Archangel Evolution - David Estes
Shining liquid streamed down her arm. Blood. Angel blood. But not hers.
She cradled his head in her arms. She was glowing. He was bleeding. Gabriel was bleeding. It seemed as if his entire body was covered in the gleaming milk. She needed to find the wound…to heal him. Fast. He was dying—that much she knew.
He was wearing a white tunic. Strange, she thought. It could be replaced. She tore it off him, revealing the horror beneath.
There was a softball-sized hole in his chest. From the hole streamed the glowing blood. In the hole was his beating heart. Thud, thud. Thud, thud. Thud……..thud. The beating was slowing—he was dying. His heart—not red or pink, but white—had been attacked: two round puncture wounds marred its fleshy surface. The marks were familiar somehow.
She thrust her hand in the open wound, clutched the heart, and whispered words long forgotten. Her hand glowed as energy was transferred to him. She felt the heart squeeze out a final beat, heard the sucking of air as his lungs took a final gasping breath, and then nothing. Nothing. She had failed him.
What Evil? she thought. What Evil would do such a thing to her? Would take the love of her life? Would take her reason for living, her water, her air? Wanting revenge, she whirled around, seeking the Evil. It found her first.
The enormous ink-black snake latched onto her chest with vice-like jaws, twisting, squeezing, tearing, ripping. Intent on one thing: piercing her heart. Like it had Gabriel’s.
At first she struggled, attempting to pry it from her skin, but eventually she realized the futility of her efforts and succumbed to its desires. After all, she had nothing left to live for. Because he was dead, too.
The snake torqued its head back violently and she felt her chest open. She collapsed to the cold, hard ground. Rearing above her, the serpent reveled in its victory. It held something in its mouth; the thing was dripping bright, white liquid. It was her heart—also white, like Gabriel’s; an angel’s heart. The snake’s face transformed from a scaly serpent to something humanlike. A face she had hoped never to see again. A face she both hated and feared equally.
Dionysus laughed, and in doing so dropped her heart, allowing gravity to carry it towards her face.
Taylor screamed. She stopped when a hand was thrust in front of her eyes, catching the heart in mid-fall. Lolling her head to the side, she gasped when she saw the piercing eyes that met hers. He was alive.
Dionysus’s eyes sparked open as he was released from the trance. He had entered the girl’s dream only to monger fear. For fun, really. While it was within his power to infiltrate the dreams of angels, demons, and humans alike, he was unable to cause any real damage by this method. The damage would have to be done in person. He was glad about that.
He longed to close his hands around her filthy neck, to ring the life out of her. His hands almost itched at the thought. While revenge would surely be sweet, it was not his main goal. If only he could be so foolish, so impulsive. In another time, maybe he would have charged off in a fit of rage, seeking to satiate his growing bloodlust. But not now. Now he was a man of self-control, mature and calculated in his meticulous planning and scheming. The leader of his people. Loved and respected.
For a week he had meditated on what had happened, taking his meals while sitting cross-legged on the floor. At times he dozed, and his dreams were filled with flashbacks of the girl ruining everything: her unexpected and seemingly fortuitous appearance on the Warrior’s Plateau, her willingness to bargain for Gabriel and his family, and her miraculous transformation into an angel.
Well, more than an angel, really.
When he wasn’t sleeping, he was thinking. For the last decade he had focused on carrying out The Plan. Despite its genius, The Plan was a simple concept: destroy the demons, enslave the humans, and harvest their bodies.
Ten years ago while travelling the earth, Dionysus had learned that he could inhabit the body of any human he chose. This was valuable because despite the many superhuman capabilities that angels had been endowed with, immortality was not one of them. Unfortunately, Dionysus could not outlive his body. His only option was to replace it.
Now he was in his early fifties, but had the body of someone in their early thirties.