Eighteen year old Brooklyn native Julian Valentine always knew something bad was going to happen. The angels said so.
He knew that he wasn't sane after killing fourteen people and claiming that they were demons. Julian lives at Mary Elizabeth's Psychiatric Center in Brooklyn without any contact from his mother and step-father. He is heavily religious and believes the Archangel Michael is his protector. When mythology meets reality, Julian soon learns that he is a pawn to kill Michael.
New York City was lit up with blue and red lights flashing, filled with sirens blaring. People watched from inside their homes, wondering what poor saps were killed this time. Gang killings were normal. Snow blanketed over the empire city, a pinkish hue where the bodies and blood lay. A burly African cop taped off the scene, shaking his head. Another turned green, glancing at her partner. One large crowd formed outside the yellow crime tap. They were in Brooklyn right now.
One last cop car pulled up, their lights and siren shutting off. Journalist and reporters soon swarmed them, asking multiple questions.
“Is this murder gang related?”
“Is it some sort of initiation?”
“Will the killer strike again?” The crime scene unit was working diligently, moving body to body, conversing with each other. This one was just brutal. Blood painted the snow pink for fifty feet. The coroner examined a body of a forty year old man who had his stomach ripped open. Then shook his head. Who was strong enough to rip open a full grown mans stomach? Better question. Was that a finger nail in his wound?
Using teasers, he carefully gripped a small, transparent object. Yes, it was a fingernail.
“Back off. We just got here you vultures,” a deep voice boomed from inside. Detective Grey stepped out, trotting behind his female partner, Melissa Warner. She kept her auburn hair in a messy bun. The crime scene was right outside a bodega. Fourteen bodies scattered the streets and sidewalks. Somebody painted a cross on the bodega’s windows in a victim’s blood. Another symbol too. And another. And another. He had enough time to paint seven symbols on the bodega’s windows before running off. Enough time before the cops responded.
“What we got Wilson?” Detective Grey asked, coming up behind a skinny brunette CSI guy in glasses.
“Fourteen people slaughtered,” he retorted and stood. “There’s too much blood. The killer might have left something behind.” Wilson bent beside’s the body of a middle aged woman. “Coroner said six different knives were used to kill her. There’s no ID on any of them.”
Detective Warner knelt besides another body: a young man. “His holding something. Check this out.” Wilson uncurled the victims hand, and held a uniform badge between gloved fingers. “Lincoln Memorial Elementary School. Isn’t that some rich private school in Manhattan? Why would he be holding this?”
“Because,” another detective said, “witnesses say they saw a young kid being followed by these people. The kid went crazy and started hacking away, yelling out they were demons sent to kill him by Hell.”
Warner blinked. “A young kid? What did they look like?”
The detective flipped a page in a small note pad. “Golden blond bangs and the back was brown. blue eyes and very small."
Grey clapped his hands. “Great. Now all we do is have to check the school for a kid looking like that. Can't be too hard."
“They already know him,” the detective said and pointed to St. Ann’s homeless shelter. “His name is Julian McCoy. He was born there twelve years ago. He and his mother were taken in by therapist five years ago. His last name is Valentine now.”
Grey said. “Where do they live?” Ten minutes later, they traveled down Church Street towards Manhattan. Warner hated seeing young children being left on streets and alleys. Who could live like that? There are too many homeless people in the world. Cars piled up at every stop light. Christmas was four days away and late shoppers rushed in stores, not caring if they stopped traffic when crossing the street.
They arrived at a brown stone half an hour later, which would have been quicker if traffic wasn’t backed up. In a city of eight million people, this was the easiest case ever. No more than five minutes after arriving at a crime scene, they found the killer and where he lived. But this was the worst case. A boy in elementary school committed fourteen brutal killings in less than an hour. Then had time to paint symbols in their blood on windows. What’s going on the world?
People had explanations like violent movies, video games and music made kids become violent. Most times it’s not true. Warner skimmed Julian’s school file. He was twelve years old. There’s no mention of his birth file anywhere in there. Supposedly, his father ditched his mother three months into her pregnancy. Good grades, friends, teachers loved him. Played in two plays. Nothing screamed serial killer in this file: A great home in Manhattan with a loving mother and step-father.
An ambulance was sitting outside a brown stone. Two cops were speaking quietly out on the steps. Warner climbed up and knocked. A few seconds later, a blond woman answered. She had golden blond hair and a thin body. Tears ran down her face, landing on her expensive purple jacket. She led Warner inside and up some stairs. Old paintings and vases decorated the house. A Persian carpet. HD TV. Surround Sound Stereo. Everything was rich. Mr. Valentine must make thousands of dollars to own this.
They walked in silence until reaching a room with an open door. Voices came out of it. A female paramedic spoke to Julian, who was still covered in blood. What an exotic beauty this child had. He seemed so small and frail.
His eyes stayed on the ground. Warner flicked a little crystal angel that hung off a shelf.
This wasn’t the normal room of a kid. Books piled every surface. Angels and dragon statues stood in corners, desks and nightstands. No games or movies. Nothing that screamed crazy. The walls were a pale shade of purple, contrasting with the wooden floor.
Julian wouldn’t answer the paramedic and chewed his nails. His white shirt, pants and even sneakers was stained in dark red blood. Warner excused the paramedic and knelt down, gingerly taking one of his fair, small hands. The boy’s cerulean frost eyes held no emotion. One nail was missing from his right hand. His index finger. Defiantly. This boy killed them.
“Hey Julian. That’s Greek right? Meaning Jove’s child?” He nodded wearily. “Can you tell me what happened earlier today?”
Julian pointed at a statue of Michael, the Arc Angel. Warner’s lips tighten. “And what did Michael tell you to do?”
“Not Michael,” Julian squeaked. “The demons were after me. The angels speak to me.” Oh god he’s schizophrenic. And only at twelve years old. Warner put a hand on Julian’s shoulder, smiling a wan smile.
“And what….what do they say?”
“They are angry. The demons are still trying to bring Lucifer back but they can’t,” Julian said, leaning forward. “But they can’t find Lilith. Only she can get Lucifer out of hell.”
Arms wrapped around Julian. Mrs. Valentine sobbed. “Are you going to arrest him? He’s not well,” she cried.
“We’re going to have our psychiatrist talk with him at the station. Just to observe his mental health.” Mr. Valentine stepped in.
“Look,” he said, “I’m a therapist. Let me.” Warner shook her head.
“He’s your step son. Our psychiatrist is very good at his job. But you can sit in with your step-son if you want to. Wait one more question." She faced the young boy. "Why were you in Brooklyn?"
Julian rubbed his hands. "I don't know. I can't remember why."
Six years later and things have changed. Julian’s parents moved to a different brown stone in Manhattan. Those murders were solved. Julian is now living in Mary Elizabeth’s Psychiatric Center in Brooklyn, a mile from the murders.
Now eighteen years old, he grew at least a foot, standing at five nine. His hair is longer, reaching just a few inches below his neck. His eyes were almost weighed down by his thick black lashes. And his accent isn’t all that pronounced. Mary Elizabeth’s Psychiatric Center stood in Brooklyn, far from the brown stone in Manhattan. The hospital housed many patients since it was built in the early nineteen hundreds. It was a colossal grey building with close to a hundred rooms.
He rather liked living in Brooklyn and not Manhattan. Manhattan is too rich for his tastes.
Patients roamed the hallways, some ranting to themselves or keeping their head down. Stark grey walls and white tiles where ever you go in this place. Every few feet there was a plant or pictures, something to distract the residents. Doctors kept TVs in living areas. They encouraged patients to paint whenever they could.
They wouldn’t even let Julian keep his many angel statues even though he first threw a fit when they brought him there. But they did put up a cross, a painting of Michael slaying Lucifer, and the crystal angel. Snow gently fell across the giant city, the sun dipping below sky scrapers and office buildings. Christmas trees and lights were put up. Julian stared out the window while adjusting a worn out pink tee-shirt. It used to be red.
Noises that were outside and inside were toned out by voices in his head. The sky looks so ominous today, he thought. The heater blew pieces of black and blond hair in his eyes. The bus will be coming soon. Every few days, he’d suddenly leave and escape to church. Doctors went crazy wondering where he went the first few times. Now they would go to church and find him sitting in the front pew, staring at a statue of St. Michael, muttering about something. Father Joseph never minded. He’s been preaching there for thirty years and saw some weirder characters than schizophrenics who believed they heard angels. Father Joseph wouldn’t turn anyone away just because they had problems. Whatever the reason, people were still allowed in his church as long as he was a Father.
There would be homeless women, men and children trying to find shelter in here from the cold or trying to steal whatever money. Others found comfort being surrounded by angels.
Julian peered around a corner, lightly tip-toeing down a flight of stairs, beat up shoes squeaking. Thankfully, nurses were too busy tending to another patient to notice him. He ran outside, holed jacket flying behind him. Correcting himself after slipping on black ice, Julian took a seat on a bench, clutching both sides of his head.
The voices wouldn’t stop.
They’re angry. Angry that the demons are growing stronger.
“Julian, when are you going to get a new jacket? This one is worn out,” a voice said. Dr. Truman, Julian’s doctor.
“I like this jacket. It’s warm.” He flipped his hair. “It’s not going to be thrown away until it’s in tatters. I learned that on the streets.” Julian fingered a small silver cross bracelet, thinking. “Do you believe me Doctor? About all of this.”
Truman placed on hand on Julian’s shoulder. “I believe there’s something out there we can’t explain. Things we only scratched the surface of.” Julian’s eyes brighten.
“The angels are getting mad,” he said with rapidity. “There’s going to be a war soon once Lucifer regains his strength.” He’s been saying the same story for the past six years. Nothing has changed. But it’s getting worse. Violent images plaque his sleep every night for almost two years now. Ones of people getting killed and the earth burning up.
Truman patted the boys shoulder. “For Christmas, I’ll buy you a heavier jacket, one that’ll last until this one,” he pulled at it, “falls apart at the seams. Heck I’ll take you shopping to buy you new clothes. You’ve had these clothes for three years.” His jeans were severely ripped, revealing large patches of skin. There were many holes in the jacket. His shoes were tearing themselves apart.
Julian shrugged, totally immune to the cold. “I’d like that Doc. New clothes sound fine,” he said. “But who’s going to pay for them? You?”
“Yeah. I’ll even treat you for lunch at that fancy restaurant everybody is talking about. I heard the food there is amazing.” Julian knew what he was doing. Distracting him. Talking helps muting the voices.
The bus pulled up and that was the end of the conversation. Julian took a seat in the back, smiling goodbye at Dr. Truman. He sighed. This teenage boy wouldn’t hurt anybody by nature. But times came when things turned violent.
Many doctors ended up injured. Julian would become truculent and attacked anybody who got close. It became more frequent. What’s going on in that head of his? Dr. Truman wondered what would happen if Julian got seriously injured one of these days. Heading back inside, he craned his neck back, watching the bus disappear, and then he sighed. Julian shifted uncomfortable in his seat, staring at passing buildings.
Church is the only place where he feels safe. It’s his solace. Storm clouds formed overhead, threatening to storm again. They had six snow storms in the past three days. Snow covered every nook and cranny possible and ice hid under multiple layers of snow. Several car accidents happened these past few days because of that. People couldn’t go outside without getting hit.
Some were fatal, some weren’t. Either way, people got injured during winter because of hidden ice.
Julian scratched at bandage concealing his thin wrists. Back at the hospital, Dr. Truman tapped a pencil on paper, looking them over. The file was Julian’s.
Name: Julian Wesley Valentine Nee McCoy
Born: March 24th, 1994
He spread it out, trying to figure something out but didn’t know what yet. This kid was normal until he turned nine. Leaning back in his leather chair, Truman sighed heavily. What was he trying to find? A way to prove Julian isn’t crazy. But that’s absurd.
Anybody who believes they hear angels speaking can’t be right in their head.
Angels would never tell somebody to murder innocent people. If they were real, why won’t they show themselves? If they truly cared about humanity, come down here and do something about demons walking the earth. Don’t use people to do your dirty work. Truman ran a dark hand through thick graying black hair and resumed his work.