The day had started out so normal.
After attempting to smash her alarm clock into pieces, Sara dressed and ate a quick breakfast before heading into town to…what was she going to do? Oh yeah. She had to stop by the feed store and order a part for the lawnmower. The damn thing was forever breaking down. What they needed was a new one, but that was not going to happen. Ever since….
Sara shied away from that painful memory. No time to lose herself in grief. Not in public where she would have to endure the looks of pity.
After placing her order, she headed for their family store, the persistent feeling of being watched that had been there most of her life irritating her today. Whenever she looked to see who it was staring at her, there no one paying any attention to her. It was so strange and annoying, yet at the same time comforting.
Then something in a store front window she never remembered being there before caught her eye. What was it? Racking her brain she finally remembered. An old clunky black and white TV mixed in with the new HD flat screens. She had stopped to make sure she had seen what she thought she saw when everything went…weird.
Hell, weird did not even begin to cover what she was seeing.
This could not be happening. None of this was real. Yet as she looked around her at the glaring hungry eyes, the different shades of skin – most that had never been seen in the human world – teeth and claws that could rip her to shreds; she was having a hard time convincing herself it wasn’t.
Demons. Things of mythology and nightmares. Things of evil. And apparently her best friend was one of them. While it did explain a few things, Sara thought she should have noticed something was not right with Lisa long before this. It just showed Sara that no matter how much she had tried to ignore, push aside and fight her feelings in order to survive, her mother’s death affected her more than she realized.
Swords clashing, bones crunching and screams of pain in the back of the horde that surrounded her pulled all the demons’ hungry eyes away from her to a more immediate threat. A battle was taking place and it was heading towards them. Behind her, Lisa hissed angrily. Sara turned in time to see huge glossy black wings of feathers fan out behind Lisa as she took a battle stance.
“It’s too soon!” she hissed.
“He must have been watching her,” a rather large more intelligent looking demon said pointing at Sara.
“Impossible. He was miles away chasing a false lead,” Lisa snapped. “Someone betrayed us.”
Sara looked perplexed. She didn’t know anyone who could wield a sword let alone come into the bowels of Hell after her. She was not even sure how she got here. Last she remembered she was in a circus tent in the 1950’s, which was also wrong….
Wait a minute. She must be dreaming. That’s what this was. She was safely in her bed having a nightmare. Damn horror books. Maybe she should quite reading them if they were going to create hallucinations like this one.
“Okay,” she said taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. “It’s only a dream. It’s only a dream. All I have to do is wake up and I will be safe and sound in my bed. Come on, Sara. Wake up!”
“What is she doing?” a demon asked his neighbor in a surprisingly normal voice, as he watched Sara in confusion.
“They all do that in the beginning,” the demon next to him sighed. Sara was shocked to hear a female voice. “They think they are dreaming, and if they could only wake up then it won’t be real.”
“You’re female,” Sara breathed in shock.
“Yeah? What of it. You think baby demons just pop out of the males? Girlfriend, they couldn’t handle the pain,” she scoffed.
Hmmmm, sounds like something her mother would say. Although her mother was a gentle soul and would not end up in a place like this. Still, Sara took a closer look at her.
“You get any closer sweetheart and I’ll have to kiss you,” the female demon warned suggestively.
Sara jumped back, a look of horror on her face. The two demon’s hair raising cackle was cut off by someone yelling Sara’s name.
“Sara!” a male’s voice called frantically.
The sound of that voice sent a flood of relief through her that almost buckled her knees. He was coming. He would keep her safe. But, who was he?
“Sara! Where are you?”
“Here!” she called starting towards the voice. Even though she could not put a name to it, that voice was somehow familiar. It sounded like home, and she desperately wanted to go home. Not thinking about the danger of wading through a horde of hungry demons, Sara started moving towards that voice.
“Oh no you don’t!” Lisa snarled grabbing her arm. Pulling Sara to her, Lisa tightly wrapped both arms around her and then they were airborne. “You are mine. I will not let that sanctimonious pompous bastard come in here all blazing glory and save your ass. Not this time. If he wanted to keep you, he should have been more watchful and less trusting.”
This time? “Who are you talking about?” Sara asked struggling to get free.
“Your guardian angel of course,” Lisa said as if Sara was daft.
Her what? Sara looked down at the mass of bodies beneath them.
Lisa had stopped so Sara could finally understand what just how much danger she was in. Hovering thirty feet in the air there was a lot to see, but what drew Sara’s eyes was a knot of…beings fighting their way through a horde of demons. She thought beings because they glowed with an unearthly light. Even as they slowly became covered in blood and gore the light shone through. But what really caught her attention were their wings. Huge, glorious white wings.
“Angels,” Sara breathed.
“Yes, and that one,” Lisa let go of her with one arm long enough to point at an impressive figure at the head of the group fighting with a ferocity that was awe inspiring, sending the demons around him that survived his sword cowering in terror, “is Gideon, your guardian angel.”
As if he heard his name being said he looked up at them. The clear blue eyes that caught Sara’s and held them were like none she’d ever seen before, and yet she had. It was so disconcerting. Those eyes held a great deal of rage as they narrowed on them. There was no doubt in her mind, or any of the demons below that fought, lay dying or were dead, that her angel was pissed.
“Let her go, Lizza,” he snarled.
Lizza…not Lisa? Sara was going to have to remember that.
Lizza only laughed as Gideon’s attention was taken by a new demon that towered over the rest. With huge leathery wings, bulging muscles, wearing battle armor that was the color of blood and decorated with spikes and skulls, he was an impressive figure. Actually he looked more human than demon, but there was no mistaking the malice pouring off of him. He was definitely evil.
Sara watched in fascination as a ring was formed around the two. It was obvious the other demons wanted no part of this fight, and the other angels were too busy with their own battles. Lizza laughed gleefully in her ear as her arms tightened around Sara pushing the air from her lungs.
“Loathar. High lord under the Horseman called War. One of the most dangerous forces of evil that has ever lived. He has had a hard-on for Gideon since before the fall, but has never been able to defeat him outside this realm. Today will be different,” Lizza cackled.
No! Sara thought feeling the blood drain from her face. She would have screamed for Gideon to run, but because of Lizza’s hold on her, she could not draw a breath.
“You can’t just come in here and claim what is rightfully ours, Angel,” Loathar’s voice boomed over the noise of battle.
“She is not yours, Loathar. She belongs with me,” Gideon snapped.
“Then I suggest you keep better watch over your charges if you wish to keep them, Angel. She is in our realm now, and she came here freely, therefore she is ours. Your claim is null and void,” Loathar laughed. Then his voice grew low and husky. “And I plan to take pleasure in every part of her.”
“Over my dead body,” Gideon growled.
“If you insist,” Loathar smiled. It was as if he was waiting for Gideon to say those words. With a huge roar that shook the ground, Loathar lunged at Gideon.
“No!” Sara screamed, managing to suck in enough air as she struggled to get free. It was her mother all over again. She was helpless to stop what was happening, only unlike her mother, the demon bent on destroying Gideon was on the outside and he had a huge sword to help him. Thankfully Gideon’s sword was a match and parried the blow with effortless ease.
“Shit!” Lizza hissed in Sara’s ear.
Sara dragged her eyes from the battle below to see where Lizza was looking. A dark haired god was winging his way towards them. Were all angels this yummy?
“Release her, Lizza!” the angel snarled.
“Catch me if you can, Talon,” Lizza taunted.
Laughing in obvious pleasure of the thought of a chase, Lizza gave one mighty flap of her wings and they were off. Sara tried desperately to see Gideon, but they were moving too fast. Soon, the horde was tiny ants in the far distance. Realizing that gawking like an idiot was not helping matters, Sara did her best to pull herself together and find her bearings.
Lizza had a death grip on her and it was once again becoming increasingly hard to breath. An angel by the name of Talon was following them trying to rescue her. They were flying at speed Sara could not even begin to fathom and heading across land that looked far from habitable. Below them more demons snapped and snarled as they passed over, all smelling the blood of a human and angel, all wanting a piece of flesh.
A castle came into view ahead of them. Tall spires ending in points that looked sharp and painful rose into the air, the walls that surrounded it were high and formable. Even though the castle itself was perched on top of a low mountain with an easy path to the open gates, with its black shiny surface it screamed stay away. That death awaited those who dare approach. Something told Sara if she wanted to escape now was the time, because if they reached that castle she would not be leaving. Taking a deep breath, trying not to think of how far below her the land was, she began to struggle harder.
“Enough!” Lizza snapped. “Stop or I will drop you!” she commanded her grip tightening around her prey.
That’s the idea, bitch, Sara thought. Then a disgusting thought crossed her mind, but she saw no other option. They were almost to the castle and Talon was too far away to stop them. Grimacing, Sara swallowed hard, opened her mouth and bit down on Lizza’s arm. The metallic taste of blood filled her mouth, gagging her, but Lizza did as Sara hoped she would. With a screech of pain, she let go.
“Sara!” Talon cried behind her. Far behind her.
As she fell, Sara prayed he was as fast as she had heard angels were and he would catch her before she hit the ground, because nightmare or realty, this was going to hurt.
Copyright 2018 Heidi Barnes