The Anathema

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  • Published: 30 Mar 2017
  • Updated: 25 Apr 2017
  • Status: Complete
Long ago, demons and hellcreatures invaded earth. Though they nearly wiped out the humans, humans did as always: adapted. Hundreds of years later, the offspring of humans and demons is the norm. Alessandra lives in this world, and is entirely human. Finally, too late to the battle, the angels are determined to get rid of the demons once and for all. Alessandra, though caught in the midst of the battle, is the only hope for the humane side of the cambions...if it even exists anymore...

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2. Into the City

Mother rouses me the next morning by pouring a cup of water on me. I gasp, startled by the cold water. "Good. You're awake. Be ready to leave in an hour." The look she gives me says Behave yourself.

I dress in the only kind of clothes I own: white. Mother says white means purity, so it's the only kind we own. 

I dress in a white dress that goes to my ankles, white leather boots that go up to my knees, and a tight, white jacket. The entire outfit is constricting and uncomfortable. I brush out my hair and head to the dining room. 

Mother is fussing with Marcell's white shirt and scolding Lionel. "Honestly, what was the point in bringing it? It was a stupid idea, anyhow." Lionel stares at the floor, taking the scolding. Mother notices me. "And you: do something with your hair! We are the epitome of purity and refinement. I will not have a daughter with frizzy hair!"

I only nod and braid my hair down my shoulder, where it rests mid-torso. I tie it off with a piece of leather from my jacket.

Mother fusses one last time with each of our outfits. Fixing a piece of hair here, tightening a jacket there. When she gets to me she just purses her lips in disappointment, but doesn't say anything.

"I've already packed us breakfast. It's in the car for the long drive to town." Together, we line up and Mother leads us out the door, Father bringing up the rear.

Father gets in the driver's side of the car, which is, surprisingly, black. It's very old. Older than anything else we own. I once asked my family about it, but everyone but Lionel shrugged. He got an excited gleam in his blue eyes and gleefully whispered to me, "It's a 1932 Buick Series 60 with-" Then Mother had yelled at him, saying it didn't matter. 

Though, really, it did, because our car was the fastest way to and from town. We don't own horses or mules or bikes or anything. There isn't a train or bus near us.

...Mother gets in the passenger side, still talking nonsense to Father, telling him where to go, even though he's done this dozens of times before.

Marcell gets in first, crushed against the other door, then Katherine, squirming next to him, shoving him for more space, then me, then Lionel. He closes the door gently and quietly strokes the door with one hand. The kid is an inventor and loves machines, so it's no surprise he treats the car so gently. He's the one that keeps it running, even though it's hundreds of years old.

Father starts the car, and I look out the window at the surroundings. 

In the books I've read since I was small, things have been described like The green grass whipped in the wind or The monstrous white clouds raced across the sky. I can only imagine green grass or a blue sky, because our world is permanently dark.

Our house, which, of course, is white brick, is chipping away. The dark gray roof needs repairing soon, as do the cracked windows and broken stairs. The house is two stories tall, like a giant, white brick box, with a smaller white box for the garage on the right. 

The area surrounding the house is worse. 

The grass is almost nonexistent, though where it does exist, is in small dead clumps. The rest is just dry dirt. There once used to be bushes and flowers in front of the house, but now there is just dead clumps of sticks resting in front of them, like all the leaves fell of the bushes and the dead sticks remained.

Farther beyond that is practically the same environment: clumps of dead grass and dirt. Sometimes there are trees, but they have stark white bark, petrified from some long-gone chemical. Nothing grows anymore. 

The sky is always a churning mass of purple-gray clouds. It only gets darker at night. In some of my books, the protagonists travel by way of stars, using constellations - pictures in the sky. I don't know how, but they do. I've never seen a star, or the moon. I suspect they're behind the clouds, but I don't think I'll ever know.

Father leaves the driveway, and all that passes by, the dead everything.

Marcell and Katherine talk in French about something, occasionally snickering at me, and possibly Lionel.

"Regardez ses cheveux. C'est tellement moche," says Katherine, snickering at me. Marcell snorts. 

"Trop vrai, soeur. Mais regarde son visage. Les yeux rouges! Il pleure!" taunts Marcell. They laugh.

"Stop," I say.

"You don't even know what we're saying," say Katherine, superiorly.

"I know it's not very nice, so stop."

"Non," says Katherine. "Do you know what that means, huh?" She smirks at me like I'm an idiot. I might be, but she has no right just because I could never learn French.

"Ferme, Katherine," mutters Lionel. 

"Mom!" yells Katherine. "Lionel told me to shut up!"

"Everyone, stop yelling," sighs Mother, apparently oblivious to Katherine and Marcell's jokes.

It's a quiet, tense ride to the city. We pass other farmhouses not unlike our own. Many of them house other humans like us. Mother told me that when I'm old enough, I'll have to get married to one of the young men. My choice, of course, but I'll still be married at twenty. 

Eventually, we come upon the outskirts of the city. Warehouses line the sides, train depots, too. Railroad tracks crisscross the area and we go over several.

The closer we get to the city, the more my stomach knots up.

I hate Mother's protests. They're useless, too. Pure humans make up less than 0.001 percent of the world's population now. Mother protests that they should go back to hell, that this was our domain first.

To me, it's idiotic to protest creatures that have intermingled with your own kind for hundreds of years, and then try to get them to leave.

The city we drive into is huge, with skyscrapers in the center. Half of the city is still in ruin from when the demons ascended from hell and tore our world apart. Many are fallen in or charred. The remaining are intact, for the most part, though the tops get lost in the murky sky.

Father pulls into a parking garage, where cars from the earliest days of their creation stood, and up to the newest models. A few other human families are waiting for us, because Mother is the leader.

There are the Pruitts, the Changs, and the Harveys.

Mother steps out of the car, raises her hands, and declares dramatically, "We're here! Let's get the hellspawn out of our world!" Everyone cheers.

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