Told you I’d be back! ICYMI, check out this morning’s post on why I’ve been MIA.
As usual, today’s post comes courtesy of Our Write Side’s Master Class Monday prompt series. As I’m writing this bit, I haven’t actually written my response (I usually do that after my blurb at the top of posts), but I’m hoping this post brings an end to Secondhand Soul. I know, that kind of comes out of nowhere, but I really think I can end it, or at least bring resolution to the grandma story line. Introducing Paola brought about a whole new set of issues for our characters, so I think it’s time to wrap up Videl’s origin story and get into a little more of what’s going on with the other characters. If the story as a whole feels rushed, don’t worry! I intend to eventually go back (with all my serials, not just this one) and flesh the stories out into novellas (my real ambition is visual novels, but that’s a whole different monster I’ll take on in the future). Of course, they’ll be available for free.
Anyway, to the fiction!
Prompt: Brazen whispers
What follows is a very, very loose interpretation of the prompt.
With a twist, the angel’s neck snaps in my grip. That’s the third one in the last five minutes, but I can’t stop now. Even if I wanted to.
“Videl!” Marcus’ voice rings out from across the road. Under his boot, yet another angel goes limp. Who knew so many would be willing to turn coat? My partner points off to my left, where yet another angel makes their way toward me, a heavenly sword in hand.
I only barely dodge a swipe of the weapon, crouching and preparing to pounce again. Why couldn’t we get some kind of weapons? Another swipe, another lucky miss. The fight’s been going for what seems like hours, and there’s no end in sight. All I want to do is get inside the damn house and see what’s happening.
Did my grandmother fall for it? She was more than ready for us, so did she anticipate Lucifer’s betrayal?
Distracted, I almost don’t react fast enough when the angel attacks a third time. The sword manages to slice my upper arm, the weapon burning on contact. I’m not sure what hurts worse – the burn or the cut. Real blood joins the mark dripping down my fingertips. The pain serves to urge me forward, though, and I find the opening I need to grapple the sword from the angel and turn it on them. The handle burns in my grip, but I ignore it, hoping the blade will work against the angel. Going by their haste to get away, I think it will.
Reinvigorated despite my wound, I lunge and catch the angel off guard before plunging the sword into their chest. As soon as I’m sure they’re dead, I release the sword. It’s impossible to tell how bad the wound is thanks to my mark, but it feels like hell itself.
“How many more?” I rush over to Marcus, as he finishes off another.
“I don’t know.” We stand back to back. “How bad are your injuries?”
“I’ll deal.” But my voice is a whisper full of false bravado and my legs are ready to give out. When I turn to look at Marcus, I’m relieved to see his eyes are normal. My hands no longer show my mark. “But it looks like we’re okay for now. No more angels.”
Marcus realizes it, too, when he looks at my hands. His relief is short-lived, though, as he takes in my injuries. “Videl…”
“What?” I look down again, and I realize what he’s staring at. The burn isn’t only concentrated on my wounds. The skin around the gash in my arm and the burn on my hand is like charcoal, and the darkness is spreading. “What’s happening to me?”
“I don’t know…” Marcus takes a look around. “I don’t think any more angels are coming. We need to get you to Lucifer. Or Max”
“But-” I can’t stand, my body getting weaker with each passing moment.
“Now.” Marcus picks me up, careful not to directly touch either of my injuries. He rushes us into the house. I still can’t believe it’s been so long since the place felt like home to me. Somewhere on the other side of the house, my grandmother screams. I can’t make sense of her words, but she’s furious. I think she’s chanting in Latin.
Marcus follows the sounds of chaos until we reach the backyard, where my grandmother set up the summoning circle for her new deal with Lucifer. My mother lies unconscious just outside the circle. Inside it, Lucifer, my grandmother, and Paola stand off.
I struggle to make out what they’re saying, or what’s going on, but they might as well be whispering. Marcus rushes to stand by my mother, laying me down beside her. My grandmother notices, seeing us out of the corner of her eyes. It seems this is the distraction Lucifer was waiting for. As soon as her guard is down, Paola steps aside and the fallen angel grabs my grandmother. I can’t make out what he says, but a gap in the summoning circle opens beneath them. It looks like an abyss – one he throws my grandmother into despite her protests and anger. In seconds she disappears, the gap in the circle closing.
A sob escapes my throat, the cry one I didn’t think I had left for my grandmother. Guilt tears at me, but I know this is what had to happen. She wasn’t even my grandmother anymore, not really. I hardly have time to mourn her, though, as the pain rips through me, renewed.
“What happened?” Paola rushes over first, hovering over my body.
Marcus explains, pleads to Lucifer to do something.
“I don’t save lives, Marcus. You know that.”
“You’d let go of a soul you just fought so hard for?” Marcus gestures at the remnants of the summoning circle.
“I don’t think you understand, Marcus. I don’t save lives. I can’t save lives.” Something in Lucifer’s voice hints at remorse. “Not like this. Not a life that has nothing to give in return.”
Not the most comforting thing you want to hear right before passing out.
And that’s that for Videl’s grandmother arc. Not exactly the end to Secondhand Soul, but all that’s left is a wrap-up of what’s happening with our favorite demon. That’ll be posted tomorrow, courtesy of one of the other word options for the same prompt. Kudos to whoever guesses which of the remaining prompts it’ll be.
As always, think happy thoughts!