‘Where is he?’ The question doesn’t change, of course. But then, the answer doesn’t either. They think I’m being brave, but the truth is that I don’t know where Gabriel is. I’d like to pretend that I wouldn’t tell them even if I knew, but honestly?
I don’t know anymore.
I don’t know anything beyond the cement of the cell, etched deep with runes and sigils and entrapments. Even if I could move, the truth is that I couldn’t. The irons shackling me to the ground are etched with sigils, too, old magics holding me in place like a sacrificial lamb. There’s no running, no cowering, nothing but lying on my back, staring at the ceiling and trying to ignore the hatred in Michael’s face as he paces around me.
‘Uncle, please, I don’t kn-‘ The angel blade- my father’s, of course, because Michael would never sully his blade with blood such as mine- slams into my thigh, his hand resting on the hilt as though this kind of violence and cruelty is a casual act for him. Maybe it is. Maybe the Bible got it wrong. Stranger things have happened. He presses the blade a little bit harder, watches the blood flowing with all the interest of a man watching a particularly tedious game of golf.
His voice bellows, echoes through the vastness of my holding cell like a growing roll of thunder. I wish I could cover my ears, wish I could do something but cry and scream and try not to choke on the snot.’I am not your uncle! You’re an abomination, dirt beneath my heel! Don’t you ever presume we’re kin.’
‘I’m your brother’s daughter, created by your Father.’ Please, Grandfather, make him listen. Make him understand. Make him stop.
A backhand to the face, a growl of ‘don’t you speak his name, blasphemer’, and we’re back to the million dollar question. ‘Where is Gabriel?’
How did Lucifer hold up against this? How does anyone?
‘I don’t fucking know, okay? He left! He up and fucking left me and I haven’t heard anything since!’ It doesn’t matter, not really. He knows I’m not lying- angels can always tell, after all, both in humans and their kin- and I know that he knows. This isn’t about my father, not really.
Sooner or later, he’ll drop the act and tell me what this is really about. Pretty sure I’m gonna enjoy that even less than the guessing part of the torture. I’m not entirely sure I’ll be alive by the time he gets bored enough to be serious. Then again, Michael controls Heaven. I can’t say he’s not sadist enough to bring me back for another round.
‘Michael, I swear on my grace that I don’t know where Gabriel is.’ The blade is ripped from my thigh, rests itself upon my throat. His hand shakes with the effort of containing his rage. I try, fail, not to move, not to breathe, not to do anything to bring that blade closer to my skin. I can feel the blood begin to flow, not enough to be fatal, but it’s gonna hurt like hell for a good long while.
It’s hard not to cry when you’re staring your death in the eyes.
‘What you have isn’t grace. Angels have grace. Abominations don’t. You’d do well to remember that.’ I want to smack the smug right out of his expression, want to jam Dad’s blade right up his ass and see what happens. I want to call him every name I can think of, want to spit in his eye and dance on his fucking grave.
I will dance on your fucking grave, Michael.
And in this second, he knows it. His face slackens as loathing gives way to shock. It’s barely a moment, a glitched frame of action before the rage is back, bigger and more terrifying. He doesn’t use the blade. Instead, he leaps to his feet, kicking and stomping until his boot meets the side of my head, and darkness claims me at last.
I can’t help but hope it’s the eternal kind.