I Refuse To Fall, When They Still Exist

Rio has been hunting for angels since she can remember; travelling from state to state since she was born. When a shadowey succubus nearly takes away her breath, she has to fight to survive. And fight off her desires for the mysterious emo kid that helped her out.

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22. Chapter 20

"Dreamstealers. They're rare, they are. They look like owls, but will drag your breath out." Charles explained, leaning against the counter.

I had wrapped Gran's quilt around me, put the heater on full, and had drank half a saucepan full of cocoa, yet I was still freezing.

"So someone sent it. Who though?" I asked.

"There's this one angel that's older than the rest. She's kind of a rebel, and a blood-hungry one. Her name's Annika."

"Annika." I pronounced it how he did, and it felt wrong. Like someone had rammed a glass spike through my tongue.

"She's one of the oldest, after coming over from the war."

"Which one?" Belial asked.

"Krimear. Not that overreaction by Austria, or that genocide in disguise."

Krimear? It was later that I realised he meant "Crimea", but his accent made it confusing. "She had her fun on the battlefields, then came over here. Something about that war changed her, and she began to rebel. Got a few minions together, and enjoyed the luxuries in life.

"Would she have about 160 angel minions?" I asked, burning my tongue on my cocoa.

"160? More like double that." Charles replied.

"Would they also include a bear on fire?"

"Bear on fire? Huge and white, like a polar bear, before it went bluey-white with the flames?"

"Yeah, that's the one. It was huge, even for a polar bear." Belial added.

"Marie, the angel with the pink streaks, and her trackers have been the death for millions of hunters before. How did you..."

"Rio drowned it in a fountain, then she shot Marie in the face."

"I never would have thought it. Two rough, untrained children manag-"

"Yeah, we kicked ass." I said, cutting Charles off. Yeah we may not have heard of the Alliance, but that doesn't mean he can speak to us like we're 5.

"I'm impressed. So now do you trust me?"

No "Suppose I have to." How am I gonna get rid of him so I can check his story? "Can you two please get all the splintered wood off the road for me? I don't want any complaints."

"Sure. You stay in here though; I don't want anything to happen to you." Charles went outside, with Belial behind him. I made sure Belial saw me mouth "Stall".

Once they had both gone outside, I took the chipped phone in my hand and held it to my ear. I'd memorised the number because it was so easy. Plus, you can't forget a guy who can snap a flame off his middle finger.

"Make it good or fuck off." Mark Agne said, his voice covered in Harlem drawl. He's always been like that, watching CNN news with something, probably microwaveable rice, in the microwave. I can hear it down the phone.

"Hi, Mark. It's Rio." I replied. There was a clatter on the other end, like he'd dropped something.

"Hey Rio, it's been ages. I miss your omelettes."

Yeah, I know. You only bought eggs, cheese, coffee and vodka for months. It was a huge battle getting you to buy bread. "I miss your coffee. Hey, Mar-"

"Rio, where's your Dad?" He asked.

"He came down with a bad case of succubus-itus." I tried sounding offhand, but I don't think it worked.

"WHAT! Holy fu- I meant damn. I'm really sorry to hear that. Is Charles Illarde there?"

"Not so fast. Are you part of the Alliance?"

"This isn't the time, Rio. Put him on the line."

"Not until you answer my question. Are you part of the Alliance?"

"Yes I am, now put Charles on the motherfucking phone!"

Jeez, overreaction much. "Ok, I'll get him."

I left the handset off and went outside. Charles and Belial were carrying a huge chunk of wood off the road, getting covered with snow in the process. "Charles, Mark Agne's on the phone and wants to speak to you."

Charles went back in the house, and Belial came over to me. "Can we trust him?" He asked.

"I'm not sure. Mark, Dad's friend seems to be ok with him." I replied, freezing where I stood. It was icy cold, and felt so wrong. Like when the sun gets covered by a cloud. I just couldn't place it.

"Does anything feel a little different to you? Like, more than the average difference." I asked. It was really bugging me, and I just wouldn't leave it be. Like a kid won't leave a loose tooth alone.

"Not really. Everything's silent and peaceful." Belial replied, leaning against the house.

It was bugging me so badly, but I had to find out. It had been snowing again, but that wasn't it. Everything was so bright from the glare off the snow, and the porch lights.

The porch lights. That's it. "The porch lights." I said.

"What about them?"

"They're all still on, and it's nearly midday."

"So what?"

"We have to go! Get upstairs and pack your stuff! Go, GO!" I urged Belial inside, as it all fell into place.

"Rio." Charles said, coming off the phone. One little word, but I knew that tone. It was the "Oh shit, we're in trouble again. Pack everything up and let's get outta here." tone that Dad used.

"I know, I know. Get upstairs and help pack. The beds go first, with the mattresses and my clothes all bagged up. Come on, move it!"

Charles hustled upstairs, whilst I went straight for the kitchen. Gran's quilt was still there, which I folded up and carried under my arm. That, along with the stakes, go in the bathroom box. That's always last one in the truck and first one out of the truck.

Oh, God I wish you were here Dad.

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