Category Archives: Cain’s Children in the New Age – Sam and Alix

Epilogue

The moon was full, hanging in the void like a chunk of marble. The hearse arrived later than scheduled but only by a few minutes. This had given time for everyone to arrive at the cemetery. The plot that would hold Reese’s coffin had already been dug. It was right next to the grave site of his mother, father and first wife. Their gravestones had been replaced dozens of times, the bodies and coffins were most definitely degraded beyond recognition.

Alix and Sam walked up to the hearse as it parked.

“Don’t worry about it girls, Bow’s got this one.” A short red haired man walked around from the drivers seat.
“We would like to…”

“I know but werewolves gain their true weight when they go. In human form, no-ones carrying him.”

Bow slid out of the side of the car, his extremities popping out of his torso as he got the space to do so. Moving slowly, clicking and whirring slower than normal he came round to the back and opened the doors.

“Go and join the others.”

Sam nodded and grabbed Alix taking her with her.

“Alix! Sam! Over here!” They heard a voice through the crowd of people.  It was Maeve’s.

*

“Who are all these people?” Alix thought out loud. They sat down next to Maeve in the seated area

“He created the refuge, you don’t think he had people who are sad to see him go?” Isaac spoke from behind her.

“None of them were there to help.” Sam snapped back at him.

“And there are some who are happy to see him go.” He shrugged.

“Are you one of them?” A girl next to Isaac asked, Sam and Alix had seen her around but didn’t know her name.

“Of course not, too many of our best have left us. Most of them all too willing. You two best be sticking around.”
“Who? Us?” Alix pointed at Sam, then herself in repeat several times. “Of course? Why wouldn’t we?”

“You never know these days.”

*

The funeral had started late and finished even later with everyone drinking until they couldn’t stand up. Sam and Alix woke up the next morning on the floor of Alix’s apartment. It was further away from the refuge (The place they were drinking) than Sam’s.

“Ugh.”

“I feel terrible.”

“Join the club.”

“I told you guys to drink some water but you didn’t listen to me.” A voice floated into the lounge from the kitchen.

“Uh?”

Lucifer walked calmly out of the kitchen and placed down a plate full of pancakes on the coffee table.

“You don’t have any maple syrup so I’ll have to disappear for a bit to go get some.”

“I, uh, what are you doing here Lucy?”

“You invited me last night?”

“I did, I must have been drunk… oh I remember now. You were really drunk too. How are you in the mood to make pancakes at this time?” Alix pointed at her half heartedly as her arm was really heavy.

“Yeah, It seems that I’m not going to ever experience a hangover, too much angel in here. Anyway off to get syrup.” All three of her wings flicked out like person would flick a wrist, then she was gone.

“Pancakes, huh.”

“I don’t know what you were talking about Sam, having Lucifer help us out will be awesome.”

“She can’t do anything that disrupts the balance, she’s not our ‘get of shit’ card like Reese was. We’re going to have to be more careful now Alix.”

“I know, I know.” Alix and Sam exchanged serious looks. Then they jumped at the Pancakes not waiting for Lucifer to get back with the Syrup.

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Chapter 20 Part 2

Reese climbed up the wall with Sam giving him a boost. Once he had steadied himself he reached down to help pull up the girls.  They made their way across the rooftops in large strides as akin to their animal’s pace.

They stopped a building away from the target, keeping low and peering over to get a good look.

“That’s it.” Moving slowly now they looked for an entry point.

“It’s already here.” Alix could feel the stitches presence, her soul still a little sensitive from when it was ripped apart.

“Fuck.” Sam muttered

“The plan sticks, Alix you can whip up a quick cage and Sam you can seal it even faster. I’ll push it in.”

“Are you sure you can do that?”

“The werewolf kind has the greatest physical strength of all the breeds, if I can’t, I don’t think anyone could.”

“Guns blazing then?”

“Let’s go.”

*

The Stitch had just made the last correction for the ritual circle. It put one of its hands on the ground next to the circle. The ritual would normally require chanting for several hours depending on how many people were helping. That is for focusing energy into the ritual.

Bright blue light made its way through the salt as though it was water in trough. The stitch grunted loudly as it pumped its own power into the ritual. There was a bright flash as the blue light connected on the other side of the circle.

The salt was now gone, blown away. The metal body in the middle twitched. The stitch moved slowly over to it.

“Hah, haha, hahahahahahahahahahah! I really did outdo the Baron, my creations brought me back to life!” The stitch grabbed its creators metal body by his arm, bringing him to his feet. “Thank you. You can let go now.” The stitch held a bit tighter. “Hey, let go.” The stitch pulled his arm off with a jerk, it wasn’t designed to stay on. “Ah!” With a soul implanted, the metal body would feel pain.

Shattering glass echoed through the room. A Puma and a Black Panther landed softly behind the stitch. Then a towering black mass of fur slammed into the ground behind them, cracking the concrete floor. All three let out a blood curdling roar.

The stitch turned to face the trio. It slammed the metal arm into its own side, the flesh grew back around the elbow of it, sealing it within. “No!” Professor Rowe screamed.

Reese unfolded his knees standing straighter.

“Now!” He bellowed out. Alix and Sam leapt to the sides. Reese jumped at the stitch, His mighty paw slammed into the stitches head knocking it to the ground. He didn’t stop pounding.

Alix transformed back to human along with Sam, she leaped onto a metal catwalk that was bolted to the side of the room. Grabbing onto the railing she started to to transform it. Sam jumped up behind her and put her hand on her back, giving her energy as help would be all she could do for now.

The stitch pushed off Reese, throwing him into a wall. It jumped after him and bashed him against the wall again. He grabbed the stitch by its feet and pulled them up, it’s head smacking into the ground. Holding it’s feet he swung the stitch into the wall he had hit.

All of sudden the catwalk was a large steel plated box, Alix hopped off the side while Sam used a chalk charm to seal it with runes. The stitch kicked Reese in the ribs sending him toppling to the side.

Sam opened the door on the side of the box once she had finished printing the runes on the sides of it.

“Reese! It’s done get it in here!” He nodded blocking a haymaker from the stitch. Slamming his head into the stitches chest he pushed it almost all the way into the box. He ran at it, Alix ready to close it.

The stitch flicked its arm out, punching Reese in the stomach as he got close, winding him. Reese staggered back. The stitch walked up and put its hand with fingers outstretched into Reeses belly, piercing flesh as it hit.

Reese gurgled and continued to stagger back until he hit the wall.

“Reese!” Alix and Sam yelled. Sam jumped in between the stitch and Reese. The stitch let out one of its soul shearing screams. Sam put out her hand as though she was gripping the air. A charm hanging from her wrist.
“Sam!”

“Memories of the bomb first dropped and the sigil of death! Get out of my sight!” A yellow light shot out of Sam’s hand exploding in fire as it hit the stitch. Flying backwards into the cage Alix slammed it shut sealing it with her transformation magic.

“Wow Sam, that was amazing.” Reese gurgled again from behind them, he was back in human form.

“I knew you guys could do it.” He had a slight grin on his face as well as a bit of blood. Sam and Alix knelt beside him
“You’re going to be okay Reese I can heal you.”

“No you can’t Sam. Heh.” The air around them blew into the center of the room. Lucifer landed kneeling in front of him. “And you’re not doing it either.”

“I… I should have been here.”

“Nah, we did great.” Reese grinned again.

“Hey guys, not to be a bother or anything. The stitch kinda’ has my arm, I could get trapped with those souls.” The metal body of Professor Rowe came out from his hiding place. Only Alix turned to look at him, her face could have killed the faint of heart.

“The only person who could ever deserve such a fate is you!” With a flick of her hair the metal body became air.

“Without even touching him.” Reese blinked a few times.

*

“Hello Samael.”

“Lucifer, didn’t expect you’d be here. Hello Sam, Alix. Reese.” Sam and Alix glared at the female body Death had inhabited for this trip.

“You came for me yourself Death?”

“Sure did, would you like to have some last words?”

“Yeah. Sam, Alix, I imagine Doctor Calm’s told you, she always had a problem with me. I’m not as young as you think. I’ve been around a while and I created the refuge, as a home to all our kind.”
“Why didn’t you tell us before?”

“I don’t actually know honestly, I guess I just liked the idea of being young again. But yeah, my last words, after all the time I lived before, You guys have been the best friends I’ve had, you’re probably some of the best people I have ever met. Don’t let the world change you for the worst and you can always give me a call if you need any help.”

“Reese, please stay.” Lucifer mumbled.

“I’ve been here too long. Please look after them for me, I can’t always be there to put Mermaid scales in their coats and add protective coatings on their souls.”
“You did that?” Sam asked.
“So I survived because of you?” Alix figured out, Reese nodded.

“Okay time to go kid.” Death put out her hand and touched Reese on his forehead, then they were gone.

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Chapter 20 Part 1

Crumbs flew out of his hand, one of the birds managed to catch one out of the air. He gave a chuckle in astonishment. Shuffling around in his pockets he pulled out another handful of dried bread.

“Did you bring what I asked for?” Another man sat down beside him. Without a word he pulled a thick silver cylinder out of the inside of his coat.

The cylinder glistened in the sun, it’s intricate sketching reflected in such a way that it spooked the birds. All of them flew off as the cylinder touched mortal hands.

“Scroll 6-11-34 from the Alexandrian Archive of Mystic knowledge. Not even the world back then knew what was in this.” The other man moved it into his own coat

“I shall put it to good use then.”

“You know how to contact me when you are done.” He put his hands back into his pockets. His head slumped back, the hat on his head floated off gently to the ground. The face pale, one of the eyes pecked out. His whole body went limp as Death left him. The other man stared at the body for several minutes, deep in thought.

He carried the body all the way home.

*

Mold flowed down the walls, semblances of Greek architecture with the shape of the dark patches and their spacing.  This facility had not been used in over a decade. It wasn’t unfit, at the time of its decommission, it was merely too costly to maintain. It was a medical school, that made it perfect for what the Professor Rowe needed it for.

“This is the same body I had when I gave you the scroll. What have you done?” Death stood in the middle of one of the classrooms, the body having decayed over the months it hadn’t been inhabited. “You could have just called, why did you pull me back to this disgusting thing?”

“Because I cannot have you meddling.” Professor Rowe stepped into the classroom from behind death. “Not when I have you on the ropes.” Death turned to look at the Professor but didn’t focus on him. He saw the large cages, containing the abominations of flesh and soul. “How many true immortals have you created with your curses Anubis? Ten? Fifteen? Well I have created Six, where’s your balance now?”

“Those things, they aren’t immortal. Albeit horrible disfigurations unwanted by any realm, they will die eventually.”

“Can you be so sure, anyone of my creations could hold your essence completely, no external energy. Their spirits fueling the seal that holds them together.” Death went silent. He looked down at the circle surrounding him, a complex shielding ritual, nothing in, nothing out. The human body bound his powers to the lowest possible amount, it would degrade and he would be free but that would take too long.

“When you die you won’t be allowed anywhere after this.”

“The deal we made guarantees my soul purgatory, well Tartarus.”

“You will never enter my house.”

“Baron Om gets to be there.”

“You are nothing compared to the Baron.”

“I’m better, I succeeded where he never could, I have you beat.”

Death grabbed his left wrist with his right hand. He mumbled a few words in Afrikaans then made a swift jerk pulling shoulder out of place. The crack echoed through every hall in the old school.

“Good for you, you beat me, but you forgot my name.”

“What have you…?” The cages holding the Stitches popped open. Screeches filled the night.

*

Professor Rowes body lay limp on the ground, most of it, the rest was in pulpy messes around the room. The larger of the Six stitches turned to Death, even in a decomposing host his posture and demeanor radiated pure confidence. The Stitch slammed its hand in to the shield at a speed rivaling a jet. A white sheen sparked just as violently as the attack was repelled.

Death pointed at the ground where the circle was. One of the stitches caught on, it flopped onto the ground, unsure of its legs. It wiped away the mix of spices and salts, before the stitches could take another swing death was gone.

Even he was unsure how to deal with the nightmares Rowe had made.

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Chapter 19

In the cosmic game of balance, the land of the living is the factory for souls. When the living die they can stay, tormented as souls ripped from their bodies or go to one of three places. Those places are commonly known in this day and age as heaven, hell and purgatory. Those whose souls are well maintained go up, those whose souls were indulgent go to hell. Despite the dogma, either way has its own rewards and failings. Those who are fully balanced, practice magic or are already owned by death will go to purgatory, a place of peace.

Those in heaven or hell are held there until they become angel or demon, respectively. Those in purgatory are generally at rest. Only souls in purgatory can be pulled back into the living world without intervention by angels or demons. Even so, a soul that has not been gone long is still restless and must be pulled back through a certain conduit. Such as an item that was treasured by the soul, its body or the room in which its body died.

The body of the stitches creator had been burned as well as many of his belongings. The knowledge he had was not some that the refuge wanted someone to get. The room he died in is only known by a select few. The stitch was the thing that had killed him, it knew exactly where to go.

*

“Sam, Alix, where have you guys…” Reese looked up from the bar and the red body walking behind them. “Oh, you got the stuff then.” He gave the golem a quick scan from bottom to top.

“Gerard met Reese.”

“That’s a pretty nice golem you have there, I should get you to make the next batch of kitchen golems.” Mr Red was behind the bar cleaning glasses endlessly.

“We spoke with Calm’s, you may want to come with us Reese.” Alix made small movements with her feet. Reese got up quickly.

“Leaving so soon? You guys don’t want to have a drink or some food?”

“Sorry Red, we have some things we need to get to.” Sam started to move towards the door. Reese gave Mr Red a half smile as they left.

Mr Red rested his hands on the bar top, he gazed out from the bar. There was couple of people sitting quietly by themselves, clearly more interested in their drinks.

“What can I do for you Lucy?” He said without looking at the girl who had suddenly appeared on one of the stools.

“How do you people always know?”

“Because you are extremely obvious. You want a drink?”

“Yeah, Rum if you got it.”

“It’s a little early for that.”

“Put some cola in it then.”

He sighed deeply as he poured her drink. “What’s got you in downer?”

“You were watching as Reese left yeah?”

“Durh. Of course.”

“They’re going after the Stitch, as if I didn’t know. It makes them that much stronger, thinking they have to save the world while the superiors want them to stay safe.”

“It’s not like they have to get that much stronger. Reese Blackwood the, would be, king and the titan-slayers.”

“Do you celestials really call them that?”

“We like our mythic titles, yes.”

Lucy sighed this time. “You want me to go help them huh?”

“I know you were going to, so I didn’t ask.”

“Fair point. However, I’m probably going to save it until one of them gets hurt.”

*

Gold flecks glinted in the metal mannequin as the stitch lay it in the correct spot. The evening sun caught in the holes the stitches made when they first left this old school. Hopping side to side, unable to walk correctly with different sized legs, the stitch moved away.

The circle and symbols surrounding the body were sloppy and the salt they were drawn in had blown around quite a bit.

It would suffice, especially as the stitch could now tap into a considerable power. The same power holding itself together.

*

“I don’t expect that it will have gathered the ingredients yet. That’s even if it has the knowledge necessary to perform the ritual.” Calm’s spoke through the phone again. This time at Reese’s apartment, he was well stocked for weapons and supplies, just in case the refuge was less of an actual refuge.

“Actually I beg to differ on that one, bringing back the dead who are roaming free in Purgatory is one of the first things a Warlock will learn. There is most definitely a mage in there with that knowledge.” Reese cleared his throat after talking.

“Still as we all know, there’s only one way that stitch is going to be able to bring the maker back. It would take a while to get the correct casing equipment. That even if it’s able to find a smelter with enough gold on hand.”

“I really hate that we’re poking holes in this Doctor but it doesn’t have to be fully gold, an alloy or pieces that are gold would work.” Sam pointed out half-heartedly

Alix rubbed her wrists, she didn’t like where this was going. Reese stood up and started to walk away. “Let me make this straight so we don’t go around in circles. Stitch should have had time to get the ritual all worked out. So Alix, Reese and I should go to where the creator was killed and set up an ambush. When it comes, we beat the shit out of it and trap the fucker.”

Reese turned around and nodded, a devious grin on his face. Alix popped her claws out flexing them just as deviously. Dr Calm’s sighed audibly over the phone.

“You guys are crazy, please don’t die.”

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Chapter 18

The Golem’s feet slopped as it moved. It didn’t leave any traces of clay behind, nor leave any marks in Sam’s carpet. The magic that held it together, held it well.

Alix poked it with her finger, making a little hole in the red tinted grey muck that made up the golem.

“It’s not as tough as Doug was.”

“I haven’t finished him yet.”

“Oh.” Sam held her hand out almost touching the flat piece of clay that would have been the face. The clay started to crack open, right where his mouth would have been. The crack reached around to the back of his head. The top of his head lifted as the crack opened further. Pieces of clay slopped of the top half of his head, assimilating back into the bottom. His head was open, revealing a hole down his neck. “That’s horrifying.”

“Yeah, a little.” Sam stepped away from the golem that was now absolutely still. It seemed even taller than it was before.

Sam knelt down, she pulled out a draw from the coffee table. She grabbed a square sticky note and a pen out of the draw. Placing the note on the table she quickly wrote down what was needed on it. The name of the golem, the name of its owner and several words written in Hebrew ‘Earth, Fire, Soul, Servitude.’

Once she was done she popped back up, looking directly at the frozen mound of clay. Slowly Sam rolled up the sticky note, she half placed it half threw it into the hole in the golem’s neck. After several silent moments the golems head started to pull itself back together.

The clay made a wet slapping noise as it snapped shut. The flat patch that would have been its face returned with no sign of its recent split. Red patches slowly grew on its face as though it had seen someone undressing. The colour grew exponentially until he was more brick than clay.

The golem rolled its shoulders as its arms grew larger. His entire form grew and defined. The brick moved as though it was still a fluid, forming  more human muscle structure. Oversized biceps and  triceps, pectorals and abdominals, larger and more defined than any bodybuilder or previous governor of California.

“Alright Gerard, stop showing off, go compact please otherwise you won’t fit through any doors.” Sam waved her hand the golem sealing her control over it.

“Yes mistress.” Gerard’s voice was like it came out of the deeps of the earth.

“… And don’t call me mistress. My name is Sam.” The golem silently nodded accepting the information. His false muscles rescinded like the rest of his body mass. The liquid brick folded over itself seamlessly shrinking as it did so. Alix stood silent in awe, she had only seen Sam make a golem once before.

Gerard was now roughly the same size of Sam except without the bust and still half a head taller. He brought his hands out in front of him clenching and unclenching his fists, testing his strength.

“How will he hold up this time?” Alix came out of her daze as Gerard become less imposing.

“I’m not sure. At the very least he’ll be a lot harder to get rid of. So long as part of him remains he should be able to rebuild the rest.”

“Have you ever clothed one?”

“No, why?”

“Just seems a little impolite, having a naked man walking around behind you.” Sam just stared at Alix for a moment.

“He doesn’t actually have a gender, or a cock for that matter…”

“I know but…”

“But what? Are you seriously thinking about him as a naked man Alix?”

“He was all big… and muscle-y Sam!”

“Ugh! Alix!”

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Chapter 17

“You’ve told them what they need to know?”

“Yeah she told us, still not sure why we’re keeping something like that from Reese.”

“Oh, hello Sam. I’m on speaker phone then, I guess.”

“Yeah, sorry about that Doctor. I don’t much like to keep secrets.” Alix stared at the phone with a glare she had saved for Doctor Calms.

“You must understand, that ring will save many lives. Not only those, trapped in the stitch. There are many curses and seals that could be undone with it. Possibly even your own.”

“I doubt that doctor.” Sam’s first thought when she had entered ritual magic was to help those under Cain’s curse. “The four curses, as well as the soulless curse are far out of reach for any mortal magic.”

“The ring in question was crafted by none other than the Baron Om. I thought Alix would have informed you of this.”

“She did. Despite the Baron Om’s constant and usually successful battle with Death and the reapers, he could have never made something that could undo such things. Otherwise Death would have come for him much sooner than he did.”

“You’re right Sam. I was wrong to question your expertise on such artefacts. It would have come in handy before I tested the ring on myself.”

“Hang on, you did what?” Alix blurted out.

“Never mind that, we need to get down to business.”

“Right.” Alix blinked a few times to regain focus. “You said you know where the stitch is?”

“We do.”

“How can you know that?”

“An artefact like that has a very unique energy to it. One that is hard to hide.”

“And you’re tracking it. Can you predict its movements?”

“Mostly. But that’s not really the point. We’ve found that it’s looking for something.”

“You want us to get it first and use it as bait?”

“Yes.”

“What is it looking for?”

“Its creator.”

“Isn’t he, like, dead?”

“Has that ever stopped anyone?”

*

Bringing someone back from the dead is never easy, but there are a myriad of ways to do it. The easiest way is to make a deal with the angel or demon that has control over the area that their soul ended up. The cheapest way is to force their soul into a vessel or some form of enchanted item, it doesn’t have to be a living creature. However being cheap, means it’s not easy.

The stitch stood over the furnace. Smouldering ashes flickered light over its patches of faces. Whenever a magic called for metal object it had to be cast by the person casting the spell. The sweat and effort that went into its creation was as a part of the ritual just as much as the other ingredients.

The collection of souls that it had gave the stitch unparalleled power but also a wealth of knowledge. Mainly for magic but also metal work it seemed. Using its stronger arm it pulled the crucible out of the fire and poured the molten metal into the castings it had made. It did this several times until it had all the pieces it would need to make the large metal doll. The doll it planned to put its creator’s soul into.

*

“Oh yes, Reese rushed through my order!” Sam exclaimed as Mr. Red gave he the parcel.

“You can make your golem again, yeah?”

“Damn right I can. Come on, I’ve got to see if that boy’s still in my bed and get this ritual going.” Sam dragged Alix out of the refuge and down the street.

Both Alix and Sam noticed the feeling of emptiness in the apartment. The telling signs of a room recently occupied by a soulless breed.

“He didn’t even leave me his number.”

“Aren’t boys supposed to call girls?” Alix joked.

“Tell that to Kelvin.” Alix pointed at her with an accusatory look. “Ok, so my Golem mat is the cupboard under the sink and can you fill a bowl of milk for me.” Alix nodded and moved towards the kitchen while Sam opened her parcel on the coffee table.

Sam pulled out the contents. A soul infused rock, a vial of black sand and a self-sealing plastic bag packed with clay pulled from a volcano. Sam went all out when creating her personal golem. It would have the soul from the rock, the raw power of a volcano and the versatility of black salt. All while being a self-repairing clay golem.

She opened the bag and flopped the clay out onto the table. Flattening it out, using the sand like flour on dough. She finished moulding it around the rock when Alix called out to her.

“Your milk’s off!”

“That’ll be why he didn’t stay, can you transfigure me some?”

“Can’t.”

“Why not? I saw you make some this morning in the refuge.”

“I can’t be doing the same magic tricks all the time, my critics would go nuts.”

“Alright then Houdini, you can escape my apartment and walk down to the shop for me then.”

“Fine. I’ll make your damn milk.”

Sam got the rest of her ingredients out from her ritual room. She would have done it in there but she was keeping the return portal set up nowadays to make sure she could always escape a sticky situation. Even if she forgot it was there half the time. She mixed the assorted herbs and powders together with the milk and placed the Clay figure she had made in the bowl. Alix put down the mat and sat somewhere she couldn’t interfere with the ritual.

Sam had made mats for all of her common rituals, it made it easier then writing all the runes out each time, and drawing the circle which had to be almost perfect. She said the words and threw the last of the ingredients over top. There was a pause in the air. Then the clay figure grew out of the bowl, Soaking up the milk.

It almost touched the ceiling before it stepped off the table.

“Oh hello dear, how I’ve missed you.” The golem nodded with its featureless face.

“What are you going to call this one?”

“Gerard.”

“Really?”

“What? I have to make up new names every time I make one of these. I’m running out okay?”

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Chapter 16

“There’s something I can’t get out of my head Sam.”

“What? This stitch thing?”

“No, well, yes. But something else as well.”

“Well…?”

“It was something the doctor said about Reese.”

“What did she say?”

“She said he started the Refuge.”

“What?”

“I know, crazy right.”

*

“I feel like I’m dying.”

“You’re kind of right. Your bodies dying. Drink this.”

“Isn’t that like, I don’t know, a bad thing.” She took the cup of orange sludge and tried to get as much down as she could. Coughing, instead of throwing up.

“It would be, except in this case, we want to get rid of the soul that’s in there.”

“Oh.” Lucifer rubbed her shoulder and looked down at the ground in shame.

“Don’t feel that bad Lucy, she accepted this. She gets to go to a nice place afterwards anyway thanks to your purifying effects.”

“Doesn’t mean I shouldn’t feel bad for killing someone.”

“People kill people all the time, some even do it when they are sure that the person will go to hell. You’re not even really killing her, I am.”

“Then how are you okay with it?”

“I’ve been alive long enough to learn how to deal with it. That doesn’t mean I’m okay with it.”

Reese drew a circle on the ground around where he had propped Lucy up with a pile of pillows. He drew the symbols around it from memory. Lucy remembered what they meant in her language as he wrote them. ‘Bind, seal, commit’ repeated around the circle.

He handed her a large silver medallion without stepping into the circle. She inspected it, making sure it was tarnish free. Inscribed on the front was more of her language, it was her name.

“How did you get this?” He continued working on the circle lines and symbols without answering.

He straightened up and grabbed another medallion out of the box he’d brought to carry the supplies. Lucifer stiffened up in all the places she could still move.

“A vessel free.” Reese pointed at her. “A name given. Bind and bound and bind again, seal the soul for time remain. The Catalyst shall be me.”

“No! Reese!” The medallion in his hand went red with heat. He only held more tightly. “You idiot!” The room’s contents started to shake and tumble.

“What else was I supposed to use? There’s no other children with only one curse anymore!” He started to shout over the noise of slamming and crashing.

“There were other catalysts!”

“They wouldn’t have worked!”

“You can’t know that!” She was pulled off the ground into the air.

Her wings expanded out from her back. They were not feathered, two of them weren’t, well one of them was. The one on her right was not held together it was just the bone-frame, but it wasn’t bone. The wing was a black substance, it had no edge to it, like it was sucking the light out of the air around it. Silver letters in angelic script were inscribed around each finger of the wing.

On the other side another wing was pulsing and moving like fire spreading across a wall, the black waves curving and waving. The feathered one was not black but a dark purple, unlike the others that were rising up behind her, the purple one swept around her from the left. Feathers fell from that wing, disintegrating into sparkles and disappearing as they touched the ground.

Her eyelids grew bright, they opened bursting out blue light, thick trails of glowing tears streaked down her face. Her hair had instantly grown to waist length and flew as though air had rushed up from below her. There was a crack like thunder, her hair dropped back down revealing large pieces of gold swirling around her head. Each piece had the same angelic script on them as her skeletal wing, some of the bits were dented and cracked. Large gaps were evident in the halo swooping over her. The wings behind her dropped over her shoulders as she dropped her head.

As the room went still there was an eerie silence then another crack of thunder. Her head flew back, as did all of the wings. Her left shoulder had a large silver spaulder upon it now. It elegantly flowed up into two points. The rest of her torso was bare. She had kept the breasts of the human body but they were just skin, bare like that of a child’s doll.

More silver armour was wrapped around her feet and legs all the way up to her groin which was also nothing but skin. Her mouth fell open. She yelled, her true voice shaking the building, probably the whole area. A line of black symbols started to form on the right side of her face, each drawing themselves, down along her glowing tears. They didn’t stop at her chin, they kept drawing all the way down, over a breast and along the stomach until they reached the top of her silver legging. As she regained control over herself she swept her feathered wing back around. Reese stood in awe, he almost asked her to not cover herself, he didn’t think he was ever going to see a true angel again.

“How long will I be in this form?” Her voice was no longer thunderous.

“As long as the body takes to reshape. I probably should have mentioned this earlier but some of these things won’t be absorbed back into the body.”

“What do you mean?”

“Bodies are built around a soul, she can only contain so much of you, even after this.”

“So I’m going to be stuck as a genderless angel on earth?”

“No, no, no. From what I can guess, you’ll just keep the wings, maybe the armour.”

“Keeping the wings! But doorways and hallways?”

“They are spiritual in nature, they’ll act like they always have. Invisible to those without sight and untouchable to things without balance.”

“Wait.” She looked down at herself. “Will I get my clothes back?” Reese pushed his lips together and raised an eyebrow.

“I’m sorry but I don’t know.” She frowned but it was hard to see due to the shining lines down her face.

“There’s something else I wanted to ask you.”

“Then why haven’t you asked?”

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to hear the answer.”

“Well don’t leave me hanging now.”

“Since I’ve been in this body so long, I’ve started to feel much deeper emotions. Why? And will it get worse?” Reese stepped closer to the glowing angel.

“An angel is only emotion, you don’t have a shielding. Being in that body didn’t make you have deeper emotions, you’ve just started to realize what they were because the body made you feel the lack of emotion.”

“So what I feel is real?”

“More real than anything anyone else has ever felt.”

She uncoiled her feathered wing and flicked it out. She lightly nudged Reese with it. He stepped forward again. She got it up behind him and pulled him in without resistance. She grabbed him and planted her head in his chest again. He awkwardly placed his arms around her, avoiding the wings and worrying about glowing tears on his shirt. She was warm all over despite being mostly naked.

She continued holding him in with her wing and arms until she had regained a mostly human form. She didn’t get her clothes back, but she didn’t care. He pulled away a little and looked at her in the eyes. The glowing eyes and tears were gone, so was the broken halo. The line of symbols still ran down her right side. Lucifer lowered her wings and used them to pull herself up of the ground.

“What?” She asked

“Wait for it.” Her head fell onto his shoulder. Her wings no longer holding her up.

“Why can’t I move my head?”

“The thing about being attached to a body is that you’ll have deal with those extra body functions.”

“Eating and shitting? I’ve done that before.”

“But you’ve never slept.”

“Oh.”

“That body has been awake for years.”

“Shit. Um…”

“Yeah, I’ll put you in my bed.”

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Chapter 15

The bar that housed the refuge was also a restaurant, as could be figured out by the tables and chairs that were in abundance around the drink bench. Signs outside said that it was only a bar, it was also called The Refuge, non-surprisingly. Mortals occasionally came in, mainly it was big burly men looking for a quiet place to sit and drink away from their wives and responsibilities. The other occupants didn’t bother them. The people who weren’t magically inclined would never think to look just little bit harder at things. So they would never see the true forms of the more scary creatures to dwell in the bar.

Thras swaggered out of the corridor into the main bar area, he was still clothed like he was when Alix saw him leave her in the hospital. His shadows hung above him, grabbing at the ceiling keeping out of the way of anyone who might pass by him. Sam spotted him first. She watched as he walked up to the bar, the look of fright appearing on the face of a regular mortal drinker. He hadn’t seen the tentacles. Even most magical creatures couldn’t without a special artefact, however Thras’ kind did look generally malnourished.

“Are you alright mate?” Sam heard the man ask.

“Oh yeah, I’m fine.”

“You don’t look fine.”

“Well, except for the cancer, and the chemo. But hey, life’s a bitch right? Drink to it?”

“Oh hell, damn man. Yeah I’ll drink to that.”

The three of them smiled at that, Thras acting like he had a short time to live. It was a change to the feeling of dread they felt after Alix had told them about the Stitch and its new found clarity. She would have to tell Sam about the ring later.

“How are we doing this?” Reese interrupted the silence.

“We wait for the doctor to call back and then we go and fuck shit up. Clearly.” Sam put forward an idea. “Cause we’re just that awesome.”

“It’s not that simple. We need to catch it, there’s no way we can kill it.”

Alix held a glass of water in both hands. Staring intently at its contents, letting herself lose focus on the rest of the world. It rested between her palms, she lifted it slightly off the table. The moisture on the outside of the glass stuck between the bottom and the table.

A piece of her hair fell onto her face.

She pulled the glass up another millimetre, the water disconnecting from the table.

The strands of hair flicked back onto her head without intervention.

She put the glass back on the table. Its contents now thick and pale. It’s a simple trick, turning water into other liquids. It doesn’t take much effort as most liquids contain water anyway.

“I’ll have to make another cage.” She put the glass of milk back on the table.

“I don’t think we’ll have to worry about warding it against attacks. The black magicians were few and far between before you got most of them caught Alix.”

“There were a lot of them there at the diner.”

“That was all they could spare, all the ones that the stitch didn’t kill were held in place with your stun crystals.”

“So the only thing we need to worry about is the stitch. That’s something I suppose.” Sam ran her hand through her hair. “If Maeve and Isaac can deal with six of them, and a demon invasion… then I think we can handle this one.”

*

Lucifer leaned back. The vertebrae in her lower spine clicked loudly. This body had a terrible posture. It would be something she would have to fix when she took it over completely. She twisted her head, getting rid of the knot in her neck. Opening her eyes, looking out behind her.

“Hmm.” She turned her head the other way. “Shouldn’t be able to turn that far around.”

The couch creaked as she pulled herself off. Her legs buckled as she put her weight on them. She fell straight down into a heap. “This is a fine mess you’ve got yourself into Lucy.” She dragged her way across the hotel room. Beside the front door a telephone sat on a small table. She knocked the phone off and pulled it over to her.

Holding down the star button the phone started to ring the front desk.

“Hey this is the Refuge front desk, you’re speaking with Naz.”

“Hey Naz. It’s Lucifer, if you see Reese can you tell him… Um. Tell him that he took so long that I can’t feel my legs. He’ll know what I mean. “

“Um… Okay?”

“Thanks Naz, I’ll give you a tip when I get out of this place.”

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Chapter 14

Vibrating in her pocket, her cell phone started to ring. The ringing wasn’t a conventional tone, Alix had changed it when she had got it as a replacement for the one she lost in the vampurist attack. It was the sound of a purring cat, over and over in a loop.

“Hey, you’re speaking with Alix.” The phone came up with a number but no name.

“Alix, It’s Doctor Calms. If you’re in the refuge I need to you go outside.”

“Okay?” Reese looked at her from across the table, questioning with his face.

“It’s imperative that we talk in private.” Alix waved off Reese’s looks and got up. She covered the bottom of the phone.

“I need to take this.”

Standing outside in the shade of the refuge bar she uncovered the phone. “What’s up doctor?”

“We know where the stitch is.” Alix made a little choking noise. “The guard it ran off with, it added him to itself. The guard was a Manananggal.”

“Managal?”

“Manananggal, a soulless.”

“But the stitch can only add complete souls to itself, how could it add a soulless?”

“That’s the point Alix, the outer soul layer that the guard would still have was added.” “What does that mean?”

“It would appear that it has made the Stitch more lucid. It came here and stole the artefact we were planning on using on it. A ring made by the Baron Om that was supposed to be able of breaking any runic seal.”

“You mean, an insane, powerful creature now has the ability to take apart any seal we could place on it?”

“That’s what I’m saying yes.”

“Jesus H. Fuck. I need to tell the Mr Red about this.”

“No, you can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Because I know what the refuge does.” The doctor tensed over the word ‘know’

“What are you implying?”

“Alix, the refuge gathers and hides all powerful artefacts. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing in all cases but that ring is the only chance we have to separate the Stitch. I’m not having it sit in a hole for the rest of time.”

“But I have to tell them, they’re hunting it right now if they don’t know…”

“They won’t find it. It’s thinking now, it’ll be hiding properly, with all the knowledge of the souls it has.”

“Then what am I supposed to do?”

“Get Sam tell her, have Reese help you. Don’t tell him about the ring.”

“Reese is my friend, I can’t just not tell him about something that could get him killed.”

“Reese is the reason the refuge exists, he will make sure that ring gets disappeared.”

“What are you talking about, Reese is just another werewolf?”

“Reese created the refuge. Never mind that, I have to go, I’m trusting you on this Alix, you and Sam. I know you won’t let anything bad happen just don’t tell anyone else about that ring.” The phone cut out.

‘Reese is only sixty, the refuge is hundreds of years old, what was she talking about…?’ Alix’s thoughts were cut short when she saw Sam run into the refuge from down the street. She hadn’t noticed her pacing as she had left the bar.

Alix jogged back to the refuge reaching the table Reese and Naz were sitting at as Sam did.

“I need to tell you guys about some…”

“Vampire.” Sam cut in.

“What?” Alix’s mind did a cartwheel.

“Sam, what are you talking about?” Reese cut in as well.

“There’s a Vampire working at Isaac’s shop.”

“Oh. That.” Reese settled in his seat, previously ready to jump out of it.

“What do you mean; Oh. That?” Alix shot him a look her thoughts coming back in a darker shade.

“That’s Sarah.”

“Sarah?”

“She’s one of the last Vampires…”

“You mean a, real, actual Vampire?” Sam found her way back into the conversation.

“Yeah, like my roommate. One of the three last known Vampires.”

“But didn’t you guys kill all of them like a year ago?” Naz contributed seeing as both Sam and Alix had put blank looks on.

“Nah, that was the Vampurists. They were calling themselves Vampires for the most part but they were so far from it.”

“So you mean? I ran over here? For something you already knew about? And wasn’t such a big deal anyway?” Sam started to take deep breaths, her body only just realising it had run across town.

“Pretty much.” Reese chuckled.

“Damn it.” Sam found a seat at the table, continuing to take large gasps of air. “And I left a perfectly good boy in my bed.” Reese chuckled again.

“Do you want some water Sam?” Naz tapped her shoulder.

“That would be lovely dear. Are you a waitress now Nashul?”

“That’s the third time today. Heh, yeah I am.”

“Oh cool.”

Alix, Sam and Reese were now left in silence as Sam attempted to get her breath back. Reese had gotten himself some breakfast while Alix had been out. He went back to devouring it. Alix thought to herself. Not liking the restrictions the doctor had given her but sure they had a reason. Even if that reason didn’t seem to be based on a correct fact.

“So. What did you want to say before I barged in Alix?”

“Stitch.”

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Chapter 13

The refuge bustled. More and more people arrived every day. Only increasing since the recent successes they had against the vampurists and stitches. Even the most powerful of Children of Cain had something to fear and word was quickly spreading that the refuge hideouts were capable of doing something about it. Especially the one that Isaac, Maeve, Sam and Alix frequented.

Alix didn’t bother writing her name in the sign in book. Swearing the oath allowed her permanent access through the runic shielding so long as she upheld the promises. She moved through the crowd surrounding the bar. Over hearing orders for food and drink. Mr. Red spotted her and waved her around the end of the bench.

“Can you spare a minute to help?”

“I really can’t.”

“I just need you to train the mermaid.”

“Naz?”

“Is that your name?” She poked out from behind him nodding her head, making herself as small as she could.

“What will she be doing?” “Taking orders, we’re going to need more help if this keeps up.”

“Okay. Naz come over here bring the pad.”

She waddled over, still unsure how to use her human legs. Made sense seeing as the only time she had really used them was while she was pregnant. Alix gave her some pointers on how to write orders. Making sure to write them clear enough for the Golems to read, so they cook the right things and send them to the right table. Golems perfect for that, much like a robot, only taking certain inputs.

It seemed that having Alix here had instantly increased her confidence. She was standing straight now, speaking clearly to the customers. Looking over at Alix every time she passed an order out back.

“Looks like you’re a natural. I’ll be over at the far table, come over if you need any help okay.” Alix handed an order for herself through the kitchen window. She vaulted over the counter on the side where it was clear of people. Making sure to look awesome as she did it, if Naz wanted a role model in Alix she was going to make sure it was a cool one.

She sat at the table. Reese said he was going to be here ‘after sorting out things with Lucifer’ in a note he’d left for her. Sam had yet to text her back, she wasn’t too worried knowing that she’d be sleeping off a hangover. Unlike Alix who was lucky enough to have the water forced on her by Reese the night before.

The place was still crowded but everyone had moved away from the counter now. Not including two people Alix recognised as other enforcers, they were talking to Mr Red. Naz came over with a large jug of water, sitting down across from Alix. Alix pushed her empty glass out. “Oh, you don’t want any of this. It’s salt water.”

“Ah, should have known.” She pulled her cup back. “So what are you doing here?”

“Working…” She gave a quizzical look, not sure why that wasn’t obvious. “Yeah, but the children?”

“Bluh. I drew a blank there for a moment. Um, my parents are looking after them. It’s normal for us, Grandparents looking after the next generation.”

“But breastfeeding?” Alix had the same look as Naz had.

“Hah. They’re already way past that, these babies are just for show.” Naz sucked in her stomach, pulled her arms behind her back and twisted her torso from side to side.

“Lucky…”

“Naz?”

“Reese!” Naz jumped up from her seat and wrapped herself around him rubbing her head into his chest with almost sisterly affection.

“Are you working here now?”

“Yeah. Red’s got me taking orders.”

“Nice. Did we find a room for you guys?”

“They’ve got me, the kids and the parents in two apartments that are connected together.”

“You getting enough sleep? I know parenthood is hard on the body.”

“Yeah, my parents are being really helpful. And Sadir is going to move in and help with the Selkies that I’ve got.”

“The boyfriend?”

“Yeah.”

“Looks like you guys are going to be okay.”

“All thanks to Sam and Alix here.” Naz turned and smiled at Alix. Alix smiled back, she couldn’t help but wonder if this was a ploy by Reese to make her feel better. Reese was pretty good at it, she was actually feeling better.

*

Slowly waking. She felt the hand over her waist. Her hand lay over it. He was pressed up against her. His skin softly and gently nudging her as she breathed. She took a sharp breath of shock before realizing the reason he wasn’t breathing was because he didn’t need to.

Sam looked out from under her covers. The sun was a white patch through her curtains even though they were the darkest ones she could buy. Her room was clean, apart from the clothes thrown around in a hurry to remove them. She rubbed the hand on her waist as he stirred behind her.

“You awake?”

“Yeah.” Her voice harsh from drinking and smoking. “Wow, I really need some water.”

“I’ve got something better.”

“This a ‘bite into your arm and drip blood into my mouth’ thing is it?”

“Nah, that wouldn’t help anyway. Unless you wanted to be a shaphist.”

“Yeah, nah. What have you got then?”

“In my pants pocket, mermaid scales.”

“Curious.”

“Huh?”

“Sorry, I’ve just been seeing a lot of mermaid related things lately. Where did you get them from?”

“Uh, the magic shop? Are you interrogating me?”

“Just checking, mermaid scales are expensive and I am part of the refuge you know? Isaacs magic shop?”

“Yeah I know. That’s the one but Isaac’s never there, it was a Vampire working there. Never thought I’d see one again.”

“A vampire? Sonofabitch, I need to go.”

Sam dressed herself in minutes. She grabbed a scale out of his pants, breaking it in her mouth.  It cleared her headache that was just starting to settle in. A runic seal just behind her ear activated with a touch. It lit up and glowed for a moment as it re-applied her makeup and combed her hair out.

She grabbed the door handle to the apartment exit, stopping for a moment.

“Damn.” She whispered under her breath. “Hey, there’s food and stuff in the fridge! Leave your number somewhere! Sorry about this!”

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