Phoenix Contract: Part Four (Fallen Angel Watchers)

Phoenix Contract

 

 

Part Four

 

 

by Melissa Thomas

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events or locales, is entirely coincidental.

 

PHOENIX CONTRACT Part Four

Series: Fallen Angel Watchers

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

 

Contact Information:   [email protected]

 

Publishing History :

COPYRIGHT ©2015 by Melissa Thomas

 

Published in the United States of America.

 

Trademarks Acknowledgement

The author respects trademarks and copyrighted material mentioned in this book by introducing such registered items in italics or with proper capitalization.

 

 

 

 

Genesis 6: 1-4

 

 

When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

Chapter Sixteen

 

Aiden approached the fire door at a run, hitting the release bar with both hands. The impact hurt her wrists and jarred her arm sockets, but she barely noticed. The heavy fire door slammed open, and the echo resounded through the cool concrete stairwell.

Aiden plunged down the stairs, taking them at a break-neck speed, and had only a second’s warning when she rounded a corner and spotted Troy heading toward her. She released a strangled cry but was unable to alter her direction or velocity.

A split second passed as she hurled toward him when Troy looked up and met her gaze. He wore that twisted little smirk on his lips, the same nasty sneer that had given her the creeps at the gym. His eyes were obsidian pools, murky black gateways to an eternal abyss, as if countless tortured souls were trapped inside of him. A scream unfurled from within the depths of Aiden’s soul, and she sucked in a deep breath, mouth opening in horror.

Before she could scream, Aiden crashed into Troy, plowing into him with her full weight. The wind was knocked right out of her, and his hand locked on her arms with a vise-like grip. Troy weighed at least fifty pounds more than Aiden, and his sheer physical mass stopped her reckless flight. He kept them both from tumbling down the stairs.

“Hey, whoa, hold up there a second! What’s the rush? You almost knocked me off my feet,” Troy drawled. His hard and cruel grip held her painfully tight.

On the verge of panic, Aiden struggled, looking up into his face again as he loomed over her. She caught sight of his eyes and they were plain blue: ordinary and concerned.

Abruptly, the fight went out of her, and she stared up at him in confusion, questioning her own sanity.

“What’s wrong, Aiden?” The Soul Eater smiled, attentive and solicitous, projecting Troy’s earnest concern for a friend. The demon didn’t have to act. He simply summoned the essence of Troy’s soul to the fore. She’d feel guilty about having mistrusted him and would fail to listen to her own instincts. People were sadly predictable.

“N-n-nothing,” the confused girl stammered. She stank of tears and heartbreak, a thick bouquet of misery and despair pervading her aura, whetting the demon’s insatiable appetite. It amused him to hold her harder, denying escape under the pretext of concern.

That cursed Celt had hurt the Soul Eater worse than he’d imagined possible, and he had yet to recover fully from his sunlight induced injuries. That vampire had caused the hunter to become prey, a humiliating reduction in status as the demon was forced to exercise caution for the first time in his long existence. The Soul Eater hunkered in dark alleys, jumping at his own shadow. A
fraid.
Oh, yes, he, the Nameless Scourge of countless legends and nightmares, was frightened! Because of that Celt...

The demon’s gaze shifted from side-to-side, nervously scanning the stairwell. He knew what a chance he was taking coming this close to the priest, because the Celt frequented the roof and the study of this building. But the Soul Eater wasn’t good at patience, and the waiting had finally started to get to him.

The Soul Eater’s belly howled. It had been weeks since he’d last fed upon the Alastor named Troy.
Gnawing pain in his gut. EMPTY. YEARNING. Always so ravenous, longing for the next warm soul.
Self-denial was the ultimate act of torture for a creature without any inhibitions or conscience.

“Troy, you’re hurting me,” Aiden said. She stared up at him, her bright green eyes searching his face for some clue as to what lurked beneath.

“Oh, sorry.” He’d been clutching the girl so hard his knuckles had turned white.

With an apologetic grin, he eased his grip. His fingers flexed on her warm flesh, but he was unable to relinquish his prisoner. Bright and beckoning, her soul burned within the physical shell of her body. She was the irresistible promise of a delectable meal that could be consumed slowly. This one could be savored for hours, even days, like a piece of hard candy before the last bit of her individuality melted away.

The girl recoiled from his touch, sensing the Soul Eater’s innate monstrosity on some level. Her sensitivity was intriguing, but to pursue the matter further risked exposing his true nature to the Watchers. This one would be his eventually, but not yet. The time wasn’t right. If he waited, then she’d be an even better meal when the time came.

“I’m fine, really,” she said, mustering a brave smile.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” The demon asked, curious as to what had caused her so much distress that she’d risked her own neck in flight. Regretful, he released his hold, watching with concealed mirth as she scampered to retreat a step up.

“I’m fine, really,” she lied, still smiling. Obviously eager to get away, she fidgeted and descended a step.

“Well, slow down, okay?” The Soul Eater twisted his bulky torso so they could pass on the stairs.

Aiden edged past uncertainly, and the demon watched her with the avid eyes of a hunter. “I’ll do that, thanks.”

“I was just on my way to see Father Matthew,” he said. “But if you need me to walk you home?”

“No! No, I’m fine, really. Thanks.” The girl’s desperation to avoid his company brought sadistic delight to the demon. He was tempted to insist upon accompanying her, but he had more urgent matters to attend to.

“Be careful how fast you take those stairs.” His voice, sibilant and slippery, slithered through the confines of the concrete stairwell. The beast in his belly roared with the agony of denial, impatience raging like a fearsome beast for the moment when the time would be right, and he’d be free to take his kill.

“Thanks, Troy. I will,” Aiden said, giving him a guarded look full of fear and bewilderment, combined with suspicion. She turned away and resumed her trip down the stairs.

The Soul Eater licked his lips and watched her go. “Soon,” he whispered. “Soon. And then we’ll be together, forever, you and I.”

Within the demon, a thousand tortured souls roiled together. The flesh of his belly contorted and distended, fleshy faces pressing upward as they suffered and struggled, striving for escape. But there was no escape and no end to the suffering. It was eternal. Hell.

The heavy door opened with a clang, and Aiden skidded to a halt in the first floor lobby. She gasped for air, hyperventilating even as her head spun. Tremors shook her entire body. She could still feel Troy’s hands on her arms, and revulsion made her skin crawl. She felt like something dirty had touched her. Violated her.

“There’s something very, very wrong with him,” she muttered, walking away from the fire door.

She needed to talk to someone about Troy’s aberrant behavior. Normally, she went to Father Matthew, but at the moment, she was in no mood to speak with the priest. She’d check in with Katsue instead, because no one knew Troy better than his partner.

Aiden crossed the lobby of the Archeology building, heading vaguely in the direction of the front entrance. She wasn’t entirely sure she was ready to leave, and she had no firm destination in mind. So she paced the aged yellowed tiles and stared up at the fluorescent bulbs which flickered erratically. The lighting panels hadn’t been cleaned in years, and the insides were caked with dirt and the husks of dead insects. Aiden’s emotions were like those desiccated bugs: brittle and hollow.

“Is something wrong, Miss McLachlan? You appear quite shiftless.” Sharp and snappish, Desdemona Leromenos’ voice cracked like a whip in the desolate lobby.

Aiden turned. “Oh, Mrs. Leromenos, you startled me.”

Apparently waiting for the elevator, the Greek woman stood next to a Neolithic display case full of arrowheads and pottery shards, but Aiden would’ve sworn the old woman hadn’t been there moments before.

“I’m fine, thank you,” Aiden replied, belatedly remembering the Watcher’s question. She wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans and then self-consciously folded her arms across her chest. She attempted to adopt a casual posture but feared that she came across looking guilty instead.

“You don’t look fine.” Desdemona stared down her aquiline nose and regarded Aiden with her piercing hawk eyes. “Anything but, I’d say.”

“I almost ran into Troy on the stairs. Literally. I guess I’m a bit shaken,” Aiden said, selecting an excuse close enough to the truth to sound plausible. Her run in with Troy had made her skin crawl, a gut curdling reaction of paired fear and disgust, so strong that she questioned her own sanity.

“You’re always scurrying to and fro, hurrying about with no direction or discipline,” Desdemona scolded. Expression condemnatory, she shook her head.

“It’s not that!” Aiden snapped, losing her tongue to a sudden burst of anger. “There’s something—”
Wrong. There’s something wrong with him. But what? Maybe I’m just upset and stressed out and projecting onto Troy?

“Try to slow down, and take your time,” Desdemona continued, not hearing anything but the sound of her own voice. The elevator binged, and the steel doors slid open. Still carrying on with her recriminatory lecture, the old woman stepped inside. The doors shut like the jaws of a metal beast, swallowing her whole.

Aiden gazed at her dull reflection in the stainless steel doors and shook her head. “Never mind. She’s not worth the effort.”

Her anger collapsed as quickly as it had formed and left her emotionally devastated. She knew she should talk to Father Matthew and apologize for yelling, but she wasn’t ready to face him yet. Their aborted conversation left her troubled, confused, and distrustful of the one person she’d thought she could always depend on.

When the elevator stopped on the third floor, Aiden realized she’d been staring blankly at the lit-up numbers.

Turning toward the entrance, she shoved her hands into the pockets of her lightweight jacket. The fingers of her right hand brushed against cool metal, and her fingers closed automatically around the small object. Aiden pulled her hand out of her pocket and gazed at the dog whistle in her open palm with bemusement. It struck her as highly ironic.
The key to solving all, or at least some of these mysteries. That is, if I can get a straight answer out of him.

Licking dry lips, she hesitated and then performed a mental shrug. “Why not? He probably knows more than I do. He definitely knows Father Matthew better than I.” Longer, it stood to reason, meant more.

Doubling back the way she’d come, she hesitated for a split second before entering the stairwell. She dreaded another encounter with Troy, but the elevator didn’t run all of the way to the roof. She had no other option.

Expression set with determination, she yanked open the door and charged headlong up the stairs. The Celt possessed the one thing she desperately needed: answers. Of course, Magnus might not even be around to answer her call, but it wouldn’t hurt to try.

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