Episode 12 – Part 2: Trudging

“Hi Belle. It’s been a long day. I ran into my version of Troy and it hurt like hell to see his face. It wasn’t even his face. But, his facial expressions, his voice, his eyes… I don’t know how you survived having to be around Troy so much when you were first turned. It makes me feel sad for my husband. Like how dare I feel hurt over another man. But, if he only knew how badly he had hurt me, then he would understand that there was no way I was going to stand face to face with him without it being painful.” I told her as I splashed in the water around us.

I decided to put little holes in the roof of her encapsulation of rock to let fresh air and rays of sunlight breakthrough. It wouldn’t be fair for her to be in a coma and in total darkness as well.

“I hope it will be like in the fairy tale story books for you Belle. Your prince charming will come to kiss you and wake you up… whoever that turns out to be. I wish we had more time to become friends. If being cut in half had happened to anybody else they would have died. I guess watching you die, or well, become like this is what makes me feel close to you. I was there in your last moment. My eyes are the last you gazed into. I wish I could have been someone else though. I wish you could have had that last precious moment with someone you loved instead and not me. But, I guess I will have to be good enough huh?” I continued.

There was no movement, no sound other than my own breathing and a slight whistle in the wind. I wondered if Ares had built a sandstorm and followed me here. Would he find me? If he did he would certainly try to damage Belle’s body. I can’t take her out of Petra and cloud her with me somewhere else if he did find me here though anyway.

Now what?

I listened and heard several sets of footsteps but not one word. They walked all over and stood above us. Only three inches of rock separated us from whoever it was. Then I heard him.

“She would come to a place like this to mock me. A place built in honor of destroying beings like me and sending them to Hell. And then just be protected by the land somehow. I know she’s here. I feel her. But, I can’t tell where she went or where she’s hiding.” Ares said as he stomped around the room.

“Maybe it’s just because her scent is here and it’s fresh.” Another man said.

“No, her beating heart is here somewhere. I need to set things right. I have to tell her what really happened. Knowing that the only person who ever loved me hates me isn’t right. But, we need to leave. This place isn’t safe for us. Someone has been using blessings in the name of Jesus and that’s just dangerous for me. Let’s go.” He said and the wind howled loudly before a dusty calm settled over what seemed like the entire city of Petra.

Well, at least Belle would be safe and undetected here. I had completely forgotten that my angelic blood allows me to conceal myself from deities like him so long as I was in water. This will make for interesting reconnaissance missions that will surely come later.

I can’t help but feel glad that I came here first and not home or to the Jade Gates. Can you imagine?

But, even as I clouded out of the wet hole I left Belle in, vowing to return so I could keep her in the loop somehow and hope this would help her when she wakes up, I felt it. My growing curiosity. I know myself. I know that I will not be able to just go home and leave this alone. I know that even if I tried I’d walk into the remains of a massacre and that my family, my boys, would not be safe until I appeased him.

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So, I left. I don’t know why but on foot seemed the best idea. At least I can dry off and see him coming. Trudging… that is how I will spend the next few hours. Trudging more through my own thoughts and emotions to have them sorted out before I face him again.

I heard the wind whistling and wondered how Sam was doing. Was he worried that I hadn’t come home yet for our vacation? Were my sons out there looking for me? Do they know that Mars aka Ares is out and about and half way stalking me? No, of course not. How much had I told Sam about my past anyway? Did I tell him my first love was an ancient deity who got exiled into Hell but not before leaving me for a vampire, then somehow shielding me when the genocide Primus planned for our people occurred?

Did I tell him that it took everything in me to marry him when I was still in love with Ares and that witch that came to kill our children was a deranged banshee he’d implanted sand into? Was I honest with myself as I coldly told him I never wanted to see him again before his exile?

Trudging along, the sunlight began to wane over the horizon and I finally pulled myself out of my thoughts enough to register the footsteps landing softy on the sand about three yards behind me, and a voice pondering over the random thoughts that found their way out of my mouth as I registered I had been talking to myself instead of just thinking loudly. I wondered how long he had been following me.

“Tell me what Ares?” I asked exasperated, tired, thirsty, and genuinely ready to cloud home and find solstice in my husband’s arms. Sam would keep the monsters out. I know he would.

“I left you because I thought you were going to die okay? I heard about the genocide and how Primus was killing anyone he couldn’t recruit. Aphrodite was the next best choice because she was on the winning side. I went to get you and a few of your friends from that place before the blood demons killed you all. I wanted to get back together, but then I saw you with Sam and how your face lit up when you saw him. I thought it would be unfair that I’d made you suffer and live with my decisions only to come back and rob you of the little bit of happiness you had found that helped you get through it.

“I know you still loved me. I know that you thought I never had the right feelings for you and okay, so maybe lust was never there. But, I envisioned the rest of eternity with you. I kept pushing the thought aside and rejecting you because you were someone who would die one day and leave me here alone and yes… I resented that it was you that loved me. How could someone who would die and leave me alone here miserable be the only person who could ever love me and get it right?

“But, I won’t go looking for Aphrodite. You, but not her. Because like you said, she couldn’t care less that I was in Hell. When I knew every day I died down there, that if I had stayed with you… Gwen. You would have found a way. You would have fought through Hell to find me and dared Lucifer not to let you out. You’ve have taken that fallen angel by the balls and threatened to give him a Holy water bath if he didn’t give me to you and let us go.

“You are what I thought about every day. You are what I regretted every second. Because I knew. Plain and simple, if I had been out with you that day I would not have been exiled. I would not have been so blood thirsty. Being with vampires kind of rubs off on you that way. I wanted you to know that I wasn’t as despicable as human men are. And that I totally understand why you hated me so much. I get it.” Ares explained as I fought back tears.

Before I could stop myself I hugged him.

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“You don’t know how long I have waited to hold you even if it was just one more time.” He whispered in my ear.

“I never hated you. I hated that no matter what I did, and even though I knew you loved me, that you never once chose me except to save my life then leave me alone in it.” I said pulling away from him and drying the rogue tears that spilled down my cheeks.

“You know that we are still on opposite sides of the fence though. I have to hunt this girl they call Lorena. If she is as powerful as they say, and let’s face it. She could have nothing, no powers at all. But, still… who will she fear with the Lord on her side you know? I will probably be killed and sent back to Hell. But, I wanted to see you one last time girl.” Ares sweetly all but lulled me to sleep as he thoughtfully brushed one of my tears aside and kissed me on the cheek.

“This time you get to be the one to walk away. I choose you. Only you. I would switch sides if I could you know.” He said as he sprinted out about fifty yards away from me and engulfed himself in sand. He seemed to sink into it. The only traces that he had been there were little sand storms that disappeared as quickly as they sprang up.

Well, that’s that I guess.

Somehow I feel like I can finally go home. Like I will be okay, because now I know that I wasn’t just thrown away.

And knowing that is everything.