Call Me Sam: Book 1 of the Heavenly Corps Chronicles
Chapter 2: I Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Fire
As the hound charged, my muscles tensed, and my years of training at the academy kicked in. As I dove to the side, away from the hound's lunging, hungry mouth, I was also reaching for my weapon.
Terrans often depict warrior angels as carrying swords and spears, but that's not necessarily the case. Every angel has a weapon, however...our halos are not strictly for decoration. As I reached up and removed the golden halo from above my head, it instantly began to change in response to my thoughts. The golden circlet expanded, forming a grip that I took hold of in the center as it was replaced by a round, golden shield. Which, as the hound found out the hard way from biting down on, was also razor sharp around the edges.
The hound howled in pain as black blood like bile dribbled from its drooling mouth, stepping back and growling as it circled me--waiting for an opening. With a snarl, suddenly a stream of fire shot from its opened mouth. I just barely managed to widen the shield's diameter enough to shield me from the unholy flames, and even then the heat was ghastly behind it. But I charged forward, ramming into the hound's face with the hard scaled surface of the shield and sending it slamming hard into the brick wall behind it. The impact was enough to dislodge a few of the bricks above me, but the hound was barely shaken. I concentrated, and small teethlike blades appeared all around the shield's edge, the shield spinning around in my hand and nicking at the creature's flesh even as it lashed out with its own claws. But just as I thought I had it on the ropes, the creature's long, trunklike tail lashed out and swept my feet out from under me.
I tumbled, my shield clattering to the ground beside me as the hound went on the attack again, shooting a stream of fire that singed my arm before I could roll out of the way. As I tried not to focus on the scent of my burning arm hair, I couldn't shake the feeling that this was wrong--more so than usual. A demonic creature of this size and strength--surely someone up at HQ would have picked the hellhound up before I arrived. I was about to call for backup, when suddenly I sensed it. Beneath the burning scent, I could smell another--the smell of another angel. Remiel? No time--for now, I had to take care of this beast. The hound's stomping, clawed foot barely missed me as I rolled again, reaching out my hand. Instantly the shield shrank back into a golden halo, flying back into my hand where I caught it easily. It was time for a change of tact.
I put my hands out, beckoning for the hound to come closer. The beast growled angrily, and just as I knew it would, it leaped toward me with jumping power that belied its size. With a flick of my wrist, I sent the disc flying from my hand--but this time, with an effort of will, it expanded not into a shield, but a bladed, golden chakram, spinning rapidly through the air. My aim was true, and the blade plunged right through the beast's torso, causing it to howl in pain. I jumped to the side to get out of the way of the hound's pouncing body--but then, suddenly I realized that the disc wasn't flying back to my hand. I willed it to do so, but instead, the chakram kept going, crashing through the window of the building behind it. I barely noticed the hound dissolving beside me into black smoke--my mind was too busy racing with thoughts of how much this wasn't supposed to happen.
Instinctively, I took to the air, flying through the crystal shards raining down around me after the chakram my halo stubbornly remained in the shape of. All the while willing it to return to my hand, but it never did. It did, however, turn to the side to whiz down a hallway. As I passed through the window, I suddenly started to hear an unearthly wail--an alarm? But I had bigger things to worry about--suddenly, the flying chakram swerved to the side, down a door that opened before me. Without thinking, I flew through the door after it--and froze. In all the commotion, I had been focusing on the hound too much to realize that the scent of a fellow angel I'd picked up had been growing stronger, especially as I went through the building. It wasn't until too late that I realized why.
The sight before me was simultaneously blasphemous and horrifying. Another angel was in the room before me. I could tell by his face, that it was Ramiel...or rather, that it had been. His eyes were out of focus, and I could see no life inside them. His hands were pinned up to the wall with huge metal stakes, arms spread wide, though his feet still touched the ground--a cruel imitation of the Son's crucifixion. And in the center of his chest was the chakram...a bladed circle protruding from his ribs. But strangest of all was the red blood seeping from all three of his wounds. The blood of an angel is not red, but golden ichor--so why...
I was suddenly distracted when I heard the clatter of feet running toward me. I turned to face the intruders--two men in tailored business suits of blue and black--and thought briefly that they should consider themselves lucky they couldn't see any of this. Or at least, I thought that until both of them stared, agape, right at me and the grisly scene before them. This was wrong...all wrong. I shouldn't have been able to be seen. I was hardly able to do anything but stare dumbly, barely hearing a word the two men said as one of them reached for their--phone, I believe--to call someone. I tried to leap forward--but ended up falling to the floor. I couldn't take off, and when I looked back, I realized why. My wings--they were gone!
At this point, an instinctive fight-or-flight response kicked in, and I stumbled to my feet, pushing my way past the two men. Of course they tried to stop me, but I swatted their fists away, stumbling toward the window in a daze. I leaped out, feeling a sharp pain in my leg as I did, stumbling to the floor. All traces of the hound were now gone. And yet, the corpse of one of my comrades-in-arms remained in the building, visibly dead--and stabbed with my chakram. I found myself getting to my feet despite a throbbing pain in my leg, starting to make my way back through the alley I'd come in from at a run. My mind was racing with a million thoughts at once, and as preoccupied as I was, I didn't even realize that I was wandering into the street. At least until I heard a loud screeching noise, and suddenly, with a terrific bash into my right side, I found myself airborne, tumbling through the air head over feet. As I heard the car's occupant open the door, I couldn't move, whether due to the shock or the pain spreading through me. As darkness ate away at the corners of my vision, one thought floated to the top of my mind. That in more ways than one...
I had fallen.