I have had a recurring thought ever since I left Elle and Ryan in Rome. Go back and get them. Two days does seem a little excessive anyway. How long could it really take two vampires to find one of their own? I mean they do sense each other when they are close enough. Any vampire can feel when another is within a half mile radius of them and the general direction they are in… or so I’ve heard.
I’ll go back tonight. I just have this nagging feeling. Back at the Jade Gates I found that Linus was recovering quite nicely. Every hour is a day’s worth of healing for him. I can’t imagine how painful it must have been to be shot through the stomach like that. But, Linus’ reputation precedes him. He’s always getting himself beaten to a pulp. He must have an extraordinarily high tolerance for pain.
Just the same he seems tortured about something. Being that he mentioned nothing behind the pained look in his eyes at the debriefing, I’d wager he’s got personal issues going on at home and he can’t leave yet to go and settle them. Hopefully it will all work out for him.
Belle’s blessing of serenity from Raphael works as a double edged sword. She is serene when there are no demons around. But, when something is off… it’s like huge boulders falling into a quiet lake. She knows there’s something wrong and roundabout where too.
The Jade Gates are being tested. So far, nothing has gotten through. We haven’t been able to see anything, but there has been the stench of sulfur here and there. All of the mirrors have been blessed and covered. If we missed one, she found it.
Belle keeps going on about how someone among us does not belong here. She says it’s not as serious as a possession, but someone who has a distinct tone of evil reverberating from them. Now, being that we are in Nephilim central, I kind of think that it’s angelic blood playing tricks on her. I mean, we’re not exactly known for being the “good guys” all that often. And there are those who are hell bent on being disobedient and attacking Primus the first chance they get.
But, Belle is really starting to get to me with this. It’s like there is just one. Only one person who keeps slipping through her fingers and she just can’t get a decent read on her. She’s like a compass and has not proven wrong yet. Exhausted from mirror hunting, she’s sleeping heavily. Deacon has not left her side… until she kicked him out of her chambers determined to be a lady that is. Good girl.
* * *
“What do you think Belle is after? A disembodied spirit?” Amelia asked me as we gathered together for dinner.
“I want to say no only because one has never gotten in here before. But, I don’t know. She really does have something that’s bothering her.” I told her as I grabbed tender meat cutlets and freshly baked bread for my plate.
“Do you think it’s a residue from being possessed?” Amelia continued as she scooped herself a helping of mashed potatoes and bit off the end of an eggroll.
“Could be.” I replied as I pondered if it really was herself she was chasing. “Maybe a demon is trying to get back in there.”
We ate and reviewed the next mission. I told her about Samuel and how Alistor had unwittingly sang the song of warning. She told me about her journey with Linus and his group and how Linus must truly love his wife Anna to give up a vampire as beautiful as Genevieve.
Something wasn’t right though. As we ate the sound of people talking in the background began to die off and I halfway wondered if a secret attack had been planned on Belle since she was the only flatliner left among us. Looking around it seemed as though people had been… muted? They were talking, their mouths were moving, but nothing was coming out.
Then they seemed to just freeze staring at each other. Looking around I felt a sharp chill in the air. Amelia sat in front of me mid chew with a look of fear etched on her forehead and reflecting in her eyes. She couldn’t even blink.
I stood up immediately wondering if there was a secret attack planned on me and saw no one. Perhaps I’m just immune to whatever vice this is. I know most everybody’s gifts. But, no one here has this kind of halting power. I don’t know why, but I felt the need to look for Belle first. Raphael is supposed to be descending in fifteen minutes. Help is on the way.
I cheated and clouded to the hallway leading to her chambers. She wasn’t that far away, but clouding is faster and I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. There he was, Deacon standing like a statue in front of Belle’s door. Had anyone gotten past him? I clouded into her room.
Clouding here and there I searched for her. Could she have been immune too and just be wandering the grounds looking for anyone else who’s unaffected? I finally gave up and went outside. I wished I had started there.
Belle was frozen, eyes wide open and seemingly trembling despite herself. A cloaked figure was standing next to her and holding one hand. Belle was being dragged… sort of. She was floating and being led towards the Jade Gate bordering our city.
“I hear you there Gwen. I had a feeling you’d be immune to my gifts.” a woman said.
I clouded in front of them. “Take your hands off of her. You aren’t taking her anywhere.”
“I could. But, then my hands are all that’s holding her together right now.” she taunted.
“What do you mean and who are you anyway?” I retorted, angry that Belle had such fear in her eyes.
“I split her.” she said. Her cloak coupled with the scarf wrapped tightly around the bottom half of her face concealed what seemed like an almost familiar sounding voice.
“You can’t implant her and split her personality again.” I said. “Raphael does not allow such things to happen on the premises.”
“I know. I mean, I cut her in half. Well, nearly completely in half. One more snap and she’ll be comatose for who knows how long. I froze her you see. She has been looking for me. I think I’m the only traitor she could sense outright after Raphael’s little blessing. No matter. Mission accomplished.” the woman continued. As she spoke a sort of orange flame flickered just there, in the iris of her eyes.
I hadn’t realized that she seamlessly levitated us over the gate as she spoke. I think she hypnotized me a little.
“You let her go right now.” I ordered her.
The woman let go of Belle’s hand and proceeded to waft her hand in front of Belle’s face somehow pushing her out into the middle of the ravine a two miles away. I saw her suspended in mid air just as she began to fall. I have the equivalent of vampire sight. She looked me dead in the eye with a grateful sort of forgiving fear and snapped in two. She’d been cut in half, the top of her separated from the bottom.
It was like the light in her eyes left as she snapped apart and I knew that no matter what we did now, she’d be in a dismembered coma. That’s what happens to vampires when any part of their body is severed from itself. A coma.
I clouded and caught her, bringing her back to the courtyard just inside of the gate. I wished I could have done more to help her, but that woman was dragging her out here for something else. Something she couldn’t accomplish inside. She could have cut her in half and left her in her room. Why bring her outside of the city’s protective boundary?
“You’re a telekinetic aren’t you?” I said more than asked.
“Observant aren’t we?” she hissed as she all but slithered closer. “You don’t have a compass anymore. So good luck finding them now.”
“How did you get in?” I asked rising and ready to punch her in the face.
“I…” she began as I hit her as hard as I could. The hood of her cloak and the scarf came flying off her revealing the familiar face underneath.
I sighed heavily, mortified. “Vaugna?”
“Oh, don’t be so surprised.” she snorted rubbing her jaw.
“But, you know the truth. You have seen the angels.” I started.
“And I would rather disobey? That’s what you were going to ask isn’t it? Well, yes. I have seen it all and I mean all of it. Why should we have to obey all of the time?” she began to reason.
“STUPID! You’re following Satan’s reasoning when he got kicked out of heaven. Are you that dumb? And you’ve put a woman who was desperate to recover from vampires ruining her life into a coma. How dare you!” I shouted indignant.
“Whatever.” Vaugna said indifferent.
“I will get you for this.” I swore to her.
“You won’t have to.” came a voice that sent excited relief up and down my spine. The sweet accent of a Spanish soap opera actor snuck up behind me and I knew that Raphael had probably already fixed everybody’s frozen state inside too. “Vaugna. By your own hand. You will reap what you have sown. This is a promise. Now go.”
She physically shook with fear. I knew in that moment that her choice to join with Primus meant she was choosing hell. But, she knew that it was now because somehow someway, she’d send herself there by cutting herself in half on purpose… a suicide.
“Repent or you know what awaits you.” Raphael told her.
“Stop telling me what to do. I’m so over you right now.” she hissed and sent herself careening towards the cliffs. I saw her disturbing the clouds over the horizon and knew she was gone.
“Can you help her?” I asked him defeated.
“Vaugna has to help herself. I know that you truly hurt for someone who would choose hell over life and God’s love, but it is not our decision. As for Belle, I would revive her, but God has a different timing for her awakening than we do. You must take her body to Petra and hide it. She will arise at the appointed time for she has a job and a task given from the Lord same as you do. But, do not be afraid for her. All will be well. Gwen. You must do this and go back for Elle and Ryan. You have two hours before they find themselves in dire need. Look for them diligently and you will find a gift for yourself as well.” Raphael explained to me.
He has such kindness and hope in his eyes and voice. I somehow feel better now even though Belle laid in two pieces at my feet. My only thought was for the broken heart that would follow.
Deacon is going to be devastated when I tell him what happened to her.
(Photo courtesy of: www.myspace.com)
Music for this episode – Whispers in the Dark by Skillet