Luxifer

(NaNoWriMo, unedited) Between Heaven and Hell is a place only lost souls walk, alone, shrouded by grief and confusion and the knowledge and suspense that leads, hand in hand with eternal life and possible damnation. Between the bodies and scattered plans to escape to a world where their actions are not judged by a man without fault or knowledge claiming to be holy, a hero of sin rose. His name was Lucifer, and he would be the one to lead a revolution using hatred and hearts of wounds. He would be the one to let the evil rise.

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8. Wasted Wings

"Fate, you need to wake up!"

It was Bede, but he wasn't ready, his dream was not complete. He shut his eyes, as when he opened them all he saw was her blurred outline as he stood five feet above her.

"Wake up, please!" She cried, but he paid no mind, his forgettable subconscious stealing him away once more.

"It's the new angels," a woman said,”I mean, I - of course - have no problem with them, but to others they might look unusual, or dirty.  It gives heaven a bad name.”

“Do you think it may be ill-mannered to speak like that regarding God’s creation?” another woman with an extremely red face said.

The woman batted her wings uncomfortably, “I am simply saying that for the good of our world.”

“I know that, but…” she looked to the other angels in the conversation.

“No, she’s right,” an older man said, “It isn’t a concept of skin tone either.  Did you hear the way her speaks?”

“The accent?”

“No, not the accent, we aren’t racist.” he snapped.

An woman rolled her eyes, “He means the slang, and he’s right.  I can barely understand the boy sometimes.  And by that, I mean most days.”

“Oh, when do you ever speak to him?” a young ginger girl spoke up.

The woman looked to her with her eyebrows folded over on another, “I’d ask you to mind your tone, we are simply having a conversation.”

“No,” the girl stepped forward, the older angels backing up, “You are speaking of a boy you don’t know, about cultures you don’t know of.”

“Now, Afriel, we aren’t being racist.”

“I never said you were!  Only racists are as presumptuous.”

The woman pouted.

“It’s modern culture, he may not be the angel you want but he is the one the people need.  He was created to care for others, not us in heaven.  Do none of you understand that?”

She looked to each guilty face, and sighed, knowing if she spoke much more she would be out of place.

“And the boy he cares for loves him more than anything on Earth.  That must count for something.  And while we’re on the topic, calling him dirty is surprisingly racist.”

“Right, that’s enough,” the woman snapped, grabbing her by the ear, “Go sit with the other girls, learn a trade, but do not be so rude.”

She popped out her hip, a habit that annoyed all older angels, and even God himself.  Her skirt rode up and revealed the missing half of her leg, the bottom made of silver and wrapped in white cloth.

The woman screamed, the men scrambling over themselves to look away, “Hide that, would you!  How could you always,  Afriel - my…”

Several more girls pulled down her dress, hiding the mistake God had made on one of his own.  She smiled, glad to move the unoriginal conversation on from a young, black angel.

“Hello!” a chipper voice said, not judging the scurried atmosphere and still grinning all the same.

She turned, noticing her friend walking towards the overwhelmingly large group of what she thought, racists.

“Hello.” she said to one of the many scowling women.  When she looked back, he was trying to not laugh with her, which made a giggle escape her lips.

“Afriel,” he nodded like a cowboy in one of those modern films he once showed her, and she knew they were on the same page of playing this game with their elders.

“I should be on my way, learning a trade, you see.” she smiled to them all, and walked to the gallery, making sure to emphasis her limp to make the adults suck air through their teeth with disarray and discrimination.  How could an angel be imperfect, they must have thought, at least she would never have to be sent to Earth as a potions maker, could you imagine the shame?  She walked by, behind both his back and hers, their hands slid apart in a sly high-five.

“How are you?” the older man began.

“Very well, thank you.  And yourselves?” he tried to limit the slang, but his accent was something he couldn’t be ashamed of.

The group grunted a “fine”, half of them scattered to do unnamed errands, but his smile didn’t fade.

“How is your boy?”

“Much better,” he said, “He’s getting out of bed again, taking showers and helping around the home.”

“You must be proud.” one woman took over, the man politely, and quickly, saying goodbye.

“I am, he’s doing so well.”

The woman sniffed and turned to the others, “When I was assigned my first girl it only took me a month and a half to get her back on her feet.  I dealt with four thousand, seven hundred and sixty cases back before I turned my talents to nature bending.”

“Hey, that’s amazing.” he said, not letting the dig get the better of him.

“Yes, thank you,” she said, “And how many children have you dealt with?”

“One.” he said.

They laughed, some patting him on the back as they walked off, immediately beginning to talk about him, “Afriel’s wrong, he’s not a real angel, he’ll never be one of us.”

He swallowed hard, “But it’s sort of a thing nowadays, that depression doesn’t just leave once they’re better, so most carers only get one person, y’know?”

“Are you saying I didn’t do my job?” the woman snapped, towering over him.  He raised his arms defensively, and to make sure she didn’t try to hit him.

“No, no, I’m just saying that I was told to stay-”

“My first girl died, how insensitive do you have to be?”

He swallowed again, “I’m so, so sorry.  Really, I didn’t know.  I’m very sorry.”

She made a “humph” noise, and walked whispering to herself, “Whoever said black boys weren’t ruder…”

His lips stretched into a straight line.  He couldn’t believe that this was still a conversation that was happening in Heaven.  Earth, maybe, but not up there, surely?

The woman turned back around, “Aren’t you coming?”

The few that were left stared at him for a moment before turning their own backs and following her, leaving one angel with the boy.  He stared down at him, his long face motionless, and waiting.

“They’ll never accept you here, boy.  There will never be consonance between your kind and ours, it will just never be.”

He dropped his head.  He had heard it all before, but from people on Earth, in his town, not as directly as this from supposedly holy people.

“They might,” he reasoned, “Those angels are the older few, from the eighteen hundreds, the new angels accept us.”
“Would you be sure of that?  Except for Afriel, where are the others now?”
He shrugged on shoulder.  He never really saw them, to be honestly.  The man grabbed his lowered, slumped shoulder.

“You should go boy, before they find a reason to send you away forever.  Live with your boy, drink until your wings are stripped from you, but never come back here.  They will not see more than your coal skin against their pure, white world.”

He didn’t cry, or scream, but instead knew this was the truth.  The man left him then, his body still facing the ground, the Earth.  He felt the weight of every malicious word weighing him down like a burden.

He looked back, and saw Afriel, smiling and waving to him.  She sat on the fountain steps, her friends helping her rebandage her leg.  She laughed with them, those girls who had never even spoken to him.  Afriel’s attention was pulled away, and he felt truly alone, on God’s greatest plane.

 

    “Fate, please!” Bede’s hopes were dropping, her face full of concentration and fear.  She reached up to him, trying to pull at his arms to bring him to the ground, but he was to bright, and her hands were already coated in blisters where she had tried to grab him, and her jaw was crumbling where her rebellious ideas had come back, watching him float above her in the air.

    His back stretched out, and it felt like moving a tense muscle for the first time in a long time.  He nearly sighed with relief, but his mouth was filled with a splitting tongue and a dark grin.  His shoulderblades felt like they were splitting into pieces, but he liked this kind of pain.  Something inside him rose, a name that pulsed, but he wasn’t get comfortable with it quite yet, just trying it on.

    He opened his eyes fully, the blur coating the world and filling it with colours.  He saw his friends together - Con, Hope, Bede and Faith - amazed, prepared, hopeless and afraid, respectively.  He looked to the people, and heard them cheer as if underwater.  To each of his sides, protecting him like royal guards, were two wings the size of four men in length.  They were a dazzling white, one that explained the light, but they shed, a black oozing through the feathers and staining their purity.  Some feathers fell to the ground, greedy hands taking them and holding them to their gleeful faces as if they were charms.  He beat his wings once, the shouts of triumph growing with every fallen white feather, and black patch that formed.  He smiled, his vision so bright he could have been standing on front of a star made of pure, glowing energy.  He wanted to cry out, for he was able to shine again, and the warmth wrapped the grey world in faith once more.

    When the light began to fade, his wings wrapped behind him and he slid down until his feet were on solid ground.  His back was to the symbolic stones, which were bleached through until the sketches became black.  His body felt lighter, although the glowing died down to a slight halo of light wrapping his body in warmth.

The people were quiet, waiting for a response, their eyes wide and alive.  He suddenly felt exposed.

Hope walked to him, his face nearly smug and easy, “Well, long live the king.”

The crowd erupted, stroking his wings and shaking his hands, some crying and others laughing with each other.  They no longer sounded far away, but as his memory faded quicker and quicker, he wished that he was.

Con moved slowly through the group, finally making his way to the front where he looked at Fate with more hope in his eyes than either of them had felt or seen in a very long time.

“You’re an angel too!” he shouted over the crowd.

“Move, boy.” a man said trying to get past the forming queue.

Before Con was pushed aside, Fate grabbed his hand, “Hey, one minute!”

The man bowed, “I’m sorry, sir.”

Fate shook his head, “No, no, I’m not, it’s just that-”

“We’ll be a minute, people,” Hope wrapped his arms around Fate and began pulling him away.  A few feathers were plucked in the chaos, and he was glad to get away still intact, “We just have a quick future to discuss.”

They applauded again, but let them run off behind the houses unscathed.  Hope brought him down a small, winding path made of wood.  It was odd to walk on, and seemed to go on forever, straight down the middle of a distant valley, but the road quickly bended before they left the town, and they ducked inside a tavern, much the same as the townspeople’s, except slightly wrong.  There were no guards outside now, it seemed as if they didn’t even know this place existed.

“It’s enchanted,” Hope explained, “An angel’s greatest asset, not being seen when you didn’t want to be.”

The room was as dark, and filled with different faces.  Some physically glowed, some were missing noses and two eyes, and some had stones sown under their skin.  None of them seemed happy, nor did they scowl.  To Fate they just seemed… Bored.  They hardly seemed to notice the two, but those who even did a double-take on the wings didn’t seem to care all that much.  Fate noticed that there was one large difference, however.  In the town, no one would show more than a scar, even those who claimed to have died violent deaths, but here there was no where on the collective body that hadn’t been burnt, sawed or boiled, and for some reason, it didn’t disappear when they woke in Purgatory.

They sat at the bar, at the same seats except in a different place.  A woman served them cider, a twin to the other bartender.  The same hooded, monolid eyes and black hair like silk, but instead of a deep scar across her throat, her whole body was coated in burn scars so bad her flesh turned white and wrinkled, the remainder of her lovely hair just a few scraps growing five inches from her scalp.  Her eyes had burst, and her head was now empty.  

“My father didn’t like me much.” she sensed Fate’s eyes, and he quickly looked away.  She smiled, it being the first happy look in the room, and walked off to serve another man with his head hanging from his neck by a tendon.

“So, you’re an angel?” Hope said.  He still had that arrogant, yet impressed look on his face, and it suited him well.

“I guess so.”

“What do you mean you guess?  Do you remember or not?”

Fate flexed his wings slightly, “I guess I must be.”

“But do you remember Heaven?”

“No.”

Hope rocked back, shocked and angry.  Whatever he had said had ruined what hope this outbreak had given off, “I had thought you remembered something.  All angels remember their past, and you didn’t hold scars, so I knew you weren’t a clever human in the past.”

“What made you think I remembered anything?”

“You’re clever, regardless.  You weren’t gonna be normal, Fate.”

“I thought I was like your guards.  Do they remember?”

Hope laughed darkly, and eyed the drink but forced himself to not pull it to his lips, “You’re nothing like them.  They’re just soldiers, and you’re a general.  Should be a general, anyway…”

Fate bit his lip, but winced feeling how sharp his teeth had become, “I don’t want to start a war, Hope.”

“Why not?  How could you think that?”

“I know that the Earth is corrupt - the things that happened to Bede were horrible enough to make me never want to even see the plane, but why fight Heaven?”

“What would make you say that?”

“It’s an impossible battle against a creator, and they… They shouldn’t have left Purgatory run itself, and they abused angels in the past, and they kill those who rebel but…”

“But?”

“But could you blame them?  How else do they keep the planes in order?”

The man at the bar moved his head with great difficulty to stare at him after the comment.

“I’m sorry,” Fate continued, “Do I have to keep quiet about the war here too?”

Hope cracked his neck, “Not here, no.  These people are here for the revolution.  Either way, they can’t hurt you if you’re a fallen angel.”

Fate felt ashamed speaking ill of their war when he was still new to the world, and he still didn’t know their struggle, but he couldn’t take away what he had said.

“Do you remember Heaven, Fate?” Hope said.

He shook his head, “I think it fills my dreams, the brightness at least, but I forget it by the morning.”

“That makes sense, most angels dream of Heaven or other angels, or even God every now and again, and if you can’t remember your past, you do forget what you dreamt about.”

“Why does it matter, anyway?”

“We need a strong angel to lead an army, Fate.  Someone who knows the layout of Heaven and it’s defenses, and I thought you could have been that.  We have other angels, but none as strong as I thought you were.  Maybe it was my bad for being so presumptuous, we just haven’t had hope in a while...”

“I’m sorry,” he dropped his head, “I wish I could help.”

The man rose from his barstool.  He walked to them, but they politely avoided his gaze.

He walked to Fate’s side and pushed his head further onto his body with a finger.  He watched him for a moment, Fate still pretending not to notice.

All of a sudden, the man pulled a fork from the counter, and dug it through Fate’s hand.

He jumped up, hissing.  His tongue was still forked, and it taunted the man.  His wings stretched to their full span again, nearly whacking Hope from his seat, and gathering the attention of the room once more.  His eyes blurred again, but he didn’t glow.  Instead, he drifted towards the man with the smell of his blood in his nose.

A woman as old as the man with a western hat and a noose serving as decoration walked to them, putting a hand on each’s shoulder, not being afraid to touch Fate with his lack of light.

“He’s beautiful,” she said, “Thank you for bringing him, Hope.”

“Bringing what?” he asked.

“Does this show nothin’?  He didn’t dig a fork through the poor boys hand for nothing.”

“Who is he?”

“Who are you, doll?” she said, but Fate couldn’t answer her, his mind was too full with the beating of drums and hearts.

The woman placed a hand on his cheek as Bede often did, and he felt his mind calm, and his vision almost return, “Son, who are you?”

“Lucifer.” he spat, “I am Lucifer.”

With that, he fell back into his chair, his wings still pounding as he rubbed the wound on his hand.  He didn’t know where it came from.

“Fate?” Hope said, seeming reluctant to touch him, “Did you remember something else?  Not your story, but something else?”

“Yes,” he said, “I’m Lucifer.  That’s all I know, but I thought I was a fallen God when I woke, so I thought it mustn’t have been true.”

“Oh, you are a God, boy.” the woman said, smiling through yellow teeth.  The headless man grunted as well.

Hope pressed his thumb through Fate’s wound, gaining another hiss and blurred vision.

“And his eyes go black,” he said, “Amazing.”

“And another thing.” Con seemed to have come in at some moment without them realising.  He gestured to Hope to press down harder, and Fate nearly screamed in pain.  Con quickly lifted the drink to Fate, and he grabbed that glass, scratching the glass with his claws and chugging the drink as if he hadn’t drank in years.

“So he turns to sin when he’s like this?”

“You’re right, he does.  He’ll drink, gamble, be prideful and… And drink blood when he is, but that’s not why he’s drinking.”

Con pulled an apple from his robe, and before he even let it go Fate had lunged, and began eating the apple crouched on the floor, laughing and wolfing down the food like a beast.

“He is Lucifer, all right.” he said.

“The angel you’ve dreamt about for years?”

“Yep.” Con said, his halo shining, “And the one who will save our souls.”

   
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