Thief: Chapter 3

Thursday, 17 December 2015
   



Chapter Three


     Fern screamed, clinging to Elijah’s body like a lifeline. His skin was torn, his face bruised and swollen, his pale blue eyes wide open and lifeless. She howled in horror and shock, gathering him to her and trying to blink away the hot tears drowning her vision.
     Sobbing, she blasted him full of all of the healing power she could muster. Nothing. Her tattoos recoiled and flooded forward, surging downwards in a blaze of white and pulsing into her fiance’s prone form. She tried again, reaching desperately, trying to force his system to restart.
     She didn’t care about the blood that soaked into her dress and covered her arms to the elbow like grotesque gloves. She didn’t notice the blood slowly trickling out the side of his mouth and out of one ear, just focused on his eyes as they blazed white-hot with her power and faded again, still blank and dead.
     She barely felt the arms wrapping around her, hardly heard her mother’s voice over her own wailing. “…have to stop! Ferny, I’m so, so sorry! I’m so sorry but you have to stop this! Please! Stop!” Fern tore her gaze away from Elijah for a second, fearing that if she looked away he would disappear again, every last trace of him warping away for good.
Farrah knelt beside her, her arms wrapped tightly around her daughter, speaking through her own tears with a strangled voice. “Baby, I’m so sorry, but he’s…Eli’s gone. Fern, please stop. You’re only hurting yourself.”
     Fern felt her face beginning to crumple, the tears starting up again in earnest as her mother tried to console her. She managed a watery “No,” and limply pushed Farrah away, grabbing for Eli again.
His body was so much colder than she remembered, the blood on her hands rapidly cooling and clotting stickily. She stroked a hand over his broken face, leaning close to him. “Come on, Eli, this isn’t funny anymore, wake up.” She sobbed. “Wake up! Come on, you have to wake up!” she cried, shaking at his shoulder back and forth. “Come on! Please!” She collapsed on top of him, weeping uncontrollably.
     Dimly, she heard running footsteps and a loud gasp from behind her. She dismissed the sounds altogether. Her whole world, her future, her best friend had just been torn apart in the blink of an eye, his body too broken to go on. And for what? Why did Eli have to die? For Abby? For that thing?!
She snarled, levelling herself up to glare over her shoulder. “You.” She growled. She locked onto that green-eyed stare and held it. “This is all your fault!” she hissed, lurching unsteadily to her feet and staggering towards Abby. “You did this!! You killed him!! You killed him, you monster!!!”
     A small, strong hand gripped her shoulder. “That’s enough, dear.” The calm voice of her grandmother said, slicing through her rage.
     “No, it isn’t!” Fern shrieked, ripping away from Serena and stalking forward. “Elijah is dead because of her--we signed up to defend a human. Not an abomination!”
     With a deafening roar, a beam of pure golden light filled the room in a terrible, powerful blast, flinging Fern and one of the chauffeur stand-ins backwards. Fern landed in a heap in front of Serena. She was lucky; the other angel had cracked his head open on the baby-grand piano, and blood poured from his skull like a faucet.
     A creaking and groaning came from overhead, and Fern looked up just in time to see the chandelier, an opulent gold and crystal confection, plummet earthwards. She braced herself for impact that never came. Gingerly opening one eye, Fern saw why.
     The twisted, gently smoking remains of the chandelier landed softly beside her, courtesy of her grandmother, she saw by the graceful, spidery glowing markings that faded softly on her skin.
     She turned to stare at Abby; the girl was just standing there, inside of an untouched 2-metre radius. Outside of that perfectly circular space, the walls and hardwood floor were scorched with deep-black stripes. Cracks ran up the walls, splitting the plaster like veins. Fern shook her head in horror. “What the hell are you, you freak?!”
     She felt like vomiting--how could they defend this thing? She was a bomb with no countdown, a pin-less grenade that had landed in their hands. She had liked Abby, she truly had, but…but she hadn’t wanted this. This was all too much. And Eli…She felt the tears threatening to rise again, and held them at bay.
     “She’s dangerous!” She stated to anyone sane enough to listen. One of the Warriors her mother had called in after they got back to the house stepped towards Abby, nodding to one of her comrades. They both accessed their powers, their eyes burning bright with Holy light.
     “Wait!” Aiden jumped in front of Abby, arms outstretched to halt them. “Are you crazy?! She doesn’t have control over her powers. Stand down!” They stared at him, not letting go of their power. “I said stand down! That’s an order!” He barked authoritatively. “She isn’t trying to hurt anyone, but someone else is going to die if we don’t all calm down right now!” He shot Fern a pointed look, and she averted her gaze.
     The words “someone else” hung in the air over them all, and the tension in the room was nearly palpable.
     The only sound in the room was Abby’s heavy breathing, which rapidly grew ragged and uneven, large, tearing gasps wracking her body. The angels all watched in alarm as the girl hyperventilated for a few seconds and suddenly collapsed to the ground in a dead faint, Aiden barely managing to catch her.
     Fern could only stare at her fallen form, thinking that she would give anything for Elijah to just be unconscious instead of…instead of…
    This time, she didn’t try to hold back the tears. 

Thief: Chapter 2

Thursday, 10 December 2015
           



Chapter Two


        They lay together in Satan’s chambers, Lucifer curled protectively around Sataniel’s sleeping form. Smiling down at his beloved, terrible wife, Lucifer gently ran a hand over her bare stomach. It was soft and smooth as the rest of her, a familiar body he knew all too well.
        There was something different this time though, and he could feel it beginning to stir to life in the depths of her abdomen, the child just starting to grow within her. He sucked in a breath and circled her navel with his hand, letting the tattoos wind down his fingertips. This child of his wasn’t like the countless bastards he had left in his wake; this one, his son, his heir, was different, and he wanted to know it.
        His eyes blazed orange as he sent a gentle pulse of power rippling into Satan’s womb through his flattened palm, giving the child the smallest taste of his birthright. Satan moaned and rolled over, grimacing as she flopped unceremoniously onto her stomach.
         Lucifer chuckled, the sound bothering his exhausted wife enough that she cracked one eyelid open to give him a fierce, bright-green glare. Lucifer merely laughed again and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close against him. “Congratulations, darling…I do believe you are in the family way.” He murmured against her ear.
         Satan relaxed into his grip with a contented little sigh; this was all she had ever wanted, after all. Lucifer had known for years that she wanted to have his child, but he had been less than thrilled with the notion. Now, though, it seemed like the right decision--after all, he was going to get what he wanted, and his scheming, lovely little bitch of a wife would be better distracted by a baby than anything else he could think to give her. All Hell was about to break loose, and he couldn’t have her pulling more ridiculous stunts at the expense of his carefully-laid plans. If nothing else, their son would keep her hands full; a child with both of their powers inherit? Sataniel would be busy, of that he was certain.
         Beneath him, Satan tilted her head and began kissing along the underside of his jaw, her lips and hot breath tickling at his skin. He smiled a crooked smile and was about to take control of the situation when a knock sounded on the heavy chamber door. He ignored it and rolled over, landing Satan on top of him, her red spirals of hair a messy, tangled curtain around their heads.
         She angled herself up, casting a glance over her shoulder at the door as someone rapped on it again, the sound loud and urgent as it echoed. “Should we answer that?” she smirked, brushing her fingers over his chest and arching her back towards him.
         Lucifer groaned as the knocking sounded again, followed by a muffled voice. “My liege, please open the door! It’s very important, please!!” Astarte. He’d know that whining tone anywhere, he thought with a roll of his eyes.
         He leaned up, kissing Satan apologetically. “I suppose we must.” Satan shifted off of him grudgingly. “Enter.” Lucifer commanded, and the doors burst open to admit a very dishevelled-looking Astarte.
         He shot his general a look. “This had better be important. I was in the midst of something delightful.” He smirked, giving Sataniel a squeeze that got his hands slapped away with a dark, grumbled threat.
         “It would be best if we spoke in private, my liege.” Astarte intoned quietly, looking pointedly at Satan.
         Lucifer snapped his fingers together. “Speak now, or leave.”
         Astarte lowered herself to the floor in a smooth, sweeping bow and stayed there for a moment, her forehead resting on the cold stone tile. “Majesty, they have…Draven has returned from the mission.” She lifted her head, her blue eyes huge and fearful “My liege, they have failed.”
         “What?!” Lucifer snarled, flinging back the sheet that covered his waist and leaping to his feet, naked and enraged. “What do you mean Draven failed?” It was almost unthinkable; he wasn’t sure that Draven even knew the meaning of the word failure. The man was a juggernaut, a force of nature, an unstoppable, single-minded destroyer of worlds. Failure was not an option for Draven. The slut had to have heard wrong. “Are you sure?” he demanded.
         Astarte glanced from him to Satan again nervously. “It would be…more prudent if we--“
Lucifer growled a sound of utter disgust. “Fine.” He snapped, striding past her towards the door, materialising clothes onto himself as he went. He didn’t care that Astarte got quite the eyeful; nothing she hadn’t seen before. “I want everyone in the throne room when I get there. Do not keep me waiting; I don’t intend to waste any more of my time tonight than I already have.”
         He turned to give his wife one last soft smile before striding out the door into the hallway. “Don’t wait up for me, darling. Rest while you can.”

***

         She had to admit that she was a little worried. Lucifer was so angry right now, and it was partly her fault, but she couldn’t help but smile. After all these years, all these millennia of waiting and hoping, Lucifer had finally given her the heir she had been begging for. A child of her power and his combined? Satan shuddered happily, trailing her hands down to lace them over her stomach. Their son would be truly unstoppable, a force the likes of which none had ever encountered. The true child of the King of Hell.
         Still, she worried, frenzied thoughts pushing at the back of her mind through the fog of bliss. She had no cards left to play of her own; her Thief had rebelled, her Hunter had failed to kill one powerless girl, and, by the sound of it, had botched her husband’s plans while he was at it. She supposed that would have worked in her favour had he managed to not mess up everything else so spectacularly.
          The enormous mirror beside her bed pulsed with deep orange light, the blaze filling the room for a moment. The image of a very large, very muscular and very bald man appeared, washing over her own reflection and that of her bed chamber. The man was standing in the dungeons of Hades; the dark iron and dank stone behind him made that clear enough.
         “Dungeon Master Orion,” Satan said, greeting him with a nod while carelessly donning a silky, deep-red robe. “to what do I owe the pleasure?”
         Orion had politely averted his eyes while she dressed, but now he met hers, barely able to contain his excitement. “My lady, it’s the strangest thing! We have a new prisoner on our hands!”
         Satan frowned a little, brow creasing. “On the night of the Solstice celebration? Somehow, I don’t see that as odd.” It wasn’t altogether unusual for a handful of demons to spend time in the dungeons on this night; festivities invariably brought out the worst in some people.
          Orion shook his head. “No, your Majesty, of course not; but this prisoner just appeared out of nowhere!”
          Satan’s eyebrows shot up. “What?”
          “He just materialised into the dungeon; there was this blinding flash of golden light and then bang! There’s an angel collapsed at my feet!”
          Satan’s mind spun, filling with ideas and formulating plans automatically. She narrowed her eyes and stared at Orion. “You haven’t told anyone else?”
          “You are the first, my lady.”
         Satan nodded, smiling sweetly. “Good. Let’s keep it that way; tell anyone else, and you’ll be next on the rack.”
          Orion began to sweat visibly despite the damp chill that she knew permeated the dungeons.
          “I’ll be down momentarily; put him in the big cell.”
          Orion bowed low and murmured in acquiescence, the mirror fading back to normal.
          Seeing herself in the mirror Satan ran her fingers through her tumbled curls, adjusting her hair into some semblance of order. She stretched languidly and re-wrapped her robe, tying it firmly with a wide black sash; that was good enough, she supposed. It was the middle of the night, after all.
          Satisfied, she turned to the small room adjoining hers. “Eron,” she called, waiting a moment as her pet shuffled forward out of the shadowy doorway he had been sitting in. “Come. We’re going to meet someone new!” 

Thief: Chapter 1

Thursday, 3 December 2015


Chapter One


Abby had no idea what was going on anymore. She sat on the fold-out couch in the Ward family’s library, the same couch she and Gabe had slept on not so many weeks ago. She tried to focus her mind and stop the thousands of thoughts that ran rampant through it.
She didn’t know how long she’d been in the room. The hushed sounds of whispering and movement in the hallway were the only thing that proved that the world still carried on outside. Nothing felt real.
Her vision flashed bright gold for a second, and Abby started. She sighed. It kept happening without warning, the hot rush of power filling her being and sparking out just as suddenly, and it made her feel sick to her stomach. Her insides roiled again in protest as another jolt blazed through her, tiny veins of gold crackling like a hundred tiny lightning bolts under the surface of her skin.
She stared at her hands in detached horror as the miniscule lightshow abated, the slight golden glow around her ragged fingernails all that remained as proof of the power. Abby could feel it uncoiling itself and blazing restlessly from the back of her mind. It terrified her.
She tried to think of something else, glancing at the big doors she had come through moments ago, half-walking and half-carried by Aiden and another man she didn’t recognize. He might have been one of the limo drivers, she supposed, not that that had mattered much to her at the time. She had been-was still-sick with a heavy mixture of emotion and exhaustion that felt like it had seeped down to her very bones.
The only thing keeping her from collapsing into a heap had been Aiden’s promise to explain exactly what the hell had just happened. Why Gabe had collapsed into a coma at her kiss, why men with glowing black eyes and shifting marks on their skin had sprouted obsidian wings to hunt her down, why the Wards had done much the same to protect her. She had to know who they really were, what was happening.
Angels, Aiden had said. If they were angels, then what was she? What was she becoming, with the golden heat thrumming through her veins?
These questions and more kept her from shattering into pieces as they left Gabe alone in his sterile hospital bed. Well, not alone, she thought. Rivkah and Malakh had stayed behind, guarding the door to his room. She didn’t know how to feel about that, either; she didn’t trust the ancient couple. They weren’t good or evil, Raph had said. They were neutral in the most dangerous sense of the word, and even Gabriel Sr.’s reassurances to her that they would take good care of Gabe hadn’t really calmed her. In the end her need for answers had been greater, and she had allowed Aiden to assist her out of the hospital, past the concerned triage nurse and back to the limousine.
The car ride had been overwhelmingly silent, which Abby had almost appreciated; she needed the time to gather her scattered thoughts and memories, arrange them in a way that made any sense at all. They had arrived at the house all too quickly, the night still a shocking jumble in her head. The other limousine was already parked in front of the manor, which was lit up from the inside. Aiden and the chauffeur had rushed her past the loud voices and blurred flurry of activity that greeted them when the door opened, whisking her up the stairs to the library and shutting the doors behind them. They had led her over to the couch where she now sat.
Aiden sat next to her now, instructing the chauffeur to start a fire in the fireplace. Abby guessed she had mumbled something like a “why?”, because Aiden smiled at her kindly and wrapped a thick blanket around her. “Because even if you can’t feel it, you’re freezing. You’ve been shivering non-stop since we got out of the hospital.” He draped another blanket across her lap, and Abby absently wondered where he was getting them from.
She didn’t have a chance to ask as Aiden continued to fuss with her, adjusting blankets over her tattered skirts and torn feet, filthy with dried blood and mud. “We’ll have to get you cleaned up--“
 “No.” Abby cut him off, surprised at how weak and shaky her voice sounded in her own ears. Did she really sound like that? She cleared her throat and tried again, meeting Aiden’s surprised gaze and holding it. “No. Not yet…You said…said we’d talk. Now. Start talking.”
 “…Are you sure?” Aiden asked hesitantly. Abby nodded. “Alright.”  He held his palm out flat in front of her, his eyes flashing hot white for a second. Abby’s mother’s mirror, the one memento she had of the woman who had died before she’d even known her, materialised in Aiden’s hand.
Abby shot him a warning look.
“Don’t worry. I just want to see it. I have a theory.” He turned the sliver compact over in his hands, the firelight casting it in a dull sheen. “You wanted to know who you are--what you are. If I’m not mistaken, this little mirror of yours holds the answer.” He ran his fingers over the twisting metal snakes embossed on the cover, trailing over their jeweled eyes.
He breathed in deeply, and Abby watched in fascinated horror as the silvery-white tattoos began to wind their way down his arm and over his face again, his eyes taking on the same bright glow. As soon as the markings reached his fingers, the compact burst open, the mirrored surface inside dark and blank.
Abby leaned in closer; something was wrong. The mirror wasn’t reflecting anything in the room. Thick, oily blackness swirled under the surface instead, the occasional burst of burnt orange light permeating the darkness. She reached out a cautious hand, pressing a fingertip to the mirror’s surface before anyone could think to stop her.
 Black vines of symbols exploded out of the mirror, blasting in all directions before winding themselves tightly around her outstretched finger and climbing rapidly up her arm. Abby’s vision blazed gold as her skin instantly filled with golden tattoos, spiralling down to meet inky black. A rushing sound filled her ears as she struggled, trapped between the two powers. The tattoos twined together halfway up her forearm, twisting and pulsating and battling for supremacy as Abby stared helplessly, incapable of controlling either of them.
Her arm throbbed, a jolt racing through it as Aiden grabbed her and pulled her hand away roughly with his own rune-covered hand, breaking her contact with the mirror. The black vines vanished as soon as they lost contact, but Abby could still feel them crawling over her skin.
She trembled from head to toe. “What…what just happened?!” she managed to say, despite her chattering teeth. Aiden and the other man exchanged a look, staying silent.
“TELL ME!” Abby snarled, something burning and boiling up inside of her and lashing out towards them with an extraordinarily bright flash of light. The chauffeur was flung from his feet, sailing backwards through the air and crashing into an ornate bookcase with a loud thud.
Aiden stared at her with a look of wide-eyed amazement that quickly narrowed to something that made the gold flare hot and defensive inside of her. She tore her gaze away from the angel’s, focusing on the floor and taking a deep, shuddering breath as another wave of nausea rolled over her. “Is he...is he alright?” Abby managed to murmur, gulping as she fought not to vomit.
Aiden didn’t answer. Abby glanced over to where he crouched down over the collapsed chauffeur, his hands glowing as he passed them quickly over the man’s prone body, muttering under his breath in a foreign tongue she thought she almost understood. It didn’t sound like any other language she had ever heard, but it still seemed strangely familiar to her. She didn’t want to think about how that was possible.
Aiden straightened up and walked over to stand in front of her. Abby kept her eyes trained on his feet, dully noting the blood spattering his pant legs and the dirt and scratches that had utterly destroyed his dress shoes. She began counting the places on his hems where small burn marks had melted through the fabric, leaving his socks exposed through the holes.
She stared as if Aiden’s feet were the most fascinating thing she had ever seen, all in an attempt to ignore the man’s own stare, which might as well be burning holes in the back of her bowed head. The tension in the room rose to a nearly unbearable level, though it only took one movement to diffuse it.
 Aiden didn’t say a word as he leaned down and pulled Abby close to him, enveloping her in a warm hug that crushed the blankets tightly around her. He held her like that, her head tucked up under his chin and her face pressed into his torn lapels, so close to him that she could feel his heartbeat against her cheek. He held her there until she stopped shaking, until her breaths came steady and deep.
“Abby.” Aiden said, gently putting his hands on her shoulders and holding her away from him so that he could look into her eyes. “Abby, sweetheart. You aren’t human. But you aren’t one of us, either.”

 Abby swallowed, trying to quell the panic she could feel beginning to twist in her gut. “Then what--“ she haltingly began to ask, before a horrendous wailing scream filled the hallway and sent them both bolting for the door. 

Thief

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

We are pleased to announce that starting this Thursday December 3, 2015 we will be releasing THIEF (sequel to GUARDIAN) as a serial series. Each week on Thursday evening we will upload a new chapter to our blog http://sbrodgers.blogspot.ca/, Wattpad and other platforms as announced. 
Without further ado...*drumroll*...


FREE E-Book

In anticipation of THIEF (the sequel of GUARDIAN) being released as a serial series, we are happy to offer GUARDIAN for the first time ever as a FREE e-book. 



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