(Also? New icon!)
Colpevole bit back the whimper that threatened to escape, his fingers tightening into fists. He wouldn’t cry this once, just this once. The tears that streamed down his cheeks weren’t real, weren’t salty on his lips and hot on his cheeks. He pushed off the cold wall, ignoring the stone that tore at the bottom of his feet. His skin slapped on the wet road, not pausing as he ran through the alley. Rain fell, streaking the blood in his hair. He didn’t dare scream; ignoring the voice behind him.
“Stop!” He stumbled midstride, catching himself on raw palms. There was no need to look up to know the voice, high and harsh.
“No…” He pressed his forehead to the slick ground. “Please…” Blood streamed across the rain-covered ground, staining a nearby puddle pink.
“Too late.” Colpevole didn’t look up to see the sneer on her face. “No more chances for you.” She lifted her booted foot from the slime, disgust written on her face.
“Please…” He whimpered, choking on a sob.
“Angelic.” The boot fell with a thud, a sickening crack echoing between the buildings. There was no gore, only a secondary silence, a flash of feathers, and nothing.
She turned her back on the feathered ground. The rain washed the fluff around her feet, swirling with the blood that staining her shoes. One hand lifted as she pointed to the cloudy sky. Silence followed, the rains stopping and the heavens pouring sunlight to the ground.
“He is dead.” Her smile was sickeningly sweet as she splashed through the puddles of diluted blood. “Nothing more remains of this… angel of Earth.” A sneer whipped across her face, quickly forming a more neutral smile as she approached the street. The people passed her by, oblivious to the shimmer of blood on her boot and the crush of white feathers on the sole of her shoe.
She made her way through the main thoroughfares of the city. No one turned a second glance on the tall and thin woman who walked so proudly past their bowed heads. The shopkeepers called out around her, screaming wares and prices to empty pocketbooks and the broken poor. Her steps echoed as she turned into the towering scraper, antenna touching the sky.
“I return.” Men ran to her as the door closed, hands clambering to take her coat, her boots, to wipe the blood from her hand. They disappeared when she stood in all her glory, arms crossed across her bare chest.
Before her opened a room of red and gold, stretching to a purple throne atop a platform of glistening liquid. None sat upon the throne, no glorious king before whom she could bow. But rather she groveled to the throne, whispering praises into the thick carpet that muffled her words.
“You have done as I have asked?” It was a low voice that echoed through the room, filling every space with sound and vibrations. “He is dead and gone?”
“He is dead and gone” The woman intoned the words with the reverence of a priest. “I took from him his life and left nothing in its place.”
“That is good.” There was a smile in the voice, a quiet chuckle that pulled a whimper from her throat. “That is very good. You have done well.” The water beneath the throne fell away. She crawled forward, brushing her hands against the soft material that coated the chair. “You may sit.”
Her hands trembled as she pulled herself up. The cushion pulled her down, chains falling into place across her body. She arched up, nails clawing to the hard wood beneath. Breath trembling in her throat; she fell back. The voice chuckled, laughed and fell silent. Nothing echoed in the room but her quickening breath, the echo of gasps and tiny shudders as the chains fall slack about her ankles.
Then silence fell and blood splattered to the ground about her feet. The dribble of red from her mouth and eyes fell onto the men that came for her body. The grasped her feet. The chains slid back into the chair, leaving the living to their bloody job. And soon she was taken from the room. Nothing remained save the throne and the soft, soft echo of footsteps.
A trapdoor fell open into the center of the room, red carpet falling away through the hole. The white floor revealed held no scuff marks, nothing save the shine of tile. Voice rose from the pit, inaudible and incoherent, whispers overlapping whispers and echoing with each other. But all that rose through the door was a single man.
He stood on unsteady legs, both hands curled around an ivory cane. His smile was kindly and wide. The others stumbled from the hall. They touched his clothing, whimpering pleas into his ears. He tried to wave them off, brushing pale fingers against their warm skin.
“Go.” His voice crackled, low and echoing. The men fled. Their feet pattered on the ground. “Do not return.” The final word was a hiss, almost silent.
He approached the throne with slow and limping steps. His fingers curled on the scratched cloth, brushing the velvet aside from the wood. Her nails had through it all, etching her death onto the objects memory. His lips curled into a frown. He barely brushed his fingertips across the marks.
“You did your duty.” There was no startled glance at the flash of light or the tall man that stood beside him. Molting wings and shimmering white hair fell into place. “Now there is only task I can ask of you.” The dagger in his hand had not been there a moment before. As the metal brushed against the man’s skin, he shivered.
“I know. But I ask.” With a shift of uneven weight he turned to the angel. “Why did Colpevole have to die? Who did my grandson threaten?” As he spoke he took the dagger, wrapping one shaking hand around the handle.
“All of us.” The angel smiled. It was cold, his eyes narrowing. “He was too close. His wings would have sprouted. And that cannot be.” The room fell darker as his smile fell. “Now do as I say. I have waited very long for this.”
The old man gave a snarl to the angel, eyes tightening. But the dagger rested on his heart. Even he could not will his hands away. No blood came, as he watched the angel that stood in his throne room. Neither spoke. And the silence echoed.
“You do not see?” The angel sneered, cool finger running down his own pale cheek. “My dear half-angel. He was so close. He would have made.” And the angel laughed. His voice echoed, the walls shook. The tiles cracked and the old man’s eyes widened. “He would have flown, sir. He would have found the sky again!” His hand came to rest on the dagger’s hilt, pushing the point into the soft skin. “Your grandson… could have flown.” And the blood flowed from the archaic half-angel, silver and red on the broken tile.