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Authors: Tiffany Aaron

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BOOK: Fallen: Celeste
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"Just keep an eye on Jakar. So far, you are doing what he
wants. If you upset him, he could kill you."

"Jakar wouldn't touch me. Not if I threaten him with
you." Adam grinned.

"I'm just as dangerous as your pet demon, Adam. I could kill
you with a simple thought. Do you have enough confidence in yourself to be able
to deal with that? Will you trust me enough to believe I would never hurt you
willingly?"

Adam watched Celeste drive away from him. He flagged down a cab.
Instead of heading home, he went to the only place he knew of to find some
answers.

CHAPTER SEVEN

It had been a long time since Adam had set foot in a church. He
stood in the vestibule and stared up at the large stained glass window behind
the altar. The light from the setting sun caused the colors to flare in streaming
reds and yellows down the aisles. There was a feeling of timelessness about the
old church. Adam could almost feel the prayers of the people who came every
Sunday to talk to God. He turned as a door opened to his left.

An elderly man dressed in black with a white collar greeted him.
"How are you today, sir?"

Adam shook the man's hand. "I'm fine, Father."

"You are not one of my regular worshippers. I would remember
a face like yours. Why do you come here?"

"I have some questions, Father. This church is on my way home
and I thought I could ask you for the answers."

"Ask me if you must. I can't promise to have the answers for
you. There are some things that defy explanation. I am Father Michael."
The priest gestured for Adam to follow him into his small office. "Can I
offer you coffee, my young friend?"

Adam wanted something stronger, but didn't think the priest would
have any whiskey. "Coffee will be fine, Father."

"I would offer you a stronger drink, but we are here in the
church and He tends to frown upon His priests getting sloshed." Michael's
wrinkled face broke into a grin while his brilliant gray eyes sparkled at Adam.

Adam wondered if the priest had read his thoughts. He took the mug
when it was offered to him. Michael had fixed it the way Adam liked it. He
narrowed his eyes and wondered if he had ever seen the man before.

"I don't know you from Adam," the old man said,
chuckling.

"How did you know my name?" Adam started to stand. He
was getting nervous.

The priest waved him back to his seat. "Even an old priest
who rarely leaves his church knows the name of the leader of the Demons. It
pays to know your enemies."

Adam was puzzled. "Enemies? I haven't done anything to this
church or you before. How can I be your enemy?"

"You condone violence against your fellow man. You live the
old adage, an eye for an eye. Every night, my parishioners hear those words and
they seek to take vengeance on those who have harmed them. How can you not be
my enemy?"

"Then why allow me to come in here? Why talk to me and treat
me as a guest?" Adam demanded.

"Even Jesus sat down with Judas, Adam." Father Michael
studied him. He seemed to know how his words were affecting Adam. "Sit and
talk to me a while. Tell me what it is you wish to know."

Adam took a deep drink of coffee. He stared at the cross on the
wall behind the priest. He wouldn't feel guilty for what he had done to
survive. The world was a hard place and he'd had to be strong to make it as far
as he had.

"I've met someone."

The priest looked a little surprised. "Have you come here
asking for relationship advice?" He chuckled. "I must admit I would
have thought that a man like you would have no problems with women."

"You would have to meet Celeste to understand why I need some
answers."

"Miss Celeste Young?" The gleam in the priest's eyes
suggested that he knew Celeste quite well.

"Yes. Do you know her?"

Michael nodded slightly. "Let's just say I know of her. What
has she done to confuse you?"

"It's what she says she is that's confusing."

The priest didn't say a word, just lifted an eyebrow in question.

"She tells me that she's a fallen angel." Adam ducked
his head. He couldn't believe he was actually contemplating accepting her
story.

"There are more things under heaven and earth than we will
ever know," Father Michael said. "Excuse me for paraphrasing
Shakespeare, but the bard was right. Why do you think she's lying?"

"I don't believe in angels, fallen or otherwise."

"And yet you are willing to accept demons?"

"I can deal with demons. I've dealt with human ones all my
life. I've never had anything to do with angels." Adam stood and moved to
the window in the office.

"True. Your line of work doesn't lend itself to dealing with
good people." Michael stared into the fire burning cheerfully in the
fireplace. "What do you want to know?"

"Is she crazy?"

"Celeste?" Michael laughed. "No, my son, she isn't
crazy. At least not yet. She has managed to keep her mind through all these
years."

"Then you think she is an angel?"

"Yes, Adam. I know she's an angel. But not a card carrying,
flaming sword and golden winged angel. All that was taken from her the moment
she left Heaven." There was a melancholy tone in the priest's voice.
"Now in many ways, she is no different than you or I."

Adam didn't say anything. He stared at the old man, trying to
decide if he could believe him.

"I can tell you the legend of the Fall of Lucifer if you
wish. Maybe it would help you to decide."

"Tell me, Father. Of course, then I'll have to decide if I
truly believe in Heaven." Adam reclaimed his seat by the fire.

Father Michael stared into the flames for a moment, as if
gathering his thoughts. Sighing, he said, "I can't convince you of the
reality of Heaven, Adam. You will have to see it for yourself. But know
this—Celeste Young will never see Heaven again. She forfeited her right when
she listened to the lies of the Daystar."

"Daystar?"

Father Michael didn't acknowledge his question. "Lucifer or
the Daystar was the most beloved of the angels. He was even more beloved than
God's own archangels."

"Bet that caused some jealousy," Adam muttered, thinking
of how his men fought amongst each other to gain his favor.

"Why would it? They were created to adore God. The archangels
were made to perform His requests and enforce His laws. They weren't made to be
jealous or angry over any favor that He might bestow on another."

"Seems something went wrong if Lucifer decided he wasn't
happy with things."

"It went horribly wrong. Lucifer became jealous of the power
that God gave to Jesus. He also hated the love the Father had for the fragile
mortals He had created. Lucifer was truly the first creature who ever thought
about himself. He thought what he wanted was the most important thing. He cared
nothing for others, only what he could get. He wanted the power that God had,
so he decided to take it from Him. He raised an army and tried to overthrow
God. The battle between the Host of Heaven and Lucifer's army was fierce, but
in the end the Host won. Lucifer and his followers were cast out of Heaven,
never to return. They were given dominion over the earth. The fallen ease their
torment by hurting the mortals God loves so much."

"What about Celeste? She says she's a fallen who has repented,
but for some reason, God won't let her back. She says that she's an Enforcer,
one of those who hunt down the fallen that have turned and killed mortals. Who
are the Enforcers and why won't God let them back into Heaven?"

Father Michael looked at Adam with sorrow hidden deep in his gray
eyes. A sorrow that told Adam the priest had a deep understanding of how the
loss had affected Celeste. "The Enforcers are merely legends as far as the
church is concerned. We have no real proof that they exist."

"But if the Enforcers don't exist, how do you know that the
fallen do?"

The priest laughed. "You're right. We don't have proof that
the fallen exist at all. Maybe they are all legends made up to make easy the
explanations for evil and cruelty that exist in the world."

"The Enforcers?"

"The legends state that there were some of the rebellious
angels who repented after the fall. They begged God to allow them back."

"And God said no. Why would He do that? If God is supposed to
be forgiving and loving, why would He turn His back on those who begged
forgiveness?"

Again, there was a flash of sorrow and puzzlement in the priest's
eyes. Shrugging, he said, "I don't know. Only God knows what our purpose
here in the world is. He must have a reason to deny them. So, they set out to
right the wrongs they've created by hunting down the fallen who have gone over
the edge. They hunt to get rid of the killers and rapists. Only the Enforcers
have enough power to end the fallen angels' reign."

"Okay. Where are her wings?"

Father Michael laughed. "If you check her shoulder blades
closely, Adam, I'm sure you will find two small scars. Those scars are all
that's left of her wings."

"Do you believe all of this? I suppose you must because
you're a priest." Adam still wasn't sure whether he believed any of it.

"It doesn't matter what I believe, Adam. It only matters what
you choose to do with the knowledge. You could walk away from her and have
nothing to do with her ever again which would be easier on both of you. Or you
can choose to stay, believing she's crazy, and enjoy what time you have
together." Father Michael stood, indicating that the meeting was over.
"Now, if you will excuse me, it's way past this old man's bed time. I'll
walk with you to the door."

Adam thanked the priest and followed him out into the vestibule.
He turned to hand Father Michael a donation. A beam of moonlight drifted
through the stained glass window behind the altar. It landed on the priest's
face. Suddenly, the old slightly stooped man was transformed into a tall,
eternally young man with brilliant silver eyes and a stern countenance. Adam
felt awe-struck as he looked at him.

"One last word, my son. Don't allow your doubts and fears to
hide the urgency. Tomas must be stopped. With each woman he kills, his power
grows. Celeste knows this and she will do what she must to end it. Be her
strength."

Adam nodded. He swung around to leave the church. Then he
remembered the money in his hand. Turning back, he gasped. The priest had
disappeared. There hadn't been enough time for him to get out of sight.

Adam stumbled from the church and waved down a cab. What a strange
experience. Maybe that was why he never went to church.

* * * *

Jakar met him at the door. The demon studied his boss. He saw the
confusion in Adam's eyes.

"Have you learned anything?" Jakar asked as he followed
Adam into the study.

Adam flung himself down onto the leather sofa in front of the
fireplace. "We can't be together because she's an angel and I'm mortal.
She'll slowly drive me mad. It's just sex and the glamour of fucking an
angel."

"Trust me. Don't make the mistake of falling in love with
her. Loving a fallen isn't easy. Celeste knows that. She has seen other fallen
try to live a 'normal' life. A life she wishes with all her heart she could
have, but knows she can't. There is madness haunting her soul and she feels its
grip grow tighter every day." Jakar poured Adam a glass of whiskey.

"What does a demon know about the torment of a fallen
angel?" At Jakar's start of surprise, Adam grinned. He accepted the glass.
Staring down into the amber liquid, he searched for answers he knew he would
never find at the bottom of the glass. "She warned me not to trust you.
You warn me not to trust her. It's a good thing I don't trust anyone."

"I'm a True Demon. I have been around since the beginning of
time, Montgomery. When the angels were banished from Heaven, many of them turned
into demons. They took Lucifer as their king and decided that tormenting humans
would make their miserable lives better. They made it hard for us.”

"Angels have always existed. So have demons. There is a
balance in everything. We've always managed to keep it that way. But with the
fallen, the balance isn't there. There is truly nothing to keep them in check
except for those marked with the brand of Cain."

Adam remembered the brand on Celeste's breast. "She told me
about that. So she has decided to help save humans from the fallen. Why would
she choose to do that? Why would she put herself at risk for people who don't
even know she exists? Why kill her own kind?"

"In a way, it is redemption for what she has done. Not all of
them chose to try and make up for their mistakes. I think that only the
strongest try. The rest have taken the easiest way out by being evil. I know I
can't make you believe if you choose not to. The fallen have managed to stay
hidden for thousands of years, so mortals don't believe in them anymore. The
saying that the greatest trick the Devil ever played was to make people believe
he didn't exist is true. The fallen have convinced mortals that they aren't
real, so when a mere mortal is confronted by the knowledge, it takes an Act of
God to make them believe." He poured Adam another drink and left.

BOOK: Fallen: Celeste
10.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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