Humans were invaluable to the Unholy–the fallen Angels.
I studied the human as they drew closer to the bar; their bodies huddle close as if they were trying to hide it. The human’s hair was overgrown and covered in midnight-colored knots that masked its face. Its clothes had been stitched together from mismatched colors of cloth. The human’s right foot was chafed and cut from walking, and the other was still clasped in a broken sandal. Even though the human was malnourished, the curves of its body were unmistakable.
The human was a female, and that was so much worse for her.
By the time the men brought the human to the bar, I could hear her hoarse cries dying in her throat. She knew what surrounded her in this place. Blood spattered her clothes—whether it was hers I couldn’t say. My gut wrenched so forcefully I thought I might throw up. I felt sorry for her.
“Evening, Jameson,” one of them said.
Jameson’s eyes flashed flicking between the two men; they carried crude swords sheathed at their hips. The blades were spotted with rust, and the hilts were worn and frayed—they wouldn’t be much use here. Finally, his gaze settled on the human and I could see it in his eyes; it was the urge all the Unholy feel when a human is near.
Underneath, deep in my being, I felt it too. We could hear it, the music of life within–the sound of the human soul. It called to us like a siren’s wail awakening the ravenous hunger.
“Nephilim,” Jameson grunted.
“Now, now,” the same man said. “We’re all the same here, aren’t we? Names are Savoy and Frederick.”
Jameson didn’t seem to hear him. “You’ve got thirty seconds to tell me what a bunch of half-breeds are doing in my bar?”
The Dust Bowl was dead silent, like the calm before a raging storm. Savoy, seeing that his charm wasn’t going to crack Jameson’s exterior, pulled his smile into a thin line and spoke lower, aware that the entire bar was hanging on his every word. “We have something you want,” he said.
Jameson’s eyes flicked to the human again—the movement was almost imperceptible. “You have nothing I want, half-breed. Now, leave before things get ugly.”
Frederick spoke up then, an ugly gash goring the left side of his face. “No one would dare touch us. We are marked.” Both of them pulled their shirt collars down revealing identical runes etched over their hearts. Six, feathery wings sprouting from an eye in the center; it was a mark most of the Unholy knew.
It was a mark I’d been chasing for decades.
Jameson stiffened as if he had been slapped. Frederick continued,“Now that we’ve got that out of the way, he says thank you and feels the woman will suffice.”
Jameson cursed under his breath and swept his gaze over the bar. “Everyone get back to your drinks. Free rounds on me.” He dropped his voice lower, “You too, Elijah.” He pushed the two flats I had given him back into my hand.
Setting another full glass of amber liquid in front of me, he beckoned to the two Nephilim, and they detached themselves from the bar, a smug expression on their pockmarked faces, as they swept past me. They followed him through a door in the back; the woman stared at me with pleading eyes.
The rest of the bar returned to their cups without a second thought. I should have returned to my drink and let them go, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t shake the idea of what they would do to her from my mind. There were reasons we were called the Unholy.