Chapter 2


"You're lying," Lily spat, her green eyes ablaze. "Angels aren't real. Good doesn't exist in this world." Yet her hand trembled against my neck, and I saw doubt flicker in her eyes for a moment.

"I know that for someone who's seen so much evil over the past years, it's probably hard to come to terms with the fact that there is good out there too. But believe me, I am what I say." I met her eyes squarely, not backing down. If I showed any fear, any weakness, I knew she would try to kill me.

"How come I don't see any wings? Oh, and lyres and halos. Why don't I add poofy clouds while I'm at it?" She rolled her eyes, a sneer ingrained on her face.

With her lips curled back and fury in her eyes, I barely recognized her from the last time I had seen her: her photo in her obituary. She was an adult now, not a sixteen year old girl. I had known she would look different, but I hadn't expected this. She was barely over five feet tall, but there was a fierceness and determination in her eyes that would have anyone sweating. She was slender, but the knife pressed against my neck was a grim reminder of how fast and strong she could be.

"Answer me, Clarence. Where are your wings? Or haven't you earned them yet," she growled, snapping me back into the present.

"It doesn't matter what I look like. But if you really want proof, there aren't that many things I can do to prove it to you. This might work, though." Without any warning, I grabbed her by the wrist so quickly that she didn't even have time to react. I twisted her arm and snatched the dagger from her fingers before slamming her against the wall.

"Believe me now?" I whispered, my mouth at her ear.

"Just because you're faster than me doesn't mean you're an angel," she ground out between clenched teeth.

"No, but maybe this will." I stepped back and threw her dagger to the ground at her feet. She spun around, ready to fight. Her eyes darted between me and her dagger.

"Go ahead, pick it up," I encouraged, raising my hands and taking a slow step back. Hesitantly, she bent and picked it up, never taking her eyes off me. I sighed, rolling my eyes. "Think about it. If I were a demon, why would I let you go?"

"I suppose that wasn't the most demonic of things to do," she said, and for a moment, I saw her resolve flicker.

"I'm here to help you. I'm not trying to hurt you. If I had been trying to kill you, I could've done that a few seconds ago. Please, Lily. Trust me. I know where the demons you're looking for are."

For a moment, interest flickered in her eyes, but she masked it quickly. "I don't need your brand of help. Now, do me a favor, and don't come after me again," she whispered, her eyes cold. Without another word, she turned away and headed for the door.

I grabbed her by the wrist and spun her to face me. She glared up at me, clutching her dagger in her free hand. I knew she was about one step away form stabbing me in the heart.

"Is it really that hard to accept help? You have no idea what you're doing. You're wandering around this country without a clue of where to go, and now, when someone comes to help you, you're too bullheaded to listen. You'll never find those demons by yourself. Admit it. The last five years have been pointless. You're no closer to reaching your goal as you were when you started. Does your family mean less to you than your pride?"

Her eyes flashed, and for a moment I was afraid I had crossed one too many lines. "Who are you to talk like you know me? You don't understand me. I don't need you."

"I want the same thing as you do. Let me help you. With my help, you might actually stand a chance," I said, grabbing her by the shoulders.

She tried to shake free of my grasp, but I held on firmly. She furiously spat her words at me as if they burned her tongue. "If you're so awesome, why are you asking me for help? Don't think I believe you're doing this all just to help me, since apparently you think I'm worthless. Why don't you just go solo?"

"Because I need the help of a human. And because the demons you want aren't in this world anymore. That's why you can't find them. They went back to where they came from."

Lily froze, her eyes widening. "You mean they're in..."

"Hell. Yes. And being what I am, I can't exactly just fling open the gates and waltz down there. But a human can. And what better human than you?"

She narrowed her eyes, her face calculating, curious. "And what's in it for you? Why would an angel want to visit hell? What's down there that you want so badly?"

I grinned, stepping closer to her so that she had to crane her neck to look up at me. "Does it matter? With me, you'll be safe, and you'll have knowledge that surpasses anything you've learned so far. Once you pop open the doors, I'll go down there and do my thing, and you'll do yours. It's a win-win situation for both of us. Now, Lily, what do you say? Do you have anything to lose?"

She smiled, her eyes fearless and bold. "You're pretty cocky, you know that? What's to stop me from leaving and finding this gate to hell by myself? I've taken care of myself this long, why do I need you?"

I sighed, closing my eyes as I spoke. "Because, Lily, it's not that simple. If all it took to open the gates was a human, it would be far too easy. There are seals on the door that need to be broken by special keys. And those keys aren't easy to come by. Lucky for you, I know what they all are, I even have a general idea of where we can find them. But you don't. And even if you did, the creatures that guard them are more powerful than me or anything you've ever faced. But with both of us, we might have a chance."

She hesitated for a moment, her brow furrowed. Her fingers moved to touch the delicate silver chain she wore around her neck as if it would answer her questions. "Where is this first key, and what is it? I want proof that you know what you're talking about, before I even think of trusting you."

I paused, trying to read her, trying to see if she was telling the truth. It was usually so easy for me. With her, it was different. But with her, I needed to take this chance. "The first seal is blood from one of the most powerful demons ever to live. Fortunately for the world, it was destroyed centuries ago. Unfortunately for us, that means its blood is in short supply. But legend has it that there's a drop of blood preserved on the pages of a very old book. The last I heard, the book is in Dallas, Texas. It won't be easy, though. I know that the demons know the worth of that blood, so there's no doubt in my mind that they have it guarded somehow."

"Thanks," she said, smiling gently. Breathing a sigh of relief, I dropped my hands from her shoulders.

Before I could even realize my mistake, she had turned and dashed for the door. She flung it open and dashed outside into the night without even glancing back.

Muttering curses to myself, I ran after her. "Lily, I'm going with you," I called to her, quickly catching up with her. "You can't stop me."

"Oh yeah?" she growled, and in one fluid motion, she spun toward me, her eyes alight with fire. Without even a split second of hesitation, she buried her dagger between my ribs. It slid in like a warm knife through butter, and for a moment, I didn't feel a thing. "I don't need your help," she whispered as she pulled the dagger from my flesh.

Wincing and gasping in pain, I fell to my knees. My hands instinctively moved to clutch the wound in my chest. The blood that pumped out was hot and damp, and the intense pain made the world spin. I pulled my hands away for a moment and saw how my fingers were stained scarlet in the night, my blood dripping softly to the ground. I glanced up toward her and stared into her eyes, unsure of what it was I was looking for.

She stood over me, watching me die. Her eyes were empty, dead. I closed my eyes, unable to look at her face anymore.

Sudden, blinding, white hot pain rushed through my veins and I clutched my chest, my fingernails digging into my skin. I threw my head back as my whole body spasmed, a shout tearing from my mouth. My eyes flew open for just a moment before I folded in on myself like a living Swiss army knife. I sat there in a crumpled, shuddering heap, my chest heaving with every breath.

"I wish you hadn't done that," I whispered after a moment, getting to my hands and knees. My heart pounded with the simple effort. I looked up toward her from beneath my sweat soaked hair, taking in the way her green eyes went wide, her lips parted. She was afraid, she was shocked. She had really thought I would simply die. As I straightened up, slowly climbing to my feet, I wondered what exactly she was thinking now.

"I really wish you hadn't done that," I repeated, shaking my head roughly, trying to clear my mind. With every breath, my vision focused and the world slipped back into startling clarity. I ran a hand through my dark hair, looking down at her. For the first time since we met, she actually looked scared of me. It was about time.

"What are you?" she breathed, tearing her eyes from my face to look at the bloodstained patch of fabric on my chest.

"I already told you. Do you believe me yet?" I asked, tugging up the hem of my shirt enough to show her the unmarked skin beneath the bloody cloth. With a sigh, I let go of the fabric and wiped my hands on my jeans, noting the crimson streaks my fingers left behind. I glanced away from her and toward the street, narrowing my eyes even though I knew that a grin was making its way across my lips. "Now, Lily, where's your car? We have a road trip to go on, and I'm in no mood to drive."

[A/N: Please feel free to drop a review and let me know what you think! Reviews encourage me to keep writing and give me feedback that I really need. I'll try to update soon. This is just my first draft and I know it's really rough, but I hope you're enjoying it so far. ~DarkHawk14]