adventure / sci-fi / drama / romance

Flatiron Angel: Part Nine


T he first branch knocked the wind clean out of her. The ragged descent through the canopy came as an assault from all directions. Her waning consciousness was the only saving grace as her head cracked against a trunk and sent her bouncing down through limb after limb. She broke through the thicket and fell the final fifty feet to the forest floor; her figure crumpled; her face bruised; her body bleeding. She heard a low groan seep from deep within her. Swollen eyes reduced her world to a foggy darkness that made the distant sound of the hunters searching for her all the more terrifying. She couldn’t see their approach but she could hear it. The slow descent as they hacked their way through the thick foliage. They were taking their time, no need to rush with the tumble she had just taken. 

Get up, get up, Rose urged herself on. Her fingers slapped at a nearby tree and she gripped the bark in a feeble attempt to pull herself up into a sitting position. Her back seared with pain at the slightest twist and she could feel the moss beneath her wetted with blood. She was going to die there in a muddy blood mess if she didn’t find a way to move. 

To run.

To crawl. 

Just crawl. She dug her heels into the soft earth and pushed. The moving was slow, and the bony roots of her wings did  her no favors as they clawed the ground like rudders bottoming out on a rising shore. She moaned from the pain and slapped a hand across her mouth to muffle her own anguish.

“I think she landed somewhere over here.”

It was a woman’s voice. The one who’d taken away her wings. Rose pushed harder but the futility of it was setting in and tears were starting to pour down her cheeks. Any distance she created was carving a trail in the soil below. She might as well have given them a map to her location. Angling herself towards the nearest tree she pushed up against it and staggered to her feet. Her knees buckled at first but she fell against the trunk and tried again, managing to stabilize herself for a moment. 

“Looks like this is where she impacted.”

A man’s voice this time. Maybe fifty feet away. Rose blinked the tears away and sucked air in as quietly as she could and prepared herself to run. She scanned her surroundings through narrow slits when suddenly the feeling returned. The tugging sensation. Perhaps it had been there all along but she hadn’t noticed it through all the pain. It was definitely there now though. Pulling at her. Urging her in a direction that otherwise had no meaning except that it was further from the voices. Creeping through the darkness she did her best to land each foot on moss covered ground but it all looked the same and her left foot seemed to be broken in some way. 

“I think I see something.”

Rose tried to stabilize her breathing, to quiet herself.

You’re just a shadow. You’re just a shadow.



Twigs crunched under rapidly approaching footsteps and Rose took off. Her left foot dragged behind her. At this rate she knew they’d be on her in a matter of seconds; but the invisible force was reeling her in, spurring her forward faster than her body should have been able to manage. She broke through a hedge and stumbled into a small clearing with a stone well in the center. A sound hissed from it, like the sucking of teeth. She limped towards it and reached its walls just as the three hunters crashed through behind her. They surveyed their prey, the woman slowly circling the perimeter in one direction, a man with shoulder length dreads circling in the other. Rose sat back on the edge of the well. The pull was so strong she dug her fingers into the stone to keep from falling in. The one she’d ran from in the house stared daggers at her, his black eyes gazing into her soul.

“Why are you doing this?”

He smiled.

“Honestly. I don’t know.”

The other man chimed in, “It helps that we like it though.”

They were closing in on her now, satisfied that any angle of escape had been snuffed out. The pull she felt distorted everything around her, as if it was pulling every fiber of every being towards it. Trails of light emanated from the three hunters’ chests and flowed towards her – no – it was towards the well. She turned and peered into it and she could see herself peering back, falling, flailing, her eyes pleading to catch her. Save her. The dark well. This must have been what her Father had been mumbling about. What Logan had died for. But why? It emanated pure terror from it. An abyss that stared so deep into your soul it encapsulated every negative moment Rose had felt since she was born. A sweat broke out over her brow and her mouth had gone dry. Maybe it was the endless darkness that seemed to spill from it. The light it stole from the world around it. Or perhaps it was the fact that Rose knew down there was somehow better than up here with them. Rose looked up at Seth who drew his sword followed by the others and smiled. 

“Fuck you,” and she let herself go.

The well pulled her in and the three of them ran to its edge. Her body stretched out beyond infinity, as if she had been poured onto a wet canvas and smeared with a palette knife.

“That’s new too.” Rutten remarked.

They stood there taking it all in – each of them trying to ignore the urge to dive in after her. Knowing it could mean certain death but somehow beckoning to them like a siren out at sea. Seth put his hand on the man’s shoulder. “Well, go on then.”

Rutten pushed back. “Fuck that, you first.” 

“Two strange occurrences in one night can’t be a coincidence,” Guthrie said as she stepped back from the well.

“Two?” Seth asked, then looked around as if for the first time. “And where is Sa’id?”

“He took the runner’s cloak to the council,” Rutten responded.

“His cloak?”

“The man disappeared into thin air. That’s all he left behind,”

“The man?”

“He was no angel,” Guthrie piped in, then thought for a moment. “That’s about all we do know about him.”

“A human?”

“Maybe she was right to ask.” Rutten said.

Seth looked at him and Rutten continued. 

“Why are we doing this? Something’s going on here that we’ve never seen before.”

Guthrie nodded. “A human helping the angel. Then he disappears without a trace and now this,” she pointed at the well, “whatever the fuck this is. It makes me want to crawl out of my own skin and bake alive in the sun.”

Seth was losing them. He needed to get them away from whatever this place was. It was eating at them. Burrowing into their minds and twisting their souls. He knew as much because it was doing the same to him.

“We’ll head back to the council and report what happened. Perhaps they’ll have answers that can make sense of some of this. But let’s not forget where our loyalties lie. Understood?”

Rutten and Guthrie looked at one another then nodded at Seth.

“As long as I am Abel.”

“As long as I am Abel,” they chorused.






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Joe Shields