FALLEN: CHAPTER 2
Here is the second chapter of FALLEN - BOOK 5 in 'The VIth Element Series' as promise!
Hope you enjoy :)
Chapter 2: Alex
The darkness that held me prisoner was absolute. Everywhere I looked, I found myself unable to break free. It invaded every cell and every crevice of my body, refusing to give me up. I didn’t want it to. Instead, I allowed it to consume me. I didn’t want to be saved. I wanted to remain here…in the darkness…forever.
It’s what I deserved.
Suddenly, the darkness was obliterated by a burst of light. I shielded my eyes, the strength of the rays burning my eyes. Then, as if I had turned into a rocket, I shot towards the centre. Just as I reached it, in an explosion of white sparks, I was hurtled into a scene that I knew only too well but was one I had frantically tried to repress. All was to no avail. It took me seconds to process the fact that my brother stood before me, covered in blood, soot and debris. All around us raged an untameable and unyielding beast of flames. The only object that stood out from their dancing backdrop of red, gold and orange was the portal. It flickered and twitched like it had a mind of its own, ever silent but even more deadly. It was this portal that my brother stood in front of, although he wasn’t alone. Behind him hovered a repulsive being. His stench filled the area, suffocating me with odours of rotten and singed flesh. His teeth were bared and he laughed widely, taunting me with the flash of silver than was positioned just under my brother’s chin.
Pain mocked me and my unfavourable position.
“Your ssssisster iss a fiery one isssn’t sssshe? It’ss not that often that you come acrossss a sssstar that burnsss ass bright asss her. I can sssee why ssshe wass the better ssssibling – iss the better ssibling.” Pain taunted my brother, his words ringing around my mind. “You will never be as feisssty, ssstrong and brave ass ssshe…on that much I can count on!” Then, with a flaming grin, Pain turned his attention to me. “It’sss a pleasssure doing businesssss with you Alexandra.” And with that the episode raced forwards, until I saw myself standing there, eyes glowing with a green light and roots of power shooting towards the portal, as my brother fell backwards, Pain hanging onto him. Just before my roots reached their goal, the two of them – human and demon – were lost from view.
“NO!” I screamed, as I watched the last of the portal swirl back into place. The force of my scream practically tore me in two, as it did to those who were outside mental nightmare. I fell to my knees, sobbing hysterically. That wasn’t the worst of the situation though. It was then that I recalled realising that Lucifer had saved my life, jumping in front of me just before the dagger had entered my body.
He had sacrificed himself…for me.
“N…NO!” I found my voice again, feeling it raw and unforgiving. “NO…LUCIFER…NO!” The rawness of my voice tore me apart even more than it had done previously. I shuddered. Then, as the horrific events reached their climax, I observed Lucifer convulse one last time, before he died in my arms. “I love you and I’m sorry.” These were the words that I found myself repeating, as tears lined my cheeks whilst I watched the light in his eyes go out. I wept and wept, still holding onto Lucifer, until I had created a flood. “I love you and I’m sorry. I love you and I’m sorry.”
Unfortunately, the flood was too strong.
The more I cried, the stronger the current became until I had to cling onto Lucifer with fierce strength. I was petrified that he would be whipped away. A huge wave hit me. The impact of the wave forced Lucifer from my arms, pushing me down, down into the terrible depths from which I was determined never to recover. As I looked up, doing my best to fight back, I watched Lucifer body bob about on the surface, as cold and lifeless as a piece of driftwood.
And then, the nightmare began again.
Outside Alex’s dorm room, Raphael paced backwards and forwards…backwards and forwards. He didn’t know how long he’d been doing that. He didn’t care. All he cared about was the fact that Alex was lost in a world of darkness – a world he wasn’t sure how to save her from. She had been lost for many days now.
That knowledge broke his heart.
“Just go in and see her.” A voice sounded right next to his ear, making him jump violently. It was the first time he had heard this voice in reality ever since he had returned from the court room, although such a voice had managed to invade his mind every time he closed his eyes. “It’s Christmas day. No one should be alone, but especially not today. Anyway,” they added, “you might get a response, unlike the rest of us who have tried and failed. After all, she cares about you immensely. Only a fool would see otherwise.”
When Raphael realised who had spoken, he found himself unable to meet their passionate gaze. It was too soon. He just couldn’t bring himself to complete such a task, not when his heart had been broken by words that had been uttered and implications made.
“I c…can’t.” He replied, his voice cracking. Just being in this person’s presence made the situation a hundred times worse, not forgetting unbearable. “I don’t know what to say to her. I don’t know what to do.”
At seeing Raphael’s apparent distress and distant regard towards her, Jasmine went to place her delicate hand on his shoulder. Oh, how she ached to sooth and console him, especially when he had held her like she was going to melt away, not long after she had found out that Vince had been murdered. Vince. Oh, how the sound of his name still crushed her heart, especially when she remembered the last time she had seen him – the night they had spent together. She knew there was only one other who evoked similar emotions. They were standing with her now, with their back turned and shoulders tensed. Raphael had set her heart ablaze when he had jumped in front of her, shielding her with his powers. In doing so, he had stopped a huge piece of the ceiling, which had broken free not long after Pain had created the fire that had ravaged the court room and killed many. He hadn’t given his own life a thought. All he had wanted to do was to protect her. Now, he couldn’t even face being in the same room as her. Deep down, she knew why. If only he knew the truth – a truth she had been dying to say but had crumbled at the last moment on the tip of her tongue. She would tell him eventually, when she had healed, for her heart still grieved for the boy she had recently lost. She just hoped it wouldn’t be too late. In the end, Jasmine withdrew her reaching fingers.
Raphael noticed this response, for she saw him flinch.
That hurt her in more ways than she could describe.
“Take her hand.” Jasmine continued, even though every word killed her. She did her best to hold back the tears that formed in her eyes. “Take her hand and talk to her. Talk to her about anything. You don’t know what will happen unless you try.”
At hearing Jasmine’s answer, Raphael knew that she was speaking sense. Nodding, he turned his back on the girl who would still do anything for him and pushed down the handle on the door. He knew his actions wounded her like a knife. He’d noted this reaction the instant he caught her haunted features out of the corner of his eye, which were reflected in a nearby mirror on the wall. However, the dark part of his heart, a part that had failed to be truly obliterated ever since Mortimer’s possession, reminded him of her betrayal and confirmed to him that he was choosing the right path. If she really cared about him, she wouldn’t have done what he knew she had done. That knowledge had broken him the most. Eventually, clearing his mind of such troublesome thoughts, Raphael focused on the task in hand. Saving Alex was the most important thing now, not dealing with his own torments. For Alex’s sake, he was determined not to fail. After all, no matter how torn he felt, presently, she still held the greatest proportion of his heart.
Consequently, entering the room, Raphael held his breath.
Far away in my tortured nightmares, I heard the sound of a creaking door. Somehow, my brain registered what this meant. Someone was in the room with me. Someone – another of many who had come to console me and had plucked up the courage to try to bring me back from the brink of destruction. All others had failed. This visitor would be no different. Closing my eyes tighter, I did everything I could to ignore the further accompanying sounds of footsteps that rung around my ears. It was only when I registered the violent curse that was suddenly omitted from that person’s lips, when they had nearly broken an ankle on one of the many shattered and blackened items of furniture that adorned the room that my eyelids flickered. My heart jolted when I realised who it was.
“Jeez Alex, did you have a barbeque in here that got majorly out of hand?” Raphael began by saying, almost giving me a heart attack. “I don’t know where to stand for fear of my life.” As soon as I had heard his remark, the corners of my mouth to lifted ever so slightly. No. Let me stay in the fires of hell, where I belong. Let me stay with my guilty heart and my sorrow. I didn’t want to be saved. Unfortunately, Raphael was not going to allow me to give in no matter what. I realised this when I felt a significant amount of pressure on my side of bed. “I know you can hear me.” Raphael continued once he had managed to negotiate the deathly minefield of what had once been Jasmine’s and my dorm room and find a comfortable position, causing my heart to beat faster. I also become very conscious of the fact that I hadn’t washed for days and I probably looked and smelt hideous. “I’m watching every movement of your face, from the flickering of your eyelids to the gentle parting of your lips.”
Doing everything in my power to control my breathing, I willed the darkness to claim me again. Lucifer’s lifeless face became all that I could see and all that I could focus on, before he suddenly came to life in a blink of an eye.
“Why did you let me kill myself?” Lucifer said, his eyes churning with countless flames, scorching and overpowering. “Why did you let me sacrifice myself, when you were the one who deserved death, after all the pain and misery you have caused since you ‘awakened’?”
At this point, I couldn’t stop the tears that flooded from my eyes, marking the stained pillow my head rested on even further.
“I didn’t mean to.” I said, unaware that I was actually talking out loud. I began to burn up. My skin became sticky with sweat. It was an all too familiar sensation. “I didn’t mean to. It should have been me. It should have been me.” Great sobs then wracked my chest, causing me to begin to choke.
All of a sudden, a shooting sensation of electricity whizzed through my skin. Raphael had taken my hand.
His fingers curled around my hot ones and he squeezed it tightly.
“I don’t know what you’re seeing, but if you’re thinking about Lucifer, then his death wasn’t your fault. He chose to die for you and knew the consequences of his actions. You have to let him go, for your sake as well as his.”
At hearing his words, a great cry left my lips and I began to scream.
“YOU’RE WRONG!” I shouted in Raphael’s face, oblivious to the crowd who had gathered outside my room, doing their best to control the urge to bust down the door. “YOU’RE WRONG. IT WAS MY FAULT. IF ONLY I HAD MANAGED TO GET TO PAIN IN TIME THEN I WOULD HAVE PREVENTED LUCIFER’S DEATH, AS WELL AS SAVED MY B…BROTHER!”
It was then that I began to convulse.
My body, weak and undernourished, struggled to deal with my extreme emotional outlet.
Raphael was over me in a flash.
“Alex!” He said urgently, letting go of my hand and placing his own now on my forehead. He caressed it softly. “Alex. Listen to me. You have to calm down. You have to stop beating yourself up. You’re making yourself ill – so, so ill. It kills me to see you l…like this.”
At hearing his panic, I went to reply. Unfortunately, my body still decided against cooperating. My eyes began to roll about in my sockets, emphasising his concern and the shocking truth. Then, I began to fill my powers rise up inside. It was happening again. My earth song, fragrant and woody, was the most willing to leap into action. With an almighty whoosh, roots as strong as iron suddenly burst from my fingertips and began to wrap around Raphael’s body, snaking their way towards his throat. Some also entwined around the door handle, permitting anyone from getting in.
The seriousness of the situation had risen tenfold.
“ALEX.” Raphael couldn’t help but shout, as roots began to twist this way and that, binding him to the ground in an impenetrable prison and trapping his arms and legs. He was terrified. He should be. “ALEX STOP. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU’RE LOSING CONTROL.” I seemed unable to hear him. In my eyes, all I could see was Lucifer and my brother. Both were pale. Both were furious with me, for the mess I’d caused yet again. It was all I seemed good at doing. They would never forgive me. That fact cut me to the core. As my mental state deteriorated even more, the roots squeezed tighter, causing Raphael to cry out in pain this time as they cut deep into his body, drawing blood. “ALEX STOP IT GOD DAMN IT. YOU’RE HURTING ME!”
On registering Raphael’s agony, something in my brain told me to calm down.
Stop. The voice cried. STOP. BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!
Unfortunately, the guilt was too strong.
With my eyes glowing green, I willed the roots to continue their task.
“You can’t s…save me.” I managed to stutter, body thrashing this way and that. I blotted out the thumping that now came from behind the door, as the people outside realised things had taken a seriously dramatic turn for the worst…again. “No one can…no matter what you do…no matter what you say – so stop trying.” And with that, the roots reached Raphael’s neck and began their deadly task.
There was a time once when hearing Raphael choke to death at my hands might have caused me to be brought to my senses. This was not that time. Instead, as Raphael began to die a slow and painful death, gurgling horribly, I felt the rage take full control. He had made me remember. He had tried to stop me from feeling this way.
Now, he must suffer.
It was at the last moment, just before Raphael’s airway was completely crushed, that the people outside my room managed to break down the door. Catching me off guard, the sound of the bang as the door imploded gave Raphael just enough time to use his powers to levitate the clock nearby that sat innocently on the bedside cabinet. With brilliant precision, he brought it hurtling down on my head...hard. Pain flared through my skull – pain that caused the roots to loosen and allowed Raphael to wiggle free, coughing and spluttering, before collapsing at a distance out of my reach. However, just before the darkness took me prisoner once more, I heard frantic shouts as the people I had once cared about swarmed to Raphael’s aid. My parents, Vladimir, Hecate, Mr Allen and Jasmine entered the room first, all as shocked and terrified as the next. David was the last individual to witness the horrifying scene. His marred face, with a mass of ginger hair and eyes wide with alarm and anguish, as he tried to digest the fear and panic I had caused, stayed with me long after I had drifted back into my tortured abyss.