The angel beneath me claws for my attention, but doesn’t know that by my hand, she’s about to die. She’s blinded by my empty promises, and unaware of how I am merely using her as a means to an end. She’s a pretty thing, and I’m one to ruin pretty things.
We are lying on a bed—not my own, I would never allow a creature like her in my own chambers—with its crimson-colored and soft sheets. The air of Hell prickles against my skin. The scent of lust and hunger always lingers here.
The angel’s lips are wet and pink, and her eyes are flaring, betraying her need for me. She’s rubbing her thighs together, trying to find release, and her expression lights with so much passion its obvious she wants me. She’s not supposed to, but days of playing with her mind with Sylver’s magic, dangling the promise of sex in front of her, has driven her mad.
This one broke too easily.
“Xeresss,” she hisses my name. I don’t like hearing it slip off her tongue.
Her eyes track every one of my movements. I sit up and pull my shirt over my head. A gasp slips out of her mouth and greed flickers through her face. She’s acting like a lesser demon, unable to control herself and is giving in to whatever is in front of her.
Three days ago this angel had been a creature of light. She was splendid and regal, exactly like how they had depicted angels in the paintings. With her sword, she cut down my fellow demons with her blades. She was merciless, branding justice as her excuse to be cruel. Angels are all like that, but they are no better than us. They’re simply able to hide behind their false beauty—white cloaks, impressive statures, and their ephemeral wings.
This angel has no more wings.
She runs her hands down my torso before trying to pull me closer to her but I don’t let her. I do things on my own time, wanting full control.
I grip her wrists and fold them over her head. She yelps as I tear the fabric of her clothes off her and press my weight against her thighs.
“I want you,” she says. Her voice had thundered across the battlefield, but now it’s nothing but a pathetic whisper.
“Then tell me,” I answer.
“What do you want to know?” She arches her back, offering her body to me. “I will give you anything you need.” I don’t take her invitation for her body, but my ears are open to her information.
It’s interesting to see the angel struggle to have me take her. I am a creature of both pain and pleasure but I don’t sleep with angels. Looking at her kind makes my skin crawl with anger and distaste.
I run the back of my hand down her side of her face. “Do they still have the orb?”
Her breath hitches. “No.”
“Where is it?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then you’re not very useful to me, are you?”
Her expression stiffens at the possibility of me leaving. “I’ll do anything. But I can’t tell you this because nobody knows where the orb is. It can only be found by the key.”
I’m aware of this information. I just needed to make sure the angels haven’t gotten any closer my prize.
I sigh and part myself from her, peeling my skin from hers. I have touched her for long enough, and am relieved that I can part from her. Her lingering scent continues to stick on my body, and I’m left feeling in need of a long, cold shower.
Unfortunately, there are no cold showers in Hell, everything here is sweltering with heat and flames and burning.
The bed creaks as I step from it.
“Wait,” she says, pushing herself into a seating position. “Where are you going?”
I don’t glance back.
She continues to beg and grovel as I leave her wanting. It’s a miserable sound, and does the job of turning me off. I don’t frolic with her kind, but she is a beautiful thing. All angels are, with their perfect complexions and svelte figures.
She’s served her purpose. There’s no need to keep the enemy alive. I swing my dagger at her. It digs straight through her skull and makes a ‘thud’ against the bed frame. Her limp figure lies still against the sheets, and her blood spills, seeping toward the sheets, dripping down before blending with its crimson color.
Vickal, both my sworn brother and my right-hand man, is waiting for me in the corridor.
I raise a brow in question.
He’s dressed in his usual leather, all-black, with his fringe brushed back. He has an edged jaw. Sharp, just like him.
“You should have given the poor thing what she needed,” he says, “before you split her skull in two.”
“You could have pleasured her instead.” He hates her kind as much as I do. We’re demons from Hell, and have been at war with the angels for as long as I can remember.
That’s saying a lot, because I can remember way back.
Vickal snorts. “I’ll pass.” He folds his arms. “What did you get from her?”
I don’t like the way he looks at me. It’s because of his cold, blue eyes, which have the most piercing gaze I have ever come across. Does he want my position as head of our clan? Or is he my loyal servant as he claims he is? I know he can best me in terms of power, and I’m wary of him testing that out. I’m not afraid of most things, but Vickal is the exception, because I love him and hate him at the same time, and if he ever challenges me I fear what might happen to the both of us.
I look back at the broken angel, her eyes continue to stare open at the ceiling. “They’ve lost the Orb of Jehovah. It’s re-spawned.”
We stroll down the corridors of the demon palace. I want to find my she-demons after this to wash off the grime that angel had left on my body. But finding the orb is a more pressing matter. We’re headed off to the portal to the human realm.
Vickal frowns. “That isn’t much to know.”
“At least we know the angels aren’t any closer to them.”
“They’re not. We are. Because I’ve found the key.”
The key always leads to the Orb of Jehovah. The oracles had left a prophecy regarding it a hundred years ago, and every one has waited for the orb to re-spawn since then.
“You’ve found the key to the orb?” I ask Vickal. “That quickly?”
Vickal smirks. “It was trouble to track him, but my abilities never let you down.”
“So where is it? What does Dark Hollow mean?”
He shrugs. “It’s not as ambiguous as every one thought it’d be. Both angels and demons are chasing their tails trying to decipher the convoluted message. It’s not an analogy. Dark Hollow is a place. They key was a male born in a storm, seventh of July, in a town named Dark Hollow.”
“I always thought it’d be something laced with more mystery.”
“You and me both.”
I pad forward, my boots clicking against the marble of the demon palace, and Vickal follows.
“The key isn’t alone. He has a sister. A fraternal twin.”
“That doesn’t matter.”
Silence rings between Vickal and I. I spin around, facing him, and I sense the gravity weighing him down. “Why? Do you care for her?”
“Nothing of the sort.”
We step out into the courtyard. The red sky of Hell greets us. There’s a mountain in the distance spewing out orange lava, but the lava does little to light the constant gloominess that looms over Hell. I prefer how dark it is here because I’m a creature of the shadows. I’ve been to Heaven countless times, and its fluffy clouds and bright sunlight don’t appeal to me. The facade of Heaven makes my skin crawl because of how many lies it hides.
A lesser demon flies around us. This one seems more stupid than their brethren, because most know not to mess with me. It swoops past Vickal’s feet, and Vickal stomps the life out of the creature without batting an eye. Those things are nuisances. Like cockroaches.
“So we’re passing through the veil,” I say. “Is there still pain when we do?” Usually, traveling to Earth from Hell through the veil breaks the minds of most demons. That’s because the angels had control over the Orb of Jehovah, and they wielded the power to make the veil inaccessible to us. Most higher demons like Vickal and I could make it through, but I preferred not to because of the pain. Vickal is the only one of us who has accustomed to the pain—he’s been going back and forth between realms the last thousand years, and not once had he complained.
“If the Angels aren’t controlling the orb,” Vickal says, “then we should be able to open it.”
Whoever had control over the Orb of Jehovah had dominion over passage of the Three Realms. A thousand years ago, we’d lost the last war—at a great cost—and the orb slipped from our hands.
Vickal and I travel toward the veil on foot. It lies a far distance from the demon palace; red, pulsing with power, a swirling mass of energy floating in the middle of a valley of mountain spilling hot lava.
Vickal steps up to it and reaches in, and once he does, an invisible force bends around Vickal’s hand. He forms a fist in the veil and pulls. The veil throbs, breaking open.
A reddish glow spews out and shoots toward the sky.
It’s been forever since we had free passage. I couldn’t wait to look at the Great Angel and spit at his face.
“The twins…” I say. “What are their names?”
Vickal steps through the portal, and half his body disappears through the glowing ball of red energy. “Valerie and Jared.”
The girl’s name sounded pretty—but I’m one to ruin pretty things.