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Monday, August 7, 2017

The Falling Star: Chapter 4, Part 1



Posted 08-07-17


An Angel from Hell story



by Christopher Leeson



“I would have remembered someone like you,” observed the man.  “Tourist?”

Jezebel shrugged.  “Is there anything worth touring in this town?”

He smiled again.  “There is – now that you've showed up.  By the way, I'm Robert.”

“Jill,” she said with a slight catch.

“The way you say that.  Not your real name?”

She raised her chin.  “It's real for tonight, as far as you're concerned.”

He nodded.  “I'm easy.  Back in pioneer days, so many people were coming across Nebraska under assumed names that polite folks learned not to ask them direct questions.”

“So what did polite people do?”

“They'd ask, 'What name are you traveling under?'”

Jezebel smiled.  After that it was just bar talk -- boring, but the angel hadn't come in to be entertained.  Robert, apparently, saw things differently.  He kept eying her thighs and her cleavage, albeit slyly.  Such furtiveness irked the girl, but, on the upside, being physically desirable had afforded attractive people a form of power since the Creation.  What she needed to learn swiftly was how to manipulate such a situation to her advantage. 

Jezebel could sense Robert's rising ardor as an energy flow.  It was food for her demon spirit and, after a few moments, she was feeling as though she could brawl the whole tavern crowd and win.  Finally she said, “You don't have to be so sneaky.  What woman would come into a place like this, dressed like this, and not want to be looked at?”

Robert grinned.  “I was trying to be polite.  Women usually aren't as logical as you seem to be.  It's a tragedy of life that a man can't manage to please most of them no matter how he behaves.  Are you really a different sort?”

“I'm a different sort, all right,” she agreed.  “By the way, if you get the idea that I'm here hooking, I'm going to break your arm.”

He laughed.  “I won't make that mistake.”  He glanced over to the digital jukebox.  It was playing someone's choice – a piece that sounded to Jezebel only marginally better than the screams from the pits of Hell.  Still, it had a beat and a couple was already dancing to it.

“Do you dance?” Robert asked.

The Watcher shrugged.  “I haven't tried dancing to crap like that so far, but if what those two are doing can be called dancing, it doesn't look very difficult.  Besides, I'm guessing that all you're really interested in is getting an excuse to touch me.  Relax, I'm game.”

Robert shook his head.  “You really are another kind of woman.”

“You've got that right.”

His brows knitted.  “That sound like a double entendre.  If you weren't so absolutely gorgeous, I'd be wondering.”

“About what?”

He seemed reluctant to explain and only responded, “I'd rather not say.”

“Oh, I see; it's something naughty. But maybe this the right night for being naughty.”  She reached out and took him by the wrist.  “Let's dance, if you really want to dance.”

Jezebel led the young man out into an open space, let go of him, and started mimicking the dancing woman.  Very quickly, she was extemporizing.  Robert seemed to like what he saw.  The angel had previously watched many males ogling women dancing; it excited them amazingly.  As the Nebraskan's libido was heating up, she continued to siphon off energy from his emotions.  Better still, she was getting similar attention from other onlookers.  She felt like she was binging on potent liquor.  The blonde had to restrain herself, or else go completely wild.  She heard cheering.  The crowd was getting excited just from watching her and pairs of them started to join into the dance themselves. 

Jezebel was getting impatient with Robert's gallantry and so took hold of his sleeve and pulled him nearer.  Her boldness coaxed him into the spirit of the moment and he started to cut loose.  They danced more than one number.  Human bodies, the angel was discovering, were divinely crafted to be receptive to the pleasure of new experiences.  So, why was it that the Father punished lust to harshly; he had been the one who had made it so delectable?  She had to stay wary, knowing the Father's cunning.  Everything that he said and everything that he did came with layers.  This situation that he had imposed on her was supposed to be about mercy – but if he would be merciful today, why had he refused to be so in the distant past?  Whatever her maker's plan might be, it had to be more complex than it seemed. 

Even to angels, the Father was a paradox.  For one thing, sin was like a toxin to him and one of the most despised sins he cited was pride.  Was that why she had been raped?  Was he trying to shatter her pride at a breakneck pace?  Was he trying to force her to know and see the world in the same way as his despised human creations did?  If she stubbornly refused to change her thinking, would that mean more and worse punishment would be inflicted, until she was entirely remade?  Jezebel wondered what she could do to defy him, to stand up for her independence and sense of self.  The answer was painfully apparent, but she refused to contemplate it.

The music suddenly ended and Robert led his partner back toward the bar.  “Would you like me to buy you another drink, or would you prefer to go someplace else?”

The angel struggled to banish her fog of euphoria and re-access the encounter.  His was a good face.  That lascivious twinkle in his eyes seemed to reveal all that she needed to know.

“Oh, and were would you want us to go?”

“There's a bigger and better club than this one.”

Jezebel shook her head.  “We have to stay close-in.  I have a traveling companion.  It wouldn't be right to leave her alone in a strange town.”

“Nothing ever happens in Alliance.”

She glanced over her shoulder, at nothing in particular.  “Let's hope it doesn't.”

“Would you like a lift back to your place?  Maybe your friend isn't even there.  If she's not, well, it could be cozy.”

“Do you have a place of your own?”

“I do.  That could work, too.”

“Let's get our coats,” she suggested.

A moment later, they were outside.  Jezebel realized that the wind – which must still have been irksomely cold – wasn't chilling her anymore.  It was like she had acquired an internal heating unit.

“The motel is only five or ten minutes away,” she said.  “Why don't we stroll?”

“I'm for it,” Robert replied.

Jezebel sighed.  Men hadn't changed over all these millennia.  They would say yes to anything that a female thought of, as long as they wanted her.  But the Watcher had an ulterior motive of her own; a prolonged trip would afford them time and privacy enough to carry out more experimentation.  When their path crossed into the shadow of a Dollar General, she paused.  Her companion looked back at her. 

The angel, taking her lead from what modern women did in motion pictures, stepped up and placed her left arm around behind his back.  Her right hand rested on his left arm.  “I haven't been kissed in a long time,” she said.

“I don't believe it.”

“To me, it feels like a long time.”  In fact, it had been some five thousand years.

“Well, I like helping a lady in distress.”  He lightly enfolded her slimness and nuzzled her hair.  “That's a nice scent – Aahh!”

Jezebel had touched his groin; he was well endowed and obviously excited.  It crossed her thoughts to make the most of the situation. 

Abruptly, she changed her mind and drew back.  The Watcher had belatedly realized that was slipping away from her; emotion was in control.  She suspected that her Jezebel spirit stowaway was to blame.  That thrice-cursed demon!  She didn't want to give in, not to an entity that was so inferior.  Any weakness she showed would be known.  The Father saw everything, and Shekinah would probably be watching, too, with a smirk on her face. 

“What's wrong?” Robert asked.

The angel looked up, frowning slightly.  There was no privacy under the watchful eye of Heaven.  And there was absolutely nothing that she could do to change that.  Even living in a fish bowl, she had to do the best that she could for herself.  This whole outing was about discovering her talents and limitations, and learning of them at as swift a pace as possible.  It would be self-defeating to slow-walk this, simply for the sake of mortification.  Dark energy was power, and sex was the road toward it.  Only pride was blocking her.  Jetrel had been with humans, many of them, and with animals, too.  But all her previous dalliances had been for pleasure; in this incarnation, it was a means to an end.  Jezebel steeled herself and smiled again.

“I'm just jumpy with strangers,” she said.  Without giving him time to frame a reply, the Watcher took a lock of his dark hair and twirled it around her finger.  Then, lightly but insistently, she tugged down and drew his mouth closer to hers.  

Robert closed the gap, cupping her left breast, thumb-massaging the firmed-up point of its nipple.  Jezebel gasped, startled by the poignancy of their intimacy.  Her lips, pressed against his, felt the sandpaper texture of his five o' clock shadow.  His was not the soft mouth of a woman; but Jezebel refused to be daunted.  Jetrel had previously kissed even wild boars, simply for the experience of it.  But yet, somehow, those ancient memories had suddenly become unpleasant.  Why should that be, after five thousand years?  She suspected that her sudden aversion might be rooted in the psyche of Jill Arendel's physical mind.  She was dead and gone, but her mindset was still stored in the chest of drawers that Jezebel was tapping.

One of her companion's hands migrated to the small of her back; the other pressed her firm buttocks.  “If we don't get to someplace comfortable tonight, I'm going to go crazy,” he whispered.

Jezebel looked inside herself.  Whereas Jill did not seem to like her thoughts about wild boars, this thing with Robert was the type of liaisons that seemed to thrill her.  But the angel yet felt awkward. 

For one thing, the ambiance of the female role was so unfamiliar.

Jetrel had always been masterful and dominant while romancing the daughters of men.  Jezebel still thought along those lines.  But would aggression offend a male partner?  Fallen angels had brazenly taken what they wanted and that every woman might not have liked it had been of minor importance.  But for the first time she had to take into consideration the likings and reactions of a human.  Male performance depended on his willingness to join in a carnal encounter.  If Robert rejected her style, should she accept his reluctance?  Should she overpower him?  A mistake made now could cut off the energy flow that she didn't want to lose.  Or should she try to bring him along by falling in with his feelings?  Jezebel felt frustrated.  Had she sunk so low already that she needed to care about what a mere human being preferred?

The Watcher stepped back, out of his embrace.  “This is happening too quickly,” she declared ingenuously.  “Let's see if my girl friend's all right before we make plans.”

The man sighed.  Jezebel guessed that he was reacting in the same manner with her as he must have done with many another woman.  In other circumstances, she would have struck him for being condescending, but with her time constraints, she had to play the hand that she had been dealt.  When the Watcher started off toward the motel again, Robert stepped lively to stay next to her.  Neither made chit-chat.  Jezebel had imponderables to consider, and  Robert was probably thinking about ways to ingratiate himself to yet another woman, maddening in her capacity to send out mixed signals. 

At the motel room door, Jezebel searched her purse, took out her key, and pushed it into the lock.

At the sight within, the Watcher drew up.  Things were in disarray.  One lamp was still lit.  The other was dark and on the floor, next to the tipped-over night stand from which the Bible had also fallen.

#

It didn't look like it had been much of a fight – and against Pelosia Wittke, it could not have been. 

“What do you suppose happened?” Robert asked. 

Jebezel turned.  “I don't know, but I have to find her.”

“Maybe we can ask the front desk, like if they saw anything.”

That wasn't as dumb as it sounded.  But pity any night clerk who was confronted by a squad of Cabalist thugs that had come in wanting information.  The Watcher had to overtake them before they got away, and when she did, violence would be the only means to a resolution.  She abruptly wheeled toward her companion.

“Robert,” she said, touching his cheek, her blue eyes bright in the lamplight.  “You will forget that we ever met.  You never saw me.  Go back to --”  Jezebel paused.  Where?  To the saloon?  What if the Cabalists were over there, seeking her?  They would surely have forced Holly to tell them who's luggage was on the other bed.  No doubt, the Cabalists would see a companion as a loose end that needed to be snipped off.  Though there had been no one suspicious at the Sandhillers before, they may have just narrowly missed each other.  The Watcher needed to go back, take them alive, and then beat Holly's location out of them.  

Finally, Jezebel told Robert, “Head back home.  If you need your car, get it, but don't enter the saloon.” 

Why had she added that?  Was it just to avoid making him a casualty, and thereby earn a point or two in Heaven?

“Now, be on your way!” she commanded.

Like a sleepwalker, the man turned and, after a moment's hesitation, started toward the lounge parking lot.

Jezebel hurried into the motel office and found it deserted, except for the youth slumped behind the desk.  He had a fresh red bruise on the side of his face, but was breathing.  His survival suggested that he hadn't resisted.  Cabalist hirelings were a mixed bag, but they were usually brutes or sadists. 

With her warrior instincts kicking in, the Watcher was once more a Heavenly soldier.  She went to the exit, took off her stilettos, and then continued outside. 

Robert was still making his way at a somnolent pace, but the Watcher passed him by in seconds, covering the five minute walking distance in less than one.  She barely paused by her Toyota, into which she tossed her unbattleworthy foot gear, before going into the Sandhillers Saloon by way of the front door.

Jezebel looked around the barroom.  It didn't occur to her to be afraid; she was a predator avid to find her prey.  Then she saw them.

Jetrel had always possessed an eidetic memory, though it had been dulled since her confinement in a human body.  But with dark energy vibrant in her every cell, the angel's mind was working clearly and coldly.  Jezebel beheld two of the ghuls from the Dodge.  She had a grudge to settle with the Syrian wesen, but first had to find out what they knew.  

To the Watcher's pleasure, she was seeing more than just enemies whom she recognized.  Another of her angel talents had returned.  Angels were able to see auras, and auras could convey much information about a visible target.  When Satan and his angels had fallen, the Father had, apparently, exaggerated the ketheric component of their auras, making it outshine all the other colors.  A violet aura was a sure sign of their evil allegiance, which was useful for Heavenly angels to know.  This violet aura was to be seen, too, in those who were only Nephilim, though the glow was not so strong. 

The two ghuls were still surveying the crowd like luckless hunters.  But both tensed at almost the same moment.  Their ghul ancestors had possessed a predator's sense of smell, and they could recognize her scent from the motel room.  One, sniffing the air, turned Jezebel's way.

The Watcher reversed direction, wanting to draw them away from prying eyes.  The wesen started after her, throwing people aside in their eagerness to overtake their quarry.  Jezebel steeled herself; having already fought them in the pasture, they wouldn't be taken by surprise this time.

Unfortunately, the Watcher still lacked a weapon, an unforced mistake that she swore never to repeat.  Wesen were hard to kill, but humans much less so.  Until Jezebel knew her capabilities better, she had to assume that she possessed a fragile physiology.  But, in her corner, was the fact that she was crackling with the energy of darkness.  She felt ready for the fight at hand, and only had to worry whether they had guns ---

Oh, oh.  They did!

TO BE CONTINUED, Chapter 4, Part 2

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