled. So he’s dramatic, I can roll with that. If I don’t die first. He still hovering, but nothing is happening. He leans back on his shins and scrubs his eye sockets with the heel of his palms. “What can I do? Hmmmmmm~ I wish dear old dad was a little more clear.” Michael was so frustrated that he was now pouting. The supposed antichrist is pouting over death and healing. “Maybe a blood binding. Or a soul stitcher. But what is the problem? Diagnostics.” A mutterer as well. He says something weird and waves his hand over me. “The surface and skeletal injuries healed, but the internal organs and flesh did not. Well, that’s unique. Ahhh, maybe-“ He swiftly brought his thumb to his mouth and bit down. Blood welled almost immediately from the choppy flesh wound. My robe was ripped open. Thank my butt that I opted to keep clothes on under. My shirt was hitched up and he began drawing. It feels warm, so very warming and good. Which part does, his finger drawing inane symbols or his blood colouring my flesh, I don’t know. He whispers words that ring in my head, but hold no content. At least they hold no meaning logically, but in my core, I know that they mean something withdrawn, secret. Time stills and I stare at the boy above me. It’s only been four years but he looks to be a teenager. Antichrist, he said he was an antichrist. Antichrists should bring about the end to humans not bring them back so why me? Against my blurry judgement, I feel special. Sharp pain lances through me and I scream out. Michael tries to soothe me as he coos “You’ve done so well. If it was me I would have been screaming through the entire incantation. You’ve done so well. So good.” His words and the circles he rubbed in between my shoulders made the pain ebb to mere soreness.
We sat there on the cold stone for hours, holding each other for warmth. At least I was. I think Michael has some issues with any affection of any kind. It’s not that he hates it from what I can see. From what I can tell he craves it in mass amounts. A gurgle resounded from my stomach. I don’t want to leave this. This, this safe place in Michael’s arms. Michael spoke up. “You want to get something to eat?” I shake my head. Don’t want to move. “Do you ever want to return home?” I shake my head. Never, my parents didn’t care that I was being beaten to death. All because an athame flew out of my hand. It might have meant more than ‘she’s a traitor’, but they’re idiots. “So it was your parents and the people of this church.” What? “I can read your thoughts. Ew, stop thinking about horrid rap artists you hate.” Payback. “Yes, I’m sure. Do you want to come to my home?” What does the antichrist’s home look like? A dilapidated shack? An opulent mansion? Or maybe a palace? I think it’d be cool if only to satisfy my curiosity. “Then come, let’s get you on your feet. Aunt Mead has delicious cooking.” I hum in agreement and stiffly clamber up. Michael holds out his hand and then I’m hit with a thought. The stone. We need the stone. He needs the stone. “We can get it on the way to my home.” That calmed my rising panic. This boy is adorable and so sweet. I wonder if I can keep him. Michael side-eyed me with a small smile. Oops. Right, thoughts. I awkwardly limped over to a black jeep that apparently belonged to Michael with the help of said Michael. “Just think of the directions and I’ll drive. I know your voice isn’t really working well and it probably won’t for a long while. That ritual isn’t meant for humans.” I smiled in appreciation at him and he returned it with a swipe to my cheek. If my voice is the cost to be like this then I’ll gladly be mute.
Soon enough we were at my two-story crappy house. There were garbage bags filled with my things on the porch and I silently laughed. They didn’t waste any time. At least I hid the stone well. In the floorboards to be precise. Michael set a hand on my shoulder. Michael. “It will be fine. I’m with you. And they can’t kill me. At least not for long.” Good. Now you can be my meat shield. He pouted and I poked the corner of his mouth. So cute. Let’s go. I limp onto the porch, lean on the doorframe and bang on the handle. The door swings open eerily. I’m so cool. “Yes, you are.” I slip in and climb the stairs and enter my room expecting it to be empty. Only to find it was not in fact empty. My mother, Janet was sat on my bed sobbing into my favourite concert t-shirt. I love that Cage the Elephant t-shirt and now it has snot all over it. Michael! I felt Michael pressed against my back within seconds. “So this is your mother. The attractive genetics you sport must have skipped a generation.” Maybe. Mother’s sobs ceased and she stared at me before launching into what seemed to be a hug. Michael held out his arm before she got within two feet of me. It’s that board. He whispered in my ear, “Very well my angel. Oh, right I never did catch your name.” …. Angel. My name is Angel. He hummed mystically. Janet stamped her foot. “Why are you keeping my daughter from me?! Come here, sweetie.” I shook my head instinctively and curled into Michael. “Nnnn...oooo..”
Michael cooed at me. “It’s fine, you don’t have to speak.”
I felt him shift. “She will be coming with me and you will not stop me because if you try I will slice your throat.” One of his hands left me and I shivered without the constant contact. “Now that I have what we came for we’re leaving. Have a nice night. I’ll see you and your husband soon.” The threat chilled me to the bone. No. They’re terrible but they’re still my mom and dad. Michael whispered in my ear again with a voice dripping in worship and admiration. “You truly are an angel.” I’m not. I never have and never will be. Something felt as if it stretched thinner. Michael stiffened and then pulled me away. Down the stairs. Through the doorway. Into the car reeking of spiced apple and mint.
Silently Michael started the car and we were on our way. Suddenly he asked, “Why do you hate the idea of being an angel so much?” Because I’m not. I never will be. I was born to a satanist couple who shouldn’t have been able to have children. They were terrible. I was terrible in turn. I morphed into something wrong. Not right. I do good things when I can, but how I would love for this world to burn. Along with the idiots who follow like mindless sheep. Tick tock the clocks are running. Tick tock the time is running. Hurry and catch it before you lose it forever, humanity. Wow, that was weird. It was like a thread had snapped and let loose whatever it was keeping out. Or maybe it was keeping it in. “I think you may be right on that account.” I cocked my head to the side. Hmm? He didn’t elaborate. Michael must have his reasons. “You will know when I do.” Okay. I want to curl up into his side. “When we get there.” There was a warmth there. The rest of the ride was long and quiet. Or at least that’s how it felt. At some point, I fell into a dream of roses and Salem and homicidal desires. Yep, my mind is screwed now and forever. I have to accept it and move on. I hummed in question at being shaken. “We’re here. Ready to meet my aunt Meade?” I nod and stumble out of the car after Michael in all his excitement. The stone? “Oh, right. I’ll give this to you for now.” He’d doubled back and set it in my palm. It was too cold in my opinion so I stashed it in my warmest pocket, my front pants pocket. It was familiar, the stone. The only constant in this wave of change I was experiencing. “Angel! Come on!” Hell. Wait up. I limp faster toward a seemingly normal home settled in the suburbs. The antichrist lives in the suburbs. “Yes, I do.”
He pulled out keys and tried to open the door in the dark of fading light. It’s been a long day I see. Michael looked back at me. “For you, definitely.” He struggled a bit more and muttered under his breath about how he wished doors didn’t exist. He banged on the door in frustration. The door swung inward to show a well-weathered woman with periwinkle blue eyes. “Satan help me, you’re going to break down the door!” Michael grinned. “That’s what I wanted to do. I want to kill every door in existence.” The woman, aunt Meade I surmised stood confounded with the insanity addled boy in front of her. Then she looked at me. “And who is this? A sacrifice?” I unconsciously backed away and my muscles seized up. No. No. Nono ononjonon. Nknnlbnmpnono. Michael slid a steady arm around to the small of my back. “No. She’s an angel with issues at home.” He looked at me for confirmation and I nodded slowly. She looked at me pointedly, clearly expecting vocal conversation. “You don’t have to.” I do. “He...ll..o missss meee..d. I ‘mmm anng… ill” her eyes widened a fraction. “What happened to this one?” Michael’s eyes narrowed but Meade took no note as she was still focused on me. “She was in a situation so I tried to heal her the usual way. That didn’t work for her internals. So I ended up using a spell meant for “unnatural” beings. She’s basically mute until the side effects wear off.” Meade looked him in the eye and pointed at his chest. “Did you kidnap this girl without her permission?” I grabbed at her arm. No. No. He’s nothing but kind. Lovely really. “No, we’ve been conversing through her thoughts as she’s vehemently attempting to do with you.” She looked at me. All I could do was draw out a “yeeeaaa~”. I sound like a mental institution inpatient. “You don’t sound that bad.” I turned on him and glared. The hell I don’t. He looked to the side. “Maybe you do sound that bad.” He turned back and we both laughed a bit. That was, until the gurgling.
When Ms Meade heard our stomachs gurgle she descended on us and we found ourselves at the dinner table in the kitchen. Or whatever this table was used for. Hopefully no orgies, I dislike pubic hairs in my food. Michael’s head swivelled. “What’s an orgy?” What? Michael doesn’t know what- but- Apparently, Michael went sifting through my grey matter because his cheeks darkened considerably. “Stop reading the poor girl’s mind and eat. You shouldn’t ask about things like that,” She looked at me. “and you shouldn’t tell him.” Michael and I shared a glance as we bit into the most heavenly piece of meat I’ve had the pleasure of eating. I think I just had a mouthgasm. Michael talked aside to me secretively. “I know I do, every dinner time.” I nodded happily and Ms Meade seemed to find enjoyment in our voracious appetites. “How was it you two?” “It was bloody delicious.” She looked at me and back. Ahhh, she wants a translation. Please tell her it was the best meal I’ve had in my life. “She thinks it was terrible.” I gaped at him and kicked his shin. How dare you. He sucked in air and nursed his shin lightly. Meade scolded us. “Now, now. Angel, why don’t you write what you wish to say since this joker can’t be trusted.” She narrowed her eyes at Michael then left the quaint kitchen and returned with a notepad and pen in hand. “Here.” She slid the materials toward me as she sat in her once-vacant wooden chair. What should I write first? How about.. I took up the pen and wrote “The meal was delicious Ms Meade. Thank you. It was the best meal I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.” She stilled after reading my terrible handwriting and maybe even looked a little touched. She abruptly seemed to shake it off. “It was nothing, girl. I take it you’ll be staying with us?” I look to Michael for guidance. Can I? He rolls his eyes and huffs. “I guess.” Replacing his previous exasperation he smiles good-naturedly at me. I nod toward Ms Meade once again and her eyes flit between us. “You two aren’t sleeping in the same room. I hope you know that.” What? No! I don’t want to be alone! The dark will come back! Not the dark, it hurts so much! Michael keeps away the dark. Let me stay with him! Please…. Ms Meade must have seen something that disturbed her enough to change her mind. “Okay, I guess it’s fine. What is she going to do about clothes? You didn’t bring in anything.” Michael chuckled. “Surely you didn’t think I would carry anything?” He held up his hand and slowly clenched it into a fist. There was a tug in my stomach and an electric sensation flitted over my skin. Energizing the soft flesh with a fresh energy that rid me of the aches I still suffered. “Her belongings are in my room now. Shall we ready ourselves for bed?” Ms Meade smirked as she waved us out. Before I crossed the threshold I bowed my head in slight deference.
I don’t know what I had expected from the antichrist’s room but this was better. Your room is so big and it smells great. Or is that Michael’s natural smell? If it is I would want to…. Oops. Forgot about the thought thing. Michael’s room was like a goth’s wet dream. There were skulls embroidered on nearly all his comforters. Of which there were multiple. Dark natured knick-knacks littered the room and its shelves, seating books on human anatomy and theories of reality. Everything centered on black, red, and white. His bed was also immensely fluffy as I came to find. Michael had truly taken all of my personal items and transported them to his room. He hadn’t minded as I set my things about his room. In fact, I would say that he looked ecstatic. He sat upon his bed as I unpacked and watched intently. It was enough to make even the most cold-hearted blush nevermind me. When I asked where to change to night clothes he cocked his head. “Why would you need to leave the room?” Uhh…. Generally, men and women aren’t supposed to change in front of one another. “Why?” Because they have different things to hide. He wrapped an arm around my middle and pulled me toward him until I was straddling him. He gazed into my eyes saying, “You don’t need to hide anything from me.” It truly isn’t fair that someone so far removed from adulthood looks so enticing. I pushed off of him and stole into the hall where I wandered, looking for a restroom. I found it after I found a torture room. The instruments within made me rub my thighs together in anxiousness. When I came back to the now, shared space Michael was nowhere to be found so I flopped on his bed and snuck under the covers. As I flitted away to Morpheus’ embrace I had one last thought. This feels like home. And maybe it truly would be. Because I became a fallen angel in favour of the son of Satan.