had gotten there too late for the priest but not this time. He didn’t
believe for a second that Balberith had the identity of the killer right,
but he’d find out exactly who or what it was right now. What Balberith
had seen was almost certainly a demon. If so, that demon would shortly
discover the real meaning of hellfire and damnation.
demon did have one advantage. It could enter a church, especially inside a
stood just outside the church door, where he still had a full view of the
interior. Even with its back to him, he could see that the demon was in
its own shape. Not a Possessing Demon. Good. This would be even easier.
caused time to suspend within the church, the old nun arrested in motion
with her head still pulled back, the demon’s long black talons stark
against the white of her veil.
he commanded. “Don’t touch the human, and come out of the church
immediately!” He knew that the demon would have no choice but to obey
him. The question was how it had gotten to Earth without his knowledge in
the first place. He’d have his answer in another instant.
demon turned toward him, glowing red eyes fixed on his face.
it purred. The voice was a quiet, fierce hiss, but the old clarity and
isn’t her! he
thought. It couldn’t be. The eyes glaring with insanity, the long legs
and hands ending in the talons of a raptor, the naked, black wings. She
had retained her beautiful body but it had taken on a hard, fake
sensuality, a mockery of passion, designed merely to induce human lust.
All this where he had only known sublime beauty, softness, wings of
centuries, eons without any word or any hint of her continued existence,
why now and why like this?
could hardly find his voice as his throat clogged with disgust and with
the pain of a time lost. “Where have you been, Niamah? How has this
Oh, my little makeover?” She shook out her hair, once his joy for its
dark sheen and supple motion, now snakelike and almost alive of itself.
“Suits my personality, don’t you think?”
you haven’t seen me in a long time. A very long time. In which, I’m
crushed to say, you never even looked for me.”
isn’t true. I saw you fall. I searched the whole of Hell for you.”
I wasn’t there. I’m surprised you didn’t know that. What made you
think I belonged among the Fallen, when you know the truth?”
was drawing ever closer with each sinuous, snakelike movement still
hypnotic in its grace, the beauty of her motion unchanged. “Why,
Lucifer! What’s wrong? Don’t you want to hold me again, to feel my
breasts against your naked chest one more time? To kiss my soft lips and
feel the warmth of my tongue?” She was almost in his face now as he
stood just outside the church door. She opened her mouth and extended a
forked tongue, flicking out the foul air of her breath, and he
instinctively jerked back.
this is a disappointment,” she said. “I thought you would rush into my
arms in joyous, carnal reunion. No? Or is it that I can enter this
sanctuary and you can’t? Jealous, beautiful one?”
your place is with me.”
Hell? Lucifer, I’ve been in a hell far worse than yours. Go back to your
dark kingdom, and nurse your wounded virtue. Beat your breast and moan
over your unfair transformation into the embodiment of sin, and if my
existence bothers you so much, think of how you allowed it to happen.”
started back towards the nun, but turned again to Lucifer. “Where have I
been?” she said reflectively. “Could you stand to hear it, I wonder?
It’s probably not as famous a story as yours, but it does have its