I've included a piece of music for you that set the entire tone of this chapter. Writers beware: This song will force you to write something VERY emotional. I'm talking reaching for your tissues kind of emotional.
For everyone else, enjoy!
Love you all,
P.S. I never saw The Host, because I didn't like the book much and figured the movie was going to be ten times worse. All the reviews I saw online pretty much coincided with my assumption, but nevertheless I did buy the soundtrack because it's awesome. There are quite a few movie exclusive numbers done by Antonio Pinto that are absolutely inspiring, this being one of them. So something good did come out of this film and, of course, it would be the music for me. Check it out.
TAMING FIRE: WEEK 9
“I am trying to relax.” Lim stretched out onto his stomach, resting his chin over his crossed arms. He peered into the pond that rippled under the Creator’s touch.
The Creator patted Lim’s shoulder. “You could have fooled me.”
The angel’s not-so-amused gaze held no animosity towards his God. “I’m also trying not to question you, but I’m struggling while Emile is down there slowly spiraling off the deep end. He knows his destiny. He knows his last breath will come soon, my Lord. I can taste his pain all the way from here.” Lim shuddered, turning his head away from his superior’s stare. “What about Xavier? Once he sees your plan for Emile, what makes you think he’ll side with us? He won’t cope well with grief. I know this.”
The Creator swished his fingers in the water, breaking the image of Emile and Xavier standing before Lucifer. He lay on his side, propping his head up with his hand. “Everything I do, I do out of love for my children.”
“Yes, I know—”
“And still you question me.” The Creator dropped onto his stomach as well, skimming his fingertips over the water once more. “You know as well as anyone this was always the way it was supposed to be. You also know, above any mortal, the way my plan unravels seamlessly, constantly, and with purpose. For every decision a human makes on earth it triggers a sequence of events out of their control, bending the day out of their will and affecting everything around them. One action provokes many outcomes.”
“Why are you telling me this? I already know. I’ve witnessed the proof for millions of years, my Lord.” Lim finally showed the Creator his eyes, feeling much like a boy in his father’s presence. “It’s only that Emile is special to me. I feel so deeply for him. I love him like my own. I’ve done everything within my power to protect him. And I’ve even defied you, though, you already knew I would. I took my punishment, being separated from Emile, and I think I deserve to know why now. Why must he die so soon, so young when he was only just starting to live? Can’t you spare him a few years, my Lord? Can’t you make this so?”
The Creator reached out and brushed away Lim’s tears with his thumb. “I sacrificed my own child for the greater good of man. And as news of his powerful death resounded amongst men and brought true believers to our side, Emile’s death will bring light to the darkest pits of hell.”
“You think Emile’s death will bring them…” Lim closed his mouth and shook his head. “No. My Lord, forgive me, but I can’t comprehend. I don’t think I want to. You told me this was about Xavier…”
Smiling, the lord of all things rested his chin in his hand and stared out over the heavens. He inhaled the scent of perfection and dug his toes into the softest grass in all of existence. “You aren’t being punished, Erelim. You were giving your charge the tools he needed to accept his fate as I give all my children the means to handle every obstacle in which they must overcome. I do not give man more than he can handle. And you were preparing him for the evil of the world such as any parent who loved their child would do. But as all children must leave the nest, unguarded and left to their own minds and hearts, you must let him go now. You must let him shine, Erelim, for he will shine brighter than any star in the heavens with his selfless sacrifice.”
Lim eased back onto his knees, letting his wings burst from his skin with emotion. He put his hands to the ground and sobbed, closing his eyes tight. Only when his father’s arms wrapped around him was he able to breathe again.
“But in the end…”
The Creator shushed him. “In the end you will be there for him as you always have been.”
“Emile, would you please have a seat?” Sandra pointed to the empty chair next to the desk. “I apologize for the lack of chairs. I wasn’t aware you would bring your own witness.”
“I go where he goes.” Xavier stepped in front of Emile, looking into Sandra’s dark brown eyes.
They weren’t Sandra’s any longer, whoever she’d been. They were possessed by Lucifer himself, a demon so powerful, the human’s body was only acting as a puppet. Sandra was most definitely dead inside. And when Lucifer left her shell to the mortal world, Sandra would stay that way forever.
“Isn’t that nice?” Lucifer fluffed Sandra’s hair, wearing a cheesy grin. He walked behind the desk, obviously content to play the part of Emile’s grandmother’s lawyer for the afternoon. “You won’t mind if I record this meeting then…Emile?” She produced a recorder. For what purpose, he didn’t really care. But it was definitely an act, all a part of Lucifer’s bullshit extravaganza in the face of Emile’s parents.
Emile sat. He turned his palm up, waiting for Xavier to come to him. “Not at all.”
After a small showdown, where Xavier stared off with Lucifer, the half-breed conceded to take Emile’s hand and sat on the chair’s arm. The pair glued eyes on Emile’s parents. Harold and Maria stared back, uncomfortable at a maddening, skin crawling level.
“Get on with it, Sandra. I don’t want to waste my day here.” Maria snapped her attention to the lawyer.
“Mom,” Emile whispered.
“No.” Maria shook her head. “You don’t call me that. No son of mine would go against everything I ever taught him to chase men and bed them. I refuse to have this conversation with you, Emile. Sandra, please continue.”
Xavier was enraged and dumbfounded. However, he kept his words to a minimum and his growls compressed at the back of his throat. “Then why are you here? He’s of age now. I’ll act as his witness, even though he doesn’t need one.” He flicked his eyes to Sandra. Fucking liar, Xavier thought.
“Of course he needs us here.” Maria slammed her fist on the chair’s arm. “I will not let him party away my mother’s assets she worked so hard for, so the two of you can go off gallivanting in sin.”
“Mom, there are no assets. Gran has been gone for a long time. Why would they only turn up now and just for me? She would have left you and dad something, more than me obviously. Whatever you choose to believe, I want you to know this isn’t real. It’s just a ploy to make you angry.”
“Shut up. Enough of your mind games, Emile! You were her world and I know she did this on purpose.” Maria put a hand to her mouth. “She was furious at us for kicking you out. She was so angry!”
His father hugged her close. He stared at his son; mild longing harbored in his eyes. “I’m sure the procedure took a bit of time to process, am I right, Sandra?”
“Yes, of course. With the amount Emile stands to inherit, we couldn’t very well distribute all of it without taking everything into account.”
Xavier scoffed. “That’s bullshit. His grandmother didn’t have anything to leave behind, and if she did, she would have told him a long time ago. This is nothing but a crock of shit.”
“Watch your tone, young man,” Maria snarled.
Xavier bit back what he wanted to say to Emile’s mother. He could go full-fledged demonic on her. In the end, it would only serve to leave him open to a world of pain and that was exactly what Lucifer wanted. He wanted to hurt Emile by bringing his parents here. He wanted Emile to repeat the grief of his grandmother’s death all over again. He wanted to burn Emile out until he surrendered. So Xavier found himself holding tight to Emile’s hand.
Xavier lifted a hand to stop her next words. “I apologize. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
“You…what?” Maria’s brows knit together.
“I said I’m sorry.” Xavier swallowed, noting the sweat building between his palm and Emile’s. “Can we get through this without any more arguments?”
Emile was staring at him, a little pale, but mostly confused. “You okay?”
“I’m fine.” Staring at Lucifer was all he could do. Xavier made clear his intentions for later with his eyes. A flash of red in his dark iris was all the ruler of hell needed to get the message. Sandra’s smile was cruel and calculating, befitting the king of the underworld.
“What a change in tune. I’m happy to hear it. Now,” Sandra flipped open her portfolio. “The first asset is listed as Raven House of fourteen Milshire Road.”
“Do what?” Xavier bristled. “That can’t be.”
Maria groaned. “She said she sold it years ago. I don’t understand. That’s impossible.”
“Well, it’s clearly printed here the property is still hers by law, and now Emile’s after her passing. Oh, a minor stipulation, though.” Sandra grinned. “It seems the house was to be given to the city after her death, to be used as a foster home as it once was before she retired from social work.”
Fingers biting into Xavier’s hand, Emile closed his eyes. “You’re saying the house belongs to the city now?”
Sandra clicked her nails on the desk. “It would appear that way. Meaning all occupants currently in the house will be evicted within thirty days or sooner. It could quite possibly be sooner rather than later. In short, I’d count on immediately.”
Lucifer was a persistent source of Xavier’s anger right now. He was trying so hard to keep fire from erupting between their laced fingers. He was biting back word after word. It was getting the point where it was almost impossible to stay still, keep breathing, and not launch himself across the desk and end this meeting completely. But the look on Emile’s face, the one that tugged at the heart he didn’t know he possessed, gave Xavier pause.
“It will be okay,” he found himself saying. “We can go somewhere else.” A place that isn’t protected by our blood and years of careful crafting, he thought sadly. Everything was tumbling down around them. No house meant no protection at night from the evil that stalked them. Emile was starting to close off from him. They didn’t have much time. The pressure was just too much to bear.
Emile shook his head. A crack was forming in his tough exterior. Inside, he was crumbling, Xavier could feel it.
“There’s also the matter of Rosalind’s accounts. As her lawyer it would be wise of me to suggest a monthly allowance instead of transferring the lump sum directly over to you. Some people just don’t know how to handle such a large amount.”
Emile looked at his mother. She was pale, a color not even her precisely swept rouge could hide. She thought he would spend his grandmother’s money frivolously as if he had never respected her a day in his life. His mother thought he was an abomination. She regretted having gave birth to him. She wished he was never a part of her life. But he loved his mother, no matter what she had done to him. All the years of pain and loss and every look of her cold hazel eyes; all of it had taken its toll. And still, despite it all, Emile loved her.
“Give it all to charity. I don’t need her money because I have her memory. She liked to give back anyway. I think that’s what she would have wanted.” Emile drew Xavier closer, holding onto his arm now with both of his.
Maria’s shock tightened her lips. She glanced at him, unsure of what she’d heard. “All of it?”
“Every cent,” Emile confirmed. “I can take care of myself. I have for a long time now.”
“You don’t have to give it all away,” Harold argued. “You could have enough to get you through school without working all of those jobs or living in that crappy apartment. I don’t know you do it.”
“My jobs? How do you know about that?”
Harold squirmed in his chair, avoiding his wife’s narrowed eyes. “I just figured.”
“Well,” Sandra interrupted, “I have everything drawn up and ready to sign, a list of all the assets are right here for you to see.” The portfolio smacked on the corner of the desk. Sandra’s amusement was long gone. Lucifer was pissed, which gave Emile a confidence boost. If the devil was mad, it meant he was on the right track.
He took a deep breath and smiled. “I don’t need to sign anything.” It’s probably a trap to steal my soul anyhow, he thought. “You recorded it all, right? There’s your proof for all the legal matters. Give it away to people who need it. A church, maybe a school, or to those kids my grandmother protected. I don’t care anymore.” He stood, taking Xavier with him. “I just want to go home and enjoy what’s left of my life.”
He laid eyes on his parents. “I’ll always be grateful you brought me into this world, no matter how scary and confusing it is. I had the chance to be a part of it, to really see it for what it is. And I’m glad I am who I am. I wouldn’t want to be anyone else, even if you don’t approve of who I choose to love. I want to let you know, despite what you think of me, I have always loved you both. Gran said never to grieve over the things that make you stronger, and you both have, made me stronger. I have the strength to get through this. I have the strength to stand here and bare it all for you to see, instead of poisoning this moment with all the things I wanted to say to you years ago, before I understood.
“You needed time to adjust. I get that now. I sprung my sexuality on you and the very idea rattled all you knew to be good and true. You’ve struggled for so long with your beliefs, thinking you couldn’t love me because of what some priest told you during mass. But I’m here to tell you you’re wrong. God loves everyone, no matter who they love or choose to be loved by. And…I forgive you for not seeing that until now. I forgive you both for everything. Life’s short, you know. When I go, whenever that might be, I don’t want to hold a grudge in my heart for either of you. I only want to know I did the right thing and made peace with myself and left behind a moment I could be proud of.”
Emile slid the portfolio back to Sandra, who was as still as a statue. He went to his mom, bent over and kissed her hair. “I am your son. I’ll always be your Emile, but I will never stop loving him. I love you, mom.”
“Emile,” she murmured from behind her hand.
His dad reached for him. Emile planted a quick kiss on his father’s knuckles and walked away before he lost it completely. The cross around his neck flooded him with warmth and an extra dose of strength to keep walking. He bypassed everything until he felt the afternoon sun bathe his face and the breeze rustle his hair. Standing across the way was the Creator. For a split second Emile reached out to him, but a passing bus cut their connection short. When the bus was gone, so was the man who had created the universe. His love, however, wrapped around Emile like a security blanket, reminding him just how much he was cared for.
When a hand slid over his shoulder, Emile was prepared to cry into Xavier’s arms. What he didn’t expect was for his mother to be standing there instead. Wordlessly, she gathered him into her smaller body and cried. Maria had never been one to show her tears. She hadn’t been all that affectionate when Emile was a child either. But Emile knew in that moment all the things his mother had never said. God had given him one last opportunity to know his mother’s touch and see her regret plain as day. A weight lifted from his shoulders. He felt new, cleansed of all the pain he’d suffered since being kicked out. He basked in her embrace for a moment longer before she pulled away to wipe at her tears.
With one last look of her hazel eyes, she put a hand to his cheek and nodded. “I may not agree with your lifestyle, but I could never stop loving my son. I’m so sorry.” She covered her mouth with a hand, grasping for her next words. “You will never know how sorry.”
She took a step away and clicked down the pavement to her car. His father pushed through the office front door, looking right at him. “Emile…”
“I know.” Emile wiped his face. “You don’t have to say it. I just know. Go take care of her.”
A few words in the office earlier were all Emile had needed to hear to know how much his father cared. Harold hadn’t just figured his son’s job situation out. He had kept tabs on his son because he worried. They weren’t monsters, his parents, they were only human and everyone had the right to make mistakes in life. As Emile’s hours grew short, he could feel them dwindling, he now knew everything he needed to know about Maria and Harold. He now knew what acceptance felt like.
He closed his eyes, lifting his face to the sun and let himself be taken away by the sheer awe of the world; the smell of it; the uplifting heat tingeing his cheeks and the faith that hummed in his heart.
Most would find him standing there, lifting his hands on the sidewalk to be crazy. Emile, he didn’t care about all of that at the moment. He was connected to the earth and the prospect of afterlife on a deeper level now. He wasn’t surrendering himself. He wasn’t ending it all for nothing. He was making the ultimate sacrifice for everyone around him, supernatural and human alike. Even if his kind never put his name in a history book, or glorified him as a martyr many years from now, he would strike love into the hearts of those that mattered the most.
When he was gone, his mother would grieve for him. Her eyes would be opened to the poor souls out there without anyone to shelter them from the hate of the world. She would look upon her past mistakes with Emile and open her arms for others who needed a mother’s love. She would repent, using her actions to serve the Creator, even if she never made the connection.
His death would bring together the community. He would pass in an unexplained manner and most likely be ruled a suicide. People would band together to make sure it didn’t happen again. They would light a candle in his name and pray for his soul. They would look into their loved one’s hearts and hold them a little tighter from there on out. They would rely on their faith to keep them safe. Everyone had to believe in something, and under duress and pain, they would delve into the untouched places of their hearts for answers. They would turn to him who knew all things. They would turn to God.
And Xavier…Xavier would finally know what love felt like. Even if it was only a few days of confusion, pain, and a bond fated to be theirs since the beginning of time; even if they had never said it out loud or joined their bodies, he would know. His love would be so deeply rooted; Xavier would have no choice but to search out that feeling again. He would turn to the Creator as a mess of a man and beg for some semblance of peace.
Emile would leave a footprint on this earth, no matter how small. For in every decision a person made, a trickling effect was always left behind. The following events were out of their control, but he could leave knowing they would never end…because of him.
“I’ve lived in fear of you all of my life. I sided with you because I thought I knew what it meant to be strong standing in your image, that hate and darkness were too powerful to be sliced up by good. But you’re wrong. I was wrong. I felt how sad he was and not once did it excite me or feed my baser needs. It hurt. It really fucking hurt. No being, king of hell or not, is going to touch him again. Count on it, Lucifer.”
Lucifer stood, still embodying the carcass of Sandra. His nails broke through her delicate fingertips. Blood dripped from her hands as he brought them to her pretty face. Gashing across her hairline, Lucifer clawed the flesh away from his own figure, mutilating what was left of the poor woman he’d destroyed. His horns curled up away from his head. His red eyes snapped to attention. Sandra’s skin burned away from his intimidating figure, leaving behind a trail of smoking ash. Another soul lost to the pits of hell.
Xavier faced off with Lucifer, summoning the courage to stand up for the one he…treasured. “I don’t fear you anymore.”
“I’ll see your soul in hell, half-breed. Count on it very soon,” Lucifer spat. “No one makes a fool of me.” His body shuddered, collapsing into a ghostly ball of flames that rushed at Xavier. Screams thundered in his ears. Pain so dark it would rot a mortal to the core flushed through his heart. He fell to his knees when Lucifer had gone, clutching his arms to warm the chill left behind.
No matter how scared he truly was, if Emile was strong enough to give up his life for some unforeseen plan, relying solely on an act of God, Xavier could be strong enough to make his death mean something. He would protect his chosen with the last flicker of fire he had to give.
“I’ve called Botus and told him about the house.” Xavier kept driving down the scenic road. He didn’t want to go home just yet. He wanted to take the longest way possible because he never wanted Emile’s hand to leave his.
Emile continued to gaze out the window at the riverfront homes outside the city. A small boat sat in the middle of the water with a white sail. It was like a sign no one else would understand; to be that little boat with its pure white sail, riding the choppy waters with no hope of ever touching land. So the fisherman wasn’t in any mortal danger, but the analogy touched Emile all the same.
“Deumos is gone, Emile. She broke the chains once they began to weaken and fled most likely to Bee. They’ll be coming soon.” Xavier lifted their twined hands, kissing Emile’s fingers. “I won’t let them touch you.”
“Xavier, you can’t protect me from fate. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t.” Emile closed his eyes. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Please, just drive.”
“We won’t have anywhere to live. Botus has nowhere else to go, Emile. I don’t want to go anywhere else without you. I can’t do this without you!” He slammed the brakes, throwing the shifter into park. “Don’t you care?” he screamed. “Don’t you want to be with me! Aren’t you scared? Tell me dammit!”
“I’m terrified,” Emile yelled back, forced to turn in his seat. “But If I had a choice to back out of this, I wouldn’t. You have no idea how powerful my sacrifice will be.”
Xavier shied away, putting a hand between them. “I thought you loved me.”
“I…what is that?” Emile looked out the front windshield. Trees created a canopy over the road they parked on. The river, what little he could now see through the trees, had started churning hard out of nowhere. Thunder clapped overhead. Billowing smoke rushed at them from the road ahead. “Xavier, turn the car around.”
Xavier tried to turn over the engine. “It’s not starting.”
Black horses cut through the smoke, eyes glowing red. Their riders were beings of nightmares, demons for sure. Emile panicked. He’d thought his death would be peaceful. He hadn’t been shown this part. Adrenaline coursed through him.
“Get out of the car!”
They threw their doors open and grabbed at each other’s hands. Xavier yanked him forward, running full speed. His mismatched eyes threw Emile a look of fear, and regret, and longing.
Ahead of them, Elsanah appeared, flanked by a hoard of angels. Their wings spanned, creating a barrier of glowing light and feathers. Emile whimpered, thrust into a frenzy with nowhere to go. This was it. This was his time. He suddenly stopped, equally distanced from both parties. He grabbed Xavier’s face in his hands.
“No matter what you choose, dark or light, you will always be beautiful to me.” Emile brushed his lips against Xavier’s, losing all sense of time and space. He enveloped his world within his arms and put every ounce of love he had into his kiss. “Always,” he breathed.
Xavier cried. For the first time in his entire existence, he cried for things which he could not change; for the life that was to be taken from him and for the half of his soul that was to be ripped away forever.
Hand in hand, the light of a hundred angels at their back, they faced Bee, racing towards them on a horse from the fires of hell. The prince raised his hand, gathering blood red fire in his palm. “For I am the Prince of Hell and Darkness, I will exact my father’s wishes. For me and mine are many and we live to rain blood upon you. I am Beelzebub and you will know my hand,” he raged above the staggering sound of horses and bodies colliding.
Flame against flame, red against white, good and evil warred; trapping Xavier and Emile right in the middle.
TO BE CONTINUED…