This is the first chapter of my twenty-six chaptered novel. I will write more on this later, but here is the beginning. Read it and let me know what you think, what thoughts or questions or concerns come to your mind:
Chapter One: Nephilim (Diana’s Point of View)
Emma glances at me with uncertainty in her hazel eyes.
“I don’t think we’ll find anything here, Diana,” she whispers low and sounds defeated.
As we lay on the brown grass hill waiting, I know she’s probably right. We’ve been lying on our stomachs here for almost three hours skimming the woods with our eyes. I pray a bird will fly overhead or a white-tailed deer will scurry its way through the brush. Her stomach growls. Her hunger is apparent, but her fear of the night overrides her survival instinct.
“We can’t leave yet. I haven’t caught anything. You need to eat,” I reply, yet I know we only have so much time before the monsters come out to prey on humans like us.
In Kamsa’s territory we didn’t have to worry about the demons finding us out at night because our home was in the woods. Here, in Beelzebub’s territory, the monsters are everywhere when the sunsets. If we don’t catch something soon, we’ll have to leave hungry with night creeping up on us. She won’t be angry with me for our leaving, but I can’t go just yet. It’s my job to take care of her now, so we must stay.
“Ten more minutes,” I promise her. “If we don’t get anything by then we’ll leave.”
Her golden blonde hair sways, barely brushing against her shoulders as she shakes her head. “Fine. Ten minutes,” she agrees and gazes at the sun, which is slowly descending.
The minutes fly by and before I know it, it’s time to go.
Pulling herself to her feet, Emma wipes off her gray pants. She never stops glancing in the direction of the sun. The sky turns a purplish-orange hue as the sun makes its way over the horizon of the hills. A reminder that time is running out. She reaches down to grab my hand and stops when tree branches moving and cracking alarms her.
I pull her down to the ground. We skim the woods from our summit to find the source of the noises.
“Over there, Diana,” Emma points to a tree dead in front of us a few yards away.
Following her direction, I see the tree limbs shiver and notice a fat little figure with black, brown, and orange fur gripping a nut in his dark tiny hands. A fox squirrel. Emma smiles at me and hands me the bow and arrow laying on the ground beside her. Taking it, I place the thin arrow into the centerfold of the bow and adjust my fingers on them with the gentlest hold.
The wind blows slightly and the chilly breeze whistles passed us. Silence follows as I inhale a deep breath. I hold it, and sit up until I’m on my knees positioning the arrow at my target. My right hand pulls the arrow and string back. I release both of them and the arrow disappears from my grasp. It soars through the air, the trees, and hits its target.
A second later, I see the squirrel drop from the branch and plop onto the ground.
There’s no time to waste now. We come out of our hiding place and run down the hill in leaps to where our dinner awaits us motionless, breathless. Months of hunting had put us in sync with each other. Emma removes her backpack and unzips it without saying anything. Crouching down, I scoop the little thing up with my hands and place him inside the backpack lined with old newspaper from the times before Lucifer’s reign of Earth.
Sorry, I think to the dead squirrel, but we have to eat.
“It’ll take us a while to get back into town. We have to leave now if we’re going to get there before sunset,” Emma tells me and hands me the backpack.
We get moving, speed walking through the stretch of trees with barely any leaves, across dried up grass, and over the creaky bridge that’ll lead us into town. I remove the hair tie from my hair and let my long chocolate brown hair fall down in loose waves because it’s getting colder as the sky darkens. I look over at Emma and see her pull her sweater shut tight. I make a mental note to find her a jacket as soon as possible.
The luminescence from the moon lights our way into town. The streets are vacant of all life. It’s already dark and past curfew. Silence echoes from every tall and small building. I don’t have to look at Emma to know she’s afraid because I am too. An unsettling feeling crawls in my skin that we won’t make it back to our temporary home in time. We have a few blocks to go before we’re safe.
We have to make it, I tell myself assuring. I can’t let anything happen to Emma. We’ll make it.
A cold, bone chilling sense makes the hair on my arms stand on end. I turn my head slightly, so I can see behind me. The street looks the same, yet I know it’s not. Shadows begin shifting in the darkness. My pulse quickens. Dark wispy shadows are following us a few yards away. I look forward now alert. Emma doesn’t notice my sudden change in mood.
We turn the corner and I see her start to look behind us.
“Don’t look back,” I whisper to her.
She keeps looking forward and does her best to remain calm. Her wide eyes, fidgeting hands, and forced breaths betray the calm demeanor she’s trying to maintain. I know this situation brings up bad memories for her, yet I can’t stop it.
I take another side glance behind me. The shadow is still following us, but it’s not alone. Right behind it are more shifting shadows. They move in unison with the other. More demons, I realize.
Slipping the backpack off my shoulders, I hand it to Emma. She slips the backpack on and grips tight onto the straps. She doesn’t glance at me. Nonchalantly, I rest my trembling hand on the hunting knife at my waist and flip open the strap holding it there. The tiny hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The shadows are getting closer.
“Run!” I yell to Emma.
She bolts off down the street without looking back. At an intersection, she turns the corner onto another street and disappears from my view. She’s safe, I reassure myself. She’s safe.
Turning around, I see I’m not alone. A demon stands before me. His pure black eyes glare down at me. My breath catches as our eyes meet. My heart plummets into the deep abyss in my chest. I snap out of the shock and try to pull my knife out of its sheath. Before I can react, his cold pale hands reach out and push me hard. My feet leave the ground and I’m flung into the wall of a neighboring building. The impact causes an implosion of pain in my right shoulder.
He comes running at me. I move to the left out of his way, right before he touches me, and run. Exerting all my leg muscles I run down the street. I know he’s following me, so I don’t glance back to see where he’s at.
Arms wrap around my waist like a snake squeezing the life out of its prey. He uses all of his body weight to knock me down onto the ground. I hit the pavement and he flips me around, so I’m facing him.
“You shouldn’t have been outside past curfew,” the demon tells me in his dark, alluring voice. “What will I do with you now?” He sighs, yet I think he already knows.
We struggle as I try to break free of him. He laughs like it’s a game. His fingers wrap around my neck to stop my oxygen supply. I place my hands on the muscles of his left arm, lift the midsection of my body, and use all my strength to push him to the left. We roll over and now I’m on top of him. I reach for my knife and wrap my fingers tight around the hilt as I pull it out. There’s no time to waste. I drive the blade downwards into his heart as hard as I can manage. It’s the only place I can think to hurt him.
There is a crack, pop noise as it goes in. His eyes round with disbelief and his lips part open. A second later his body goes limp and relaxes. He doesn’t move anymore. I killed him and to stop my own death.
Relief fills me, but quickly fades as another feeling consumes me. An almost euphoric warmth rushes threw my body from head to toe. I hop off him and look down at myself. My skin begins to radiate a golden glow.
All across my collarbone, shoulders, and arms a collection of odd black symbols appears. I pull at my blue blouse and stare down at the symbols. I don’t know what to make of them as they continue to appear on my skin. I’ve seen these symbols before as a child, yet I can’t remember where and when. Seeing them on my flesh scares me.
Out of a thick black mist a figure forms near me and a demon manifests out of it. He watches me with a mixture of fascination and disgust. His head tilts slightly to the side as a sinister smile forms on his mouth.
“Nephilim,” he exhales surprisingly.