“How?” she asked.
“Multiple stab wounds and severe blood loss,” said the man, John.
“What about Nathan?”
“If you mean the young man at the scene, he’s in hospital.”
“How is he?”
“Close to dead, to be brutally honest. We assume he arrived at the scene, hearing the screams, and tried to take on Elizabeth’s attacker. There was no sign of the killer, not even a drop of blood.”
“Thank you for contacting me.”
“Not a problem. You may be called for evidence in the investigation as you were the last person Elizabeth rang.”
Chelsea put the phone down slowly. Her knees gave way and she fell onto the bed.
“Chels?” asked Chloe.
“Beth’s dead and Nathan’s in hospital.”
Chloe gasped and rushed to her sister’s side. “I wish I could make it better, but all I can do is offer to drive you to the hospital.”
“Come on then.”
Chloe took Chelsea's hand and led her down the stairs. She signalled to her mum, telling her she’d call later, and left the house with Chelsea. They got in the car and drove to the hospital.
There was a knock at the door to Azrael’s hospital room. He turned his head to see the visitors. He smiled when he saw them.
“Hello, brother,” said one of them.
“Gabriel, Michael, Raphael,” Azrael said, still smiling.
“And what trouble have you got yourself into this time, Azrael?” asked Gabriel.
“I took on Asmodeus alone.”
“Stupid man. Why?” asked Raphael.
“I’ll explain another time. So what have I missed?”
“Not a great deal, quite frankly,” said Michael. “Erela was almost banished but Leliel vouched for her. That’s about it.”
“Leliel... Sometimes I wonder if all that time alone in the dark goes to his head,” Azrael said.
“Well, I’ve been wondering if all that time in the dark has actually been spent alone, if you know what I mean,” said Raphael.
Azrael chuckled. “Erela always did act different around him.”
Someone cleared their throat. The other Archangels stepped aside. Azrael smiled even wider when he saw Chelsea step forward. She ran to him and collided into him, knocking the wind out of him and making him cough.
“Sorry,” she said quietly. Azrael saw her glance at the others nervously.
“Chelsea, this is Gabriel, Michael and Raphael. My brothers,” he said.
“We’re not really brothers, more... blood-brothers,” said Gabriel.
“Don’t worry, she knows.”
“Oh. Well, I’m not sure if I should be relieved or angry.”
“I’m sure you’ll decide, Gabriel.”
Chelsea sat on Azrael’s bed and grasped his hand, relieved he was okay. “So you’re the other Archangels?” she asked them.
“Indeed,” said Michael.
“Aren’t there meant to be seven of you?” Chelsea asked.
Michael smiled. “Meant to be. It’s just us four.”
“The others...” said Azrael. “The others were banished long ago. There were always seven up until, what, about two hundred years ago. It’s just us now.”