“Do it.” Absinthe, a she demon, one of the Fallen, whispered to a human. The human is Paxton Lopez, a twenty-four-year-old boy who was ashamed…
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“Do it.” Absinthe, a she demon, one of the Fallen, whispered to a human. The human is Paxton Lopez, a twenty-four-year-old boy who was ashamed…
“Do it.” Absinthe, a she demon, one of the Fallen, whispered to a human.
The human is Paxton Lopez, a twenty-four-year-old boy who was ashamed that he didn’t meet his parent’s dreams and expectation. He failed to get a regular job once again, gets into yet another repetitive argument with his father, got no friends to seek help and rely on, and decided there’s no point living his kind of pathetic life.
So now he’s tying a rope, tears streaming from his expressionless eyes. After ensuring that it is tight enough, he looks around the gloomy room and walks to where a wooden stool sits. He drags it near the window and hangs the rope on one of its steel railings. “You better not give up on me too,” he said, tugging the rope twice. “Right now, you’re the only one who can save me.”
Those words made Absinthe’s smile grow wider, her long spiky tails wagging like a dog unable to hide its excitement. “Yes,” she hissed, “End that suffering. You don’t deserve it. You deserve unicorns, and rainbows and endless laughter.” Giggling at her sarcasm, she kisses Paxton’s forehead, watched him put the rope as he kicks the wooden stool away. “What a man.”
She left Paxton hanging, legs kicking in the air, hands tightening at the rope.
Torn between letting go and feeling the pain in his neck and the slow absence of air in his body. His parent’s faces came into his delirious state, screaming and crying as he imagined them seeing his lifeless body, blaming him for having the guts to kill his self and burden the family of his memorial.
At the thought, his eyes widened, and he tries to break free. “N-no…” He can’t let that happen. He’d rather dispose his body somewhere else, and free them from the burden of his memorial. But he weighed more that the rope digs on his flesh, putting pressure on the bones on his neck.
Feet dangling from Paxton’s shoulders, Absinthe whistled and blows some air to her newly manicured nails. She returned the rum cool rail paint to its little glass hour bottle as she shook her head. “You’re changing your mind, young man?” She jumped and eyed the young boy as he gasped for air, his eyes rolling at the back of his head, hands dropping to his side. “Too late,” she said, and disappeared with a grin.
Seconds later, the steel railing gave up, dropping the coughing Paxton on the floor as he clumsily freed his neck of the rope. Catching his breath, he struggled to reach his smartphone and dial a number. I should at least say goodbye to my mother. Only to drop it after a voice rejected his attempt. The number you have dialed is out of coverage area. Please try your call later. Tears fell as he closes his eyes. “Everyone else gave up on me. Even that stupid rope…” Cussing, he felt his eyelids getting heavy, and soon enough he was snoring in his sleep.
Taking his hands off the now asleep boy, Clovis, a Warrior Angel, sighed in relief. “He needs to recover from that shock.”
“If you were a second late, he could have—“
“He didn’t, okay?” Clovis snapped telepathically at Amari, the head of Guardian Angels. “You said a demon has been pestering him. I see no demon to kill.” He sheathed his sword, ready to stain it with demon blood. “And where’s the young boy’s guardian angel, anyway?”
“Dead,” Amari answered with a sighed. “The she-devil hanging around that kid is one persistent demon. “I lost a number already. That’s why I ask for your help. It seemed to me she has a quota to fill.”
Clovis broody face furrowed, his jaw gnashed at the thought that the evil lurking in the human world almost took another precious human life. “She’ll be back then. And she’ll regret it.”
“What am I going to record here, by the way? We can’t let him think that someone miraculously saved him, right?”
Clovis eyed the steel railings he slashed with his sword earlier. “You think of the details on how.” A small smile tugged from his lips, “but I can suggest iron has eaten it.”
When Paxton woke up, the sun was already rising. He stretched his body only to wince at the ached he felt on his neck. Eyes close, his hands fly to massage his neck. He then sleepily walked to the kitchen’s direction to get some drinks, passed the life-sized mirror, and halted. Closing in to get a better look, he cussed at the violet-looking bruised on his skin and remember yesterday’s event.
His eyes turned to the steel railings of the window and uttered another series of scandalous words. “Since when did you become rusty?” He picked the steel railing and returned it to its original place but failed. He shook his head as he now picks up the rope. “The maintenance of this building is one crappy man, so no wonder water could leak anywhere.” One last glance at the scene and Paxton sighed in defeat. “I am glad though.”
A knock on his door interrupted Paxton from reaching the kitchen once again. Groaning because of thirst, he dragged his feet to open and see who the person behind that insistent noise
“Help me?” said Martin, the crappy maintenance, which surprised Paxton.
“Never once you come to me for help. What change?” he asked, crossing his arms. The old man who always looks grumpy is gone. A desperate one replaces his wrinkled face and bloodshot eyes.
“T-There’s a girl at the rooftop.” His eyes are unfocused that fear knocked Paxton at the stomach. He didn’t wait for the old man to finish his words. He ran to the rooftop’s direction.
He knows why Martin can’t help. Whenever the rooftop is concerned, it’s always Paxton who deals with it. He heard from the building owner who hired him for that part-time job that Martin’s got a trauma. Unfortunately, the old man saw his own daughter took her life by jumping from their old apartment’s rooftop years ago.
Heaving at the unexpected marathon, Paxton saw the back of a young woman in her black off-shoulder jumpsuit, its color highlighted her creamy white skin. She was standing at the edge of the rooftop, hands up as if she could embrace every moment that the air passes by or it could also mean she’s waiting for the air to push her off the roof. By her side are her stiletto, and a shoulder bag from a known brand. She seemed loaded, Paxton thought. So why do this?
“I hate you!” the girl screamed. “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!” Her shoulder shook, voice cracking. “I hate you for leaving me. We could’ve gone together, why do you have to leave me alone? This fucking world is cruel, you said it yourself so why leave me here?”
Paxton stilled, his mind whirled for ways on how to approach the girl without alarming her and sending her off much quicker. Think. Think. Think. Think.
In one corner of the rooftop, Absinthe hissed upon seeing the company of Paxton. She was enjoying feeding this weakling human the thoughts she needed to have a peaceful mind and shattered bloody body and yet here’s a surprise. No wonder she hasn’t heard any congratulatory words from her boss below. Paxton is alive. With him, her least favorite Warrior Angel— Clovis.
Clovis has changed little, even after millions of years. He still has that sculpted; broody face matched with turquoise blue eyes. Still fitted in his muscular build and clean-cut raven hair. Perfect only for a warrior like him. His nose and lips brought her images she thought she has long forgotten. Absinthe gulped the disturbing feeling that crept in her stomach. Of all the Warrior Angel’s from that damned place… she gritted her teeth and immediately disappeared.
Clovis forehead is in a knot. He sensed a familiar angel in the area, something oddly familiar yet he needs more time to recollect but eventually gave up. He can’t remember. He sniffed the air. The smell of sulfur earlier disappeared, making him smirked. Whoever that demon is… he’s a smart one for running away. His eyes returned to Paxton who casually approached the girl.
“Do it.” He joined the girl in the rooftop’s edge. “And please, bring me with you.”
The girls’ eyes widened. Her body swayed but immediately recovered her balance. “W-What? I-I can’t do that? Do you want me to end up as a killer?”
He gives her a mocking grin. “Of course. The society never says the one who commits suicide is a killer.” He nodded a couple of times as if he’s convinced by that statement as well. “FYI, they’ll never know you drag me with you. There’s no CCTV in this low-cost building. Besides, I think we’ll be too busy being dead to care by then, don’t you agree?”
Clovis smiled at Paxton’s words. “You sure he wanted to die?” he asked telepathically at Amari who chuckled.
“He’s a nice kid. They all are. They’re just being hunted and influenced by evil, that’s why they do stuff. We can guide and help them but you how this goes…”
“Where’s that girl’s guardian angel by the way?”
“Look at your left.”
Clovis saw a guardian angel’s fresh remains. Just a few moments ago, probably the familiar scent he missed. He grimly returned his focused on the humans.
The girl is obviously lost for words. The two didn’t talk for a while. Later, she breathes deeply and decided to take a sit, feet dangling in the air while she clutches her bag to her chest. “My boyfriend… he died saving me from a car crash. He had a chance if he didn’t use his body to protect me, you know. But even until our last moments together, he was being overprotected.
“You should thank him then, not cussed him with much passion.”
The girl laughed dryly. “I’m here to collect his stuff. He rents here so…” she shrugged, “it was just hard seeing the place without him. It’s been months since the accident and I missed him so much. I wasn’t even in his burial because I was in a coma…” Her tears fell once again, yet she continues talking with that shaking voice of her. “This is the first time I came back here since then. I came last night and fell asleep while crying my heart out. This morning didn’t make a difference. I felt suffocated in there, so I went up here to take some fresh air. I don’t know what’s gotten into me. I swear I never thought I could come up here and think like this…”
“Well, shit happens when people are emotional. Believe me. I’m talking from experience here,” Paxton said, eyes at the rising sun that is hiding behind the curtains of clouds. The soft breeze of air fanned their body.
“You sound like you tried it.”
He chuckled. “I did. Last night actually.”
“Seriously? Oh God, are you for real or am I talking to a ghost?”
He snorted. “You watched too many movies”
“Guilty,” she answered, smiling sheepishly.
“But if you want a serious answer, I don’t know. Maybe it’s not my time yet. Maybe a guardian angel saved me.” He stood up and jumped down to safety. The girl followed his movement and stared at his outreached arms for a while. Once she accepted and jumped to the rooftops floor safely, Paxton added, “Maybe I don’t have to die yet so I can save you today.”
Still holding his hand, the girl tightened her grip and hugged Paxton. “Thank you.”
“I’m Jewel, by the way.
“I’m sending their new guardian angels now,” Amari announced as the two head back, stopping Clovis from following the humans. “You can finally get back to demon killings. Congrats!”
“What?” Clovis voice rises at Amari’s news. Apparently, Paxton and Jewel have fallen in some deep human trouble, courtesy of a very persistent demon.
“Yes,” Amari said with a dark expression. “I’m losing a lot of guardian angels here and that demon is pissing me off. I don’t want to ask anyone else. I thought maybe you’d like to help those two once again, so…”
“Of course, I’ll go.”
“Thank you, Clovis. Go. Deal with that demon for me, please. It feels like it’s specifically calling out for a Warrior Angels’ attention.”
“You mean that demon wanted to die by my hands?”
“Who knows?” Amari said with a shrug. “Just, prepare yourself. It’s probably one of the Fallen’s.”
Clovis arrived at Paxton’s apartment in the evening. The room’s poorly lighted. A lot of chips and canned beers are lying on the floor. The bed’s unmade, some pillows are on the floor, and clothes are everywhere, like they took it off in a hurry and have no time to clean. He saw the two sitting on the floor, below the two-seater sofa. They’re busy sniffing some white substance the humans called drugs. Smiling groggily, both grab each other’s face and started kissing.
Clovis diverted his eyes. The scene reminded him of some sinful memories. The scent of sulfur distracted him from those and he immediately took his swords out.
“Aww,” Absinthe emerged from Jewel’s human shell. “Still can’t stand this scene, Clovis?” she asked, flickering from her demon form to someone else without leaving Jewel’s body. She snickered as Clovis jaw parted. To spite him, she took one empty bottle of champagne on the table and smashed it to Paxton’s head. Paxton fell to the floor with a bleeding head and she can see the torn expression from the Warrior Angel.
She smiled widely. “Yes, me. I’m glad you finally came. I was so bored dealing with those low-ranking guardian angels, you know. I had to do something, so Amari would send you here once again. And these two are collateral damage. Oh, watch that movie, Collateral Damage. Humans are so imaginative, I tell you. If you asked nicely, I can even join you at the cinema. I’m not promising to behave because you know, that place is a pleasure for the likes of me.”
She made a buzzing sound. “It’s Absinthe. I don’t know who that Cynthia is but I’ll guess she’s been dead eons ago.” She flipped Jewels’ wavy hair. “Oh, here’s another guess. You’re the reason she’s cast away. You. Killed. Her.”
Clovis gritted his teeth, his hands clenched and unclenched on his swords. “Face me and let’s fight to the death if we must. Leave the human’s alone.”
She batted her eyes, looking at him with such mockery that his guilt suddenly rises once again. “Fight to the death? Isn’t that our rule back then? Ah, I guess you never saw this coming, aren’t you? Or you probably hope we’ll never cross path as enemies.” She shook her head and started circling him; her forefinger traced the ridges of his wings and leaned to whisper, “As expected from you, Clovis, how naïve.”
Clovis never struggled for control this much. Whenever he and his fellow Warrior Angels fight with demons, they never think twice. Just attack, strike and left only demons’ carcasses. There are Warrior Angels sent in the human world in case of demon possession or a sudden rise in demon sightings and influences, and he never volunteers until Amari would ask him. It’s hard to fight when these trickster demons used humans as their shields. He’s not well trained from that and if he doesn’t go back from where he came from, he’s worried he’ll kill Jewel soon. So, he chooses the former.
“Do you want me to kill a human?” he growled at Amari, slamming his weapons on her desk.
Startled, Amari stuttered. “C-Clovis, I’m sorry.”
He shook his head aggressively. “No, you’re not. What is it? What’s your plan, huh?”
“I… I just want you to move on. To unburden yourself from that guilt you’re carrying. It’s been a long time, Clovis. And let me say this again. It’s not your fault that Cynthia became one of the Fallen—“
“But it’s true!” His chest rose and fall, hands clenching so tight at his sides. “It’s my fault! She blindly trusted me to fall with her and yet… yet when she did it, I realize I can’t leave my duty here. I realized I can’t do it. That even when I love her, I can’t accept being branded as a Fallen. I can’t. And it’s my fault because I’m the reason she falls.”
He turned his back and stomped his feet away. “I’m sorry too. But I think you need to send another Warrior Angel to save those kids. I killed Cynthia once. I’m not doing it again.”
Absinthe laughed as another Warrior Angel appeared. She knew it. Clovis will never harm her. Physically, that is. Clovis, the love of her life, the reason she falls for them to be finally together and yet he failed her. He left her hanging, wounded, heart shattered as she fights her own to survive together with other former Angels who became one of the Fallen.
Absinthe left Jewel’s body to face the newcomer. The human slumped on the floor, gasping for breath, and weakly reached out for Paxton who’s now swimming in his own blood. “Help… Help… Help…”
“Paxton? Jewel! You kids okay in there?”
“Help!” Jewel, who’s being overdosed with drugs, screamed with her remaining strength.
Someone made a few kicks on the door. Until it burst open, showing the old man Martin who immediately calls for help. “My goodness, you two! I told you to fix yourself, not ruin it! Hang in there, Jewel… Don’t worry, Paxton will survive this.”
Meanwhile, Absinthe and the Warrior Angel clashed in the same room. Both shifting into the Spirit Realm, she transformed to her demon appearance, for the sake of annoying the angel in front of her. She’s been one of them, so she knows what ticks them off. “Don’t hold back.”
The Warrior Angel’s lips remained tight.
She made the first move, her black wings flying in his direction, her sword slashed at him with all her might. The Warrior Angel stepped back from the force but never faltered; his arms were quick enough to shield her attack. Her pointed tail, along with her claws, joined to pierce the enemy. He didn’t mind the cuts, not knowing being poisoned is possible. She grinned when he shook his head. A grin that twisted into a frown as she caught a scent of Clovis. He’s here? Was he simply watching this? Fine Clovis, watched how my fighting skills improve. I can even take you down–
A powerful punched, followed by intensified kick, forced Absinthe‘s attention to go back to her current situation. She went flying, grunting as her body smashed to the nearest wall, crumbling the materials along with her. The Warrior Angel could have followed that blow. She’s caught off- guard, she admits that, but the hesitance she’s seeing right now made her think this one is still waiting for orders. She chuckled, brushing the blood off her lips. Her tongue darted out to taste it, feeding her fangs with her own blood. The brute strength surprises her and she smiled dryly. She gripped her sword once again. “I said no holding back!”
She waited for his attacked but went still when six more warriors joined, all equipped and ready to take her down. With them is a familiar Guardian Angel in her all boring white clothing. “Some things never really change, huh?”
“I believe you won’t understand, since you’ve changed so much,” Amari scoffed.
“Oh Amari, always the bitch,” she hissed.
Amari raised a hand. “Don’t worry, unlike someone we both know, they won’t hold back on killing you. Isn’t this what you wanted, Cynthia? Hypocrisy aside, this is what you want— to cease existing and freed yourself from your shameful downfall. But don’t you ever think for a second that you’ll drag Clovis with you. He belongs to us. He’ll never be one of the Fallen.”
All seven went to attack as Amari dropped her hands to the ground. Blinding flashed of light filled the room, rendering Absinthe immobile. No, she dropped her sword and transformed to her old self and waited for the judgment she deserved.
Strong arms enveloped her. The familiar warmth and scent made her smile, especially upon hearing that concern in his voice. “Cynthia, is it true? What Amari said?”
Maybe she is indeed dying; she can even see the look that was once in Clovis eyes as he stared down at her. She nodded. “Didn’t you know? Amari is always right.” She chuckled, then faced him with such tenderness and longing. “Yes, I am ashamed of my choices, Clovis. It was selfish of me to ask you to lose yourself just for loving me. No, it was not worth it, I’m telling you and I’m glad you didn’t follow me. I became a Fallen, a demon, but I am at peace knowing that you’ll never know how shameful it is to exist as one. And yes, I wanted badly to end this pathetic existence. But can I be selfish for one more time, Clov? I wanted you to do it as I bid my farewell in your arms. A dying demon can still wish, yes?”
Absinthe waited for his answer, but nothing came. Maybe her delusion reached its limit. Now she must face death for real. But she felt no pain, only warm liquids hit her face. What’s going on? Was my death too quick? Well, duh? It’s seven against one.
“C-Cynthia…” Someone cough, making her open her eyes as a series of gasped filled the air.
“Clovis!” Amari and Absinthe chorused.
The blinding light’s almost gone. All seven Warrior Angel’s faces, along with Amari and Absinthe’s horror-stricken face as they realized what happened. All swords buried deep within Clovis who used his body to protect Absinthe. With the remaining strength he had, while still coughing blood, he forced himself to talk as he cupped her face, “I-I’m sorry for everything.”
Tears filled Absinthe’s eyes as she murmured, “It’s okay.” She reached to kiss Clovis one last time as his hand rises. As their lips touched, he plants the angel blade in her heart.
As Absinthe turned to ashes, Clovis disappeared like a passing light.
Amari and the rest of the Warrior Angel’s returned with a broken heart.
Meanwhile, in the Mortal Realm, Paxton and Jewel lays in the stretcher to the ambulance. The police stayed to investigate. Old man Martin followed the two in the hospital, registered himself as the guardian and waited until the kid’s parents arrive. Just in time for the doctors to announce the kids’ condition.
Unlike the tragic story of Clovis and Cynthia, the humans has the chance to live and love once again.
Or maybe, it was the other way around.
With Clovis and Cynthia taking over the mortals’ body.
To live and love again.
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