Read an Excerpt
If Angels who have fallen from the grace of God become devils, do devils who have fallen from the spite of Satan become angels?
Enziel stood at the boundary of a chasm. Beneath him, he could hear the woeful cries of the damned as their agony ascended to encircle him in a comforting shroud. His smile was both uplifting and malicious; he smiled for a moment... a fleeting moment as his memories quickly abandoned him. He stood atop a small knoll that overlooked a vast series of canyons that cut through the living soil like arteries.
He pondered the thought, Where am I?
The place was unfamiliar, yet something about it reminded him of home. The cries rose to him like a searing fog, which soothed his troubled soul. He could vaguely recall the radiant crimson glow from within the chasm.
"Father," the title fell disappointingly from his lips.
The odor that rose from the chasm was one he knew as well. Its enticing fragrance of scorched human flesh, brimstone and human excrement tainted with the sickly vomit of a million tormented mortals was refreshing to his senses. The rank air brought a longing sigh from Enziel, who inhaled the offering deeply.
Yet, through it all he could not help but feel misplaced, standing on the outside of some greater place, a place where he had once belonged. His thoughts fell into the darkness, like a lost child buried in dismay. The darkness gripped him like an iron hand, unyielding and unforgiving as it dug into his immortal soul.
Enziel fell to his knees at the edge of Hell's grotto.
Black hellholeeyes stared down at him.
Enziel looked up, his eyes wavering; tears filled him uncertainly.
"You will leave this place, Enziel." The Dark Lord's words rushed back to him. He could visualize the Dark Lord's talon pointing toward a small slit in the cavern wall.
"There is no place in this hell for you," the Dark Lord continued.
Enziel looked over his shoulder at the fracture in hell. He compared it to an open wound on charred flesh. The black cavern wall, rifted, spread wider as Enziel watched, revealing more readily the flesh of hell.
"Father?" Enziel whispered, as his head slowly turned.
Enziel shuddered within the shroud of rancid fog as the cold words of his Father pierced him.
"But I don't understand. What have I done?"
"Go!" The Dark Lord cursed and thundered a disapproving hoof into the carrion soil of the cavern.
Enziel lowered his head and retreated as his Father dictated.
The burning, the searing of his flesh and the stench of brimstone as it burst from the mouths of the watchers rushed over Enziel's senses. He could see his flesh shredding, his blood surging wildly and the shavings of tissue that dangled from the long crooked talons of his onlookers. He relished the thought of the others closing in on him, peeling his baked flesh from his bone. The agony immeasurable, the memories pleasurable, but fleeting...
The heat that rose from the chasm was soothing as it boiled the skin upon his renewed flesh. A longing for home invaded his thoughts for a moment, before they too evaporated within the cloak that smothered him. The abode, the smell and feel, there was nothing comparable. He recalled, bathed in the memory, but only for a moment longer.
Enziel peered down into the chasm. The crimson glow had died, consumed by a swirling darkness. His empty stare strayed from the now impenetrable darkness of the chasm to the gray haze that encircled him.
"Where am I?" he wondered aloud.
The gray retreated like a withdrawn blanket atop a fevered child, bringing with it the sickly feel of the cold. He watched as the chasm closed at his feet and sprouted liquid, quickly submerging his feet and showering him in a bitter chill.
He wrapped his arms around his shivering body as the cold folded over his eyes.
"It is not right," Beizel complained with a stomp.
Creed drew his serpent tongue from his mouth to lick the flecks of flesh and hair that resided there. "You must relax, Beizel. You wouldn't want the same fate as Enziel," he said, slurping his tongue over his slight, desiccated lips.
Beizel nodded his agreement before plunging his open claw into the still warm carcass that dangled beside him. He reveled in the woeful cries of the pathetic soul that supplicated before him.
"Soon your flesh shall be gone and I shall begin on your soul. Then you will know pain." Beizel chuckled at the horror that ceased the eyes of the damned; that was his chore.
Creed watched for a moment as Beizel gnawed a lump of flesh from the chest of the damned. The slurping over flesh as Beizel opened his lower jaw, rolling the bloody flesh over his tongue, wiping the excess blood that dripped from his hungry mouth with the back of his hand. Beizel dragged his tongue over his own flesh, then chuckled and complimented his brethren on his observation.
"That is much better. The Beizel I know; the unpitying."
"I am, but I still worry about my brother Enziel and what will become of him."
"It is for the spite of Hell to decide, not you alone."
Beizel smirked as he looked down at his blood-soaked hoof. He examined with a cynical eye the shards of flesh and bone that clung to it. He reached a finger down and flicked a few of the larger flecks onto the soil before stomping his hoof back into the stained under-earth. Then, he openly continued his complaining. "It has been decided already, Creed. No matter how unjust, even for Hell."
Creed looked on in silence; his eyes moved from Beizel to the cavern entrance then back to his brother, who continued to rant.
"It is only Enziel. How he has endeared himself to so many here. I can't understand the Dark Lord's fear of him," Beizel criticized, scraping a sliver of flesh from the beleaguered that wallowed next to him.
"Beizel," Creed's voice whispered beneath the woeful chorus of the tormented.
"Enziel," Beizel smiled to himself, ignoring Creed's call. His long emaciated lips spread wide across his broad face. He narrowed his dark eyes and glared back at Creed, "He was only a..." His words trailed to a faint whisper.
"Yes?" the Dark Lord asked, entering the cavern in a thunder.
"Lord," Beizel bowed deeply. "I..."
"Beizel," Creed interrupted as he too bowed at the feet of the Dark Lord.
"He was only commenting that Enziel's punishment was just and that he only wished he could have set his brother right before he traveled the path he chose," Creed continued as he looked over at Beizel from the corner of his eye.
The Dark Lord shook his head, but never took his glare off Beizel.
"Lord, it is as Creed has explained." Beizel lowered himself to a knee before his Father.
He could feel the glare of the Dark Lord upon him. He felt at that moment much as he had when he watched the Dark Lord pronounce his punishment upon poor Enziel, the sickly feeling of betrayal and disdain.
Beizel's eyes rose to meet the stare of his Father. "Dark Lord?" he called.
The sound of grinding bone resonated through the cavern as the Dark Lord wheeled on his hooves without acknowledgment, but he did leave Creed with a bit of advice before his exit. "Beware your company, Creed."
A soft whisper snaked between the shivers that gripped Enziel.
"Do something," the whisper insisted.
It was a melodious and caring whisper, a gentle voice he could recall ever so slightly. A voice that reminded Enziel of the warmth of a life long since past.
"Please? Marcus..." The whisper halted abruptly.
Enziel turned. The fluid that rushed over his face caused him to blink his eyes rapidly. He could see between the moments of blindness the people who had gathered around him.
Were they here to rip the shivering flesh from his bones? he wondered. To indulge in his virgin mortal flesh, as he wallowed upon the tongue of his Father?
He felt again the whisper that cradled him warmly, fighting through the biting chill that enveloped him. "Marcus, do something."
The woman who stood nearest him covered her mouth with an open hand. She is beautiful, Enziel thought.
Her golden hair seemed to shimmer back at him, the strands that fluttered against her shoulder like waves gently lapping a shore. Her crystal eyes were soothing, gentle. She stared back at Enziel; queerly she watched him as he stood beneath the running chill.
"Mother?" The question fell unannounced from his blue lips.
He watched the woman longingly as she pushed the man who stood next to her. He stumbled slightly forward.
Enziel turned his attention to the man. His dumbfounded expression grew to agitation as he slapped at empty air behind him. He was a large man who caused Enziel to shudder from fear; a fear brought on from yet another memory.
"Marcus..." Enziel looked back at the woman. The others that surrounded the two disappeared behind the veil of liquid that stung his eyes. He felt his knees buckle as the weight of his mortality bore down on him. The chill, the stinging cold was worse than any torment he remembered in hell. The loneliness rushed in on him as he realized he stood in a place far from what he knew-a place where his nightmares resided.
"Please, he's just a boy," the woman cried.
"Mother," Enziel whispered back at her, holding out his arms before he felt his body jerk forward.
He looked over at the woman who rushed to him. He smiled up at her, his smallish body shivering beneath growing warmth. The woman wrapped her sweater over him and pulled him close to her bosom.
At that moment, he felt alive; he felt safe in her arms. Perhaps his exile would tolerable. Perhaps he had a second chance at life. The warmth of her hand through his hair made him feel safe. Home, he thought to himself.
He could feel the man who pulled him from his prison. Feel his presence, his firm hand resting on him. He felt the strength in the man's grip, felt the growing anxiety. Yet, this one was yielding. His grip was strong like his own father's, yet it was reassuring.
Enziel rose from the hard surface he fell to, draped over the man's arms. The fear that once gripped him subsided as warm eyes stared back at him. The man, could he care also? he wondered as he dared not say the word, Father.
Enziel looked up at the firing ball that hung high above him. He reached a weary arm above him. "Home," he mumbled before a shroud of darkness overtook him.
Copyright © 2003 by L.J. Blount