‹ Prequel: Eyes of the Devil

The Angel of Death

Chapter Ten

Everything hurt.

The stone I had been lying on was gone, replaced with soft padding that reminded me of the clouds where my mom lived. It felt like something light was pressing down on me, and when I tried to move it, I nearly screamed in agony, my entire body feeling like it was on fire. I fell limp just seconds later, breathing deep gasps of hot air into my bruised lungs.

“I told you not to move.” A razor-sharp voice scratched itself against my ears. Forcing my eyes open, I realized I was lying on the bed in my room. One of the strange girls was standing next to me. My chest shuddered as I tried to speak.

“Who are you?” I asked, my voice crackling and crumbling.

“Regret.” I shifted a little, my muscles burning in protest. I felt strange, like I suddenly wasn’t myself anymore.

“What happened?”

“Sorry I had to do this to you,” she said stoically, though she didn’t sound sorry. I gritted my teeth together and sat up, relaxing once I could lean against the wall. I looked around, catching my reflection in a nearby mirror and staring at it blankly. Everything about me was different. I was taller, and I looked older. Even my hair was a little longer. A wide patch of purple had laid itself over my left eye. “But it was the only way I could get you to wake up.”

I turned to her, studying the cruel features of her face. “What did you do to me?” I hissed.

“I had to make you older so your body could heal itself,” she explained flatly, bored of speaking to me already. “Don’t worry, it’s not like you’re going to drop dead.”

“You never told me what happened,” I insisted, ignoring her snide comment. She smirked, colorless eyes flashing in the flickering light of torches lining the walls.

“Next time, don’t make him mad.”

She vanished, but her powerfully terrifying face lingered in my mind. It suddenly occurred to me what she had done; I was no longer a little kid. I looked more like a teenager. One shoulder throbbed painfully, and I rubbed it with one hand, feeling a long, rigid line stretching across the skin. Despite my body’s protests, I climbed out of bed, stretching a few times, then unfurled my wings and leapt into the air, easily crossing through the ceiling and into the human world. The searing cold of rain shocked me for a moment, harsher than it had ever been when I was around my mom. I angled my flight so I was parallel to the ground for a moment, but then recognized something and shot down towards it. I dropped through the roof of the house, landing squarely on the floor and nearly bursting through it. I forgot how flimsy humans liked to build their homes.

“Who’s th- …Ande?!”

I rolled over onto my back, wincing in pain, and slowly crawled into a sitting position with one hand propping up my skull.


Everything still hurt.

“What happened? Why are you here?” the worried voice asked, coming to rest beside me.

“Just give me a minute.” Once the pounding in my head stopped, I opened my eyes and looked at her. She was older, too.

“What’s going on?” she asked again. “You’re hurt…”

“I’ll be fine, Holly,” I answered. I tried to get to my feet, but I stumbled off balance. She tried to catch me, but she wasn’t strong enough, and both of us ended up falling. I gave up and simply lay on the floor for a few minutes, facing the ceiling with my eyes closed and trying to remember why I had wanted to visit her in the first place. “Sorry. I’m tired.”

I heard her move, probably sitting up next to me. “You’re hurt. What happened to you?”

“I’m not completely sure,” I said truthfully. “My dad got mad at me an-”

“Your dad did this to you?!” she exclaimed with a gasp. “Oh, God, Ande…I’m so sorry…”

“Don’t say that,” I muttered with a sigh. Even the mention of the word made my head hurt. People had no idea who they were talking about when they spoke of their God. She brushed some hair out of my face, her fingers barely touching the bruise over my eye. I bit back a gasp of pain. I finally managed to get to my feet, holding on to the bed’s footboard for support, and looked at her. She was definitely worried about me, and I felt a pang of guilt because of it.

“How could you even get here like that?” Holly asked. I frowned in confusion.

“What do you mean?”

“Your…your wings…”

I glanced to one side, nearly screaming at what I saw. My wings were covered in thousands of tiny, one-inch cuts, shining with blood and rainwater. I felt frozen in place by fear, as if the slightest movement would bring me to my knees in pain. She ran one hand along the top part of one wing, and I shivered, hundreds of tiny knives stabbing me at her touch. I stopped her wrist with a loose grip.


I expected her to pull away from me and mumble an apology, but instead she stepped closer and hugged me as lightly as she could. I returned it, trying not to crush her in the process. I silently willed my wings to disappear, but nothing happened. All it did was make me even more exhausted.

“How long has it been?” I murmured, nearly falling asleep on my feet. She pulled away and looked at me.

“About three years.”

I sighed, my breath shuddering. “Should’ve known…”

“Are you going to be okay, Ande?”


Much as I didn’t want to, I slipped away from her and walked towards the window to watch the rain. It was hard to believe that something that made my mom so unhappy made things seem easier for me, but the rhythmic sound of the rain pummeling the window helped soothe my mind, if only for a few moments. I placed a hand on the cold glass, my breath creating frosty clouds on the smooth pane.

Two arms slid around me, and I sighed.


“You’re sad.” She hugged me tightly, ignoring the blood on my wings.

“I…it’s just…” It took several breaths to calm me down, each deeper and more gasping than the previous. “Sometimes I just want to fly away and never come back.”

“I’d miss you if you did that,” Holly said sadly, mumbling into my shoulder. She was really warm compared to everything around me, and that coupled with the fact that I could barely even stand up anymore…I was so tired…

I crawled over to one corner of the room and curled up, expending the last of my energy trying to make my wings disappear. The last thing I felt before falling into unconsciousness was a light kiss on the cheek, as fleeting and tiny as a raindrop.
When I woke up, the world was different. The drops had turned into clumps of white that floated gently to the ground, a complete contrast to the darkness of the rain. I felt immensely better, getting to my feet with no difficulty. I glanced over at Holly; she was still asleep, her breathing slow and even. I wasn’t sure whether I should leave right away. It might have been easier.

But then I remembered what she said to me. I’d miss you. A small cloud of sadness overcame me for a moment, and I decided I couldn’t leave without saying goodbye.

Standing by the window again, I made my wings appear, casting a dark shadow over most of the room as I blocked out most of the white light from outside. Most of the strange cuts had healed, but blood still covered my wings in a veil of dark red. I heard a faint sigh behind me, and I made my wings disappear as I turned around. There was no reason to scare her so early in the day.

“You’re still here,” she half whispered, eyes still closed. I smiled, trying not to show her how sad I really was.

“I have to leave now, actually. But I promise I’ll be back soon.”

She shivered from the cold, so I gave her another blanket. She smiled thankfully and retreated back to sleep.

I decided to make up for what I had done and began finding souls for my dad. I realized those closer to the edge of life had souls that glowed more brightly than the rest, something that made things just a little easier for me. Though I felt a little guilty about taking their souls away, it was inevitable. I didn’t want to find out what would happen if I just left them there. I was the only one who could take them anywhere.

The entire time, I wondered what exactly my dad had done to hurt me. I wasn’t in as much pain anymore, and the bruise on my face was nearly gone, but I still had the scar on my shoulder and a few of the cuts on my wings. I had never seen him so angry, even when he had had less control over himself. And then Regret had…helped me. It didn’t make sense. If she really worked for my dad, she wouldn’t do something like that. Then again, she didn’t seem to care, either.

I wasn’t sure exactly how much time had passed before I got back to Holly’s house, but it couldn’t have been too long. The clouds had become dark once again, but it wasn’t raining. The cold clumps of white were still falling everywhere, and the icy air filled my lungs with the unrelenting chill that only came from winter. I landed on the other side of her window, expecting her to ask me where I had been and why it had taken me so long.

What I found instead shocked me.

She was lying on the floor, passed out. Dark, shapeless pools surrounded her, partially staining a piece of paper she held in one hand. Stunned, I knelt down to read it, carefully prying it from her limp fingers.

I’m sorry you had to come back and find me like this, but there was nothing else I could do.

He’s dead, Ande. My best friend is dead because people kept treating him so horribly just because he’s gay. I can’t live without him, so…well, you know.

I wish I could have helped him, but I’m not good for anything like that.

It’s not all bad, though. I’ll get to see you again, if there really is an afterlife.


My breathing quickened. This wasn’t possible. She had been completely fine that morning, if a little sad to see me go…

If I had stayed, she might still be alive.

Moments later, the gray outline that had always surrounded her slight form crawled up to the top of her head, changing shape until it looked like a personal rain cloud. My heart froze for a few seconds when I saw that it perfectly matched the color of the blood still clinging to my wings.

With tears sticking to my eyes, I slowly reached out one hand to brush some of her hair out of her face. By the time I realized what I was doing, it was too late; her soul condensed itself into a scarce drop and flew into my hand. Heat flooded into my body, but I didn’t care. I felt cold, so incredibly cold, that my purpose was to take people’s lives.

I left the room, landing delicately in the pile of white ice outside, and screamed.