Silence stretched through the empty halls of Oakland Abby and the bright glow of the full moon snuffed out the light from the stars. Outside the walls, a cool autumn breeze rustled the coloured leaves of plane trees surrounding the old boarding school that stood vacant for the summer.
And yet… high in one tower, a window was open, and the sound of splintering wood broke the silence inside the building. The silver rays from the moon the only light that lit the room, where a boy of seventeen had just ripped his wooden chair in half.
His eyes burned a dark, vicious burgundy while a pained cry tore from the back of his throat. The muscles down his shirtless back rippled while he gripped both pieces of his broken chair. Bone pushed and tore through skin, ethereal, white downy feathers unfolding from the new appendages growing between his shoulder blades. Dark, wavy hair clung to the sweat on his brow, while his face humans found so handsome contorted in pain.
One more cry filled the silent night before his wings had finally emerged completely. The boy fell to his knees, dropping pieces of the chair, his hands shaking as he felt a slow, hot trail of blood trickling down his back.
A low, guttural growl that could only be from some kind of beast sounded from the corner of the boy’s room.
“Quiet, Neeshka… how do you think I feel?” the boy grunted out, his hands curling into fists against the stone floor.
A huge, black wolf-like dog emerged from the shadows, the low growl still vibrating from the back of her throat.
The boy’s eyes, now a dark, but warm shade of brown, flickered up abruptly to glare at the huge dog. “It does not mean anything,” he hissed harshly. “He… he knew this might happen.”
All the boy could be thankful for was that it had happened during the summer holidays while he illegally camped out in his dorm room.
“I certainly did…”
The smell of brimstone filled the air and a figure cloaked in obsidian now stood where before there had been no one. On the floor, the boy’s blood ran cold and he stilled, not daring to turn and face the voice that belonged to his father.
Even in the pale half-light his face was terrifying. Burned flesh clung to ripped sinew while eyes as black as coal bored from his sockets. “You take after me more than we thought… Samael,” he spoke, and his voice was smooth and charmingly polite, yet it sent a chill of fear down the boy’s spine.
Samael’s jaw clenched, and he stared determinedly at the stone ground before him while the beast he’d called Neeshka retreated, head bowing into the shadows.
“Clearly that’s the only reason you ever bother to see me,” he spat back through his teeth, despite the cold, hard mass of fear in his belly.
His Father chuckled darkly, but those black eyes burned briefly like embers. Samael turned his head just in time to see cursed, bat-like wings, which were once as white and pure as his own new feathers, fold away into nonexistence behind his Father’s back. The burned face shifted, blurring until a smooth and perfect human face hid the monster behind it. His hair was silver, but his eyes were still as dark as pitch.
“All those foolish human emotions and hormones inside you…” crooned his father quietly. “They are so tedious…”
“This doesn’t look very human,” Samael hissed, flexing the muscles on his back causing a ripple effect to flutter through his new wings. They unfolded stiffly, glorious, young white feathers extending magnificently behind him, nearly the size of his whole body, though some were tarnished with dark, red plumes of blood.
His father tutted lightly, eyeing the wounds on his back. “Such a mess…” he said with disapproval. “And so very… divine…” he said the word with distaste.
Just then, bright flash of golden light filled the small dorm room. Out of nowhere a beautiful, robust woman with auburn hair and pale lavender wings appeared. Her feathers rustled lightly before vanishing behind her. She was clad in white-silver armour with intricate engravings carved to the breast plate, but leaving her back bare for her wings.
Neeshka moved from the shadows, the hair down her spine standing up like spikes and her whole form shimmered, growing to twice its size. A low, vicious growl gurgled from her jowls and her eyes burned like fire.
“Gabriel…” Lucifer muttered darkly, his voice rumbling alongside the hellhound’s growl.
“Lucifer,” the angel nodded her head in greeting. “Care to get your hound to stand down?” she added imperiously.
Lucifer smiled coldly. “Don’t you like my creations?” he crooned. “You know God frowns upon racists, dear sister.”
Gabriel held his gaze, her expression impassive. “I simply don’t want to hurt your spawn’s pet,” she quipped lightly, but her eyes flashed with light and Samael felt energy in the air pick up around him.
“Neeshka…” Samael hissed quietly, waving his hand at her to back off.
Her red, wolfish eyes snapped to him and she growled a moment longer before finally slinking back into near invisibility in the shadows.
“Fool,” Lucifer spat lowly through his teeth at his son. “Gabriel is no threat,” he turned his cold eyes to his sister, stepping closer to her. They were nearly the same height, and yet he towered over her. She eyed him steadily before turning her sparkling eyes on Samael who still knelt on the floor, blood dripping down his back where his wings sat open behind him. He glared at her too.
“Hello Samael…” she said sweetly, moving toward him slowly. “The name certainly suits you now.”
Lucifer’s hand suddenly shot out, grasping Gabriel’s arm with a grip like a vice. “He is not yours,” he hissed in a vicious voice that did not sound human, those black eyes once again lighting up with fire from deep within. “And certainly not his…” he continued in a dangerously quiet voice.
Gabriel tilted her head to the side, her eyes briefly flickering down to his hand on her arm, then back to his glare. “Your little spawn concerns us, Brother…” she said smoothly, though there was a slight hesitancy to her gaze. “Especially now that he is… maturing-”
“He is mine!” the very air seemed to crackle around them and Gabriel shuddered as her arm burned beneath Lucifer’s grip, her immortal flesh blistering from his touch.
She glared determinedly at her older brother. “He cannot stay here,” she said coldly. “Not amongst these humans. He-” she broke off as Lucifer’s burning grip strengthened and she clenched her jaw. “Even you don’t want the Antichrist, Brother,” she hissed this time. “Let go of me.”
Lucifer smiled slowly, his beautiful features somehow just as frightening as his true face. “Don’t you dare try to speak of what I do or do not want, little sister…” he told her very softly. “You know how much I detest such atrocities.”
Gabriel held fast, refusing to wrestle from his grasp and she held his stare. “You will not be able to keep him from our father,” she said lowly.
Lucifer finally let her go with abrupt suddenness. “Oh… well he’s more than welcome to pop down to Hell and visit,” he crooned, his smile growing to reveal pearly white teeth. “I’ve sent him so many invites… yet they all seem to go astray. I can’t imagine he would be so rude as to not reply - what do you think?”
Gabriel shook her head slowly. Her blistered arm must have burned, but she did not move to touch it. “We’ll be watching him, Brother,” she said quietly before her eyes abruptly snapped to Samael who did not look at either of them. Instead he tried to ignore the way his heart hammered in his chest, or the way his stomach churned with fear. “When this… messy state of growth is complete,” her nose turned upward as she examined his new appendages from afar. “He must be dealt with,” she said, then before another breath could be had, there was a soft rustle of feathers and she was gone.
Samael looked slowly from the spot she disappeared before hesitantly turning to meet his Father’s gaze that he could already feel boring into him.
There was a moment of silence as neither spoke. Neeshka’s eyes glowed dully like rubies as she watched the look that passed between master and son.
“Can I do that?” Samael asked finally, his eyes flickering back away, his new feathers jostling. “Teleport?”
Lucifer scoffed immediately. “With those imitations that have spurted from you like weeds?” he moved closer to his son. “I doubt it,” he said bluntly. “The accursed humanity in your blood limits you…”
He reached into the pocket of his dark robes and the cold sound of unsheathing steel filled the air. “But…” continued Lucifer softly. “They may still be… of use…”
Samael froze as Lucifer’s long fingers chillingly caressed the new feathers at the base of one of the wings on his back. He felt his Father press the tip of the blade to his skin before he had to bite back a cry of pain. His teeth sank into his lip as Lucifer dug one long feather by the roots from his back.
Lucifer examined it closely, the white colour shimmering subtly under the moonlight, blood dripping from its stem.
“Where am I going to go?” Samael forced himself to ask finally when he was sure his voice would not betray him. “Are you… are you going to take me back... there?” he trembled on the last word, his memories of hell still burned into his mind.
“My sister – or any of my siblings for that matter - can do nothing to you,” Lucifer said in a cold and dismissive manner, hiding the white feather within his dark robes. “Your wings are weak. They are not fully formed. You can thank your mother for that. Her humanity inside you shields you from their touch, for now – so long as you ensure you do not reveal the divine to any human.”
Samael stared at him, his fists still clenched tightly from the burning pain of his Father ripping out such a freshly grown part of his wing. “So you’re just going to leave me here? For how long? How do you know they won’t come back for me? When will I know when I’m more… more you than human?”
Lucifer cut him off with a frustrated sigh. “Enough with these tedious, insignificant questions,” he growled lowly. “One simple rule is all you must follow: do not reveal the divine. And… get your emotions under control,” he added tersely. “You know how tiring I find them.”
Lucifer turned his gaze to the black dog still nearly invisible in the shadows. “Neeshka…” he sang softly. The hellhound bowed her head, not daring to look in her master’s eyes and Lucifer smiled coldly. “Do let me know if any of my dear siblings pay you both another a visit…” he finished lyrically, now moving back away, extending his dark, cursed wings.
“How do I put these away?” Samael demanded before he could disappear once more. “What am I supposed to do with them?”
Lucifer looked at him coldly. “Dependency is another human trait you need to get rid of,” he said lowly, his eyes roaming over his son’s wings. “You’ve three days till the humans return to this place. Do not make me come back here due to your incompetence.”
Without another word, a whiff of brimstone brushed past Samael’s nose with the wind off his father’s wings… and Lucifer was gone.