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Children of Ares

The sunlight flooded in through the slits of his eyes as Rafael first noticed the outlines of the shadows standing over him. As his vision cleared, he saw the Christin kneeling over him. Concern cut grooves into the corners of her mouth as she rested her hand on his shoulder. How did I get here?

“Looks in rough shape. Think he’s going to make it?” Pete said.

Rafael shook the fog from his head. He quickly stood up, a warmth running over his face thinking how he must have looked in front of the humans. “My wounds will heal over time. I’ve had my share of battles and I’ve been through worse.”

Carlos looked to his left. “I wish Mr. Langdon had the same ability.”

Rafael looked at the group. “Where is the security chief?”

“He fell off the roof fighting those things.” Christin nodded in the same direction where Carlos fixed his gaze.

Not sure of what he would find, Carlos walked over to the roof’s edge. Mr. Langdon was dead. He wasn’t a superhuman. He stood for a minute and took a deep breath before peering over the roof. He saw the creature laying below, but there were no signs of the security chief. “Guys. You may not believe this but Mr. Langdon is gone.”

“What do you mean gone?” Pete said.

“I mean his body isn’t down there.”

Preston led the group to join Carlos on the edge of the roof. They all saw the body of the creature before the sun’s rays ignited the flesh as it had been kindling.

Christin turned away from the sight. She buried her face in Preston’s chest and breathed deeply. She thought she could hear the creature’s shrieks as it continued to burn. The sound pulsated behind her eyes and she thought she would lose her balance. She gripped Preston tighter and could feel the weight of the others looking at her. Couldn’t they hear it too?

“What is it, Raphael?” Adrian asked.

“They’re called Necris,” Rafael said turning to the group. “The shells of human infants, all whom had fallen prey to renegade angels called Grigori.”

“Renegade angels? You mean like Satan and his angels?”

“Not quite, Father Tomlinson. Satan is a construct of Christianity. Not that your kind didn’t receive the assistance of our suggestions whispered into the ears of prophets.”

Adrian watched the sun in the distant sky. He had lost his faith many years ago, but he held on to the belief that there was… something beyond all of this. It was what kept him going. Without the belief, he should have died with the rest of his squad back in Mumbai. “Are there any truths in what we learn in our faiths? Are there any truths found in the bibles, Korans, Torahs or any of the holy books?”

Rafael sighed. He felt for the priest standing before him, struggling with the thought discovering all that he held true to be nothing more than a mirage of the harsh truth of their entire existence. He owed it to Father Tomlinson, the priest. More importantly, he owed it to Adrian Tomlinson, the man. “What is true is that your world and every other world ever created, is facing annihilation.

They all looked at him. Their faces a mosaic of surprise, fear, anger and awe. The had experienced firsthand the horrors that await the rest of mankind. They fought when they could have submitted and for that, he would tell them all they need to know. “There is a terrible power buried deep within the earth. There are those that want to posses that power no matter what the cost. Even if it means destroying this world to obtain it. With all of your help, I am here to prevent that, or at least try.”

Preston motioned toward his sister. “What does this have to do with Christin?

Rafael continued despite the interruption. “There is the heaven you all know. Actually, there are three of them; all ruled by the High Lord. Your people worship him under many names. There are those conspiring to overthrow the High Lord and take the realms for themselves. This struggle has raged on for centuries, but only now has the end of days been in sight.”

Carlos sat on the asphalt and scribbled in his notepad. “This is freaking awesome. Definitely an RPG, maybe throw in some shooter elements.”

Rafael looked at the young man and cocked his head to the side.

“Ignore him,” Pete said.

“So where does she come into the picture?” Preston continued.

They were all in this together, human and seraph. He owed them the truth. “Some of you are aware that Christin was the victim of rape. At first I thought her attacker might be Grigori.”

“The baby eaters,” Carlos said.

“Correct,” Rafael said. “But I was mistaken. Her attacker is much more powerful. Powerful enough to orchestrate these events.”

Preston could feel his throat going dry. Could this man, this creature be insane? It’s just all too much. “So my sister’s rapist is like one of those monsters our there?”

“Those monsters as you call them are Necris. Soulless children. The product of the Grigori’s appetite for power. Christin’s attacker was seraph. An angel.”

“And here I thought you guys played harps and sang praises to the Lord day and night.” Adrian said sarcastically.

“The realms are both glorious places to behold and places where oceans of blood have been spilled. We are a realm of warriors, bred to fight and to kill. I’m Sorry to disappoint you, Father, but your idea of heaven is a whisper in a child’s dream. The point is, your sister was assaulted by someone who wants to start a war that will make the Christian book of Revelation pale in comparison.

“I still don’t see how Christin fits into all this?” Pete said.

“I’m getting to that, but I need to go back to how it all began. Several thousand years ago, a war for control of the realms broke out between Abomidon, a being of unparalleled power and Ares, High Lord of the realms. Their battle tore the lands apart. It took the combined might of the High Lord, the Vigael and the hosts, to imprison the creature. The monster’s life force was held in a prison deep within the realms, while the body was exiled beneath your planet.”

“Wait, we have a world-destroying monster buried here on our planet? Sweet!” Carlos continued scribbling in his notebook.

“Since its exile, the beast’s taint has been poisoning this planet and every living thing on it.” He nodded toward the group. “All of you are infected with the taint. Except for Christin.”

Christin took a step back, “Me? Why Me?”

“And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.’ Luke chapter one verse thirty five.” Adrian recited.

“Are you saying that Christin is carrying the Messiah?” Adrian said. His eyes were wide and his mouth held open.

Rafael walked over to Christin and placed his hand on her stomach. Immediately, he felt movement. He looked into Christin’s eyes and judging from her expression, she also felt her child move. “I’m saying the child she carries is born of divinity. But who sired the child? There are several possibilities ranging anywhere from angel to the High Lord himself.

The steel door slammed open. A figure walked through it carrying Jake Langdon over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. He dropped the security guard onto his backside.

“Easy, motherfucker. Didn’t I tell you I just fell off a roof.” Langdon kicked at the man.

The stranger walked toward Christin and sniffed the air around her. He placed his hand on her stomach. “I take it this is her, Rafe?”

Preston lunged at the stranger, “Keep the hell away from her.”

Rafael grabbed the officer with one hand keeping him in place. The stranger was dressed in black from head to toe. “Let him go, Rafe. I promise I won’t hurt him.”

Preston pulled his gun and locked the stranger in his sights. “Get away from her. Now.”

Ignoring the order, the man inhaled deeply. “Malikus. It’s his progeny,” the stranger said. “And it’s female.”

Adrian followed Preston’s lead. “That’s enough. You heard the man. Step away from Christin.”

Pete and Carlos joined the others with weapons drawn. The four men looked as if they would fight to the death for the woman. The smallest man, maybe in his early twenties at best, look as if he were enjoying the confrontation.

The stranger stood up and looked at the men. He turned toward Rafael and smiled. “Is this the best you can do?”

The angel ignored him. He looked at the men and back at the figure. “You better do what they say first. We don’t need this getting ugly.”

A broad grin spread across the man’s face as he raised his hands and stepped away from Christin. “Don’t hurt me guys. Just shedding a little light on your problem.”

Langdon joined his group. He looked winded, but otherwise healthy for a man that had fallen off a roof a few hours earlier. He put his hand on Preston’s shoulder and spoke softly. “He’s cool, guys. Preston, the man picked me up off that thing and carried me up here.”

The group kept their guns trained on the stranger. Christin walked over to Langdon and hugged him tight. He placed a comforting hand on her back. They had been through a lot in the short time they’ve all been together. He could feel her trying to fight back the tears. The stranger in black was as tall as Preston, but of a slightly slimmer build. His dark hair hanged down to his shoulder. He wore sunglasses, which kept her from being able to see his eyes. The man looked as if he had been in his share of battles and walked away the victor more times, if not all. Despite his seemingly nonchalant demeanor toward the others, he reminded her of a snake poised to strike. She wondered if he could get to her before the others fired their guns. The air was growing more tense and she knew it was because of her. She had to do something. She stepped forward despite Preston’s protest. “How did you know?”

“Doesn’t matter,” Preston said. “Stay away from him.”

Pete stepped next to Christin, the stranger caught in his pistol’s sights. “What’s your name, stranger?”

“Luc,” he said.

“You got a last name, Luc?” Preston added.

Luc smiled again. “Several, but using Griggs at the moment.”

Christin interrupted, “How did you know about the baby? And about the gender?”

“Call it a lucky guess.” Luc’s eyes never left Preston’s.

Preston said “Enough bullshit. Answer the damn question or keep moving.”

“You talk a good game. Put down the gun and let’s see how well you back it up.” Luc waved him forward.

Preston holstered the gun and stepped toward Luc. Rafael blocked Preston’s way and shook his head. The angel’s eyes warned him that he was walking into something he might not be able to handle. So what if he kicks my ass. I have to protect Christin at all costs.

“Stop it, both of you.” Christin screamed.

“Better listen to the lady, Preston. Wouldn’t want this to get out of hand. I mean, with you being an officer of the law and what not.” Luc said.

“Stand down, both of you. We don’t have time for this. We have until sundown to get somewhere safe before those creatures return with whatever horrors that conspire against us.” Rafael said turning to Luc. “You have a reason for being here?”

Luc nodded in Christin’s direction, “Looks like I do now.”

“Somebody tell us what the hell is going on?” Langdon said. “In case anyone forgot, we almost got our asses kicked by demons, monsters or whatever the fuck they are. We have an angel standing here in the flesh and now this dude shows up. Somebody say something worth hearing.”

Rafael turned toward the group. Langdon was right, they needed to know everything. Here goes nothing. This man standing before you is Lucifer. And if he’s right, then the fetus growing inside Christin would be his sister.”

Published in Novel Excerpts Writing

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