My captor’s hair diminished itself and returned to something a little less “wrath of God”. I was sprawled out in a less than proper pose on the floor still gasping for air. She walked towards me and stood over my body, her right hand holding the chain and the other on her hip. “Planning on having a midnight snack, demon?”
I managed to get some air back in my lungs and sat up. “As a matter of fact, no.” I wheezed. “I’m quite full for the night. I just thought I’d have a little fun, angel.” There’s not really a slur against the heavenly host so I tried to stress that last word. Maybe she’d think I was insulting her feminine charm and take offense. I say feminine but unfortunately for the people of my trade, angels don’t have the parts needed for sex so deciding their gender is really just a matter of what they look like or how they identify. I’ve always wondered why they gave them fig leaves in those old paintings? There’s nothing there, I can assure you. I’ve tried.
“I just wanted to fuck with-” she raised an eyebrow at my choice of words, “Mess with them a little bit. Scare a few dumb kids.”
“Well,” she said, “had I not stopped you sooner, I’m sure that boy would have been scared enough with your tongue down his throat.”
“Listen, feather brain,” She didn’t have to stereotype. I only sometimes french my victims. ”If I wanted something from these guys, this place would have been an orgy. It’s kinda my thing. It wouldn’t have taken long for me to pump enough pheromones in the room to get a party started.”
The angel bent forward and tightened the chain she was holding, bringing my face closer to hers. “Regardless, that’s not why I have you chained up, demon. I have a deal for you.”
Now this was something new. Usually, when demons and angels meet, things turn out about as well as you’d expect. The angel brings out some fiery weapon from on high and teaches my kind the meaning of the term “smite”. Now they make deals with us? Something seemed off there. For starters, what kind of deal does someone who currently had all the power make? I felt obliged to ask, “And what deal is that?”
She stood up again, “I have a job for you. Something I’ve been instructed to offer you.” It didn’t sound like she was happy about being instructed to deal with me. “You can accept my offer, and when this is done, I’ll set you free. Or, you can refuse and be sent back to Hell with whatever I choose to leave of your body. The orders from on high were a little fuzzy on those last details.” She smiled at me with an expression that didn’t quite touch the cold look in her eyes. And they say demons are sadists.
I took a gamble and figured it was probably safe to stand up. Her hand tightened on the chain, keeping it taut on the collar around my neck but I was allowed to get on my feet. “What kind of job am I being forced into?”
“There’s a powerful demon loose on Earth. An incubus by the name of Wraith. You may have heard of him.”
I snorted, “That bastard? I don’t know if he’s so much powerful as he is a prick who thinks he is.” If you can’t tell, we never really got along. Wraith and I were born in the same circle of Hell. However, where I enjoyed teasing and satisfying my own hunger, he preferred to manipulate humans and pit lovers against each other. It’s not that I found anything wrong with that, watching two lovers quarrel was definitely a popcorn kind of event for me. However, it wasn’t just humans he loved to try and control. If you could tell from my “full of myself” personality, I’m not one to let someone else control me. Another reason why I wanted this damn collar off my neck.
“Apparently, he’s grown stronger since you last met him.” The angel continued, “He now has a large group of demons under his command and has found a good place to hide here on Earth. Since you know him and how he operates, I want you to track him down for me.”
The deal seemed simple enough and given that I had no choice in the matter, I wasn’t exactly in a situation to refuse. However, something was still bothering me. “So let me get this straight… I find this incubus for you and you just… let me go?”
“That is the order from on high.” The angel inwardly sigh a bit. “If it puts you at ease, I did not choose this deal. Were it up to me, you wouldn’t have a choice. You would find the incubus and then I would kill you where you stand.”
Somehow, I don’t think she understands what “putting someone at ease” meant. She definitely seemed to be more of the warrior type than those compassionate angels you hear about bringing good news to a bunch of sheep herders. At least her comment told me she wasn’t lying. Wait, if she hates me that much… And I have to help her… Oh, I can still have some fun tonight. I’m going to make this whole journey a living hell for you. That’s a demonic promise.
I sighed dramatically, “Well, I guess you leave me no choice.”
The angel seemed surprised I accepted so easily, though I truly didn’t have a choice. “Very well, then.” She cautiously loosened the chain a bit, finally relieving some of the tightness on my neck. I took some deep breaths, as my larynx finally had some room to expand, and then put on a coy smile. Time to start the fun. I took a step towards her and reached out, petting her left wing. “I guess this makes us… partners, right?” As I said this, I slowly moved my hand up the upper arch of her wing towards her shoulder.
Apparently, she didn’t like my connotation. She thrusted her hand forward and grabbed my face. “We are most certainly not partners.” She threw me away from her until I reached the edge of the chain and was jerked back towards her as the collar tightened on my neck. I coughed pathetically. She wasn’t going to make this fun, after all. Looks like both of us are going to go through hell, aren’t we? I scowled at her as I struggled against the damn thing around my neck. “So, what? Are you just gonna lead me around like a dog until we find this guy?”
“Unfortunately, no. Our target is most likely hiding amongst humans in order to keep us off his scent.” Oh, so I am like a hunting dog to you? Literally tracking a demon’s scent. She continued, “That’s why I’ve taken precautions.”
She suddenly let go of the chain. As soon as it hit the floor, it came to life, slithering like some kind of metallic snake. The end of the chain serpentined its way over to me. I tried to kick it away but the collar started to choke me, forcing me to my knees as I attempted to breathe. The chain crawled up my body and wrapped itself around my neck. I felt a searing pain around my throat like the chain was trying to brand itself on me. It was agony as my vision started to go white from the pain.
Suddenly, the pain stopped. All the agony I felt had disappeared. I felt along my neck and found a leather choker with a front metal loop where the collar and chain had been. It wasn’t tight enough to impede my esophagus but it was heavy. Unreasonably heavy. Like it was made out of a solid brick of titanium. It was like a crushing weight yet when I lifted the choker up, it took no more strength than you would expect to lift it. The angel took a step forward and pointed to it. “That won’t stand out as we walk around, but don’t get any ideas. If you stray too far from me, you’ll not be able to stand or breath. Step too far away and it will crush you under the weight of all your sins.”
I scowled at her. You “holier than thou” types really like your punny punishments, don’t you? At least she couldn’t yank me around anymore. Though, I bet she would have no qualms about flying off for a bit just to see me squirm. I thought about my life and took a quick tally on what this angel might consider a sin. Yeah, I doubt I’d have a connected head, let alone be able to breathe if I stepped outside whatever distance this thing had. That thought intrigued me. How much distance did I have? I got up and took slow steps back from my feathered friend. She just stared at me, crossing her arms and waiting to see what happened. After just a few steps, I started to feel the choker tighten and burn little by little. By halfway across the warehouse, I was having trouble breathing and my head started bending forward. Maybe seventy-five feet from miss “glory from on high” the choker tightened to the point where I wasn’t able to breathe. I had to use every bit of strength in my upper body to keep from falling over. I quickly stomped back to the angel, scowling. I finally understood how Frodo felt with the One Ring by the third book. Miss angel merely continued to stare at me with her arms crossed as I made my way back to her.
I angrily pointed at the thing around my neck. “For a heavenly host, you have some pretty kinky toys.”
She narrowed her eyes at me. “It will at least keep you in line, demon.”
“Demon this, demon that. If we’re going to be working together, at least refer to me by my name. It’s Lilith.”
The angel paused for a moment before saying, “Petra.”
I snorted, “How very heavenly.”
“I don’t see a reason to give you my true name so be happy with the name I use with humans.”
“Speaking of which, Petra, you have a way to hide those things?” I indicated her wings. “Since you hired me, I doubt we’re going in guns blazing on this mission and might need to hide ourselves among humans. As for me…” I straightened up and closed my eyes, concentrating for a bit. My wings and tail shrank until they were nonexistent and my normally lavender skin faded to a light brown. The perks of being a demon of lust. Everyone has their preference so I naturally am able to accommodate on the fly.
Petra, looking wonderfully unimpressed, folded her arms, “For once, I think I can agree with you.” She bowed her head in reverence and a white glow surrounded her. Her wings disappeared from her back, leaving a human looking angel in front of me, though still clad in armor. Apparently two can play at this game. “We’ll also need a change of clothes. Or rather,” she looked me up and down, “clothes in general.”
I held my hands out, indicating myself, “Hey, easy access is a part of the job! I’m not ashamed of this fine thang.”
“Well it’s not the job you’re on now.” Petra turned towards the hole in the warehouse wall. “Come on. I know someone nearby who can help us and the less time we waste, the better.”
Chapter Three: Friends of Angels