An Angel from Hell Story,
by Christopher Leeson
Her Toyota moved like an oxcart compared to the steel cheetah roaring up from behind. It was edging alongside, easing toward her left side. She had only seconds before they’d be crowding her, forcing her to turn the pasture grass on the right, into terrain that would slow her to a crawl. If their vehicle happened to be a four-wheeled drive, they'd cross the T in no time at all and stop her.
Instead of waiting for the inevitable, she slammed down on the brake.
Its brakes squealing, the momentum carried her vehicle halfway off the shoulder and onto the grass before she could stop. The Dodge screeched to a halt just ahead, but already Jezebel was scrambling out of the car. Three men piled out of the vehicle; in a glance she three of them, all young with a Middle Eastern look.
Fight or flight? Fighting didn’t look good against three, with probably a driving waiting as backup. Jezebel didn't know if there was so much as a tire-iron in the trunk of the car, she had never thoroughly explored the vehicle. The only thing on her side was the fact that the enemy could see that she wasn't Pelosia Wittke. The Watcher climbed through the barbed wire fence at the edge of the grassing land and took off at a run, hoping that the Cabalists wouldn't be have a good reason to chase her down.
No such luck; the three were vaulting over the fence – not exactly like city boys. And a few seconds later she realized that she couldn’t outrun them in the slow, weak woman’s body she had. The fastest of them, when he came up aflank, gave her a shove. She went went tumbling, hitting the mud and grass awkwardly, banging her left shoulder and knocking the wind out of her lungs.
Before Jezebel could force down more than a couple breaths, they were all around her.
“All right, bitch,” one said with a Syrian accent, “Pelosia got into the car with you. Where did you let her off?”
“Go fuck yourself!” she said.
That's when the kicking started.
“Not in the face,” one shouted. “She's got a nice one.”
Her admirer wasted no time, dropping to his knees, grabbing at her and subduing her struggles with hard slaps. Then he roughly unzipped her coat and popped the snaps on her corduroy jeans. “American women are foul-mouthed, but they tame so easily,” he said with a laugh. Furiously, the Watcher struck at his bearded face with her fists, but they only bounced off hard flesh and bone. The man made reprisal with a punch aimed below her breasts. The diaphragm hit gave her a shocking foretaste of Hell and stopped her breathing.
Asphyxiating and struggling, Jezebel barely felt her pants being worked down. A greedy a hand clutched the waistband of her briefs, pulling and twisting, ripping away a handful of nylon. After that, everyone else’s hands were on the captive, too, holding her steady for their apparent leader. She heard the zip of the fly as the one on top of her wriggled into position. He seemed to know his way around a gang rape, since he got right into position and used his thumbs to facilitate his intended assault. Jezebel yelled, tried to struggle, but could barely move. When the Syrian shoved himself into her, it was only one more source of pain to add to all the others that she was enduring. Worse than the brutality of it, was her feeling of strangulation; things were going dark.
Suddenly, Jezebel's lungs started to fill all of their own accord. Coming to herself, feeling stronger, she lurched and kicked until she broke the hold of one of her attackers. This freed her right fist, which she drove into the rib cage of the rapist. Something audibly cracked and, yelling, the man swung himself away.
That made it easier for Jezebel to break the grip of the thug still clinging to her, the doing of which allowed her to roll clear and rise up on her knees. The evaded assailant leaped at her, supposing her could to bring her down under his greater weight, but she did a fighter's switch, shifted, and sent him tumbling. The Cabalist struck face-down in the mud and stubble, which gained the woman a few seconds. Despite her dishabille, Jezebel got her feet under her at last and dodged away, putting fighting room between her and her enemies.
Her hunter's glance fell on her defiler. He looked wounded, standing hunched over, holding what must have been a cracked ribs. He glared at her, his face a mask of fury, but to her momentary surprise, she saw that hair was growing unnaturally all over his already unlovely face, its very structure changing. His body, too, was grotesquely modifying and he quickly became something unrecognizable – at least as a man. But whatever he was, he had the whole family along, since she now caught animalistic growling at either side. The two henchmen were metamorphosing in the same way.
Her pants, having been dragged down to her calves, were hobbling her, so Jezebel pulled them up in a flash, not feeling much pain from her battering as she did so. The two underlings used that moment to attack. One leaped in from the left, his hands having become like gargoyle talons; nimbly, the Watcher dodged. As he lumbered by she struck his skull with doubled fists, but only hit it glancingly. Giving a grunt, the fiend fell away, staggering into the way of the third Cabalist's, who was trying to do his bit, too.
The latter shoved his stunned buddy out of the way and Jezebel could get a good look at him, while catching his sewer-like stench. He seemed to think his appearance would panic her, because he went straight in without any cleverness, his claws ready to rip and slash, his open mouth brandishing canine-like teeth and flinging threads of slaver. He had quickness, whatever his species, but she had more. Wherever this energy surge had come from, she liked it. The Watcher speedily ducked a clawed swing and then drove a fist against his breastbone. She heard something breaking in this one two. Good!
The fiend blundered away, but the unwounded third monster was reengaging. He stood sizing her up, not so stupid that he hadn’t at last notice that the little blonde that the gang had intended to take their turns with was fighting with too much deadly effect to be normal.
Suddenly there was the rip of a siren through the chill air and all fighters looked down the road. A sheriff's department car was speeding toward the parked cars. The trio of gargoyles broke off and darted for their escape vehicle. Dazed though she was, she could appreciate that these shape-shifters travel as swiftly the desert predators of their homeland. In a flash, they were back inside the Dodge, which took off in a trail of smoking rubber even before the back door was closed.
The sheriff's patrol car, white with blue trimming, stopped opposite the Watcher's off-the-road vehicle, but only momentarily, to let a girl spring out. Then it roared down the blacktop in hot pursuit.
The girl was Holly.
The former singer, present-day waitress got hooked on the barbed wire, tore something getting loose, and then hurried toward her would-be rescuer, seemingly confused. “T-Those – people,” she stammered. “Were they wearing masks?”
The Watcher gritted her teeth. Company was the last thing she wanted just now, and being asked about what had happened was the second from the last. Jezebel ignored her as she adjusted her pants and closed the snaps.
“You look so beat up. D-Did they....” Holly began.
“Never mind what they did. Get back to the car. That watchman – officer -- will be calling for help. This has to be handled by people who know what they’re doing. Cops will only tie us down writing statements.”
Jezebel then started a stride toward her Honda. The girl hurried after her.
“Maybe I should drive,” she called out. “You're don’t look like you’re up to it!”
“Maybe I should drive,” she called out. “You're don’t look like you’re up to it!”
“I'm fine. Stop talking or I'll have to hit you next!”
The Watcher reached her car and swung in behind the wheel. Holly climbed into the passenger seat immediately after.
“Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea if we talked to the police,” the latter suggested.
“Why? The officer won't be the only one calling for help. We can't be anywhere the Cabal expects us to be.”
“They were Cabal? For sure?”
“They weren’t delivering pizza.”
Jezebel then started driving, making a tight U-turn and accelerating back toward the T-intersection of 138.
“Where now?” the girl asked.
“Same place; different route. Don't talk so much.”
Her mind in a swirl, Holly somewhat knew what had happened, but not why it had turned out the way it did. Whoever this young blonde woman was, she was formidable, and that made he even more apprehensive than before.
Turning east on Highway 18, Jezebel took them through Bixby without stopping. She was pressing in the direction of Nebraska, for no reason except that she didn’t know where else go. But she had an idea of how things worked. It was a good idea to follow her instincts, or, rather, the little inspirations that most people call intuition, but actually came from her enemies, the angels. Or were they here friends? She didn’t know anymore.
Her face remained grim and she look once at the singer until after they had picked up Federal Highway 20 at Lusk. Farther along, at Harrisburg, Nebraska, they stopped to fuel. The Watcher filled the tank, having told Holly to check the map.
She was actually feeling worse, not better. The strength that Jezebel had benefited from during the fight seemed to be lessening now. She had gained dark energy from the Cabalists’ lust, and it had saved her. But already it was fading. Winter days were short and she didn't want to drive through the night dead tired. To seek lodgings, Jezebel preferred to go into a big town, one where their car would be harder to track down among so many others. She asked her companion to pick a likely stopover.
Holly, who had been checking over her condition periodically, frowned perplexedly. “Your bruises and scrapes; what happened to them?”
Jezebel sighed. “Remember what I said about asking questions? Just do what you're asked to do.”
Holly looked down at the map. “You want a big town? In this part of Nebraska?”
“All right. Just find whatever’s the biggest city nearby.”
“Crawford is nearby, but it looks like a Podunk.”
Thanks to Jill retained memories, the blonde knew what a Podunk was. “What’s big enough to have a motel?”
“Chadron is about fifty miles away and has a lodgings symbol, but it’s pretty small. A little farther away is Alliance, but it’s marked as a good-sized town. We could pick 71 at Crawford and start south.”
“About ninety, I guess.”
Jezebel hung up the nozzle and went to check the map herself. A quick glance confirmed what the girl's information. “It'll have to do, unless we sleep in the car.”
“I'd be game for that, but not without a down-filled sleeping bag,” said Holly. “My legs are covered with goose bumps.”
Jezebel sniffed. “Like I said, I can loan you my spare pair of pants.” She went to the trunk and unzipped a travel bag. Something on top of everything else caught her glance, something red and silky. The angel drew it out. It was a small dress, one obviously cut to make men think about sex. The bag also held underclothes, hose, and high-heeled shoes to go with it.
“Wow!” exclaimed Holly from over her shoulder. “That's racy with a capital R. I wouldn't have figured you for the honky-tonk type.”
Jezebel scowled. Jill Arendel had a closet full of slutty clothing, but she hadn’t packed any of that rubbish. No, it seemed that Shekinah was exercising what passed for a sense of humor. The idiot. The world she loved so much was going to Hell in a hand basket, and here she was playing brainless games. “Take this,” the Watcher said to Holly, shoving her spare trousers into the girl's hands. “Put these on and stop complaining about the cold.”
The celebrity took the garment eagerly and scrambled to the ladies' room to change. Jezebel herself went indoors to pay for the gasoline. The sight of so many shelves full of food, arrayed in cans, boxes, or packaged in clear cellophane made her human body queasy. None of it looked edible, not even for a human, but she hadn't had anything since breakfast and needed something immediately. Everything about human existence was demeaning. At least in Jetrel’s heavenly body, food was unnecessary. But Jezebel had been in Jill's body long enough to know what being faint from hunger felt like. She added a large box of chips, two quarts of milk, a couple packs of chocolate, cream-filled cupcakes, and a bunch bananas to the overall purchase.
Back at the car, Holly was already waiting. Without saying anything, Jezebel pushed a milk carton into the girl's hands, so she wouldn't start complaining about being thirsty next. Then she set the bag of groceries on the singer's lap. The Holly put it down next to her feet.
Holly then drank from the milk bottle rapidly and at last dried her lips with the back of her hand. “Do you think they have a clue about where we're going?”
The Watcher gritted her teeth. “The Cabal always has a clue. But we have to keep them guessing about where we are. That should be easy, since I hardly know myself.” Actually, she had been aiming at Omaha. Maybe it was a subtle hint from "Above," or maybe it was the only place she now had to call home. But right now she needed some milk and bananas herself.
“Didn’t you come with a plan?” her companion asked.
“I was just told to protect you, and wait for instructions.”
"Who told you?"
"Never mind. You've gotten mixed up with things you don't want to know about."
"It wasn't my fault."
"You wanted fame, you wanted money. You didn't care who gave it to you. That was what got you into this."
“If you say so. But how will anyone reach you? Do you have a cell phone?”
“If I have one, I didn’t bring it. But don’t worry. If we’re supposed to get a message, we’ll be getting it.”
“Do you think those Dodge guys got away?”
“Of course they did. If that officer caught up with them, they would have murdered him.”
Holly blanched. “Can they find us?”
“They can and, given enough time, time they will.”
The brunette nodded disconcertedly. “I wish I didn't believe you. I've watched spy movies. Spy technology can find anything.”
“That's how it is in real life, too.”
“Are you some sort of spy?”
Jezebel thought about that. Shekinah had made it sound like she was supposed to be a bodyguard today and an assassin later on. “No,” she finally said.
An hour and a half later, the ruddy sunset was dimming. By the time they turned into Alliance, it was almost full night.
“Not exactly a Podunk,” Holly remarked as they drove under the streetlights. “Now where are the motels?”
They found that the town offered several inns and Jezebel selected one that was off by itself, where guest cars could be parked out of sight of the main street. It was called “the American Inn” and its sign offered double rooms for $60, which Holly considered “a good deal.” Even so, the price was another drain on the limited money that had been gained from Jill Arendel's candy box. When more funds were needed, robbery still seemed like the least objectionable direction to take.
Holly's spirits perked up as soon as they had closed and chained the door of their rented room. What the singer failed to realize was that the Cabal had unlimited money and a technology that was about a century in advance of what they permitted the common herd to know about. Black Ops interplanetary space flights had been going on for decades. People talked about the Cabal being run by the mega-banks and international corporations, but they were like mere shell companies for those who were really running things.
Living as a phantom, Jetrel had learned much about the underside of the human world, and had a good idea about the Cabal's role in it. He might have admired the Anti-Christ conspiracy of power-grabbing and genocide that Satan had orchestrated, but she had no liking for either him or his human servants.
And after what had been done to her in the cow pasture that day, she liked them a lot less.
She was bound and determined to make somebody sorry.
Maybe a lot of people.
End of Chapt 3, Part 1
To Be Continued...