Unchained nr 1, p.4

Unchained nr-1, page 4

 part  #1 of  Nephilim Rising Series

 

Unchained nr-1
 



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  “There is no easy way to tell you, and I really don’t have the patience to ease you into this.”

  “This is the part where you might want to sit down,” Remy advised.

  He ignored him, focusing on her. “Look, I don’t know what game you guys are playing, but I think it’s best you let me go.”

  “We can’t,” she said.

  The hairs on his neck rose. He quickly surveyed the room, noting only one exit. “So let me get this straight. You’re holding me against my will?”

  The green flecks in her eyes flared as she stepped forward. “Whatever. That’s not important.” She placed her hands on her hips. “Michael, if you leave the safety of the Sanctuary, every Fallen, minion, and human possessed will be gunning for your ass.”

  He gaped at her. She was absolutely crazy. Further gone than the woman who thought her cat was tapping her phone lines. What did he do to deserve a night like this? Damn, he was a good person.

  After graduating with top honors from college and spending several years as an accountant for a law firm in Sterling, the need to do something more with his life had overcome him. Like an idiot, he applied for the Metropolitan Police Department the second he’d learned they were hiring. Six months ago he had graduated from the academy.

  And this is what he got for it, for fuck’s sake.

  “I’m out of here.” Michael pushed past her. He heard Remy chuckle deeply, and then he was off his feet. Somehow, little Lily had picked him up and pinned him down on the bed.

  Staring into the greenest eyes framed with the thickest lashes he’d ever seen, he admitted he would’ve been generally pleased with the unexpected turn of events. But once again, he felt as if someone blew cold air down his spine. And he knew a normal woman of her size couldn’t do that.

  Oh, hell no. Something wasn’t right. He’d been brought down by a woman with superhuman strength. Man, he’d seriously underestimated the situation.

  Right now, he really missed the crazy cat lady.

  Chapter Five

  “What happened to having patience?” Remy asked, clearly amused.

  “Patience is overrated.” Lily glared down at her captive. “Now you’re going to listen to me. I’m going to let you up, but you will sit quietly and hear us out.”

  Michael stared up at her. The blue of his eyes had deepened. At first she didn’t think he was going to answer her, but he finally nodded.

  “I mean it,” she warned. “Next time you try to bolt, I’m going to let Remy take care of you. And he will make it hurt. Do you understand me?”

  He tensed. “Okay.”

  She smiled broadly. “Good.” Pushing off him, she landed nimbly on her feet. The shock on his face pleased her. She watched as he sat up awkwardly.

  He let out a deep breath as he glanced up, pinning her with his eyes. “Are you going to tell me what is going on?”

  Remy pulled out a chair from along the wall and sat. “Do you know Danyal Archer? I believe he’s a sergeant in your district.”

  Recognition flickered across his face. “Detective Archer?”

  Remy smiled as he pulled a dread loose, twisting it around his long fingers. “Danyal is a very good friend of ours. When Lily realized the…error she had made, we called Danyal and explained to him what had happened. He took care of everything. As far as your department knows, you had a family emergency and had to leave. No one will question him.”

  She jumped in. “We took your belt and radio because we couldn’t risk you ruining all of Danyal’s hard work. He stuck his neck out there and, buddy, our necks are tremendously valuable.”

  Michael rubbed the underside of his jaw absently. “Why would Detective Archer help you?”

  “Because he’s one of us,” she said softly. He opened his mouth, but she cut him off. “I’m going to start from the beginning. All I ask is that you don’t interrupt and you silently pray Luke returns with a milkshake quickly, because they make me happy. And you want to keep me happy.”

  His expression soured.

  “And you keep an open mind,” Remy threw in. “You have to already know that we aren’t your average Joes.”

  Michael snorted. “I don’t know what to think. Some old man almost killed me. This one seems to be able to throw around men three times her size. Man, tell me whatever you want.”

  Lily almost laughed. She tried to remember what it was like when she had learned the truth about what she was, but she had been so young and scared. Nathaniel could’ve told her anything, and she would’ve believed him. Pushing those darker memories to the back of her mind, she cleared her throat. “Have you ever heard of fallen angels?”

  His brows flew up. “Other than you mentioning it a few minutes ago, you’re going to have to refresh my memory, thank you.”

  Instead of being the general bully that she was, Lily sat in a chair and pushed at her tangled mess of hair. “Angels used to walk among man, serving as sources of enlightenment and faith. Only God’s most trusted angels were sent to Earth—one-third of all the angels in Heaven. He had faith they would not disobey him.

  “The angels who were sent to Earth became entranced with humans,” she continued. “Maybe it was the humans’ fragile nature or the fact they had souls, and that alone made them passionate in a way angels could never be. In the end, it didn’t really matter. The angels took women as their lovers and, after doing so, they fell. They became the Fallen.”

  “Wait a second,” Michael interrupted. “You are talking angels screwing women?”

  She nodded. “And they had children called Nephilim. As you can imagine, this enraged God. He did everything under His control to stop the spread of the half-human and half-angel children. He sent more angels to snatch them away from their mothers, burned down entire villages, and even flooded the earth. The Fallen were resilient though. He could never stop them, and soon that became the least of His worries.”

  “See, God no longer spoke to them, and this angered the Fallen,” Remy said, leaning forward. “The angels see God as their father, and to the ones that fell, God had abandoned them. Their hatred festered, turning them against the humans they once treasured. Once they fell, they lost all compassion for man. Instead of helping them, the Fallen began to find ways to harm them, therefore harming God in the process.”

  Michael looked doubtful. “How did they harm people?”

  Lily tried to determine where Michael was in all of this. Currently, he stared at them, dazed, a mixture of befuddlement and morbid fascination on his face. But the next phase of information was where things would get a little hairy.

  Thankfully Remy always knew when to put his two cents in and help out. There was a certain ease about him that people, Nephilim or not, responded to. “You see, angels and Nephilim have a very unique ability. When people die, their souls should ascend to Heaven or, in some cases, go to Hell.” He broke off with a half smile. “However, there are some souls that are vulnerable. They don’t know where to go and, in most cases, they refuse to let go of life. Angels are expected to guide them to where they are supposed to be. It’s a trait the Fallen retained after their fall and passed on to the Nephilim.”

  Michael’s eyebrows raised a fraction with each word that came out of Remy’s mouth. He glanced at Lily, and she smiled sympathetically. It was about to get so much worse. Learning about angels was one thing. Learning what souls could do to relatively normal people was another story. Getting told he wasn’t really human was going to be the icing on the cake, but she was going to leave that part for later.

  Remy explained swiftly and with such an earnestness that the biggest cynic had to believe him. He described how the Fallen had learned they could persuade the souls into human bodies, and the devastating consequences of such an act. By doing this, the Fallen had made two strikes with one blow. Not only did they damage the soul that had recently passed, but they also destroyed the soul and the body of the one possessed.

  “Everything changed then,” she said quietly.
It was no longer an issue of their disobedience or bedroom activities. Who cared if they were producing children? They were destroying innocent souls, and when they realized their children could also sense these souls, they saw their revenge against God.”

  Michael let out a low whistle. “You guys realize how crazy this sounds, right?”

  She laughed. It was about to sound even crazier. “The Fallen are very angry with God and extremely jealous of humans. It’s a nasty mix of raw emotions.”

  “Okay,” he said slowly. “You’re telling me there are evil angels running around and half-breed children? Why should I care? Why should you?”

  Lily wondered if he was slow. Why couldn’t he put two and two together and make this easy for her? “Because I’m Nephilim and so are Luke and Remy.”

  His lips parted as if he wanted to laugh. “If you’re Nephilim, aren’t you just as bad as those angels?”

  She was about to answer, but fortunately spied what Luke carried into the room. She jumped from her seat, racing over to him. “Thank you. I owe you, Luke. I really do.” She grabbed one of the frosted glasses.

  Luke rolled his eyes, handing the other one to Remy. “So how is the cop handling everything?”

  Clutching the glass in her hands, she sank into the chair. She glanced up. Michael was watching her. “Want some?”

  He blinked. “No. No thanks.”

  She grinned. “We were just about to tell Michael the difference between us and the Fallen.”

  Luke propped himself against the wall. “Well, that’s easy. They’re basically out to destroy humanity. We’re here to stop them. It’s plain and simple. We kill the Fallen and those who work with them—no questions asked.”

  Sucking on her straw, she glared at Luke. Yeah, that didn’t help. She took a huge gulp of the cold, thick liquid and swallowed. “There are good and bad Nephilim. Obviously”—she tipped the glass to her chest—“we’re good. All of us at the Sanctuary—and there are many of us—are good. We operate like a checks-and-balances system.”

  Michael leaned back, running his hands down his face as he stared at her. The expression he wore told her that he was bordering on running again, and she couldn’t afford that. Not with Luke here. He would do far worse than pin him down. She glanced at her nearly empty glass with a frown. She should have asked for two.

  “Since we can feel the souls that are vulnerable, we should get to them first. There are some of our kind that deal only with finding those souls and helping them cross over. The people who can talk to the dead?” She paused, letting that part sink in. “They are Nephilim, and their job is to help those souls, but we aren’t always fast enough.”

  Michael nodded like he understood. “What happens if you don’t?”

  “It’s what happened to the poor man in the alley. Once a soul enters a human, it’s too late. The soul is corrupted and becomes evil. We call them deadheads. I know—not very creative or classy, but that’s what we know them as. When it happens, the human has to be killed.”

  He gave a short laugh, closing his eyes. “This has been one hell of a night. So you guys run around killing people that you believe are possessed by evil souls?”

  “It’s not what we believe,” Remy corrected. “It’s what we know. We can sense the souls before they enter a body—and once they do. It feels like death: cold and final. You know it when it happens. There’s no mistaking it.”

  Michael turned back to Lily. “So you killed that man because he had a bad soul in him? Why didn’t you just…exorcise the soul?”

  Luke laughed. “This isn’t television, buddy. You can’t remove a soul once it gets into a body. Like she said, the soul turns evil the moment it climbs down the throat of the unlucky sap who happened to be within distance of it. You should know what would’ve happened if it climbed down yours.”

  There was a good chance she would throw her glass at Luke’s head. With willpower she didn’t realize she had, she put the glass on the floor and folded her hands. “Look at it this way, Michael. The soul infects the host. Just like a cold or a virus does, but this kind of infection is permanent. They no longer remember who they are. They don’t care about pesky things like morals or compassion. They turn into killing machines, and it becomes our job to take care of them. We have been trained to…dispose of them.”

  Michael shook his head. “You guys are freaking insane.”

  So much for hoping he would sop up information like a wet sponge and then ask where he could sign up for the job. She knew it was well past midnight, and she had no idea how long Michael had been on his shift before she’d run into him. She figured he only had a few more hours in him before he shut down, and whether he liked it or not, she planned to use them.

  “I just have a couple more things to tell you. Then we have something we want to show you.” She ignored the sense of confusion Remy and Luke shot her way. “It’s really important you know what is out there. There are people like us who are bad. They were Nephilim once, but the Fallen corrupted them. What they’ve become now is what we call a minion. Yep, once again, we suck at names, but there is a legion of them.”

  Michael started to stand, but he sat back down. A sort of lopsided smile formed, but his face paled several shades. “I was hoping I had misheard you earlier when you said minion.”

  “Sorry, but you didn’t. The minions are constantly out there searching for souls and…for Nephilim like us.”

  “They want to kill us,” Luke added nonchalantly. “And so do the Fallen.”

  Michael’s weary gaze shifted to Luke. “I don’t see how that is my problem.”

  “Well…” Lily began with a tight smile. “It kind of is your problem. Remember how I warned you that every minion and Fallen would be out looking for you?” He nodded. “Well, once the soul enters a human body, whatever it sees or feels is communicated back to the minion that persuaded it and then back to the Fallen that corrupted it. It’s kind of like a fucked-up instant-messaging system.”

  Michael’s brows slanted together. “So?”

  She took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. “The Fallen and the Nephilim can sense one another. So can the souls. It’s an internal warning system. Kind of comes in handy, too, but that’s beside the point.”

  “Just spit it out, Lily,” Luke grumbled from his corner.

  She glared at him. “It’s because you’re like us, Michael. Your father was one of the Fallen, and that makes you one of us.”

  “Bullshit,” he whispered.

  “And since the soul knew what you are, that means the minion does, too…and the Fallen as well. They know you’re untrained, virtually helpless to them. They’ll come for you. First, they’re going to try to coerce you to join them.”

  “Go all dark side and all.” Remy grinned.

  “And if you don’t?” she continued. “They will kill you.”

  Michael handled that little part surprisingly well. He stared at them and then laughed so hard she thought he’d hurt himself.

  “We’re not joking,” she said, meeting and holding his gaze. “At all.”

  He started to stand but didn’t make it very far. “This…this is crazy.”

  He pretty much didn’t say a lot of anything after that. He was already shutting down, and there was so much he didn’t know about. She still hadn’t even touched on the fact that the Fallen were behind half of the dirty politicians in this city.

  She stood and stretched. They had a couple of hours before the sun rose and the minions crawled back into whatever dank, dark place they could find. Well, they probably lived in some sweet penthouses, but whatever. “I know it’s getting late, but there’s something we need to show you. I think it will help.”

  “I don’t think anything will help me understand,” he responded drily.

  She flashed him a smile. “No, this will. At the very worst, you’ll definitely know we aren’t crazy.” Then she laughed when she saw the pissy look of disbelief on his face. “I’m not going to kill anothe
r old man if that’s what you’re thinking.”

  Remy pushed away from the wall. “Are we going down to the old St. Mary’s Reform School?”

  She nodded, earning a wide grin from Luke. She turned back to Michael. “I’ll make you a promise. If you come along with us, and we don’t prove that everything we’ve told you is true, then we’ll leave you alone, and you’ll never see us again.”

  His brows lowered in doubt.

  She offered him her pinkie. “I pinkie swear.”

  Michael shook his head, standing. “I can go home and never have to worry about angels or…whatever again?”

  She almost felt bad for doing this to him. “I promise.”

  He took a long breath before agreeing. She pivoted, passing Luke on the way out. “Be nice.”

  An overtly innocent look appeared on his face. “Of course.”

  “Where is she going?” Michael immediately demanded.

  Luke turned to him, his grin cold. “You’ll see soon enough.”

  Rolling her eyes, she headed out the door. Damn, she hoped Luke didn’t kill him before she wrangled up a minion…or two.

  …

  Michael followed the two men through the streets of DC in a surreal daze. After he’d stripped off his navy-blue uniform shirt and vest, he felt strangely naked in his Under Armor shirt. He didn’t even know why he’d agreed. Maybe it was because underneath the disbelief, confusion, and even a little bit of fear, he was curious. And besides knocking him out earlier, none of them had tried to seriously injure him, and he knew they could.

  The only thought that propelled him through the fog was the knowledge that he could leave this all behind him soon. Chalk it up to a night full of lunatics; wake up tomorrow to happily go about his business as if none of this had ever happened.

  They turned off the sidewalk, heading across a street bridge. He wished they’d given him his gun back. Shit, he could be recognized even out of uniform. Streets around here were not kind. “Where are we going?”

  Remy glanced at him. “You know the old reform school near Congress Heights?”

 

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