I could still feel the cold air whooshing around me and my body somehow slumping. But, I was awake and keenly aware of where I was and what was going on. It was like being asleep, but just awake enough to hear what the kids were doing so I’d know if one was crying or if they were sneaking cookies.
I was half in a dream… I think. But, at the same time there was a realness to where I was now standing. I saw Europa in front of me standing next to and cuddling a tall young man. He was beautiful but had a definite danger to him. He kissed her and held her. The warmth her face lacked began to return as she hugged him and the flames in her eyes went out.
Instead of a sort of reptilian hued beauty, she had an almost innocent schoolgirl look about her. This was what she changed from. This is what she was before falling in love with the devil. The evil in her was suddenly satiated by finally being near the person she loved and she was able to calm down and just breathe again.
I know that feeling all too well. I sort of felt sorry for her. I felt sorry for myself as well and wondered what I would have done for all of those years separated from Daniel if I had been a full angel and able to wield powers greater than clouding to find some consolation or revenge in his loss. But, it was different for them.
Daniel had led me to believe that he’d never wanted me and was happy with someone else. Here, Europa was merely trapped longing for him knowing that he had not replaced her. I supposed it had tinge of Romeo and Juliet, only Juliet in this case had been exiled and Romeo was desperate to return to her. And now, there they stood. Blissfully happy, for now.
But, they are evil. Not in and of themselves however. There is an evil greater than us and angelic blood, it merely swayed them. The evil they would produce in the world is unspeakable due to their rage. Not having their own way and then having to be separated for millennia on top of it. You have to choose to be a good person and weight the good of others as more important than your own emotions in order to refrain from revenge and endure the silence.
I know I would not have turned into Europa if I had gotten to be with Daniel, the way we are now, back when he was Ares. If he hadn’t left me for Aphrodite, I would have left him eventually because I know to chose wisely every day. I will be held accountable for this life, this very long life of mine.
“How sweet of you to condemn us anyway. Even though you know our pain.” Europa said as she gazed into Lucifer’s eyes then turned to shoot me an angry glance.
“Hypocrite.” he said.
“You don’t really think I care what your opinion of me is… right?” I answered. I was strangely unafraid.
“Don’t you think all of the death and plagues and unholy terrors would have been avoided if I had simply had my way and my woman? Tsk. Mankind had to pay somehow for getting in the way. It is because of your kind that I was unsuccessful. My hatred of you is valid.” he continued.
“You fell from grace all on your own before mankind was a second thought for you and you are using us as your revenge against God for being God and not letting you tell Him what to do. There can only be one Almighty.” I retorted.
“Then let me show you…” he said. Europa held his hand and they were both suddenly by my side instead of slightly ahead of me. “This is the world that you know. People have their own evil in their hearts. I didn’t put it there.”
In front of me, a piece of World War II played out. We began to walk as the gunshots subsided and only bloody, rotting bodies baking in the sun remained. Lucifer waived his hand over a boy, no older than twenty two and he stood straight up.
There was a hole blasted right through his abdomen and a look of scared shock on his face.
“You there. To what to you attribute your wounds?” Lu asked him.
“There’s an evil in this world and we were sent to destroy it.” he said, still trying to piece together what had happened to him and how he managed to get to his feet. The boy sank to his knees.
A man, blown in two, laid in a pool of his own blood. He wore a different uniform and began clapping his hands. “Well done lad. That is exactly what my commanding officer said about you. And now look at us. We’ve both been wiped out. The world is rid of the two of us. Only now there will be more blood because of it. Maybe the evil we were supposed to rid ourselves of was something inside our own selves instead.”
The boy sank to the ground face first, dead. A breeze whistled and the hot breath of the soldier torn in two blew away with it as the darkness of a blown pupil filled his eyes and the fear etched on his face cemented there.
“Maybe it’s not really me. Maybe if you think about it Gwen, it’s the humans. Someone has got to rein them in. Did you ever think that I was tasked with this job? That the Almighty approves of my work?” Lu continued.
“Animating a few dead bodies is not going to convince me of anything. You know you are wrong. Jesus said he came that we would have life and have it more abundantly. You killing us off would have been mentioned if that was the case.” I said and stopped one step short of falling off of a steep cliff and into the ravine the Silver Banshees filled when Raphael found Elle and Linus.
“Here’s the thing Gwen. When Belle was severed in two, that wasn’t her. It was you. She has a gift for telepathy and shared your last moments with you so you wouldn’t be alone. YOU are the one buried under stone in a rock fortress in Petra. A holy land where no one I can influence can come and dig you up so I can help you. And Daniel… well, he never came back for you. He’s still in love with Aphrodite and didn’t bat an eyelash when he found out what happened to you. In fact, he was relieved that he wouldn’t have to see you cry after all these years because he still doesn’t want you.” Lu continued.
“Why would you come and pay me a visit buried under a rock fortress then?” I asked, trying to catch him in his lie.
“I need someone of your particular talents to help me get my beloved off of a desolate moon. You’re not really there either you know. I have given you a dream. To allow you to see what your life could be if you pledge your allegiance to me.” he continued.
“Help me be whole again. I won’t need to feed on human flesh if my heart is reunited with his.” Europa said pleadingly.
“It’s not possible. I’ve seen and done too much since what happened to Belle, besides which I’m not a vampire. Being severed in two would not put me in a coma.” I reasoned to myself aloud.
“They tried to mend you but, buried you so you could slip away quietly. Vaugna is with Sam and you are buried out here all alone. Doesn’t it hurt to know that all this time you thought you were back together with Daniel and it was all just a dream? I can make it real. I can reassign Aphrodite and turn his heart to you.” Lu said and as soon as I blinked I saw myself with him at the beach he’d taken me to after I made him stop dating my almost twin look alike daughter.
“That was real.” I said.
“That was real enough.” Lu said trying to correct me. “You’ve been lost for so long without him that even though it was just a dream you felt it was real enough. You knew that you were dying and felt that letting your mind wander into a blissful place where you could see him one last time was okay. None of it was real though. Doesn’t it seem a bit ostentatious for you to be on a mission on another planet with him in love and back together? Grandiose dreaming. You aim for the stars Gwen… literally.”
“That is a lie.” I said. I felt my heart sink. Everything he said was plausible.
“So, this is your way out. You end your pitiful three thousand year life buried in a dream world or you help me. Raphael said to let you go on and die. Your children are happy with your replacement, and Daniel couldn’t care less. Choose wisely.” Lu continued.
“I may be pathetic for saying this, but even if I am dreaming and dreaming is as close as I get to being with him again… I will honor the man that I love even if I just made him up and I will not fail him now.” I said and gasped for air.
I woke up somehow still in the machine with cold air swirling around me. I could see from here that Europa still looked like an innocent school girl, but that facade began to crack around the edges where the reptilian feel of her skin shone through.
Old tricks are the best tricks. Like tempting Jesus on the mountain he expected me to give in. Flecks of fear still resided in me from the idea that I had died and never been reunited with Daniel. This is not a battle that will stay in the physical realm and I find myself reluctant to close my eyes again.
This is a battle of the mind.
Post Marks – Coming soon.
(Photo courtesy of: widowsvoice-sslf.blogspot.com)
Music for this episode – Over My Head by The Fray