Fallen Angel 2: Dawn of Reckoning – Excerpt
Lucifer stood in the streets of Babylon, watching as the disappearance of monsters resulted in swarming terrified people. All around they ran and scampered, tripping and colliding to escape the hungry fangs that sought to devour them.
As if on quickened time, the events rushed forward. Bodies lay twitching in the streets, their necks pulsing out red puddles.
The sight almost made Lucifer want to call back the hungry monsters that he and the king had led down here. It had taken moments to create more of what he had turned the king into. Yet it seemed their hunger was insatiable. None of these empty shells that had once contained human souls would come back to life. Lucifer had not infected them. He had not even had the chance to. His monsters’ hunger came first, and that understanding made one thing clear. Despite this new power he contained with his blood, he still was not in control. The lives lost were not deserved, but they were not his to refuse either.
When they finally reached the temple, the sounds of frantic prayer were like whispers that blanketed the death at his back. The changed soldiers’ numbers were not so great, but their hunger for blood had caused havoc. Now he had the men he sought to ruin, men of worship, prayer, and devotion. All huddled inside, begging to be heard, begging their maker to save them.
Like him, they would never be heard. And like him, their delivery from sin was out of their reach. Lucifer would make sure of that. For these mortals would not die today. No. They would live…as the monster he had been condemned to become. As a being worthy of judgment before their almighty God.
Love was Lucifer’s sin. Death and destruction would be theirs.
Lucifer was ready to prove which was worse, and which truly required condemnation.
Surrounded by the soldiers he had already turned, he watched as Cyrus stalked up the steps to the temple. He made not a single move to order the next attack, and none was needed as a deathly silence fell over them all.
Fangs bared, King Cyrus’s eyes gleamed with promise. “You have your orders. Follow them and your spot on my army is secure. Fail me, and you become the prey.” Clutching the large pulls, he tugged the double doors open.
The soldiers reacted at once, racing up the steps and pouring inside the temple. Screams and shrieks split the silence, stalling Lucifer from following the anarchy that awaited him.
And then he heard something, almost too quiet to make out and yet distinct enough to stop him in his tracks. “Lucifer, please. Please. This is not who you are. This is not what you want. Their deaths hurt you once. They affected you enough to challenge God. You advocated for them. You tried to save them. Stop this, please. Be the man I know you to be.”
Lucifer turned his head to the side, closing his eyes at the barely audible voice that had drifted by him as if on the wind. He knew it was Gabriel. There was no denying it. And so much of what she had said was the truth. If he was being honest with himself, he knew their deaths still affected him. Though not because their lives were being taken. No. What really affected him was the fact that once they gasped their last breath, if they were worthy, they would be enveloped into the infinite light above, welcomed into the home that had been taken from him. He chuckled without mirth at her last few words. Be the man I know you to be. Because that was all he was anymore, a man, not an angelic being. Not an archangel. Merely a man, yet one who would never be granted the redemption he had strived so hard to achieve for a millennium.
The redemption he still secretly craved.
Shaking off the stirring of emotion that threatened to make him reconsider, Lucifer strode onward. Even if he wanted to put an end to this anarchy, which he did not, it would not stop. The only lives that could be saved were the ones waiting for his infection—which, if he did not act soon would fall victim to the hungry monsters that held the men up by their throats inside. Women and a few extra men were huddled within the four walls among shattered statues and upturned seating benches. But there was only one exit, and it was blocked from all sides. None of them would ever make it out alive…unless he did as planned.
Crossing the threshold, Lucifer turned away from the cries and shrieks and paused. Hands on the open doors he hung his head. A part of him wanted to relent, to end all of this before it could go too far. The other part knew there was no point. Stopping all he had started would change nothing. He would still be condemned and banished. He would still be alone. And God’s humans would still be free.
Under his breath, his words killed any niggling hesitation and reignited ire in his veins. “Why do you suddenly care? All these years—you abandoned me too.”
And then he slammed the doors shut.