Lucifer (Book 3, The Redemption Series)

BOOK: Lucifer (Book 3, The Redemption Series)
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Lucifer

 

The Redemption Series

Book T
hree

 

 

By

S.J. West

 

 

 

©2014 S.J. West. All Rights Reserved

Cover Art by Christina Holland

http://paperandsage.com

Chapter 1

Sometimes your heart makes decisions that your brain doesn’t agree with. When that happens, you can either trust your first instinct or spend precious moments debating with yourself on which course of action is best. I’ve always been one to trust what my heart tells me to do. It’s never let me down before, and I hope it hasn’t sent me on a wild goose chase for answers now.

I need to find out what Lucifer knows about my future. What is he trying to warn me
about? My heart is telling me that his true motives fall on the side of wanting to protect me more than they point towards him simply wanting to bolster his own position of power on Earth. I can’t just dismiss what I see in his eyes every time he looks at me. He cares for me, possibly even loves me in his own peculiar way. I know he loved my mother more than he loved anyone else in his life. And because of that once in a lifetime love, I know he will never intentionally harm the last remnant of his soulmate.

As I stand in Lucifer’s domain, I begin to question my rash decision to follow him to Hell. My heart aches with guilt because I know Malcolm will be upset that I didn’t wait to speak with him before I left.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t afford to have Lucifer’s phase trail close and shut me off from the answers I so desperately need. I hope Malcolm will be able to understand that I’ve done this for the sake of our future together. We need to know what Lucifer knows. Yet, every time my biological father warns me to stop seeking the seals, he phases to Hell like he thinks it will shelter him from the storm of my questions. He needs to learn that he can’t keep coming here to hide from me.

I look around at my surroundings and find them…not
quite, what I was expecting.

Snow falls all around yet never seems to reach the ground. The scene set before me is absent of its presence, and I notice the flakes which fall never land on me either. They simply disappear, not leaving a trace of their existence.

I find myself standing in front of a mammoth building constructed from blocks of limestone. The branching network of structures on either side makes it apparent that additions had been built on over a span of years. The main building has six floors and is cornered by turrets with conical copper roofs which have long since turned green with age. I look up at the sky but only see an unending darkness. There’s no sign of clouds, which makes me wonder what the origin of the phantom snow is.


You shouldn't have followed me here,” I hear Lucifer say behind me.

I turn completely around to meet his
disapproving gaze. He's sitting on the bench underneath the shade tree in what appears to be a replica of Malcolm's courtyard back in New Orleans. The change in scenery is disorienting. It’s like half the space is occupied by the building at my back, and the other half is a reconstruction of the courtyard.

Lucifer is dressed casually in a blue turtleneck sweater and jeans. His blonde hair is pulled back into a ponytail and peppered with the falling snow. I stare at him, wondering why he’s the only one being affected by the
snowfall.


I had to,” I tell him, crossing the few feet separating us until I’m standing directly in front of him. “You have answers that I need.”


I’m under no obligation to tell you anything,” he says, a scowl appearing on his face as he sits up straighter and crosses his arms over his chest. “You should leave now while you still have the chance.”

“Are you threatening me?” I ask.

Lucifer shakes his head.
“Still so naive, Anna.”


Then why don’t you enlighten me?” I challenge. “What is it that I’m missing?”


Not even I can control everything that happens in Hell. If it wants to keep you trapped down here, it will. It can warp your mind to a point where you become lost in your own thoughts. You’ll never quite know if what you’re experiencing is real or simply a figment of your imagination. You could lose your sanity here and never know it. Is that what you really want, Anna? Do you want to lose yourself to madness?”


Of course not,” I say. “But you keep coming here like it will protect you from my questions. You need to realize that I’ll follow you anywhere to get the answers that I need.”

A loud booming clang resounds in the air.
It's a haunting sound, like one you would hear in a nightmare warning of impending doom. Two more deep resonating tones follow it.


The show’s about to begin,” Lucifer tells me in a resigned voice. “You might as well sit down with me and watch it if you refuse to leave.”

Lucifer’s attention is drawn away from me to something near the building at my back. I sit down beside him on the bench and follow his gaze to discover what has captured his attention so completely. I lift a trembling hand to my lips and feel my eyes begin to burn with tears.

My mother and Malcolm are now standing on the front steps of the building.


Why are they here?” I ask, worried that I may have unintentionally altered their fates by coming to Hell.


They’re not,” Lucifer tells me, a note of longing in his voice as he continues to stare at my mother.

I notice that the figures of my mother and Malcolm are completely still,
like they're decorative statues that have been placed in front of the building.


I don’t understand,” I admit, looking over at Lucifer for an answer.


This is a memory… my memory,” Lucifer explains in such a low voice I have to strain to hear his next words. “Hell is different for everyone because we all have different triggers that truly torment our souls. For some people it’s physical pain. For others, it’s the pain of not living when they had the chance and allowing their fear to hold them back.”


And for you?” I ask, already having a good idea what torments him the most.


Reliving memories I have of your mother,” Lucifer says, confirming what I already suspected. “It feeds on my pain by making me experience key moments of our life together over and over again. And…I let it.”


Why?” I ask quietly, not demanding an answer but wanting to understand why he would willingly allow himself to be tortured in such a way.


Because…” Lucifer’s brow furrows as he stares at the figment of my mother, and I see a shimmer of tears glisten in his pale blue eyes. “Because this is the only way I can see her.”

The look in his eyes
and the way he made this simple statement makes my heart ache for his loss.

Lucifer’s words remind me of what Malcolm said when I told him I couldn’t promise I wouldn’t trade in my soul if it meant I could save his life. Malcolm told me then if I ever did that we would permanently be separated from one another after death. Heaven would be lost to me, and we would have to spend an eternity forever divided from one another. It saddens me to know that my parents are living through such
a hell. And for Lucifer, that was a literal state of being.

I notice that the falling snow is accumulating on Lucifer while it still simply fades when it comes close to me.

“Why is it snowing here?” I ask, thinking it peculiar that Hell should be so cold.


Hell has always been a mirror of my soul,” Lucifer tells me, his face looking drawn with a sorrow I can’t even comprehend. “Since Amalie’s death, I’ve felt dead inside.” Lucifer looks over at me. “If I could, I would let you kill me to take my seal and end my torment once and for all. At least an existence in the Void would numb my soul and finally bring an end to its pain.”


I don’t want to kill you if I don’t have to,” I tell him. “I was told there was another way to take the seal from you. I don’t suppose you would willingly tell me how to do that, would you?”

Lucifer stares at me
, but the distant look in his eyes tells me he isn’t going to give me the answers I need, at least not yet.

Another deep clang reverberates through the air like a death knell, and Lucifer returns his attention back to the scene near the building.

“You should watch this,” he tells me instead. “I think you’ll find it interesting.”


Why are you being so stubborn?” I ask, not even bothering to hide my aggravation with him. “Why can’t you just tell me what I need to know?”

Lucifer doesn’t even act
like he heard my questions. His attention is locked on the scene by the building, completely lost in the reenactment of one of his memories.

Curious by what I might witness, I
follow his gaze and watch too.

The figures of my mother and Malcolm finally begin to move.

“How many are in there?” My mother asks Malcolm as they walk up the steps of the building.

My mother is holding my sword in one of her hands, its blade blazing with
yellow-orange flames. Malcolm is holding a broad sword and dressed in his overlord outfit.


We were told most of the staff in the hospital are changelings now.”


Why would they take over a hospital?”


Very few people question the death of someone in such a place. I’m sure Lucifer sent them here to harvest more souls for him,” Malcolm says in disgust.


I still haven’t met Lucifer yet,” my mother says, as if she finds it a curious thing.


Count yourself lucky, Amalie,” Malcolm tells my mother. “I know I feel fortunate that I haven't had to deal with him for the last twenty years. Though, I guess it’s about time for him to rear his ugly head and start making trouble again like a spoiled child. Let’s just worry about killing these changelings for now before they cause any more damage.”

Malcolm opens the door to the building
and allows my mother to precede him.

The scene changes
as though we’re watching a movie, and I see my mother running down a long, dark hallway in pursuit of a man dressed in a white orderly outfit. When she reaches him, she yanks on the back of his shirt and throws him up against the side of a wall causing him to fall backward onto the floor. My mother's hands burst into blue flames as she wraps them around the man's neck, instantly turning him into a pile of black ash. Just as she stands back to her full height, I see Lucifer phase in only a few feet opposite her in the hallway.

When my mother looks up and sees him for the
very first time in her life, her lips part and there’s a perceptible quickening to her breathing. Her fingers loosen on the hilt of her sword, and it clatters to the tiled floor at her feet.

The look on Lucifer’s face in the memory is almost a mirror of my mothers. It’s one of utter disbelief.

They don’t say a word to one another, but there isn’t any need for them to.

I watch as a man and a woman
, both carrying knives, walk down the hallway behind my mother, but she’s so preoccupied with the sudden appearance of Lucifer that she doesn’t notice their stealthy approach. Just as they reach out to grab her, Lucifer breaks the connection with my mother’s gaze to look at them. This seems to unweave the spell my mother is under. She quickly phases to a point just behind the two changelings and grabs each of them by the neck, using her power to reduce them to nothing more than ash.

My mother looks back at Lucifer and asks,
“Who are you?”

Lucifer just stares at her
as if he’s lost the ability to speak. Finally, he says, “Someone you don’t want to know.”


How can you say that?” My mother asks sounding hurt by his words. “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this to happen.”

Lucifer keeps his face neutral, but even I can tell he knows exactly what my mother is referring
to. Slowly, he begins to shake his head at her.


You don’t want me as your soulmate. You don’t even know who I am.”

My mother is silent as she stares at Lucifer, and I see a look of
calm certainty settle over her features.


I don’t think it much matters who you are,” my mother tells him. “Because whether you like it or not, we’re meant to be together. Why are you trying to deny it?”


Because making me your soulmate is a punishment from God.”


For who?” My mother asks defensively. “For you or me?”


For both of us,” Lucifer says. “You should just try to forget you ever saw me. I think we will both be better off if I just disappear and not return until after your death.”


No.”


No?” Lucifer says, his eyes narrowing on my mother. “I don’t think you’re in any position to dictate what I choose to do with my own life.”


Even if you want to leave me alone, I don’t think you can make yourself do it,” my mother tells him with such certainty there’s no point in Lucifer even trying to form an argument. “And besides, I won’t let you hide from me.”

One corner of Lucifer’s mouth lifts in a small lop-sided grin at her statement.

BOOK: Lucifer (Book 3, The Redemption Series)
8.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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