Kate walked briskly on the sidewalk, unsure if she had made the right decision in meeting up with Aidan. She had told Ellen that she needed some air, but would be back within the hour. She, Ellen, and Elise would be leaving soon after she was due to return from her walk.
She slowed her pace when she rounded the corner. She could see the café up ahead. Her heart began its unsteady rhythm again. Kate took a few deep breaths before entering the café. It only took a millisecond before she spotted Aidan from the corner of her eye. He was seated at the exact table she had sat at earlier that day. He was seated exactly where she had sat.
Aidan rose when Kate reached the table. Kate glanced around the café nervously, noticing the small number of people present. She had mentally planned an escape route just in case something went wrong. The last time she had met Aidan at a restaurant, she had fled in terror.
“I’m glad you decided to come, Kate. I was uncertain if you would follow through,” Aidan began.
“I’m only here because I need answers. I need to know what’s going on, Aidan.”
“Perhaps I should start at the beginning—the very beginning.”
“I have to be back in an hour, so you had better start talking,” Kate returned.
“We received black marks in the palms of our hands the moment our hearts had been turned by the deceiver, Lucifer. There was no going back after that. We were marked for disgrace, but none of us could have known what lay in store for us. We expected to be punished, but not swept from the plains of heaven. A great wind rose up and flung us from the holy city. It was as loud as a thousand hurricanes combined—deafening and terrible.
We fell for what seemed like days. Of course, we had no sense of time back then. It wasn’t until the existence of man that time became important. It was terrifying beyond all imagining. There was nothing to grab onto, nothing to break our fall. We were shooting downwards towards we knew not what. Then we started to burn. I had just enough time to cover myself with my wings when flames enveloped me.
My wings had formed a cocoon around my body, so my body escaped the fire. My wings were destroyed. They grew back over time, but never looked as they originally had. They grew back haggard and the color of gunmetal. Not all of the fallen were as lucky as I had been. Some had failed to protect themselves with their wings, and their bodies had paid for their mistake.
The Earth’s atmosphere transformed the most beautiful of us into deformed, twisted creatures. The great heat we passed through altered even the great Lucifer. Not one of us was exempt. Our Creator had spied the treason in our hearts the moment it was conceived.
We lost our heavenly splendor. The gifts our Creator had instilled in us were gone. We had rejected our God-given purpose and were now left desolate—without hope. There were many of us who mourned the loss of Heaven. Those who were foolish enough to voice their grief were bound in chains. Lucifer would not tolerate double-mindedness. We had chosen our side—the wrong one.”
Kate stared at Aiden, astonished. How could she respond to this unbelievable account? “You didn’t say how Lucifer deceived you,” she stated quietly.
“It’s simple really. He told us the one thing that would make us abandon our Creator for a new leader. He told us that the God who created us no longer loved us. He told us that God had bestowed his love on a new project—mankind—and that God would make us slaves to this new creature.”
“But how could you believe that? You had been in the presence of God. You had lived in Heaven with Him. How could you think He didn’t love you anymore?” Kate stammered.
“Lucifer was the most beloved angel. He was highly favored and did the bidding of the Almighty since his creation. How could we possibly know that he had nursed a grievance in his heart against the Creator? I was skeptical at first, as were a great many of us, but he was my captain. I spent more time in Lucifer’s presence than I did in the Almighty’s.”
Kate remained silent for a moment, letting Aidan recover from his narrative. She wasn’t sure what to think, now that she knew the truth about Aidan. A demon—or fallen angel—was sitting across the table from her. He looked perfectly human on the outside. He was gorgeous, of course, but humans could be gorgeous. The more she studied his features, the more she began to notice small details that seemed inconsistent with normal habits. Aidan’s chest didn’t rise and fall like a normal human. Did he even have to breathe?
Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, Kate finally asked the question she needed to know the answer to.
“You haven’t told me why they’re after me. What could I have possibly done to tick a bunch of demons off?”
“They’re after you because of me, actually. I didn’t realize they had found me when I arrived in your town. They heard my thoughts when I saw you for the first time.”
“They heard your thoughts when you met me at the book shop?”
“No, that wasn’t the first time I saw you, Kate. I came across your house the night before we met at the bookshop. I could hear you talking with your friend.”
“You were in my house?” Kate asked astonished.
“No, I was outside, but I could hear your conversation. You were describing the perfect man, so that’s why I took the form that fit your description.”
“That would explain a lot,” Kate replied. “I knew you were too good to be true. But that still doesn’t explain why demons are after me.”
“Kate, are you familiar with the book of Genesis?”
“Somewhat, I suppose,” Kate answered.
“There is a passage in the beginning of Genesis, after the creation, about the sons of God coming to Earth and taking human women as their brides. Does that sound familiar at all?”
“Yeah, I think I remember something about that. The giants were descended from their offspring, right?”
“Yes, that’s right. So you are familiar with those scriptures?”
“Yeah, I guess so, but what does that have to do with me?” Kate asked anxiously.
“After the flood, Lucifer wouldn’t allow his angels to continue to mate with humans. He believed that it would bring about his destruction that much sooner, and that humans would believe in God as long as there was physical evidence of the supernatural. He forbid any of the fallen from ever havingthatkind of contact with humans, under pain of the pit.”
“Pain of the pit—what does that mean?” Kate questioned.
“The fallen can be cast into the pit, either by powerful demons, such as Lucifer, or by angels. The pit is a dark, terrible place. It’s the last place our kind want to be locked up.”
“I still don’t understand, Aidan. Are demons after me because I went on a date with you? Do they think that I’m going to have your babies or something, is that it?”
“Not exactly. I told you before. They read my thoughts when I saw you. They know what I intended to do when I met you, and it is forbidden.”
“What do you mean? What did you intend to do when you met me, Aidan?”
“If the nephilim were ever to rise again, humans would see evidence of the supernatural. They would be forced to admit that God is sovereign. Lucifer would get what is coming to him that much sooner, and those of us who stand against him in the end may have some chance of redemption, if only through our offspring.”
“The nephilim? You mean half demon, half humans?” Kate stammered.
“Yes, that’s right.”
“You never said what my part is in all of this, Aidan.”
“Do you not see, Kate? I’ve tried to lay it out for you to understand.”
Kate shook her head in disbelief. She must have heard wrong. Aidan couldn’t be implying what she thought he was implying. He was a demon. Demons are bad. Everyone knows that.
“What were plans for me, Aidan? Just say it. I need to know exactly what you were thinking when you first saw me.”
“Kate, I thought you might be the one to help me fulfill this task that is before me.”
“Who has given you this task, Aidan? I thought demons served Satan—Lucifer. How is it that you are running from your own kind?”
“I made a mistake, Kate, one mistake. And now I am damned for all eternity. Haven’t you ever made a mistake, Kate?”
“Of course I have. What kind of question is that?” Kate stammered.
“Okay, let me rephrase the question then. Have you ever made a mistake that God wouldn’t forgive you for?”
“No, I guess not. All I have to do is ask.”
“Exactly. That’s the benefit of being human, Kate. But I don’t have that luxury. The only chance of redemption that I have is to pass on a part of myself to my offspring, given that offspring is created with a human. Because you see, only humans and nephilim are given the gift of redemption.”
“This is insane, Aidan. I’m eighteen years old. I’m just an average girl, nothing special. Why on Earth would you even consider asking me to be a part of something like this? Is it even possible? I mean, a good bit’s changed since the last time nephilim existed, right? I barely know you and you want me to have a baby with you? That’s a lot to ask for in a normal relationship, Aidan. You’re not even human. God Himself would probably come down and punish me for something like that.”
Aidan sat quietly, waiting for Kate to finish. Exhausted and out of breath, Kate finally sat down. She looked up at Aidan. He gazed at her quietly with a calm expression.
“I’m sorry, Kate. I shouldn’t have even considered asking such a thing from you.”
“Such a thing fromme? How could ask such a thing from anyone? Do you actually think there is any girl out there who would agree to such a thing?” Kate asked.
“There are plenty of girls who would readily agree to such a thing, but none of them are suitable,” Aidan answered seriously.
“Suitable…what do you mean by suitable?”
“The only humans that would agree to bear demon offspring are those who serve Lucifer. I need a female human who believes in Christ. The whole point is to produce a child that will receive salvation, and therefore redemption. There’s no point in creating a child that would grow up worshipping Lucifer, is there? Although I doubt Lucifer would let such a child live anyway. He has forbidden procreation with humans. Defiance to his rules means being cast into the pit to any of the fallen who attempt it. So, you see, a pagan woman isn’t suitable for this purpose. You are educated, understanding, and old for your years, Kate. I sensed it in you the moment I laid eyes on you, but I understand that it’s a lot to ask.”
Kate sat perplexed. The whole idea of producing a demon child was unsettling enough, but now Aidan was telling her that he thought she was ideal for the job. This was insanity at its finest.
“Aidan, I’m sympathetic to what you’re saying about your redemption, or lack of redemption. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live an eternity without any hope, and I’m sorry for that. But have you ever asked God for forgiveness? Have you ever tried talking to him? Maybe he would show you mercy if you’re truly sorry for your rebellion.”
“I wish it was that simple, Kate. I’ve lived for thousands of years. Don’t you think that it’s crossed my mind to ask him for myself? Here’s the problem with talking to God: he refuses to hear me. He will only talk with Lucifer, and he doesn’t do that often. So, you see, I have no other way.”
“But he’s God. He hears everything, knows everything. Surely, he knows of your repentance,” Kate argued.
“Yes, he is what you say he is, but he can choose not to hear. I love him, Kate. I never stopped loving him, but I had a moment of weakness. That one moment has cost me everything. I can never go back, not even to say that I’m sorry.”
“After you fell…did you hurt humans?” Kate questioned.
“No, not directly, I was a watcher. I observed and gave reports of what I saw, that’s all. I was stationed in Ireland for the last five hundred years until I decided to escape from Lucifer’s service.”
“That explains the accent.”
“I’ve only taken human form once before, but it was for an extended period, so the accent stuck with me,” Aidan explained. “None of that matters, Kate. What matters is your decision.”
“What am I supposed to do? Will the demons stop hunting me if I move?”
“I’m afraid not, Kate. Either way you choose, they will hunt you, and the odds are not in your favor. If you stay with me, you have a better chance of protection. I can hear them from miles away, and I can see them, obviously. Most humans go their entire lives without seeing angels or demons.”
“What about my mom? What am I supposed to say to her? Will she be safe or will they come after her to get to me?”
“She’s safer if you aren’t around, Kate. I know that’s hard to hear, but that’s the truth.”
“If I decide to go with you, can I change my mind later? Would you let me go?” Kate stammered.
“Yes, but I wouldn’t advise it. I have no expectations, Kate, but I can assure you that you’re safer with me than apart from me.”
“And you swear that you won’t hurt me?”
“Yes, Kate, I swear to you that I will never hurt you. I will do my best to protect you. I’ll give you time to decide about the other thing.”
“Oh yeah, that. I may need some time to think that one through.”
“The sooner you decide, the sooner Lucifer will get what he deserves, Kate. Then things will be restored to how they should be.”
“But the nephilim have to accept salvation, right?”
“Yes, they will have to choose whether they will serve God or Lucifer, just like humankind.”
“How can you know they will choose God?”
“I don’t know, but if we do all we can to lead them in that direction….”
“You know this is crazy, right? Kate sighed in resignation, “But if what you’re saying is true, I don’t see what other choice I have. If demons are going to hunt me either way, I may as well give them a good reason. Where do I go from here?”
“Go back home with your friends. I’ll meet you at your house tomorrow at sundown. Pack light.”
“Aidan?” Kate whispered as she rose from the table.
Aidan rose from his seat, locking his black eyes on Kate. “Yes?”
“That’s good, Kate, as strange as that may sound. Fear is motivation and usually keeps humans alive longer than the lack of it does.”
Kate made her way back to the apartment building with heaviness in each step she took. The weight of the world was on her shoulders in a sense, and her life up to this point now seemed like a sleepy reverie. Her eyes were now opened to a new world, one she had never known, and what had seemed like fairy tales were now harsh realities. There were demons in the world, and angels. And there was God, a God who chose to forgive only part of his creation, while the other part was sentenced to an eternity in hell.
The ways of God had never made sense to Kate. She had tried to acknowledge what she had been taught in Sunday school, that God’s ways were higher than hers, so there was no reason she should understand him. She had accepted his son as her savior as a child and had stuck with it for most of her life. She did her best to love her neighbor as herself, with only a few botches here and there. At the end of the day, she always liked to think that she had lived up to her Christian title. She didn’t shout her religion from the rooftops like some did, but she treated others like she wanted to be treated. Surely that counted for something. Now there was this, this insane task that was being asked of her.
Feeling she had aged a decade over the past twenty-four hours, Kate wearily climbed the stairs, each foot ascending heavily one after the other. What would she tell her mother? What would she tell her friends? Nothing. They can be told nothing. She would have to walk this one out alone, or partially alone. Aidan would be there, or she hoped he would. He had given his word, and only time would tell if that word was good.