Zeke took Caelan's hand and pulled him away from his uncle a little, giving the yellow-haired man a pointed look. Caelan went with him willingly, waiting by the door.
Cassius looked down at Beth. “Remember what I said, Beth,” he said to her quietly, his eyes serious.
She nodded. “I will.”
“Now, go. Gabriel will be getting impatient. Well, more so than usual,” he smiled.
Zeke opened the door and gave his uncle a final smile, an emotion in his eye that Beth couldn’t interpret, before pulling Caelan out. Beth followed quietly, seeing Gabriel leaning against the wall just beyond the steps that led onto the street. He looked up when the door opened.
“Are you ready?” he asked, his voice flat while his eyes looked somewhat distant.
Zeke nodded, making his way down the few stone steps as Gabriel stood. He started off without another word, walking down the road in silence. Not even his footsteps made a sound. The few people that, too, were using the road paid him no attention, as if they didn’t notice the bright blue hair and the almost too muscular frame. It was as if no one could see him.
The three looked to each other before hurrying to catch up with him.
“How bad was Sam when you left?” Zeke asked, though he seemed unsure as to whether Gabriel was actually listening to him or not.
“Slowly bleeding out. We did the best we could to stem it but it bled through every bandage we put on it,” the angel answered without turning.
“Have you tried stitching it?”
“We cannot. The wound in itself is poisonous. The flesh around it will slowly die and the bones will become weak before they crack.”
“I-I didn’t realise it was that bad.”
“From now it is simply a waiting game. There is not much time. It is odd, when you have lived for as long as we have to finally face an end.” The last part sounded wistful, almost sad.
“And how long is that?” Beth asked.
“I have no number to tell you, I’m afraid.”
The group fell silent as they walked. Gabriel led them down one alley after another until they came out into a huge field. Beth frowned and looked behind her, seeing only more grass. She looked up at the sky: blue, without a cloud, the sun shining brightly.
“It is a basic portal,” Gabriel explained, sensing their confusion as he kept walking. “They are everywhere.”
He stopped at some point, kneeling down and running his fingers over the grass. He shuffled further forward and looked up before drawing shapes in the grass with his index finger. It was two, three minutes before he finished, standing.
“Everyone hold hands,” he ordered, turning to face them.
Beth gasped slightly: one of his eyes had changed colour. Instead of being the scarlet red, it was a brilliant green, brighter than the grass. It flicked through several colours – brown, blue, yellow, orange – before returning to their usual red. He glanced over at her briefly.
The marks he’d drawn on the ground began to pulse with light, glowing a bright white.