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Touched by an Angel
I come in and out of the darkness, and although my captors never pay much attention, and my skin is colder than ice, and a sharp, stinging feeling rises around my eyes, the worst pain leaks from my heart. It twists as I watch Anabelle lie there across the room, chained up on the cement floor. Her slackened face reminds me that even an almighty half-angel can fall. Anabelle, the strongest person I have ever known, weak and defenseless. The only thing from keeping me from screaming, from trying to break free of this rancid smelling cage, are the tiny, miniscule, shallow breaths she draws, barely visible from across the room.
My back stiffens against the stone table, my wrists raw from the leather holding tight. I tilt my head to view our prison and, looking away from her, I see the dark cement walls that enclose us. No lightbulb and no window in sight. Could we get out of here alive? My eyes trail to the stained floor. I try to keep my lunch down as I realize why the room smells so wretched. No, we aren’t going to get out alive. At least, not both of us.
My thoughts drift until I recall our capture. The brutal ambush they laid against us. Vengeance drips little by little into my mind. I look around once more and my gaze rests upon the iron door shut tight, merely a couple yards between us. I let loose a ragged breath and turn back to my best friend, my sister, chained against the far wall. Her beautiful feathered wings are covered with sprinkles of dirt. This is my fault. What was she supposed to know? I’m the one who was supposed to be protecting her. I failed her as a guardian. Worse, I failed as her sister and friend when she needed me most. My heart squeezes. My eyes start to sting once more as I use my shoulder to wipe the tears rolling their way down.
The iron door swings open and two men - no, two demons - walk in, shadows lingering around them. Caline glances my way. Hope sprouts and expands within my chest, but quickly retreats when he smiles. Cruel and wicked, our oldest friend turns and walks right past my stone table only to look back at the other next to him. The other’s tall, slender frame makes him look both young and yet ancient. His eyes holding true depths of destruction, with a craving for torture plastered across his face. I find I can’t look in his eyes, nearly black as they are, and they send tremors down my spine. Both demons start to talk and argue. Laying on my table, I struggle to hear, only catching phrases of their words.
“We need her alive...”
“Her blood is...”
Lucifer. The name sticks like glue. I slowly begin to piece parts together. The torture, the agony over the past few days, all for Anabelle to do something. My thoughts start to jumble up and I close my eyes.
A groan echoes through the room. My eyes open wide as panic shoots through me as Caline slowly walks toward Anabelle. I try to get up despite the restraints on my wrists and ankles, to do anything, but something is stopping me, my muscles refusing to let me move. My heart beats faster as Caline starts to taunt her.
“Hey, sleepy head. Wanna talk?” His cooing voice echoes through the cell and Anabelle is silent, but she still sways. Being in such a weak state, she won’t be able to handle a fight.
“Aw, don’t be like that. Come on, James. At least put up a fight.” The name of her father ignites a spark - a fire - within her. She leaps to her feet and, with her wings held high behind her, she lunges for him. Even soiled, the sight of Anabelle in full attack, her wings spread, she’s terrifying.
Caline, ever so slightly, falters.
Suddenly, she is jerked back by her own restraints. To my surprise, she doesn’t stop reaching for his throat, continuing to yank on the chains binding both her wrists and ankles like mine. I hear the high pitched sound as she screeches from across the cell. The fury in her eyes would have normally sent any creature running.
“Sorry, baby. It’s steel.” Caline’s eyes travel down the links of the chains and their anchors in the wall and floor behind Anabelle. He sighs smugly . “The only thing we actually found to contain the likes of you. So try as you wish, but you’re not going to get out.”
Before either of us could have said anything, the taller and darker demon slinks out of the shadows. “That would be enough, Caline. We can’t have her too riled up, right?”
I can see Caline, his eyes on the other demon not giving up, but to my surprise, he slowly backs away like a dog with its tail between its legs. What just happened?
“Miss Grace, I am Ramesh, head of The Institute. We have watched you closely over the past few months, even sent a few agents to bring you over, however you seem determined to send my men back to Hell and still refuse our offer. To be honest, this all has been, how should I put it? A pain in my neck. Now that we have you cornered, I’m going to give you one last chance. Come, join us.” His voice rings out, smooth and convincing, but Anabelle stays strong, not giving them a sliver of her fear.
For a while everyone stands silent. Anabelle, valiant to a fault, never batting an eye, remains in her stone mask as she stares back at Ramesh. He cranes his head in my direction, his eyes dancing with a dangerous joy. He turns back to Anabelle with a sly smile.
“Alright, Miss Grace. Have it your way.” The devil turns his back to Anabelle, and walks toward my table, his eyes dead set on me.
I see her mask disappear, the corners of her mouth slipping into a deep frown as her brown eyes grow wide with fear. She sees me on the cold table. Her wings drop behind her. Anger replaces her worry as she stares daggers at Ramesh and Caline. Caline looks away, staring off at the cell door. I look to Ramesh. His mouth curves up into a small twisted smile, while his eyes swirl black with promises of torture and agony. I start to jerk against the leather straps, panic shooting through my body like a virus.
Black smoke rises around me, slowly closing in on my table. Sheer panic rises within me, screaming at me to run any which way. The tendrils of smoke lick my skin, stinging every cell in my body, bringing a burning sensation worse than any fire. I scream.
“Are you going to let her die? Your best friend? Your sister?” Ramesh’s voice booms over mine.
“You can still save her. Join us and she can go.” Helplessly, I scream for Anabelle to break me free, to help me, but another blood curdling scream escapes instead.
“You only need to say yes.” The heat, the stinging, it’s too much for me to bear. I struggle with breaking free of the leather chains. Anabelle doesn’t look at me, but rather Ramesh. Her face free of all emotion, her stone mask back in place. My vision is slowly clouded by the smoke, encasing me with pain and burns. I let out another painful, dry throated scream, the sound high and full of dread, with never ending pain for what seems like hours. My head weighing heavy against the cold table, I look back at where I last saw Anabelle.
Then everything slips away.