Written at 18, based on a very vivid dream, from a novel long discontinued.
Two figures stood alone in an abandoned baseball field. A young boy with unruly black hair sighed, digging through the dirt with his feet. His towering figure haunted the pitcher’s mound, baseball in hand.
“I’m bored, Mister Death.”
Samael’s temple throbbed. He looked at his son in confusion.
Az waited impatiently at home plate, ice blue eyes appraising the uncoolness of his father. Samael looked at the baseball in his hand, then back at the bat in Ashton’s grip.
“Right,” Samael said, clearing his throat. “So Az. How about we forget baseball? Why don’t we go dragon-slaying? Or I can take you to a succubus strip show. You can bond with your old man.”
Ashton sulked. “You’re embarrassing me. You can’t even play baseball right.”
Samael drew his lips thin. “That’s unfair, Az. Your dad’s just as good as any pathetic fleshbag- I mean, mortal.”
“Then pitch the stupid ball already.”
“I will,” Samael hissed, forcing himself to smile. He wound up, as he’d seen on mortal television, then pitched to his son. The ball screeched through the air, catching fire as it smacked into Ashton’s bat.
Ashton narrowed his eyes in a killing glance. He struck the ball, sending it straight into Samael’s face. Samael’s eyes widened in surprise as the projectile buried itself in his forehead. He doubled over, cursing, rubbing his smoldering temple.
“What was that, Ashton?” he roared.
“You were supposed to catch it,” Ashton sighed, throwing the bat down. “This is lame. Just take me home. I want my old dad back.”
Samael’s eyes flashed crimson. Ashton gasped, but fixed his face with an uncaring gaze, trying to mask his fear.
“I’m your father, Asthon. And I am not lame.”
Ashton ignored him, marching to the car. Samael muttered darkly to himself, gathering the bat and baseball equipment.
“That’s the maggot’s genes, not mine,” he said darkly. He looked at his strange son. Ashton stood at the end of the car, gazing up at the gunmetal sky. Samael nearly shivered. His gaze, so much like Michael, was not Samael’s own. A cold, calculated force. The will of a God who ruled through blood.
Blood, and blood alone.
“You stole my dad,” Az said flatly, watching as Samael put the equipment in the trunk. Samael slammed the back, looking at his son critically.
“And did what with him? Put him in a cage with my pet harpy? That’s ludicrous, Az.” Samael opened the passenger door, waiting for Ashton to climb in. The boy refused.
“You killed him.”
“No,” Samael said through gritted teeth, “I collected his soul. That’s what angels of death do.”
“That’s not what mom said. She said you could have saved him, but you didn’t. All because you’re a ‘selfish bastard.’ I don’t know what that means, but it isn’t something good. I know that much, Mister.”
“Stop calling me mister! By the flames of Gehenna, I’m your father!”
“No you’re not.”
“Yes I am,” Samael said with a voice like knives. “And as for your adoptive ‘father,’ I did everything in my power to save him. Your mother is blinded by love. But she knows even I cannot defy fate. It was his time. That is all.” Samael sighed, shaking his head. “Not that you’d understand, Az. You’re just a child. Come- let’s get in the car. I’ll take you home.”
Ashton pursed his lips, glaring at Samael. He crossed his arms, shaking his head defiantly.
“No. You’ll just kill me next.”
“Why would I kill you, Az?” Samael asked, exasperated.
“Because you’re the angel of death.”
He laughed roughly. “Look in the mirror, kid. So are you.”
“No I’m not. I’m a human.”
“No, Ashton, you’re a Nephelim.”
“No, I’m a monkey. Except I got no hair and no tail, and I can do arithmetic. I’m real good at that.”
“I’m sure you are. Now will you please get in the car, Az?”
He did so begrudgingly. Samael found himself driving a sullen nine year old home. Az scowled out the window.
“I hate you, Mister Death. You’re no fun and you suck at baseball.”
“Well aren’t you just precious?”
“You left my mom. I hear her, y’know. She doesn’t know I hear so well. Sometimes, I hear the thoughts in her head. She looks at me, she thinks: ‘That selfish bastard, Samael,‘ and then she cries.”
Samael clenched the wheel, hollow-eyed.
The engine died. The car rolled into a ditch. A soft rain began to fall.
Az fished his army men out of his pocket and proceeded to blow things up. He didn’t notice his father, pale as bone, looking at the sky with a gaze that would curdle blood.
The mirror cracked, and the car’s glass shattered into silica dust. Az cried out as a howling wind bit at him, driving the shards into his skin.
“Life. It’s painful, isn’t it?” Samael said softly to himself. He turned to his son. “Az?” His guts knotted. Beads of blood- human blood- lined Ashton’s hands, mixed with demon black. Black and red. Samael cursed, healing his son. Ashton looked up in terror, lip trembling.
“I want my mom,” he whispered, crying.
“I do too,” said Samael.
“You can’t have her! I’ll never let you have her! I hate you, and your stupid lies! Get off me!” He kicked open the car door, racing as fast as his young legs would carry him.
Samael watched the trail of puddles fly in his wake.
There was a knock at the door. I sighed, opening it, Colt .45 in hand.
“Shannon,” Samael said, voice ragged.
“What did you do to my son?” I demanded. “You left Ash in the rain. A nine year old. Alone. In a thunderstorm!”
“He ran away,” Samael said lowly. “Chasing him would have driven the rift between us even deeper. He’s Nephilim – he can take care of himself.” He glanced at my pistol through narrowed eyes. “You know that has no effect on me.”
“It’s for security,” I said, voice low. “And it hurts like hell.” I cocked the pistol in warning.
“May I come in?”
“Be my guest,” I said lowly. “Just don’t break anything.”
Samael glided over the threshold, barely substantial. Weariness burdened his face. An old pang of sympathy stung me. I crushed it like a fly.
“What?” Samael asked, distracted by the photos lining the wall. His eyes strayed to my wedding picture. He reached towards it, caressing the silver frame. “So beautiful.” He murmured. “I remember our dance…”
He drew back, letting shadows wrap around him. “My apologies.” His gaze lingered on my husband. “He was a good man, you know.”
His words were like salt in a wound. I fought the storm inside me. “Tea?” I repeated, firm. My pistol dug into its holster as I leaned against the wall. Samael was beyond me. He devoured my images, captured in their frames. He saw the last- my college graduation- and stood still as the grave. He glanced over his shoulder at me, and flashed a tragedy of a smile.
“You haven’t changed a bit.” His voice was hollow. “I’ve been watching, all this time.”
My cheeks reddened in fury. “Yeah, I’m sure you have.”
“No. Not – son of a Gorgon,” he cursed, kneading his brow. He looked at me through shadowed eyes. “I never meant to interfere, Shannon. Only to protect you.”
“If protection’s a bite to the heel, then you’ve succeeded, Samael.” I balled my hands into fists, shoving them into my pockets. His face hardened. “You took everything from me. Isn’t that enough? Can’t you damn immortals leave us alone, in the ruins of our lives? Give us an honest chance to patch things back together.”
“I gave you everything I had.”
“I wanted nothing. Dreams are dreams. Not reality.”
He laughed roughly. “Oh maggot. You did. I heard you. Crying out across the night-”
“How was I supposed to ignore that?” he demanded, suddenly inches from my throat. He whispered harshly into my ear. “Shannon, you expect too much of me. I don’t read minds. Only souls.”
“Don’t touch me,” I snapped.
“I’m not.” His breath was hot on my neck. He raised a hand, slow, to my heart. “That’s why he was born of my blood. What gave you life took his mortality-”
“Enough.” My heart raced, and yearning raised its head like an old, bound beast.
“Just kiss me, Shannon.”
“No! Tea, you’re here for tea.”
He sighed. “You miserable worm.”
I walked into the kitchen, struggling for breath. He pretended not to notice as I slumped against the counter, fighting for composure. Samael eyed the dried herbs in the rafters and netted glass buoys hanging from the ceiling. He slipped into his angelic form, gazing about with ice blue eyes. I brought the kettle to boiling, attempting to ignore him.
“Shannon?” he said, voice raw. He looked at me in disbelief.
“What?” I asked, not bothering to look back at him. “Are you going to shatter my world again with another underhanded statement?”
I was greeted with silence. His face grew long.
“Holy crow,” I cursed, shoving the tea kettle on the stove. “Now what?” I demanded.
“There’s a little thing I should tell you. Now, however, is not a favorable moment.”
“Get out of my house!”
“Wait- ow.” He flinched, withdrawing the meat cleaver from his chest. “Unclassy, maggot,” he hissed.
“Don’t hand it to me covered in blood.”
“Then don’t stab me with knives,” he snapped. It appeared freshly washed in the drawer.
“I thought you enjoyed that.”
“It’s not the pain, Shannon. It’s the intent behind it that wounds me.”
“Just spit it out, Samael! Stop cowering behind your words.”
He groaned. “That,” he said, pointing at my stomach. “That’s the issue.”
A stone lodged in my throat. “What are you saying?” I whispered. I grew weak at the knees, leaning against the sink.
“That it’s either a problem- or a blessing. Considering who it came from.”
“You’re telling me I’m pregnant?”
He looked like a deer in the headlights.
“And this is why I should never drink,” I said, verging on hysteria.
“You would have done so anyway.”
“You drugged me.”
“No,” he said fiercely. “Puck drugged us both.”
“You can’t get drunk. You’re lying.”
“Fine: you drugged me, Shannon. Your presence is maddening!”
I was on the floor, crying in a senseless heap. “You miserable bastard! I’m pregnant. I’m fucking pregnant with the child of Death.”
“But you were before-”
“Shut up! Stop holding me. I don’t want your filthy arms defiling me-”
He buried his face in my neck, crying as well. Deep, low sobs that sounded like a starving wolf.
“Stop crying! You have no right-”
“You’re mine. I bloody well do!”
“I loathe you!”
“You love me!”
I lost what little shreds of sanity I had left. “You’re the root of all my suffering,” I choked. “So why? Why do I let you into my house? My bed? I’m putting Ashton in danger-”
“He’s my son,” he said fiercely.
“You’re no one’s family, Samael. You’re alone.”
“As are you.”
I looked at him, horrified. “What does that mean?” I demanded, enraged. “That my family was slaughtered? That my town was massacred? You think it’s a good time to remind me of that?” I asked, incredulous. “I sacrificed everything for your pathetic sake. You, and the vanity of gods who take shits on the earth for pleasure.” I laughed, almost mad. His eyes grew wide as saucers. “You’re nothing but rot, Samael. You poison all you touch.”
He looked at me grimly. “You’re lonely, Shannon,” he whispered. “You’re lonely. You feel alone.” He folded my hands into his, resting me against his chest. It was like being lulled to sleep by a lion waiting to strike.
I shuddered in his embrace. “I was fine without you, Samael.”
“No,” he whispered. “You’re not.”
I cried, beyond thought. The sheer pain of loss tore at my brain. “Why? Why did he die? Where he went: I’ll never go.”
Samael’s tears fell across my cheeks. They stung like acidic water. He kissed my brow, over and over as if sealing away my pain. “Shannon, that’s nonsense.”
“I’m damned, aren’t I?”
“No, Shannon. Of course not. Nothing’s damned.”
“I haven’t aged, Samael. I still look twenty one.”
He sighed, tracing the flesh above my heart. “When you want to die – Shannon, I can remove it. If – if I must.”
I gasped. “But you refused!” I accused him. “You’re – you’re giving me a choice?”
“You always had one.”
“No,” I said firmly. “I didn’t. You denied me death. When I ached for it the most.”
He smiled thinly. “Such is life, love.”
“I don’t love you.”
“No,” he murmured, stroking my hair. “Perhaps not. But you need me.”
“Like a thorn in the side.”
“By Gehenna’s flames, just shut up already and kiss me!” he said. “Enough of your abuse.” He pinned me beneath him, smirking. “I don’t take well to insult, worm.”
“This is how you comfort someone having a breakdown?” I sighed. “Not that there’s any surprise there.”
“Excitement cures sorrow.” He grinned, smug. “I am a thorn, Shannon. But with thorns, comes a rose-”
“Don’t even try, Sam.”
“The pest’s asleep?”
“Don’t call Ash a pest.”
“He’s my son; he’s an angel of death. We’re all pests.” Samael murmured in his chthonic tongue. “He won’t wake now.” He smirked.
“Did you just enchant my kid?”
“Perhaps.” He sighed into my skin, kissing my collarbone. His fingers danced across me as if savoring the touch. Trails of warmth shot through me. I threaded my fingers through his hair, traced lazy circles on his back.
“You haven’t changed,” I murmured.
“This is the worst decision of my life.”
“I can’t believe I’m doing this. On the kitchen floor.”
“How is this going to work?”
“You’re coming to Hell. Now kiss me.”
“No more commuting.” He groaned, frustrated. “Would you just fucking kiss me already?”
“This is just like in my dreams.”
“That’s because I’ve been in your dreams, in your head, at your shoulder, since bloody day one. You’re mine. I own you. End of story.” He undid my blouse with his fangs, smiling crookedly. “I don’t obey rules, maggot. And life is unfair. Any complaints you’re about to voice have been whined a thousand times.”
“What, are you omnipotent now?” I said, voice wry.
“No, but I know you-”
“-like the back of my bloody hand- Sweet mothers of Sodom.”
“Welcome back, Samael?”
“Welcome home, maggot.”