Well, here we. Again, I decided to participate in another Stewart Sternberg assignment. This story came out so smooth it was scary. I've had it happen before with a few stories I've written in the past, but this was a first in a while. It was great to feel that ease as I saw what my story was trying to lead me to. To feel so free!Thanks Stewart! Thanks everyone for taking the time to look. And remember, this goes for all my work, be honest about this. I like honesty.
Dangerous Lines: A Search for a Beloved Heart
Is there a set time for a person’s death? Could it be that there is some force, some being out there that knows every person’s life span, and what they will die from? And is it this being, this force, which decides our fates? Well…
Yes, and no.
I turned to Val, my half brother, and scowled at him. He knew nothing of what it was to be human. And yet he insisted on tormenting me about all its faults. Humans die, humans get ill easily, humans can’t fly, and so on.
I was able to fly once upon a time, before my choice; I had wings. The choice to remain as I was, a creature that flew the night skies and feasted upon terror and anarchy. What was I, you ask? Well, not a vampire, if that’s what you thought. No. I…was a demon; one in a million that skimmed through this world’s shadows to literally fuck up human existence. I used to love it. Until I fell in love. Yes. I hear you scoffing right now. Demons don’t know how to love. True, but we can learn. Once I met Angela, I began to learn. We’ve been together for six years.
Val scowled back, his leathery wings folding up to hide behind his back. I needed no words of his anger. I saw his trembling fists, his cold red eyes on my new blue ones.
“You betrayed us all!” Val burst out as he stalked toward me. I held up a hand.
“Far enough, brother.” I said.
Val growled. His eyes like fiery orbs in the night. My own eyes had turned blue my second year with my dearest Angela. My dark gray skin was now a dark tan. Even my fangs have gone. I’m more human than I ever hoped to be. And I’m still changing.
Val stopped. All he’d have to do was swipe out with one claw and that would be the end of me. Yet, he remained a goodish distance away. Who said demons were all action and no talk?
He thrust one long talon capped finger at me.
“You left us for one of them! The very creatures we’re trying to kill! How could you be so fucking stupid?”
“I love her.” I said, as if that explained everything.
Val roared and rushed at me. I held up a hand again, not afraid. And he stopped. This surprised me as much as I was surprised when I found demons could learn to love. But, in the end, Val would surely kill me. He has displayed a great deal of self control, but it was fading fast.
“Let her go. Come with me and the Lord might give you back your wings.”
“No.” I said and shook my head. “I can’t. If you were to love, you’d understand.”
I could tell by the way Val’s red eyes glowed hotter that that little piece of advice, or whatever it was, enraged him greatly. He stood nearly a foot away from me now, face to face. I could feel the cold radiating off him and shivered. HE must have seen this because he grinned.
“Come back and you’ll never have to feel again.”
“No!” Shouted into his face.
Val recoiled a little and then his flat, ape-like nose was pressed against mine. He was so cold that I could feel my new skin blistering. His fangs were bared. Not good. I backed away just enough to relieve my burning nose.
“Then you’ll die as you are, weak.” Val said.
“Rather that than die as you are. A monster.” I said, wanting to rub my hurt nose, but not daring to with Val so close. I didn’t want to show him just how weak I had become. But humans do have their strengths, oh yes, and I knew of one Val didn’t.
I gave him the kindest smile I could muster. He cringed back, frowning at me.
“What-“ He began, and then I said.
“I love you too, Val, my brother.”
To this, Val looked sick, he backed away from me, gagging. I stepped forward, meaning to say just how much I love him, which was false, of course, when he straightened and charged toward me, claws out, fangs snapping. He was going to kill me now.
Yet, he stopped a couple feet away from me, snarling like a rabid dog.
“Don’t you ever say that to me again! I’ll kill you if you do!” Val said.
“Go away, Val.” I said. “Go away, I’m happy now.”
“You’re fucking brain washed! How do you know if you’re happy or not? Huh? How do you know how to love?”
“I learned.” I said.
“Fuck you!” Val screamed into my face. His breath was like a dangerous gas. Mustard, perhaps.
Val was so angry he couldn’t stop from trembling all over. I knew what he wanted to do, so why didn’t he do it? Why not just end it all? What was holding him back?
“You’re a disgrace to what we are!” Val boomed. He pushed me, hard, but I managed to keep my balance.
The old rage bloomed in me just then. I glared at him and roared.
“You have no right to touch me! Go away!”
The creature that was my half brother, growled and we began to move in a slow circle eyes fixed on one another. Then-
The sound of the back screen door slapping shut an her words made me freeze where I stood. Val’s eyes, those wretched eyes, flickered passed me. HE looked at me again, and grinned.
“No.” I told him, but his grin lengthened.
“Don’t you touch her.” I said.
Val leaned closer to me, his grin like a dark cut sliced ear to ear.
“You will come back to us, Will.” He said to me.
He flashed passed me so fast I didn’t have time to realize it until after it had happened. Then I heard her scream, my wife, my life. Angela. I whirled on legs that felt like stacked water balloons. My heart clenched.
Val held her in the air above our back deck. He laughed.
Then, they vanished. Just like that…gone.
“Aaannnggelaaaa!” I cried. I raced to the porch.
Gone, gone. They were gone. Suddenly I knew why my half brother did not attack me, why he restrained himself from killing me.
“Because there are other ways to kill.” I murmured.
I sent my sight to the sky. My Lords have changed since I met Angela. I now worshiped the one from the Heavens. The other, that bowel sucking serpent, was mostly to blame for taking my dear Angela.
A few minutes later I went into the house, packed some clothes into a duffel bag, grabbed all the money from Angela’s purse and the small safe we kept in our office, and left the place I have called home for six years.
The night was warm, somber. As my shoes made soft scuffing clacks on the pavement, I brought up a fresh image of my Angela. Sweet, caring, loving, perfect.
I would find them, Val and my beloved wife, even if it took me eternities to do so. I would find them.