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Everything else seemed to happen in a blur. I could hear the back door being kicked. Rune turned to run back to it. I tried to run towards mom, but I tripped and landed hard on my elbow. Andrew surged forward, his sword in his hand. Abaddon and Baal seemed to move even faster. The seemed to glide forward, Abaddon almost seeming to disappear from one spot and appear in another, only a blur suggesting that he wasn’t magically teleporting from spot to spot.

Baal moved with a force of deadliness. I realized he was wielding a butter knife from the table, but fought deadlier than any of the men coming at him with sharpened swords. The two men worked through the shadowed men. I had trouble telling how many there were. It felt like hundreds, and like they had been going at it for hours. However, when the last one fell, and I stood up, I realized there were probably only a half dozen.

There was a shout from the kitchen, and the two men ran off to Rune’s call. I finally got back up to my feet in a daze, still not sure how to handle the situation. I had thought myself fairly worldly to violence. I had practiced with Andrew and had been on so many adventures, I just assumed I could handle myself. However, the first time I get into a fight I fall over and am completely useless the entire time. Andrew was walking around, looking at each of the bodies.

Two people raced to the door and jumped until I realized they were Stephan and Daniel. The two boys had scratches and cuts all over their arms and face, but they otherwise looked okay. I took a sigh of relief. Everyone was okay. No, they weren’t. My mom.

I ran over to her, turning her over in my arms. I felt her lips and realized she was still breathing. She had a small bruise on her head that was starting to form. Oh mom, I didn’t want to get you into this mess. Abaddon, Rune, and Baal all entered the room. Rune was breathing hard and had a small cut on his forehead. The other two men looked completely fine, as if they hadn’t even been involved in a fight.

Baal noticed me holding my mom on the floor and ran over to us. He picked her up with a single scoop.

“I’ll take her upstairs. I have a lot of experience as a field medic. Don’t worry, I’ll look after her.”

I nodded numbly as he took her and left the room. I knew that I should follow him, but for some reason my body seemed to struggle to move.

There was a movement out of the corner of my eye and I turned just in time to see one of the cloaked men rise up, aiming a crossbow. He pointed it directly at Andrew. My voice froze as the man squeezed the trigger. The bold sprung out towards Andrew, whose eyes only now noticed it.

The bolt froze in mid-air, a mere inch from hitting Andrew square between the eyes. He gasped, a look of surprise spread across his face. I looked to the side to see Abaddon holding out his hand. The kind, pleasant look on his face held a darker malice to it. He snapped his finger, and the bolt disintegrated to smoke. Then he moved, although it appeared more like a blur. He was now on the other side of the room in front of the man who fired the bolt. The man looked into Abaddon’s eyes, and fear seemed to strike him. The bow dropped, and the man went limp.

I ran to the closet and found some nylon rope and handed it to him. He tied to man up and nodded to me. The dark and malevolent look on his face starting to fade away.

“Do you know what this is?” He asked Andrew and Rune.

Rune pointed at one of the men, “I recognize him, and he’s a demon.”

Andrew sighed, standing up after looking at another man, “And this one is an angel.”

“I’m sorry,” Daniel spoke up, “There were just too many of them and from all over the place.”

Abaddon nodded to the two boys, “Well received, werewolf. You did the best you could and saved lives. You have my respect.”

Daniel nodded with a smile.

Abaddon walked over to Rune and patted him on the shoulder, “It was smart of you to keep a watch.” 

Even Rune seemed to brighten at the Demon King’s praise.

“Well…” Abaddon continued, “I’m going to head upstairs and check on Jane’s mother. Why don’t you boys try to clean up a bit? Jane, will you join me?”

I nodded dumbly and followed. I still felt like I was floating on a cloud. It felt like this whole thing wasn’t happening.

“Do not worry, Jane,” Abaddon said as we made it to the second floor, “I have a cleanup crew designed to fix these messes. We’ll get rid of the bodies, fix the place up, and alter your mom’s memories. You won’t have to deal with the fallout from this.”

I nodded again, not sure what else to say. We entered my mom’s room and found her on her bed with the blanket on. Baal was wiping her forehead with a wet cloth. His eyes looked concerned and kind. His hands moved soft and gingerly, and for the first time I realized he wasn’t nearly is rough and menacing as I once saw him. I ran over to the bed and hugged my mom. A few tears fell down my face as I held her tightly.

 “She’ll be fine. Just a bump on the head. She’ll probably be awake in a few hours. Might want to get the cleanup in here pronto.” Baal stated, turning to Abaddon; thank goodness, I was so scare my mom was hurt worse, “What’s the damage?”

 “Nine made it in the house. The pair of bodyguards might have stopped a few others from approaching.”

Baal nodded, “The werewolf and the zombie? It’s good to hear they are alright.”

I blushed; it was our intent on keeping the two secret, but it looks like they had already known about them from the beginning.

“I captured one. We’ll be able to get information out of him. Their target seemed to not be us this evening. It was Andrew they wanted to kill.”

“Andrew?” I asked in shock.

Abaddon nodded, “Yes, it seemed to me that he was the one they were going for. They left the werewolf and the zombie alive. Your mom they pushed aside. This wasn’t some random attack. They had a target, and it wasn’t me. It was a coalition of demons and angels. You know what that means.”

Baal nodded, “The Star Cult. We probably should get going then. If we’ve managed to capture one of their members, we can finally learn about them a put an end to this.”

Two men moved towards the door, but stopped when they noticed me. Abaddon walked over to me, pulling his coat off and placing it on my shoulders.

“You look cold. Try to avoid going into shock. I’m sorry things had to turn out this way. However, this is the life we live. This is the life Rune lives. It’s a life of danger. It’s not a life for a human.”

“Abaddon!” Baal started until he lifted his hand.

“No Baal, this is part of the reason we came. We may have gotten sidetracked, but she needs to know.”

I looked up at him from under his coat, “Know what?”

The two men glanced at each other until Abaddon continued, “It isn’t just the danger of a human being around the supernatural. That’s something we can live with. However, Archdemons are a class of demon. I suppose you could say it is akin to being nobility. It’s written in our rules… Archdemons can only marry and be with other Archdemons. The same holds true to Archangels as well. It’s a sad rule, but it’s old and archaic. You and Rune, or you and Andrew for that matter, can never be. In fact, when they come of age and leave earth, you won’t be able to be a part of their lives at all. I’m sorry, it’s simply how things must be.”

The words seemed to have some difficulty sinking in. Rune and Andrew were just friends, weren’t they? They couldn’t be my friends anymore? I remember Alex once making a comment about how we were lucky to even be “graced with their presence.” Was that what this was?

I glanced up at the two men. Baal looked like he might cry. Abaddon’s look was much harder and more professional. For a second, I could tell the dichotomy between the two men. I gave them a nod of affirmation and the two men turned and left the room, leaving me alone with my unconscious mother. Was this the kind of life I wanted to live? Was this the kind of life I’d be allowed to live?

After about ten minutes of sitting in my own thoughts, I finally worked up the courage to stand up. Abaddon’s coat was still around my shoulders. I tightened it around myself. He was right, I did feel cold, although I knew the temperature in the house was normal. I worked my way downstairs. The boys had managed to clean up most of the broken furniture and supplies. The bodies were lined in my living room and the sight seemed to shock me.

It looked like Ryan had returned and brought Allan, Alex, and Mr. Xavier with him. Like me, Daniel, Andrew, Alex, and Rune seemed very uncomfortable around the bodies. The two dead boys, the robot, and the alien seemed to handle the situation a lot better.

Andrew walked up to me and asked about my mother. I gave him the report on what Baal had said. They all seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.  Of course, I didn’t mention what they had told me about being an Archangel or demon. I did mention that fact that their target seemed to be Andrew. Andrew only nodded; it looked like had figured out the same.

“The Demon King and dad left with the survivor. They’re probably already back in the demon realm firing up their hot pokers.” Rune said.

I shivered at the thought. “So… what do we do now?”

The boys all looked at each other, silence permeating the group.

“We could,” Allan adjusted his glasses. “Conduct our own investigation on the subject.”

“How can we do that?” Andrew asked, “All the witnesses are dead.”

“It seems to me,” Allan glanced over at Stephan, “That death might not be a problem.”

Stephan’s eyes widened, “Me? I’ve only done that once. I don’t even know how. I just touched him and then he started moving!”

“It couldn’t hurt to try,” Andrew looked down at the person at his feet, “I know this person; he was a friend of my uncles. We might be able to get more information out of him.”

Stephan glanced at the group, and then let out a sigh, “I’ll try, at least.”

Stephan leaned down next to the dead body, and the rest of us crowded around them. He pulled out his and pulled back the cover. I fought the urge to look away. The man was still freshly dead. He didn’t look glossy or creepy. It still didn’t make me any more comfortable looking at a dead body. Stephan put his hand on the man’s arm and we all in took a breath at once.  The dead body didn’t move. We all took a breath out.

“See? I don’t really know how to make it wo-”

“Gah!” the body gurgled, his eyes snapping open.

Everyone jumped at once as the eyes spun around wildly in the corpses head. The man’s eyes finally focused on Andrew. He tried to move to lunge at him, but his body wouldn’t move.

“I’m numb,” the man growled, “I can’t move, what did you do to me?”

“We…” I couldn’t get the words out.

The man looked down, seeing the rest of his body. Then his eyes closed and he let out a sigh, “I’m dead, aren’t I?”

The group of us nodded.

“We failed. My brethren, they are all dead as well?”

We nodded again.

“Why?” Andrew broke in, “Why did you try to kill me?”

The man winced, “I’m sorry. It was the only thing we could thing to do. It was our last ditch effort, but we failed.”

“Last ditched effort?” I asked.

“To save the world. Andrew, you should have let us kill you. Now it’s too late, and the world is doomed. The war starts Tomorrow, and you are all as dead as I am.”

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