Det. Williams took a seat in the interrogation room. He sipped his coffee as he gazed at the eyes of the woman sitting across from him. She blinked as she looked back.
Williams turned his head to the side to face one of the officers in the room. “She’s been read her rights?”
“I’m not saying anything to you, Meanie.” the woman said.
“Oh, you’re free not to.” Williams chuckled. “But I imagine you’ll want to answer the questions I have for you.”
The woman raised an eyebrow. “Oh? What makes you think that?”
“I’m here to ask you about the Angel of Death. I understand you had an encounter with him.”
“Oh, you’re here to ask about him? Why didn’t you say so? I’d love to tell you anything that’d help you get him.”
Williams smiled. “I thought you would. Now, what led you to fight him?”
The woman frowned. “Ooh, except that. I’m not going to tell you that.”
“Why not? It’s not like you’re going to be hurt by it. We’ve already identified you as Anita Shepherd--”
“I am not either her! Nita is the mean woman inside me who wants to kill my big brother!”
Williams paused for a moment. “Inside you?”
The woman nodded. “Uh huh. Big bro says that if I ever let her out, she’ll kill him.”
Williams looked back at the officer. “Has she ever been examined by a psychologist?”
“No. She’s scheduled to be tomorrow. She’s been off the grid since she was six.”
“My big brother takes good care of me!”
Williams looked back at the woman. He raised his eyebrow. “Fill me in when that examination is done,” Williams said to the officer.
“Will do,” the officer said.
“Alright, then.” Williams took a deep breath and moved in his seat a little. “Is there anything you’re willing to tell me about the Angel of Death?”
“Oh, sure. We think he’s immune to bullets, but vulnerable to fire and explosions.”
Williams thought. If the Angel was vulnerable to fire and explosions, but not to bullets, it might mean that killing him required one to destroy his body entirely, as though he had some sort of regenerative power. “I see. Anything else?” Williams asked. “How did he fight you?”
“Well, he kept trying to throw sparkly things at me.”
“Yeah. Glowing green globs would come out of his cloud and explode when they hit anything. He couldn’t hit me though. I’m fast!”
Williams squinted at her. “Are you sure about that?”
“Yep. I didn’t get hit once.”
“No, I mean are you sure he was able to fire explosive bursts?”
“Of course I’m sure. Why? Do you not believe me?”
Williams knew of no substance that matched that description. Did this mean the Angel could conjure up a new type of matter as well? “Yes, I believe you.”
“Alrighty, then. Do you have any other questions?”
“Yes. What is it that made you think that the Angel is vulnerable to fire and explosions?”
“Sorry, I really can’t tell you.”
“Why not? Don’t you want me to trust that information?”
“I do, but I also want other things more. Oh, I did just think of something else though. When we were fighting, he was able to move really fast and jump really high.”
“I see. Well, thank you. Is that all?”
She thought for a moment. “Yep. I think it is.”
Williams wracked his brain trying to think of a creature from any mythology which had these properties. They’re humanoid, can darken the area around them, can move diseases between people, can move with phenomenal speed, can jump phenomenally high, can dispose of human bodies without a trace, speak with the deep voice he had heard on the recorded 911 call, and can fire green glowing bursts of something that explodes on impact with a solid surface, with something about all of these activities causing a corpse-like smell. He’d already considered all of the major mythological monsters. A vampire would have taken blood from the first victim. None of these powers was traditionally attributed to a werewolf, and witches and wizards did not have the shape-shifting properties. He’d already scheduled a discussion with a university professor on the topic, but in the meantime, he was perplexed.
Cody arrived at Cherie’s house with a suitcase. She’d just gotten a collection of an entire television show on ‘Blu Ray’ and was intent on marathoning it with him. As Cody approached the door, he wondered why they couldn’t just spell ‘blue’ normally.
Cherie greeted him as he entered. “Hi Cody.”
“Hi Cherry.” She led him inside and down to the basement.
“I’ve got snacks and stuff down here already. So, are you ready to start?”
“Sure,” Cody said.
Cherie turned on the TV. It was on a news channel. “We’re here live from the scene of the sixteenth in the recent line of murders by the Angel of Death. This time the Angel targeted a family of three. Eric and Tammie Powers, along with their twelve year old daughter were killed on camera--” Cherie switched the TV to Video 2 and turned on the Blu Ray player.
Cody stood for a moment, staring at the TV. Cherie turned to him. “Are you going to take a seat?” she asked.
“Oh, of course.” Cody sat down. Cherie put the disc in the player and started the show.
That night, as Cody lie awake, pretending to sleep, he smelled an especially strong fear trail from not too far away. Given the rarity of crime in Cherie’s part of town, it was probably Valthakar trying to summon him, and tormenting a human to do so. Cody got out of the fold-out bed and snuck upstairs. He looked around for a window. He found one, exited through it, and headed straight for the source of the scent.
He crept to the trail’s source. There, a man was being cornered, but not by Valthakar. It was a zombie. The corpse was putrid, the flesh so decayed as to not resemble that of a live man. Cody couldn’t help but find its appearance and smell beautiful. He couldn’t resist taking a large whiff. As the man cowered, Cody tackled the corpse and made it decay away. As soon as it was gone, Cody turned to the man. He was running away. Cody chased him down, tackled him, knocked him out, and erased his memory. He picked up the unconscious man and ran. He needed to take a soul from his usual hunting grounds, or else Williams would notice that he hadn’t. After running for a little while, Cody stopped, set the man down in a field. He put his hand on him, and increased his blood alcohol content to 0.25. Hopefully, he wouldn’t be connected to the Angel of Death. Cody stood up, looked out towards his territory, and set out to hunt.
Cherie woke up, feeling someone shaking her. “Cody, what is it?” she said. She opened her eyes and looked around. She didn’t see anyone. As she closed her eyes again to go asleep, she realized she felt thirsty. She got up, left her room and went into the main room in the basement where the mini-fridge was. She opened it and got out a soda. As she turned around to go back to her room, she caught a glimpse of the fold-out couch where Cody was supposed to be. She didn’t see him. Cherie figured he’d just gone to the bathroom, and sat down to drink her soda before returning to bed. After about twenty minutes, Cody was still nowhere to be found.
Odd, going to the bathroom wouldn’t have taken that long, and there’s not much else he could have been doing. Except for one thing… Cherie’s eyes widened. There was no way Cody was the Angel of Death. Still, Cherie stood up and decided to look around the house to see if she could find him. She looked around the basement. He wasn’t in the bathroom or anywhere else. Cherie went upstairs. He was probably raiding the upstairs fridge for something, or else just taking a while in one of the other bathrooms.
As Cherie reached the top of the stairs, she looked to the side. She saw a window wide open. Her eyes and mouth widened as she dropped the can of soda. She ran around her house, but wasn’t able to find him anywhere. As she went back to the window, she heard her heart pounding. Cherie looked at the open window for about a minute and cried. If he had left the house, it had most likely been to kill someone. Cherie sat on the floor and sobbed. Eventually, she forced herself to go downstairs and climb back into bed. She cried herself to sleep.
As Cody lay in bed pretending to sleep, he heard Cherie emerge from her room and sit on the couch next to him. She turned on the television.
“In other news, the Angel of Death has struck again. This morning, John and Marie Shoemaker disappeared from their hom--” Cherie gasped.
Cody stirred, pretending to be groggy. “What is it,” he asked.
“The Angel of Death killed two of my neighbors.”
Cody’s jaw dropped. Cherie put her head in her hands and cried. Cody went over and sat next to her. He turned off the TV. “It’ll be alright Cherry,” he said.
Cherie cried for a little while longer. “Cody,” she said.
“We need to talk.”
Cody smiled, and put his hand on her thigh, still lying down. “Sure, about what?”
Cherie’s tears intensified. “Cody, I was up last night. I saw your bed empty, and I saw the upstairs window open. I looked all around the house for you, and I couldn’t find you.”
Cody’s eyes widened.
“Cody, please, tell me you didn’t get up in the middle of the night, sneak out, and kill them.”
Cody sat there for a second. “I didn’t kill them.”
Cherie sobbed more deeply. “How can I know that’s true? What were you doing last night Cody? I looked all around the house.”
Cody looked down and shed a tear. He tried to lie. “I was upstairs reading.”
“Cody I can tell when you’re lying.”
“Then you know I’m telling the truth when I say I didn’t kill them.”
“Where were you then? Was it just a coincidence that you were gone the same night someone right next to this place was killed by the Angel? You weren’t reading. I would have seen you. You get this one last chance to explain yourself.” Cherie looked down. “I want the truth.”
Cody shed a tear. What was better at this point? Lying, knowing she wouldn’t believe it, or telling the truth, when she might tell the police? If he did lie, she would no doubt tell them what she had seen, and it was more than enough to condemn him. On the other hand, if he told the truth, he’d have a chance to persuade her. It wouldn’t even make a difference to Bavandersloth if he could get her to keep quiet on the details. Besides, without his family and her, Cody had nothing to live for. Cody sat on the fold out bed, and looked Cherie in the eye. “If this is a chance to explain myself, you have to hear me out totally, okay? You have to let me explain everything, and promise not to freak out, or do anything, or come to any conclusions until I’m done.”
Cherie looked at him and let out another sob. “Please, I’m all ears.”
“I didn’t kill your neighbors, or the baby, or any of the other innocent people who have been dying recently.” Cody put his head down and shed a tear, “but I am the Angel of Death.”
Cherie looked up at him, glaring with eyes full of tears. “Who have you killed then?”
Cody took a deep breath. “The day you were healed, I found a book. In it, there were instructions to turn myself into something; something powerful. Something that could,” Cody sobbed and put his hand on Cherie’s knee. She moved it off, “something that could help you.” Cody looked down. “I was stupid, though. I didn’t read the book very thoroughly before I did it. I was so excited to be able to save you.” Cody shed a tear. “I found out right afterwards that what I turned myself into...” Cody took a deep breath. “It had a hunger, and in order to satisfy it, I had to kill a person every night. If I didn’t… if I let myself starve for about a month, I’d go on a rampage, and kill hundreds of people.” Cody looked up. “I’ve been doing what I’ve had to, Cherry. I’ve only killed the criminals; one every night, plus four who tried to attack me, and ten who were threatening my family.”
Cherie cried for a minute. Cody reached out to pat her on the shoulder, but she swatted his hand away. “So there was no way around killing them?”
“No. Like I said, starving myself would have just--”
“Starving? You mentioned hunger earlier, too. Cody, do you eat something from them?”
Cody looked at her and took a deep breath. “Cherry--”
“Don’t call me that,” Cherie snapped.
Cody shed a tear. “Fine, Cherie, there are some things you might not want to know about.”
“Tell me.” Cherie raised her voice. “Tell me now or I’ll call the police and tell them everything you just said.” Cherie was still sobbing.
Cody looked down. “Cherie, sometimes it’s better not to know all of the most horrible…” Cherie reached over to the table for her cell phone. Cody’s head sunk. “I eat their souls.”
Cherie’s eyes widened. As Cody looked back up at her, she was frozen. She turned over to him. “You do what?”
“Cherie, if I knew I’d have to I’d never have made this transformation. I’m trapped okay? I can show you the book if you don’t believe me. It’ll confirm everything I’m saying. I had no idea I’d be killing this many people.”
Cherie took a deep breath. “So you didn’t know you’d kill anyone?”
Cherie’s eyes widened. “Answer my question.”
“I knew I’d have to move your cancer. Look what was I supposed to do? Just let you die?” Cody’s sobbing intensified. “Was I supposed to just sit back and let you rot away? I love you. You had everything going for you Cherie. You deserved better than cancer.”
“It wasn’t your choice to make, Cody. Maybe you could have asked me? If you had, I would have told you that I didn’t want to be saved by a murder, or at least that you should have read the damn book.”
“You’re right. That’s exactly what I should have done. I shouldn’t have let my emotions get the better of me, but I did, okay? There’s no going back and changing that now. Please, just forgive me, okay? I did a horrible, horrible thing and I’ve been trying in vain to atone for it ever since. Please, grant me forgiveness.”
Cherie sat and thought. “Did you plan from the beginning to find a crime in progress?”
Cherie sat and thought a little more. “Then I might be able to forgive you, later.”
Cody looked up at Cherie and smiled. He hugged her. “Thank you so much Cherie.”
After embracing his hug for a few seconds, Cherie asked one more question. “What happens to the souls you take?”
Cody sat back, and took a deep breath. “They’re digested, and when that’s done, they’re my servants. In theory, I’d use them to animate the dead, or spy. Though I’ve only twice wound up having them do anything, and in both cases, it was a matter of life and death.”
Cherie looked nauseated. “You still have them?”
Cody took a deep breath. “Believe me Cherie. I’d free them if I could.”
Cherie sat there. After a second, she got up and ran to the bathroom. Cody could hear her vomiting. After she came out, she sat back down.
“There is one other thing you should know, Cherie.”
“Can there not be?”
“You can’t tell anyone about any of this, okay? I don’t just mean not telling the police that I’m the Angel. I mean the details, like the book and the souls. I need you to keep those secret, okay? There are people who would be very upset if that information got out.”
“Like other creatures like me.”
Cherie’s face turned green again. “There are others?”
Cody sat for a second. “Yes.” Cherie ran back into the bathroom.
Williams sat alone in his office. The Angel of Death, or if he was right, the Angel’s imitator, had struck again. This time, he had targeted a family on Cherie Lambert’s street. A quick phone call had revealed that Cody Giles had been staying the night with her. Williams almost eliminated Cody as a suspect right then and there. That this was someone’s pathetic attempt to frame him was obvious. Williams wondered if his hypothesis about a second Angel had been wrong, and these last few days had been the real Angel’s attempt to frame Cody. No, if that were true, the Angel’s normal killings would have stopped. This was definitely an attempt by an imitator to implicate Cody.
The only question was why? Why would someone other than the Angel want to frame him? Perhaps they had a vendetta against him? It would be quite the coincidence for another person with these powers to happen to have a vendetta against one of his suspects.
Williams’ eyes widened. Perhaps Cody was the Angel, and this had been the fruit of a rivalry between two such creatures. No, not just perhaps, it was the only plausible explanation. The only other reason to do this would be to deflect blame off of Cody by making it look like someone had been trying to frame him. But only the Angel would be likely do that, and this killing wasn’t done by the Angel. Williams had previously dismissed Cody as a suspect on the basis that his profile didn’t match that of the killer, but that was before he’d considered the possibility of a creature who had to kill in order to survive.
It all made sense. If someone with Cody’s profile was bitten by one of these creatures, or cursed or some such, and they had to kill to survive, they might try to take advantage of their power by healing their girlfriend and others, and killing the perpetrators of crimes in progress. But why did he stop healing? Perhaps he was concerned about his kind being discovered? If there was more than one of these things, it would have to be that there was some pact explicit or otherwise, between them to keep their existence a secret. Otherwise, they’d surely have been discovered a long time ago.
So that was it, then. Cody was the Angel. It was possible that the person who had perpetrated this killing knew how obvious this tip was, but it didn’t matter. The Angel didn’t commit those murders or sanction them. It’d be out of his character. Therefore it wasn’t the real Angel’s attempt to deflect blame. It must have been another such creature trying to bring blame to Cody. The only person who would have motive to bring blame to him would be an enemy, and if Cody had an enemy who was one of these creatures, it was likely that Cody was one of these creatures himself. Moreover, if Cody were a mere human, one of these creatures would have many better ways to take revenge.
Williams decided to have a warrant for his arrest put out immediately. No, that wouldn’t work. Sound as this deduction was, it wouldn’t be enough in court, not even enough to get a warrant. In particular, a judge would be skeptical of the idea that there were two creatures like the Angel. Williams needed to find a way to prove that this was Cody. He’d start by bringing him in for questioning.
Cherie emerged from the bathroom having brushed her teeth, showered, and dressed. As Cody entered the bathroom, she lay down on the fold out bed and thought. What should she do? The obvious thing was to tell the police what she’d been told, but did she want to? Back when she used to think of the Angel as a mysterious force, he had been easy to hate. But now that he was Cody, she wasn’t sure.
A few minutes later, Cody came out. “Do you still want to finish the show?” Cody asked.
Cherie took a deep breath and sat up. “Sure, I just have a few more questions.”
Cody sat down on the couch across from her. “Alright.”
“What would happen if Williams arrested you?”
Cody sighed. “Well, it’d depend on how much he knew. Either way, I’d have to escape. Unless they fed me, I’d eventually go berserk from hunger and kill everyone in the prison.” Cody shed a tear. “If I wanted to keep feeding, I’d have to go on the run. I’d lose everything; Lester, my parents, and of course, you.”
Cody shed another tear. “If he knew enough information, though, and released it,” Cody looked back up, “I’d be hunted down and killed.”
“Killed? By whom?”
Cody took a deep breath and hung his head down. “If they knew too much, and now that I think about it even them arresting me could reveal too much, I’d be killed. Our kind observes certain conventions. Among them is that our existence is never to be revealed to the public. If the world knew about us, all of humanity would want to hunt us down and kill us to protect their own souls.”
Cherie stared for a moment. She looked down. “So you getting caught wouldn’t actually stop your killings?”
“No,” Cody said. “The only thing that could stop my killings and free my souls would be my own death.”
Cherie put her own head down. “Alright,” Cherie looked back up.
“There’s one other thing you should know,” Cody said.
“What?” Cherie asked.
“I have enemies. There are people, including other liches, that’s what we call ourselves, who would seek to harm my interests.”
“Like the one who killed the baby?”
“Yes. His name is Valthakar.”
“Why is he after you?”
Cody sighed. “It’s over a philosophical disagreement. Either way, he’s immensely powerful. One of the main reasons I’ve been working so hard to keep myself alive recently is because of the threat he poses to you. He’s liable to try to eat you at any time.”
Cherie’s eyes widened as she thought for a second. “Wait, when I woke up last night, I thought I felt myself being shaken awake. Could that have been him?”
Cody’s eyes widened. He nodded. He looked down, letting out a breath. “It probably was. He could have made you feel thirsty too so you’d come out and see me gone, and maybe report me.”
Cherie put her head down. “I see.”
Cody put his hand on her shoulder. “Don’t worry. It won’t work, because you won’t report me. In fact, now that you know, my life will be easier. I won’t have to keep this a secret from you.”
Cherie sat silent for a second. “You said that this other creature like you was one of the reasons you’ve been trying to keep yourself alive recently. Cody, do you have some sort of death wish?”
Cody took a deep breath. “Yes. If I died, all of my souls would be free, and I wouldn’t have to eat any more.”
Cherie thought for another moment. “And what would do that?”
Cody wiped a tear from his eye. “What do you mean?”
“You say you want to die. What would kill you?”
Cody put his head down. “In order to turn into what I’ve turned into, I had to put my soul into an object. I chose my cube. To kill me permanently, you’d have to destroy it. I tried to do it myself, but well, Ican’t”
“Where is your cube?”
“It’s at… Cherie, why are you asking?”
Cherie put her head down. “Forget it.”
“Cherie, were you planning to--”
“I said forget it. Let’s just continue the show.”
Cody sighed. “Fine.”
Later, as Cody lay back on a couch next to the one where Cherie sat, he felt one of his souls emerge. The soul rose to the middle of the room and looked around.
He looked down at Cody. “Hey,” he asked. He seemed wide-eyed, and to be breathing heavily. “Do you know what’s going on here?”
Cody looked over at Cherie. “Could you pause the show for a minute?”
“Can it wait? I’ll be changing discs in ten minutes.”
“Hey, can you hear me?” the soul asked. “Why is everything so big? Why am I floating in the air? Am I…” The soul’s mouth widened. “Shit! I’m not dead am I?”
Cody looked at the soul. “Just hold on.”
“You can hear me? Good. Can you please explain what’s going on here? I was try--”
“Who are you talking to?” Cherie said?
“Just pause the show,” Cody said.
Cherie pressed the pause button. Cody got up and went into the bathroom. He motioned for the soul to follow him as Cherie looked back. It did. Cody entered the bathroom and sat on the edge of the tub.
“What’s going on here?” the soul asked.
Cody looked down and took a deep breath. “I’m the Angel of Death.” Cody shed a tear. “I ate your soul.”
The soul’s eyes and mouth widened further. “You… you did wha--”
“I ate your soul. That’s what you are now. The disembodied remains of a soul whose energy I’ve taken. I have to do that every night to survive.” Cody looked up at the soul. “I’m sorry it had to be you.” Cody closed his eyes and looked back down.
The soul looked at Cody for several seconds. “So… How… What now for me?”
“You get to wander the universe. You can travel as fast as you want, reach anywhere in an instant. Only other creatures like me, and the souls they’ve taken, will be able to see you, but you’ll be able to see everything.”
The soul shed a tear, and then another. It was soon sobbing. Cody listened to it for a few minutes. “Do you know where one of your other souls is?” the soul asked.
“No,” Cody said. “I can give you an address, though. There’s another creature like me there, and you can talk to one of his while it works.”
“We’re designed to use the souls we take as slaves,” Cody said. “Most of us do.”
The soul’s sobbing continued.
Cody gave the soul Bavandersloth’s address.
The soul nodded, and went on his way. Cody left the bathroom and lay back down on the couch.
Philip headed off to the address he’d been given. As he neared, he could see that he was approaching a mansion. When he came to the door, he tried to knock, but realized he didn’t have any hands. He tried to cry. If people knew that this is what happened to the Angel of Death’s victims, they’d have sent in the military by now.
As Philip went to phase through the door, he heard a voice behind him.
“Hey! You there! Who are you, and who’s your master?”
Philip turned around. “My master?”
“Yeah, your lich.”
Philip thought for a moment. He looked down. “I was eaten by the Angel of Death if that’s what you’re asking.”
“What’d he look like?”
“What do you mean? He looked like a black cloud--”
“No, after you came out of him. How old did he look?”
Philip thought. “Well… he seemed to be about sixteen or seventeen.”
The other soul sighed in relief. “Oh, good. That’s the real Angel.”
“Real Angel? Is there a fake one?”
“Yeah. I take it you’re new to this whole thing.”
“You can fly with me on my patrol patterns if you like. I don’t think my master would mind.”
Philip approached the other soul. “You keep referring to them as our masters.”
The other soul seemed to sigh. “You’ve got a lot to learn. Come fly next to me.”
“Alright…” Philip moved alongside the other soul.
“Those things, the ones that ate us, they’re our masters. They have the power to issue commands to us, and we do them against our will.”
“They can do what? He said I was his slave but…”
“Yeah, unfair isn’t it?”
Philip was silent for a second. He looked down as he flew. “Yeah.”
“You’re lucky, at least as far as we go. Your master is one of the nice ones. Mine has had me working essentially non-stop since he ate me six-hundred years ago. Whether I’ve been patrolling for him or animating a body to work for some friend of his, I’ve always been busy.”
Philip’s mouth widened. “That’s horrible.”
“Tell me something I don’t know.” The soul sighed. “Look, kid, go on out and enjoy yourself. Don’t waste your time talking to me. You have a rare privilege. Don’t waste it.”
Philip thought for a moment. “I’ll have all the time in the world to do that. I feel more like talking right now.”
The other soul sighed. “Alright.”
That night, after Cody had gone back home, he heard a knock at the door. His parents were out, so he went downstairs to check who it was. Through a window, he was able to see Cherie’s car outside. He opened the door. Cherie was standing there.
“Hi,” she said. “You forgot your phone.” She held up Cody’s cell phone.
“Oh, thanks.” Cody took it. The two stood, looking at each other for a second. “Is there anything else you want to talk about?” Cody asked.
Cherie took a deep breath. “I’m not sure.”
“You can come inside, if you want,” Cody said.
Cherie looked down and then entered the house. Cody closed and locked the door. Cody sat down on an old couch. Cherie sat next to him. They were silent for a minute or so.
“Look, if you don’t have anything to say, it might best for you to go,” Cody said.
“Look, what I do isn’t anything you need to worry about. You know that there’s no benefit to be had from reporting me, or anything else you’d do. Given that, until you’re in danger, there’s no need for you to think about what I am or how I work.”
Cherie shed a tear. “Cody, it’s impossible not to think about. Now that I know about monsters that go around, doing what you do…”
Cody put his hand on Cherie’s shoulder. “Don’t worry about it. I have everything under control.”
“Cody I can still tell when you’re lying.”
Cody frowned, took his hand off of her shoulder, and looked down at the ground.
“Alright, so I have some problems,” Cody looked back up at Cherie, “but it’s my job to solve them. For your own good, Cherry, please, stay out of them. Involving yourself will only make things worse.”
Cherie took a deep breath. “Cody, you can’t just say ‘Hey, there’s a bunch of monsters going around eating people, I’m one of them, and several of them might try to kill you,’ then ask me to ignore those facts until further notice. It doesn’t work that way.”
“That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just saying that there’s nothing you need to do about any of this. If you’re ever in danger, call me. Otherwise, just trust me to be able to handle my own life.”
Cherie took a deep breath. She sat next to Cody for a few minutes. “Alright” she said.
Cody put his hand on her shoulder. “It’s for the best, Cherie. Besides--”
Cherie screamed in pain as a wound appeared across her stomach. Cody took a second to realize what was going on. He changed into his true form and felt the area in front of Cherie. Nothing. He went behind the couch. Sure enough, he could feel Valthakar in the area behind her. Valthakar pushed him away. Cody was able to get his footing before hitting a wall. After a few more seconds, Cherie went unconscious from blood loss. Valthakar deactivated his invisibility and turned to Cody.
“Hello there, Odelarch,” he said.
Cody charged at Valthakar. Valthakar raised a magical shield. Cody slammed into it and fell back. After he got up, he ignored Valthakar and grabbed his cell phone to call an ambulance. Valthakar just stood there. “You’ve nothing to gain from this,” he said. “They can’t save her. She’s already too close to death. Besides, even if they do save her, I’ll lose nothing, and just kill her again. It’s ironic though, isn’t it? You gave up your soul to save her, and now, because of the enemies you made by becoming the monster you became, she’ll die only a few months later than she would have had you done nothing. And you will have to spend eternity without her after she dies, slowly and painfully.” Valthakar smiled. “There’s beauty to it, isn’t there?”
Cody cried as he spoke to the 911 operator. “911, where is your emergency?”
“Hello, I’m at 321 8th Street in Goldfalls, CA. I need an ambulance.”
“Tell me what’s going on.”
“My girlfriend has been stabbed. She’s lost a lot of blood. She’s unconscious.”
“Alright. There’s an ambulance on its way.”
Cody stayed with Cherie for a few minutes while the ambulance rushed over. He was sobbing the whole time. “Cherry,” he whispered over her unconscious form. Valthakar left Cody’s house with a smile on his face. Once the ambulance arrived, they took Cherie onboard.
Cody called Cherie’s parents to alert them to what had happened. They rushed right over. Cody called his mother, who gave him permission to take the bus over to the hospital. He ran over in his true form. When he arrived, he found Cherie’s parents in the waiting room. The three sat together. No one said a thing. After a few minutes, the doctor came out to speak with them. “She’s stable,” the doctor said.
Cody smiled. “So you can save her?”
“That remains to be seen,” the doctor said. Cody frowned. “We’ve managed to stabilize her, but her injuries are severe. She’s lost a lot of blood. There’s no guarantee she’ll live.”
Cherie’s mother put her face in her hands and cried. Cherie’s father leaned over to comfort her.
“What kind of odds are we talking about?” Cody asked.
The doctor took a deep breath. “I’d say she has about a ten percent chance of pulling through.”
Cody fell to his knees. He wept. He could hear her mother weeping behind him. He couldn’t heal her. Even if she lived until the hospital emptied out, Bavandersloth would kill him for healing after he told him not to, and his family would be defenseless against Valthakar. Even if modern medicine managed to save Cherie, Valthakar would just kill her some other way.
As he sat there crying, he heard someone come into the room.
“Cody Giles?” they said.
“Yeah,” Cody said. He looked up to see two police officers.
“You’re under arrest for the murder of Aaron Smith.”
Cody’s eyes widened. “What?”
“Get back down and place your hands behind your back.”
“But this is outrageo--”
“Sir, you need to cooperate.”
Shedding one last tear, Cody leaned down and allowed the police to cuff him and take him away. He could hear Cherie’s mother sobbing for Cherie as he was dragged off.
Williams smiled as he heard the call. Cody had been arrested for one of the Angel’s murders. Williams had selected one of the least important ones. There wasn’t enough evidence for the prosecutor to charge him for it as of now, but that wasn’t the plan. Williams had the power to keep Cody held for forty-eight hours without anyone charging him with anything. That was more than enough time for the Angel, and his pretender, to miss a killing. That would be more than enough to get him charged with this murder, and many others.