• C.A. Lightfoot

Web Serial: Episode Six

Updated: May 3

Rating: 18+

Warnings: Language, violence

Summary: Marisol has an encounter with her husband. Duncan is attacked and the group finally gets a look at the creature that wants Memphis.




 

Episode Six


Though her chest rose and fell with the need for oxygen, Marisol was unsure whether or not she was actually breathing.

Light shone on white marble, lightening the room around her to the point of blindness. Though she winced against the onslaught, a sliver of shadow remained where the mist gathered.

Her name still echoed in her head, a familiar whisper she’d had to herself for so many years. Marisol fought the stinging behind her eyes, the pain that gathered in her chest winding her.

When the mist finally solidified, Marisol made a small, tight sound that might have been a cry. Standing in that splinter of shadow amid the brightness of the mausoleum, was the husband she could never let go of.

Jasper did not have the appearance of a person with real form, but the apparition was as full bodied as any she had ever seen. Within her chest, her heart gave a mighty squeeze, as though the battered organ recalled this creature she had missed every day for almost a decade.

It’s alright. Jasper’s incorporeal voice was so familiar, her soul ached.

“How?” Marisol’s voice caught on the single word. “I searched for you. I tried so hard, Jasper.”

I know. The apparition replied. When I died, I…it doesn’t matter, my Mari.

“No.” She shook her head once, staring into the familiar face of the man she’d loved over half of her life.

Memphis.

Her name was a whisper, desperation on the edge of it. Marisol startled, realizing her husband had not come here for her, but to help with the daughter they both loved so much.

“What is it?”

Azael.

A shiver chased the line of her spine, sending a chill in its wake. Marisol knew that name, knew the feeling as it washed over her. What the name meant, she could not recall, but she knew Montana was likely to know the context.

“Thank you.” Marisol whispered the words as tears slipped from her dark eyes. “Knowing its name will help.”

No.

“No?”

Look to me. Jasper continued. I was not ill, Mari. It was attached.

Another chill raced over her skin, this one harsher than the last. Marisol took a step toward that little shadow where the visage of her husband rested, her breath caught within her chest.

For almost five years before his disappearance, Jasper had changed. Something within him was broken, different. They searched for answers within their work, the world they had spent so much time in, only to come up empty. Marisol and her children had finally looked to modern medicine, wondering if Jasper had not been attacked by something on the job, but had broken something within his beautiful mind.

Was all of that wrong? Had he not succumbed to a mental illness but something infinitely darker?

The boy is the key. Jasper whispered. The cure. The light within the darkness.

“I know.” Marisol nodded, not bothering to wipe her tears away. “What is it, Jasper? What is attached to her?”

Fallen.

At this, Marisol blinked rapidly. Fallen. Fallen what?

Azael.

As though he hadn’t wanted her to forget the name, her husband repeated it. Marisol locked the name within her mind, resolving to get to Memphis and Duncan as soon as she could.

A cloud passed over the sun, dampening the light within the marble mausoleum. Within the walls, still looking at her husband, Marisol wanted nothing more than to stay in this moment. She missed him, God, how she missed her brilliant beloved.

As she exhaled, a cloud of breath bloomed before her. Marisol froze, suddenly aware of the chill within the room. Something had filled the mausoleum with cold, something staring at her from behind.

Unable to help herself, Marisol glanced to her husband, startled to find he was no longer in the corner, under that sliver of shadow. She whirled on the balls of her feet, one hand diving into her pocket for the blessed rosary she never let out of her possession.

It stood at the other end of the mausoleum, cloaked in midnight flecked with pure power of glimmering black.

“Azael.”

She whispered its name, staring into that depressive darkness as it glared back at her. It shifted, the visage of shadowed wings rising up behind it. She could see it clearly, his devastatingly beautiful face, the dark shape of him, his wings unfurled on either side.

A striking, corrupted prince.

Fallen.

An angel, then. A broken, twisted creature once of God, now a master in Hell.

This was so much worse than she had ever expected.

Run!

At the sound of her husband’s voice, Marisol did not hesitate.

With her rosary clutched in her hand, Marisol bolted for the door of the mausoleum. A glance toward the broken, diseased angel standing within the marble walls showed a presence alighting before it.

Light shot into the darkness as Marisol threw her body into the door, relieved as it popped open with barely any prompting. She knew, in that moment, that Jasper had attacked the creature he blamed for his death, giving her precious seconds to get away.

As she jumped into the truck and slammed the door behind her, Marisol whispered prayers.

She called out to her vehicle as it roared to life: “Call Memphis.”

“Calling Memphis.” The halting voice of her truck’s computer replied as Marisol shoved the truck into reverse and hit the gas pedal.

The thing haunting her family burst through the doors as she veered her vehicle away, as the speakers blasted the sound of her phone reaching out for her daughter.

Marisol only glanced into the rearview once as she sped away.

The gathering darkness was already gone.

She turned back to the windshield only to find the shadows were gathering there. Marisol heard the ringing stop, her daughter’s voicemail message calling out into the car.

Before she could leave a message, the fallen angel’s face appeared beside her as it spilled its incorporeal form into the seat beside her.


~~**~~

Montana whistled as he carried a pair of plates into the hallway, toward the bedroom he shared with his husband. Since Tony was still on days, and Tana hadn’t taken a new case with everything going on, he was enjoying every moment of having his husband with him.

Of course, there was a lot going on.

As he passed the pullout in the living room, Montana checked on Duncan. The Scot appeared to be asleep, curled into borrowed blankets only a few feet from Memphis’ door.

When they’d come back from the office, there was an odd air between them, but Montana did not press. Sometimes his empathic ability gave him the heads up. He and Tony drifted around the pair, finally deciding that discretion to be the better part of valor. They headed out for a date night, coming back after everyone had gone to sleep.

Continuing toward his spouse with warm brownies and ice cream in hand, Montana poked his head into Memphis’ room. His sister was asleep, flat on her back, hair in disarray. Shaking his head, Tana continued toward the bedroom where his husband was already reading yet another smutty romance novel.

“They do it, yet,” Tana teased.

“So close,” Tony replied. He slid a marker into his book as Tana moved onto the bed.

The plate contained a fresh brownie, two scoops of ice cream, and two forks. Tony moved the covers for his husband, allowing them both to get comfortable.

“Did you tell Memphis that we made brownies?”

“No.” Montana grinned around a mouthful of sweets. “I won’t tell if you don’t.”

“Woman’s got the nose of a blood hound.” Tony shook his head. “Your funeral.”

They sat for a moment in that companionable silence ingrained in a long-lasting relationship. Montana hadn’t known he could love the way he loved Tony, not until his baby sister had introduced him to a hot, dark-skinned Adonis one summer evening. Montana knew from the first glance at Anthony that his life would never be the same.

He’d never been happier to have his life turned upside down.

Once they finished their snack, Montana wriggled his eyebrows at his husband.

Before he could slide closer, Montana’s Spidey-Sense sent up a little red flag.

Because his husband knew him so well, Tony was already sitting up, kicking the blankets away from their legs.

It slipped in around him, surrounding his body with the cloying scent of sex, the unmistakable fragrance of absolute evil.

Only once had Montana been in the room when the presence stalking his sister had attacked. At the time, he hadn’t been tuned in to the darkness following his family, the attack so surprising he could hardly sense it. This time was different. Though the thing wasn’t concentrated on him, he could feel it sliding into the house.

Tony was already out of the bed by the time Montana could focus enough to move his feet. His mind clouded as he got to his feet, following Tony as his husband rushed toward his sister’s room.

Montana, though, headed for the living room. It wasn’t after Memphis, not this time.

On the pullout, where Montana had seen their guest sleeping peacefully only minutes ago, Duncan gasped.

His blue eyes were open, staring above at the mist that gathered over his body. The rest of his body tremored, limbs unmoving as though held down by an invisible force. Montana stared for several seconds, seeing the thing that was haunting their lives for the first time.

It was a male form, resplendent in rich darkness flecked here and there with power of pure black. Tana could see the long, lanky form crouching on top of Duncan, astride him as though to hold him down.

Wings of deep gray beat against the air, holding the creature above the bed. Its hands were smoke, but they were wrapped around Duncan’s throat.

Unable to react, lost in the tide of dark power reverberating through his mind, Tana merely blinked at the sight.

Light blossomed behind him. Montana turned slightly, his head still in a fog.

“Duncan!”

Memphis came running around the corner, careening into him and not bothering to pull up short when she saw the creature on top of the handsome Scot.

Tendrils of light reached out from his sister, visible to the empath as he watched the scene. Her light reached out for Duncan, rebuffed by the darkness that swallowed it.

“It isn’t reaching him,” Tana said softly. “Closer.”

Memphis heeded this, rushing toward the bed and climbing onto it. His sister slid right through the darkness, throwing her body over Duncan’s. The dark creature continued to strangle the Scot, focusing more on his mission than the human soul he’d been trying to worm his way into for weeks.

“Duncan.” Memphis put her hands on his cheeks, above the dark fingers attempting to take his life. “Duncan, I’m right here. Push it back. Push it back. It can’t have you. I’m here.”

Duncan’s eyes rolled back in his head. Tony had rushed forward, not seeing what Tana could. His medical training would refuse to keep him back.

Tana blinked, his eyelids so heavy he could hardly raise them.

When he looked up again, Memphis hand turned over her shoulder, looking with eerie accuracy into the face of the demon atop Duncan.

“You want me?” Memphis’ voice was so calm Montana hardly recognized it. “Come get me. Leave him alone.”

“N-no.” Duncan choked out one word as Tony checked his pulse.

“Shh.” Memphis kept her eyes on the demonic presence. “Get off of him. Let him go. Now.”

To Montana’s surprise, the demon released his hold on Duncan.

The Scot took a deep breath, dissolving into a coughing fit as the demon moved slowly off of his body. Memphis mirrored it, as though she could see it. She followed the movement until her body was positioned in front of Duncan’s, staring over the edge of the pullout at the creature now hovering at the end.

My darling.

“Fuck you.” Memphis shot back.

My darling.

“Not your darling.” His sister continued. “I don’t know who you are or what you want, but you will not touch Duncan again.”

Mine.

“No.” Memphis continued.

Promised.

That was new, Montana thought. All it had said before was the previous three words. Promised? What was promised?

“I don’t give a shit.” His sister shot back. Duncan was rousing himself on the bed, reaching for Memphis. Those golden tendrils of light still moved between them, a link that even the dark presence could not dampen.

Promised. My darling.

“No.” This from Tony, as though his husband had heard it. “She’s not yours.”

A hiss reverberated through the room. Tana noted that more light now filled the room, shining not only from Memphis and Duncan’s connection, but from Tony as well. Tana focused his own energy, trying to will more light to buffer his sister and Duncan from that deadly negative energy.

“Azael.”

The energy in the room focused on the front door as it slammed shut. Montana’s fog drifted, though his vision remained on the creature. His mother moved into the room, pale and disheveled, her eyes on the creature as it backed from Memphis and Duncan.

“I know your name, Azael.” Marisol continued, moving closer. “Step away from them, now. She is not yours.”

Will be. The creature hissed. My darling.

“N-never.” Duncan had sat up at last, Tony watching him closely. The Scot wrapped an arm around Memphis’ middle, tugging her closer. Memphis situated herself in his lap, facing the demon in a stance so protective, it took Tana’s breath away.

He already saw it and wondered if they knew.

“Begone.” Marisol commanded. “Begone!”

Tana watched the demon dissolve into mist, knowing it was not Marisol’s command that shoved it away. It left because it wanted to. Released from his empathic ability so swiftly he dropped to his knees, Tana gasped for breath.

He looked up onto the bed as Tony inspected Duncan’s neck. The victim still had Memphis in his lap, the two staring at one another as though there was nothing else in the world.

“I took too long,” Memphis whispered. Duncan’s neck bore three deep, jagged scratches. “I’m sorry.”

“I knew you were coming,” Duncan replied hoarsely. “I knew.”

“I need my kit.” Tony said softly.

Marisol poked Tana in the shoulder, rousing him from the release of his energy. He struggled to stand, turning his attention onto his mother.

“Mom. What the hell happened to you?” Tana asked quietly.

“It’s a long story,” she said with that familiar accent. “Get Tony’s kit while I fill you in.”


 



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We all have something that started us on the path toward becoming a writer. For me, it was books like White Fang and Sweetgrass that first made me realize I wanted to tell stories as well. I was a vor