Angels: Moon and Sun
That night, Hekate pretended everything was fine when she was eating dinner with her mother. The sweater she had borrowed from Marcia covered the now torn apart t-shirt and hid the mark on her chest. But every time she inhaled, Hekate was nervous it would slip only a little to reveal one or the other. The last thing she wanted was to have to explain either.
“Don’t forget you have school tomorrow. I don’t want to hear you up late on that computer of yours,” her mother said through a mouth full of spaghetti.
Thankfully, the police never showed up at their door, allowing her to breathe a little. In the back of her mind, Hekate wondered if they would figure out who she was after they had run away. Not to mention the body of the thief. And if they did, she prayed they would find no evidence of her. The image of both men from earlier in the day slipped through her mind, burning permanently in her memory.
“I – I won’t. I’m really tired anyway. I’m ready to crash,” she said, breaking away from her thoughts when the silence had lasted too long.
Her mother took a moment to evaluate her. As if seeing the exhaustion in Hekate’s eyes, she nodded, “Go on to bed. I’ll do the dishes tonight.”
Meekly, Hekate grinned as she nodded. “Thanks.”
Where is the journal?
Hekate waited until she was halfway up the stairs before responding under her breath.
“On my bed.”
Although she could feel Moro’s anxiety towards the books the men had tried to steal earlier today, Hekate needed a minute to be human. She wanted to take a shower, to not only wash the sweat off but perhaps the memory of the day as well. It was the only thing she could think of that would help.
As she carefully pulled off Marcia’s hoodie, the mark continued to burn, as if a branding iron was pressing into her chest. Although it wasn’t as bad as it had been, the pain was still enough to slow her down. It was as if the mark was going to burn through her, until it had reached her soul, to steal it away.
Staring into the mirror, she stood naked, taking a moment to think. With each inhale, the intensity of the burning would increase. But as she stood there, it would dissipate with each exhale. Carefully, she lifted her hand as she leaned forward. The heat radiated unnaturally from the mark. Before her fingers could touch it, her hand jerked away, wanting nothing to do with it.
Water trickled down her back as she stood in the shower. With the events of the day still haunting her, she climbed in before the water was even close to lukewarm. It felt like cold needles prickling at her skin, but the moment the water hit her chest, it was a relief. Although only temporary, it acted as a numbing agent, allowing her to breathe without any pain. Only when the water began to warm did she turn and work to scrub of the day.
Feeling a little better, Hekate finally left the shower after an hour. Knowing her mother would have questions, Hekate threw her T-shirt away in the trashcan in her bedroom. She pulled the towel from her hair and began to squeeze out the excess water. In the corner of her eye, she realized Moro was sitting on the bed, watching her.
“What?” she asked.
Moro’s head tilted to the side as she narrowed her eyes. The reaction seemed too human. Her fur was still lightly stained by the blood, but almost completely gone. “You’re reactions surprise me.”
Dropping the towel that had been wrapped around her, Hekate reached for the pair of sweatpants and tank top underneath Moro before throwing her wet hair into a ponytail. “What do you mean?”
“While you were being held captive, you weighed your options. Before making any sort of defensive movement, you took into account those around you. But the men dying in front of you left you guilty. Why would you feel guilty?”
“I thought one of the commandments was to never kill,” Hekate scoffed, only being half sarcastic.
Moro began to shake her head. The human gesture made Hekate have to remind herself that Moro was no ordinary wolf. She wasn’t even sure the wolf was her true form; not with her behavior mimicking that of humans so well.
“You misunderstand,” she began, “It is in the commandments not to kill, and you should stray away from that option if necessary. But if your own life is in danger or those around you by that person, a hard choice has to be made. And you made it. That was brave.”
Hekate began sucking on her teeth, not comfortable with the conversation. “What about the thief?”
Moro’s eyes hardened. “I had no choice. I was already too late to stop him from marking you. He wasn’t going to stop. His soul was already gone.”
The word ‘soul’ caused Hekate to shiver for a moment. “His soul was gone?”
“What is in this journal?” Moro asked, suddenly changing the topic.
She was tempted to ask again, forcing Moro to give her a straight answer. But something in her sudden change told her Moro wasn’t going to give up the answer so easily. Accepting it, Hekate stepped forward to open the bag, revealing a small brown journal. The binding was old, with strange symbols carved into the leather cover. When she reached down to touch it, she could feel the heat radiating from it. It matched the heat she felt on her chest.
“Be careful,” Moro warned.
As her hand touched the cover, the burning on her chest intensified. It was bearable, but only barely. Lifting the leather cover, the pages within were old and stained brown. Inside, there was nothing. The pages were blank.
She flipped through the pages, attempting to find something she missed. The longer she held the journal, the hotter her chest became. When the pain was almost too much, strange letters began to appear on the pages, revealing some unfamiliar language. It was only a few pages in when she noticed the words covering the pages were not in ink. The smell of the ink was beginning to make her queasy. “Moro.”
Stepping closer, Moro used her snout to push Hekate’s hands away, leaving the book open on the bed. “Don’t touch it. It’s written in blood. This is an unholy artifact.”
When Hekate’s hands released the journal, the nauseating feeling vanished and the burning subsided to a dull ache. “What does it say?”
Moro was silent. Her eyes intent on the pages below. As Moro read, Hekate began to hear whispering. Voices she didn’t recognize whispered her name, Selene’s name, and spoke in a tongue that left her uneasy. When she turned, there was no one there, but she could still hear their words floating by her ears. “Moro, what’s happening?”
Finally, Moro shifted her gaze towards Hekate. “You’re hearing the stolen souls. The ones whose blood was used to write these incantations.”
“But what are they for?” Hekate asked, stepping closer to see the pages again.
“They’re instructions. And plans. Incantations on how to subdue anyone like you. Something about how to break through the Gates to release Death’s brothers. Repeating the plague. These are plans they were trying to pass around to lesser demons and the soulless,” Moro explained.
Hekate’s hand unconsciously reached for the mark.
“Death is a gift,” she murmured.
Moro nodded, finally looking away from the journal. “In a way, it would be. That would be the easiest way to solve their problems and free you. But they don’t think that way. They can’t just let you go.”
“They didn’t,” Hekate said harshly.
“No, they didn’t,” Moro agreed.
Hekate moved to sit in her computer chair as she stared at Moro. She leaned into her fist, her lips pressing on her teeth. Her entire life had changed only a few days ago, and already she was on the verge of losing her soul. Death was wasting no time in finding ways to get rid of her. Not to mention torture her. As if to respond to her thoughts, the mark’s heat began to increase.
Finally, she looked up, letting her fist fall onto the armrest. “I don’t think we should let Marcia help me with this. It’s too dangerous.”
“It is too late for that. She’s already been blessed with her wings. Soon she’ll receive her full power from Diana. You will be equals and they’ll know it. Marcia has made her decision,” Moro argued.
Hekate stood up, her voice was harsh as she whispered, “You said it yourself. There is usually only one at a time who has these powers. Why make her a target when you already have me?”
Moro didn’t react to Hekate’s lost temper. Instead, she began to stand. This time when she spoke, her voice was in Hekate’s mind, overshadowing the voices from the book.
Everyone has free will. You accepted the task put in front of you. Marcia volunteered for your sake. You’ll both have a better chance of survival if you help one another. You’ll only die faster if you’re alone.
In a burst of rage, Hekate walked to her bed and lifted the book from the bed. Her palms burned as she held it, nearly causing her to pass out from the reeking smell of blood. Releasing her anger, the insides of her palms began to glow silver. In a matter of seconds the room filled with light, leaving no shadow untouched. The voices tied to the journal began to scream so loudly, Hekate could hear nothing else. She was sure her mother would run into the room at any point, wondering what was going on.
Beneath her burning palms, she felt the journal beginning to disintegrate. As the pages burned away, the pieces began to float into the air. But they never fell to the ground. Instead, they continued to disintegrate and float towards Hekate. She was absorbing the pages and the blood. Her eyes began to be tainted red from broken blood vessels as she took in the demonic energy that had entered through her skin. For a brief moment, it felt like her entire body was being torn apart from the inside out.
The light from her palms finally began to fade when the journal was practically gone. Although her wings weren’t visible, something told her they would be darker the next time she brought them out; stained by the blood and acid that was the demonic journal. The voices were gone. The burning in her chest dulled once again.
Dropping her hands, she glared down at Moro. “Alone or not, I’m not letting them win that easily. And they won’t touch Marcia.”
Moro’s eyes met Hekate’s in shock. But she was in no mood for an argument. Before Moro even had a chance to speak, Hekate climbed into bed, turning off her nightlight in the process. The bed shifted under Moro’s weight until she was gone, returning to her dormant state.
Angels Moon and Sun: Chapter Seven Coming Soon…