And to Gabriel said the Lord: “Proceed against the biters and the reprobates, and against the children of fornication: and destroy [the children of fornication and] the children of the Watchers from amongst men [and cause them to go forth]: send them one against the other that they may destroy each other in battle: for length of days shall they not have …” (Enoch 10:9)
“Heaven was never an option for me. To serve or otherwise. So I really don’t know if it’s better to rule in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”
“You always did have a good sense of humor, Haus,” said Jehenne as she gently placed the ancient Egyptian vase she had been admiring back on the massive, mahogany, Victorian era desk. She looked up at Haus standing on the other side and added, “But you do have to admit that ruling Hell does have its perks.”
Haus laughed, “You know me Jehenne, I like nice things. But I’m not the sole ruler of Hell. I’m sort of co-manager.”
“So where is the other co-manager at the moment?” asked Jehenne.
“I should have known you weren’t here to see me. Even though I was the one who saved you all those centuries ago,” said Haus.
“Don’t get sensitive on me now, Haus. I need to find him. It’s important.”
“I knew it was just a matter of time before you got yourself involved in the humans’ mess,” said Haus.
“We were both once human,” Jehenne answered.
Haus stepped from behind the desk and walked toward Jehenne. He placed his hands on her shoulders and looked into her eyes, “That was a long time ago. What do a witch and a demon care of human events?”
Jehenne stepped back, away from his grasp. “You know damned good and well that what’s coming was not caused by humans.”
“Fine, go do what you feel you must. You’ll find him at a nightclub in Dallas with our absentee father,” said Haus.
It was Friday evening, so the bar lined street was riddled with people coming and going. The evening was cool, so many wore jeans, some dresses. One buff, young man caught Jehenne’s eye for a moment wearing black leather pants and a matching leather vest and sporting a tattoo of a tiger blazoned across his bare, muscular chest. The young man took notice of Jehenne in her snug turquoise sweater, skin tight jeans and black leather boots, but walked past her to greet another attractive young man who had crossed the street to meet him. Jehenne watched as the two lovers embraced and then she focused again on the task at hand. Jehenne fit right in with the young, attractive people populating the area. She was hard to miss, her lips blazing red with her favorite shade of lipstick, which contrasted well with her long, white streaked, black hair and blue eyes that a person could drown in.
As Jehenne continued to survey the crowd, an aging platinum blonde beauty approached her and said, “Well hello, beautiful. What’s a tall drink of water like you doing alone on a Saturday night?” Her words slurred a bit as she said it.
Jehenne turned her gaze toward the woman, who was wearing a short dress made of credit cards, revealing a nice pair of legs with feet clad, in red stiletto heels. Jehenne decided the dress must be some kind of political statement. She was about to address the woman, when she got a glimpse of him from the corner of her eye. Sam looked the same as he had the last time she saw him, so long ago. But then, of course he would. He stood on the sidewalk, across the street from her in front of a bar called, Miss Ellie’s. For a moment it seemed that he looked directly at her, but then he turned around and entered the bar.
Jehenne turned back to the woman and said, “I’m here to meet someone.”
“Oh, I’m sure he won’t mind waiting a bit,” said the blonde.
Jehenne ignored her and stepped one foot off the curb, when she felt a hand on her arm. Everything vanished…
She was in a garden now and Sam now leaned on a tree several yards away from her. He was talking to someone. Jehenne took in her surroundings. The rolling hills of Tuscany were laid out before her. They were just as beautiful as she remembered them, when she lived there centuries ago. There were rows of cypress trees, olive groves and vineyards as far as the eye could see. The grapes would soon be ripe for picking, in need of a knowledgeable vintner who would decide which were worthy of fine bottles of future wine.
Jehenne was swept away for a moment by the familiar aroma put off by the sangiovese grapes. Fresh fruity scents of strawberries and spice reminded her of that time deep in her past. A time when she was still learning, and not the powerful witch she was today. She remembered Aradia, who was her teacher and her friend in that distant past.
Jehenne had to almost physically shake off those memories. The effects of the garden of Heaven were powerful. And Jehenne knew that she was seeing her version of the garden. It was different for each human. What was seen was based on individual desires and memories. Jehenne also knew she was in Sam’s past. A past that took place centuries before she even existed. The magic was indeed powerful. She had been transported to the memory, but at least her own magic was strong enough for her to know that this wasn’t real. But of course she was curious, so Jehenne moved closer to better hear their conversation.
“Why are you doing this, brother?” asked a tall broad shouldered man with flowing blonde hair.
There was something different about the man. Jehenne drew closer and then she saw them….he had wings. They were powerful, white feathered wings which arched high above his shoulders and extended to his ankles. And now she saw that Sam had wings too. Jehenne stared, wide eyed. There was no doubt this was Heaven. The blonde haired angel was the archangel, Michael. This is how it all began….when Samyaza fell.
“I’m doing this…brother, because I’m tired of living in tyranny,” answered Sam.
“And what do you think it will be like with Lucifer in Hell?” asked Michael.
“Lucifer allows free will.”
“Look what free will has caused, Sam,” said Michael.
“No, it is not free will that caused this, it is the fight for our freedom. If we had been allowed free will to begin with, none of this would have happened.”
Several other angels walked into the garden now. Jehenne watched as they surrounded Michael. Sam raised his hand and they halted. Sam’s focus was back on Michael now.
“You can’t fight the Grigori alone, brother. We are too many. Gabriel and Raphael aren’t here to help you. Even an archangel can’t defeat all the Watcher angels,” said Sam.
One of the Grigori walked up to Samyaza and said, “My lord, we should kill Michael or he will have all seven archangels hunting us as well as all the host of Heaven.”
Sam turned and faced the angel. The angel’s hands went to his own throat as he began to gasp for air. Each breath a struggle. He was clawing at his throat with his hands, as if he could open his airway and allow sweet oxygen into his lungs.
Most humans would have been shocked that an angel even needed to breathe, since biblical mythology portrayed them as godlike. But Jehenne already knew that angels and demons weren’t so different from humans. They were simply more powerful and so long-lived that compared to the short human lifespan they appeared immortal.
“Never utter those words again if you wish to live, Shamsiel,” said Sam.
Shamsiel fell to the ground in a heap. He stayed there as he inhaled great breaths of air. He then stood up and faced Samyaza once again.
“Please forgive me, my lord,” said Shamsiel.
“I forgive you. I need you to lead the Grigori to Earth. I will join you later. I wish to continue talking to Michael privately,” answered Sam.
“But he will kill you without the rest of us here.”
“No he won’t,” said Sam, looking at Michael as he said it. Sam then looked around as he addressed all his followers, “Go brothers. We will be together again soon. Disappear among the humans. We will rise again at the appointed time.”
Jehenne watched in amazement as something like two hundred angels extended their wings in a cacophony of noise. But then they didn’t take flight, they just simply vanished. Perhaps the sound of their wings opened a portal. It wasn’t clear to Jehenne how they achieved such an abrupt departure. She knew angels didn’t use magic. But could they use telepathy she wondered, or was the explanation even more simple than that? During the eons that angels have existed, there was no telling what they may have mastered in that long time. But Shamsiel had remained behind.
Sam placed his hands on Shamsiel’s shoulders.
“Go brother. Meet me in the designated place. We are no longer welcome here in Heaven.”
Shamsiel then stepped back and extended his wings. His lips were moving, but Jehenne couldn’t hear what he was saying. And then just like the others, he vanished.
Once again just Samyaza and Michael stood facing each other in the garden.
“Brother, please don’t do this. Don’t follow Lucifer to Hell,” said Michael.
“I no longer wish to follow our lord blindly. And I cannot abide by having to bow down to inferior humans. We were created first. The angels. We are more powerful than even the pagan gods who came before us.”
“Your arrogance will destroy you, Samyaza,” said Michael.
“Not today,” Sam answered.
“But what about Heaven?” asked Michael.
“I’m sure you and the other archangels can run things fine without me. Just continue to follow your imperious leader without question.”
“Are you not afraid of angering God, Samyaza?”
“The Watchers will disappear among the humans just as the pagan gods before us. One can’t destroy what one can’t find.”
“God sees all,” answered Michael.
“Save that rhetoric for the hapless humans, brother.”
The magic transported Jehenne and once again she was in a garden. But this one she had never seen before. This garden was atop a palace and the walls that surrounded it. There were trees growing on top of and amongst the walls. There were so many different species of trees, it seemed unlikely that they could all be native to the area. There were pines of multiple varieties, cypresses and juniper as well. Fruits and nuts were in abundance and readily available for the picking. Canal water flowed from above in the garden and was fed by a series of aqueducts. Fragrance permeated the walkways. Her nostrils were caressed with the scents of dates, almonds, rosewood, olives, walnuts and various others that she could not recognize.
Jehenne had never seen such beauty, not even in Tuscany. The bright, white palace and surrounding garden made it seem as if this place must be in Heaven. But she knew it was not. As she began to walk toward the palace, Jehenne observed humans wearing ancient garb. They were dressed in tunics, some with cloaks as well. The tunics the men wore were knee length, while the women were covered to their ankles. Their garments were colorful and of light material because of the warm climate. Jehenne realized that she had read about this place, but had always thought it was fictional. This had to be the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world.
As Jehenne drew closer to the palace she noticed that there was a great statue in front of it made of black stone. It was of a lion standing above a man lying supine all atop a platform. As she neared the brilliant white pillars at the front of the palace she saw two men, but not men, angels. Sam and Shamsiel were deep in conversation. She drew closer so she could hear their discussion.
“Is everyone safely in hiding?” asked Sam.
“Yes, my lord. But when do we plan to go back and take what’s ours?” asked Shamsiel.
“Be patient, brother. When the time is right, not only will Heaven be ours, but this world as well.”
“So Lucifer plans to take control of all three?” asked Shamsiel.
“Of course, why shouldn’t he? Do you wish to return to the slavery that we have known for so long?”
“No, I don’t. But sometimes it does seem easier to just follow orders.”
“Then follow mine and Lucifer’s until this is over,” said Sam.
A woman approached them now from inside the palace. Jehenne couldn’t see her face, so she moved in closer. By the time Jehenne was in position it was too late, the woman had already turned back toward the palace. She had Sam’s hand in hers as he followed her back into the structure. Jehenne started after them, but she glanced at Shamsiel as she passed him. He was looking toward them and his face was dark with rage. Was it the woman leaving with Sam that angered him or their discussion? Jehenne had no choice but to wonder as she continued to track Sam and the woman.
The walls and floors inside the palace were decorated with colorful mosaics. Most of them depicted various ancient gods engaged in various godlike situations. They passed through what must have been the throne room. The throne was a wooden structure overlaid with carved ivory panels, which in turn were overlaid with gold. It was raised on six steps and there was a footstool of gold. On either side of the throne were two stone lion statues. “More lions,” thought Jehenne, “Guess kings had small cocks in ancient times.”
The three of them continued down a hall and then into a room, which Jehenne was not pleased to realize was a bed-chamber. The woman faced the large four-poster bed as Sam stood behind her. She had long, pure white hair braided down her back with fine gold twine.
Sam began to remove the twine as he said, “I am finally yours, Istahar.”
Jehenne knew about the myth of Istahar and Samyaza and she always assumed it was exactly that, a myth. Sam didn’t seem the type to be so easily fooled by a woman’s wiles. And this particular woman, according to myth, tricked Samyaza into providing her with the true name of God so that she could ascend to Heaven.
Jehenne continued to watch as Istahar’s thick, white hair was freed from bondage by Sam’s skillful fingers. Istahar turned to face Sam, but her face was still blocked from Jehenne’s view. Jehenne was not pleased to say the least, when Sam reached out with both hands and lifted Istahar’s tunic from her shoulders. The garment slipped to the ground with the hushed whisper of delicate linen.
Sam caressed her breasts and then moved his hands to her face as he drew Istahar close and began to kiss her mouth. She kissed back with equal enthusiasm and passion. Jehenne was confused. The old story said that Istahar had never actually made love to Samyaza and had ascended into Heaven as a virgin. But it was obvious that Sam and Istahar had been together before. This was not awkward, first time love-making. They were too comfortable with each other. Now Sam removed his garments and his wings had vanished. Jehenne seriously wanted to leave now. It felt like there was a boulder in the pit of her stomach as she watched the love of her life making love to another woman. She knew she loved Sam, but she didn’t realize how much until this moment. Jehenne tried to remind herself that this happened long before she knew him. But that didn’t help much. She continued to watch as Istahar’s pale hands stroked Sam’s ebony skin. Her fingers tracing the chiseled muscles of his shoulders and upper back. Jehenne was fighting off tears now and the pain in her stomach had intensified. She closed her eyes, but she could still hear them. The magic was strongest here and it was impossible for Jehenne to leave the room, so she just stood there with her eyes closed.
“Open your eyes,” said Istahar.
Jehenne thought it odd that Sam would have his eyes closed while making love to her. He never did that with Jehenne.
“Open your eyes, Jehenne.”
Jehenne opened her eyes. She was still in the bedchamber, but Sam was gone. For the first time, she had full view of Istahar’s face. Jehenne felt like she had been punched in the face.
“So you recognize me,” said Istahar.
Jehenne continued to stare, saying nothing.
“I knew you were powerful Jehenne. Your power rivals my own. But of course, I was your teacher so long ago. And in a time yet to be.”
“You speak in riddles, Aradia. Is this the true past or something you’ve conjured up?” asked Jehenne, finally finding her voice.
“You are experiencing Samyaza’s past as it happened long before you knew him. You have assimilated well with the ordinary humans. I’m so disappointed in you, Jehenne. We could have ruled together. I wanted you at my side.”
Aradia had been sitting on the bed. She stood and walked toward Jehenne as she said this and now stood directly in front of her. Aradia had changed her appearance as well. Back to the one Jehenne knew. Slightly taller than Jehenne and scarlet mane flowing down her shoulders and back.
“Why did you want me to see the past, Aradia?” asked Jehenne as she looked into Aradia’s now green eyes.
“So you could see my past with your lover.”
“Your past? You were, are Istahar? I knew you were ancient, Aradia, but I had no idea.”
“This? This is nothing. I am far more ancient than you can even imagine. Samyaza’s god is a child compared to me,” said Aradia.
“So you were using Sam to get into Heaven as the ancient story goes?” asked Jehenne.
Aradia laughed, “Heaven? No, not Heaven. Even back in this time Heaven was dying. The humans twisted the story to hold onto false hope. They have many flaws, but that is their biggest. Always believing in hope. It is a false god, hope. Worthless.”
“Then what did you want from Sam?” asked Jehenne.
“To provide me with the one thing I need to take the Trinity for my people.”
“The Trinity? Father, son and holy ghost?”
“Again you disappoint me Jehenne. The humans can’t comprehend the true Trinity….always oversimplifying everything. Why Samyaza’s god loves them, I will never understand. They are weak, simple-minded little creatures. They should have never been allowed to crawl out of the primordial soup and infect this world.”
“Then what does the Trinity refer to? Enlighten me, Aradia,” said Jehenne.
“The three dimensions in this universe. They are represented by Heaven, Hell and Earth.”
“Which dimension are you and your people from?” asked Jehenne.
“None of them. We come from an even more ancient universe. But that is not important and too much for your feeble mind to comprehend,” Aradia answered.
“So what is the one thing you need?”
“Sam is the father of your child?”
“Stupid girl. Only one being in this universe is powerful enough to be the father of my child. I need Samyaza to get to him.”
“Are you talking about God?” asked Jehenne.
Jehenne could still hear the echo of Aradia’s laughter as she found herself back on the sidewalk, still about to step into she street, but this time the tipsy blonde was nowhere in sight. Jehenne vowed to herself to be more vigilant going forward. She had been so focused on finding Sam that she had allowed Aradia to fool her. That would not happen again. Jehenne crossed the street and entered Miss Ellie’s.
Sam didn’t see Jehenne when she walked in because his back was to the door and he was talking to a sophisticated older man, who was apparently the bartender. The older gentleman made eye contact and she walked toward him. Sam turned to see what he was looking at and when Sam saw her, his face filled with joy for just an instant before he composed himself. His reaction was not lost on the bartender.
“Hello Lucifer,” said Jehenne to the bartender.
“Hello my dear. I’m impressed that you recognize me, but here I’m known as Alex Ewing, owner and operator of this fine establishment,” said Lucifer aka Alex.
“It’s your beautiful, gray eyes. A woman could get lost in them.”
Lucifer laughed, “Well I see Samyaza still has a thing for witches.”
“And don’t you? How is Aradia? I haven’t seen her in so long.”
Jehenne wasn’t about to reveal to either of them what she had just witnessed. In fact, she had more questions than answers after the experience. Jehenne fully intended to seek those answers, but for now she had to deal with the task at hand.
“Aradia doesn’t answer to me,” said Lucifer. “Besides, I have others to entertain me at the moment,” he said as he gestured toward the inhabitants of the bar.
Jehenne looked around the room. The nightclub was crowded with same sex couples talking and swaying to the music.
Jehenne turned back to Lucifer and asked, “Satan running a gay bar? Don’t you think that’s a little politically incorrect?”
Lucifer just shrugged his shoulders, smiled and answered, “You know me. I like to amuse myself. Especially considering that God couldn’t give a shit less about the sexual orientation of humans.”
“Humans are stupid,” said Sam.
“Yes they are, god love ‘em,” laughed Lucifer.
“God love ‘em?” asked Jehenne.
“Yes, I know. I’ve been hanging around them too long,“ said Lucifer.
“Well, you really screwed the ones in this country big time for the next four years,” said Jehenne.
“Eight years actually,” Lucifer answered.
“That’s the going price of a soul these days?” asked Jehenne.
“Well, I normally give a few more years, but POTUS is a big ask,” laughed Lucifer.
“I appreciate you keeping Hell stocked up in commodities, Luci,” said Sam, laughing too.
The thought crossed Jehenne’s mind that Sam was the only being in existence that could get away with calling Lucifer that and she asked, “But his soul being eternally damned wasn’t worth the popular vote?”
“Even I have to make it look realistic,” said Lucifer.
Jehenne turned her attention to Sam now, “Why are you here, Sam?”
“I’ve been sensing disturbances in this realm and I came to discuss them with our illustrious leader,” Sam answered. “Why are you here?”
“I came looking for you, Sam,” Jehenne answered. She looked at Lucifer and then back at Sam again and continued, “I need to speak with you alone.”
“Far be it from me to intrude on two lovers,” said Lucifer throwing up his hands, but smiling at the same time.
“Thank you, Lucifer. As always, you are kind and understanding,” said Jehenne.
“No need to kiss up Jehenne. Lucky for you, I have other distractions at the moment,” said Lucifer.
Jehenne placed her hand on Samyaza’s shoulder. In an instant they were no longer in the bar, but now in a suburb of Dallas. They were standing in front of a building that proclaimed in large gold letters that it was the location for Demarkis Industries.
A young woman stood at the top of the steps at the front of the building. She was surrounded by reporters shoving microphones in her face. She was calm and poised, not a strand of her long, lustrous, chestnut hair was out of place. Jehenne and Sam were close enough to hear what was being said.
“The accident has been contained. No one was harmed,” said the young woman.
“Ms. Demarkis, isn’t it true that your company is working on nanotechnology to be used in warfare?” asked the woman reporter.
“It is true we are working with nanotechnology, but not for use in warfare.”
“But aren’t you currently negotiating a contract with the Chinese government?”
“Yes, but for medical purposes, not war.”
Jehenne took Sam by the arm and this time they just walked. When they were far enough away to talk, Sam asked, “Why did you bring me here Jehenne? Who is she?”
Jehenne turned and faced Sam, “She is your daughter…our daughter.” She didn’t wait for Sam to answer as she continued, “I and others are prepared to protect her from you. I know you think Nephilim are an abomination. I left abruptly twenty-two years ago because I became pregnant and I was afraid of what you might do. I’m taking a chance now because we need your help. She needs your help.”
Sam stood there a moment facing Jehenne. Then he placed both his hands on her shoulders and said, “How could you not tell me we had a daughter, Jehenne?” His voice was tight and strained. Jehenne stepped back…prepared to fight for her daughter.
There was pain in Sam’s eyes when she did this. Jehenne feared for her daughter’s life in spite of all the protections she had in place. But…
“Jehenne, how could you think I would harm the product of our love?” asked Sam, his eyes liquid with emotion.
“Those were Lucifer’s words, not mine.”
They looked at each other for a moment, saying nothing. Then Jehenne rushed into Samyaza’s arms. Her body limp with relief as he held her tight. He began to kiss her neck and said between kisses, “I will help in any way I can, Jehenne.”
Jehenne stepped back and faced Sam. She was full of strength and resolve again.
“There is a war coming, one like you have never seen before. It will make the war in Heaven look as if it was nothing more than a skirmish,” said Jehenne.
“I sensed that something was coming. That’s why I’ve been on alert for all unusual signs.”
“Yes, both magic and supernatural phenomena are on the rise. That’s part of it. But it will be much bigger than that. Our daughter is at the heart of it. And there is another. I have been searching for answers for a long time, but I need your help now. We need your help.”
“What is our daughter’s name, Jehenne?”
“Caecilia, her name is Caecilia.”