Melissa Niska


   I could hear Lily call after me as my feet carried me down the stairs and out the front door through which my mother had passed for centuries; I tried not to think about that, I couldn’t, it was too much to process.  Hitting the street I turned right and simply ran, trying to escape the overwhelming onslaught of emotions that being in my mother’s house had brought on, but the blur of opulent houses, buildings and common areas that raced past only served to remind me of where I was. 

People dodged me as I ran like they might a wild animal that had gotten loose, and they gasped and pointed in my wake; I could feel their stares against my back and not all of them felt friendly.  I pulled up short when a large man blocked my path, not moving at all, just staring down at me from his seven foot height. 

My gaze traveled up the full display of him, his very solid looking frame encased in elaborate gold plate armor, the kind you’d expect to find on a fairy tale knight.  The massive shoulder plates held pinned yards and yards of heavy red fabric that trailed down his back to his knees, the folds moving and changing almost as though they were alive.  A portion of the fabric was pulled up over his head as a hood, hiding the upper portion of his face, only the glowing green of his eyes visible in the deep shadow.

One massive armored hand rested on the hilt of a sheathed sword that was almost as long as I was tall, the scabbard just as ornate as his armor, while the index finger of the other hand tapped menacingly on his plated thigh.

“Sophie’s child.” He said it like I might say milk, or bread, just a statement that meant nothing.  “You shouldn’t be here.  You defile this sacred place with your Demon blood.  Be gone, filth!”  His voice boomed on the last word and made my bones vibrate.  I could feel the tears burning the back of my eyes, I knew this feeling all too well, only this time it was laced with true fear; these beings could kill me in an instant and there would be very little I could do to stop them.

I took two steps backward, almost incapable of moving, reluctant to turn my back on the imposing Angel and when another voice argued from behind me I froze like a frightened rabbit.  I hated this feeling, hated feeling so powerless, and yet what was I supposed to do surrounded by centuries old Angels?

“Roman, how can you hold this creature responsible for the unfortunate circumstances of her creation or birth?”

I turned around and found a petite woman draped in turquoise chiffon standing a few feet away.  Bejeweled clasps held the lighter than air fabric gathered at her shoulders and matched the one that held her mass of black curly hair off her elegant neck.

“She is no more to blame for Gaap’s atrocities than you are.  Her mother was one of us, why shouldn’t she be here?”

“She is no more than a Human shell that bleeds tainted blood!” Roman’s voice boomed again and as if to prove his point his arm swung outward faster than my mind could follow and I felt a stinging across my cheek.  My eyes darted around at the gathered mass of Angels before falling to rest on the short dagger Roman held, the blade smoking slightly as my blood dripped from the tip.

Reaching up I touched my face and drew my fingers away smeared red.