A Demon's Regret
Faceless women grasped at me in the dark, screaming accusations that hurt all the more because I knew them to be true. Over and over again, I watched Beatrice McGovern die, heard that mechanical tone that signaled the stilling of her heart forever. Unable to turn away, I knew she had died alone and suffering because of me.
With a pitiable cry, I awoke from my fevered dreams, covered with a chilling sweat and ensnared in my bed sheets. It was as I caught my breath that I recalled what was yet to come, and was inundated with a fresh wave of anguish and regret. Lola, an immortal; an angel who had fallen because of our contract, cast away, wings severed violently and left to rot. I had both dreaded and longed for the day when Adonai would send me to her, and that day had finally come.
I forced myself to shower, attend to my grooming, and dress. I faltered at the entrance to my map room before permitted myself some time for reflection beforehand.
I sat on my divan in the living room and stared at the fireplace over my mantel, as I had so many times before. For centuries, I had kept keepsakes there to remind me of Lola, something I had never done with another. Now I knew it was because I loved her, though not in the way she would have wanted and unquestionably deserved.
Dust tended to collect on my makeshift altar. I brushed it away every few years; it had been a while. Hesitantly, I rose and stood to face the objects I had collected so reverentially there. I carefully blew away the fine coating of dust, and cleared a small cobweb.
The two roses still hung from black ribbons, tied to nails I had placed. Lola and I had hung them together. I had given them to her as part of my well-calculated, painstaking seduction. That very day, she had signed herself away and given me her virtue in my bed.
One pale peach, the other a vivid orange; intended to represent the two of us, happy in our own little world. Indeed, until I met (Y/N), my time with Lola was the greatest happiness I had ever known.
I had vowed to Lola to keep her roses safe for her while they dried. But, for whatever reason, she had not taken them with her when she had left, after discovering I had ended our contract. Like a coward, I had fled while she was out.
I had spent countless days gazing at the roses, dejected and knowing I had done something wrong, though alternatives had escaped me at the time. I had protected them from time with an enchantment, and they were still beautifully preserved.
Above the roses was the ring Jinxx had made me, containing a barb of one of Lola’s angelic feathers. Another tool I had used to manipulate, it vibrated whenever Lola was intending to visit me or was close by.
But the most painful reminders were the goodbye letter Lola had left for me to find, and the broken bones that were all that remained of her once-magnificent wings. The raw stumps had gradually decayed as her body had rejected them, part of Yahweh’s punishment for her transgression with me.
Scowling, I made up my mind. The time had come, at last, to keep my promise. I would return her roses, and bring her the remains of her wings. Selfishly, I decided to keep the ring and her letter. I wanted some small reminder of her and our time together.
Carefully untying the roses’ ribbons from the nails they hung from, I held them in one hand as I gathered the two shattered, ancient bone fragments in the other. Carrying my keepsakes, I made my way to the map room. With a head full of heartache, I gingerly set down the bones and clicked the button to engage my map for the last time.
The single shaft of light speared from Cape Town, South Africa. It was fitting to find her there. Cape Town was a place of incredible biodiversity and beautiful landscapes, as well as political turmoil and a staggering murder rate. Lola had such a compassionate heart; doubtless she spent her time immersed in charity.
I clicked off the map, for the first time not having to bother with any reading to jog my memory. The time had come for my most difficult task, the heaviest penance. I had to apologize to Lola, once Lelahel the Dominion, for completely destroying her life, causing her fall from grace, and teaching her how to love before denying it to her ever after.
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