A Devils Tale
Azrael stood bare-chested in front of the full length mirror and flexed his large formidable wings; the intricate black feathers shone and glowed in the early morning sunlight. His powerful
muscles gleamed from the oil that had been applied earlier and he flexed and tensed them deliberately, admiring the way they moved and shifted beneath his smooth unblemished skin. The black leather pants he wore low on his hips showed off his flat muscled stomach and the large bulge in his crotch indicated he was most definitely male. He kept his face turned so that only the right side was in profile,
the strong jaw, high cheekbones, even his swept back blue black hair. He was beautiful! A sculpted
statue of perfection… almost! His full lips tightened and the anger that emanated from him was almost physical. Beautiful… but only from a certain angle…. Slowly, he turned his head so that the left side of his face slowly came into view. The skin was burnt and deformed, damaged flesh held together with
uneven strips of thick scar tissue. The eye that stared from the mass of ravaged flesh was opaque and blind in direct contrast to the other which was a dark deep green. The hair had fortunately grown back on the spoiled side of his face, and he smoothed it forward almost compulsively in a vague effort to cover some of the damage. He had hoped that after all this time that the flesh would have healed, he was an Archangel after all, but the hellfire that had burnt and scorched him proved to be permanent and
immune even to his powers. Just staring at the mutilated skin reminded him of the bitch who had done this to him. “Angel!” As he had done every day since she had sliced off his wings and kicked him over the edge of the Crossroads Bridge, he cursed her name, and vowed revenge! Perhaps, if he had managed to escape
from the hellfire immediately the initial damage would have healed, but he had been trapped as the flames had licked and scorched his flesh. He was left without his wings that the Dark Angel had hacked
from his back. He recalled the smell of his flesh burning and melting and he had screamed until his throat was raw and damaged, and the only sound was harsh broken sobs of agony. He had been unable
to escape the fires of Hell, until his wings had grown back, and it had taken an eternity. His once
ethereal white wings had eventually grown back but they were no longer white and pure. They were now black, an eternal everlasting black; as formidable as the Hell fires in which they had been forged.
His mouth tightened at the memory and he slammed a powerful fist into the mirror, shattering it. He
stared into it for a few seconds longer, his fragmented broken reflection staring back at him, distorting his already ravaged features even further. All he saw however was the mocking face of the Dark Angel
staring back. With a snarl and a snap of his black wings he walked away.
In an instant Azrael was standing just inside the entrance of a refuse and debris strewn alleyway
in a decaying and dilapidated part of the city. Time and location were just a thought to the Angels, especially one as powerful as him. This part of the city was a last refuge for the lost and the lonely who inhabited it. A sanctuary for the destitute, those members of humanity who were beyond redemption,lost and forgotten, unwanted and undesirable! A society that were ignored and overlooked except by those who preyed upon them. There were a number of temporary lean-too shelters lining the alley, inhabited mainly by men who had fallen on difficult times in an uncaring indifferent world. He strode purposely down the centre of it, the debris swirling and twisting behind him to mark his presence, and
as he passed each homeless person. To a casual observer he appeared to be a man in the wrong place,tall, powerfully built, with an expensive suit. A businessman lost or looking for something a little
different, a little rougher and seedier than normal. For the lost and homeless that had seen more than most and that inhabited the lean-to’s, boxes and crates they recognized him for what he was, a
predator! As he passed they stared at him with terror etched in their expressions. The power was
almost palpable as was the anger that washed off him in waves and they averted their gaze or scuttled
away like wounded animals, trying to avoid his unwanted attention. Azrael’s vision lingered briefly over
them as he passed by, the brief glimpse enough to tell him everything about them. At a glance he could
sense the sins of each and every one; some were murderers, some rapists and some worse. Much,
much worse! Others however, were just men who had simply lost their way, the sorrow and anguish
etched in the lines of their faces, ingrained in their very psyche. A disproportionate number of the
homeless were veterans, soldiers who had fought in the wars of men and who had seen things they no
longer cared to remember. Now discarded by the government they had once fought so hard for, and
shunned by the people, for whom they had gone into combat, risking lives and limb, in order for others
to keep their freedom! Dignity and honour was long forgotten, a distant memory of another time.
The Archangel walked past them, as uncaring as the rest of society that shunned them. He came
to a halt opposite one of men, frowning into the shadows of the large cardboard box that lay on its side.
The bold text on the side indicated that the packaging had once held a freezer, but now it was simply a
temporary refuge, a partial shelter against the chill winter wind that funneled down the narrow alleyway
and the drizzle of rain that had begun to fall. The man who lay within on a stained and torn blanket,
stared back at the unwanted visitor with eyes that were old, far older than they had any right to be.
They were the eyes of a man who had seen the very depths of hell and depravity and barely held on to
his sanity by a sliver of hope.
A warrior who had once fought in great gory wars of flesh, blood and men’s dying screams, but
sadly now only battled his own inner demons and those demons wore many different faces.
Azrael smiled, but it was not a pleasant sight, the perfect side of his mouth pulled up and the
damaged side remained motionless. “Old friend!”
The man glared back. “You’re no friend of mine angel, I’ve seen you on the battlefield and you
revel in the anger and fear and bloodlust!”
Azrael shrugged. “Everyone has to have a hobby!”
“Leave me be! Let me live and die in what little peace I can find!”
Azrael’s shoulders shook as he laughed, but the sound contained little humour. “There will be
no peace for the likes of you, the memories of the atrocities you have committed will always haunt you.
They’ll haunt you until your death and beyond as you burn in the hottest pits of hell!” He flexed his
shoulders and the huge wings stretched out behind him making the others in the alleyway cry out with
fear as they hid themselves away. “I will make sure of that!”
The man’s face fell, the pain and grief etched deeply into his features. His eyes met Azrael’s but
there was no pity in the Archangels’ expression. He stared back with a cold calculating gaze and it was
the man who looked away first.
“What do you want of me?”
Azrael reached into the pocket of his tight leather pants and pulled out a single gold coin. “This
is one of the coins originally given to Judas in payment for his betrayal.” His fingers moved and the coin
rippled back and forth over the top of his knuckles. “I know your deeds, your own treachery and there is
a price to pay for that, but I have a proposition for you.” The angel’s expression became calculating and
he turned his face slowly to reveal sides… the perfect and imperfect…. “A proposition that would go
some way to repaying your sins, or at least, put you on the righteous side of hell!”
The man stared back silently for a moment as though weighing up the words. The possibility of
retribution hung between them, and he licked his dry broken lips. “Tell me…” he finally spoke; his eyes
never leaving the coin as it flickered back and forth.
Azrael smiled, although the damaged side of his mouth did not respond making the expression
look more like a leer. “It’s very simple…” he stated, “… I want you to kill someone who has wronged
me,” he raised his other hand to the ravaged side of his face, his fingers brushing delicately over the
“Who?” The question was barely a whisper.
Azrael shrugged at the question. “What do you care? It’s only one more life amongst the many
you have already taken.”
“What’s the catch?” The man’s tone was harsh with barely contained anger!
The Archangel shrugged. “Why would you assume there’s a catch?” His tone was faintly
“Because, nothing is ever simple and you are never completely honest!” The anger was gone,
the tone now simply resigned.
Azrael grinned maliciously as he recognised the truth of the statement. “It’s simple really, you
just have to die!”
He held up the gold disc and showed the man both sides. One side was engraved with a pair of
wings whilst the other had a pair of horns and a twisted tail. “The coin will decide your fate. The wings
mean you simply die; the horns and tail means you will die, painfully! Are you ready?”
The man nodded, his eyes never leaving the coin.
Azrael grinned and spun the coin into the air, its edges catching the light. It hung in the air for
an eternity until Azrael reached out a hand and caught it then offered it to the man in his open palm.
His mouth stretched into a satisfied sneer. “A painful death it is… it’s time for me to claim your
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