The angels had left Abby alone. They’d locked her in her bedroom, its newly pink walls still smelling a little like wet paint. She sat on the edge of the bed, waiting. Well, she wasn’t entirely alone. Two of the angels, the ones she’d never met before, were stationed outside of the door.
“For your own safety,” Aiden had said gravely.
Abby rolled her eyes. More like for everybody else’s. If her powers went crazy again, those two angels would probably rush in and try to kill her.
Let them try, something within her roared softly, the voice tinged with gold. She shook her head, willing the thoughts away. Closing her eyes she lay back, flinging her arms up over her head so that her hands brushed her pillow. “This is crazy. I’m crazy” she murmured.
She was drifting, her mind finally quieting, when something flashed bright orange light across her closed eyelids. Squeezing her eyes more tightly shut, she tried to ignore whatever it was. The light flashed again, and again, and Abby cracked one eyelid open. The orange flash filled her vision and she groaned in exasperation. What was that? Ugh. So bright, she thought as she groped around on her bedside table.
Her fingers landed on something she hadn’t expected--the light was coming from her mother’s mirror. Aiden must’ve put it there for her. Something, not quite a memory, tickled at the back of her brain. The mirror, the orange light; it was all familiar somehow. The whatever-it-was slipped through her grasp as the mirror flashed again, and she opened it.
“Abby?” a voice came through the mirror, distant and broken at first, like a cellphone with bad reception. She recognized the voice as it became clearer. “We need to talk. Please put the mirror on the floor and stand back.” Horace.
Abby nodded, then thought that maybe they couldn’t see her. “Alright,” she said, rolling onto her side and sitting up. She stood, placing the mirror down in the centre of the room, and backed away. There was a flash of light, huge and orange and bright black, and when Abby had blinked away the spots in her vision, Horace and Judah stood before her.
“Thank you.” Horace said, giving Abby a polite nod.
“Nice room,” Judah said, looking around. “it’s really…pink.”
“Shhh!” Abby hissed, mindful of the Warriors on the other side of the door.
Horace caught on quickly. “I--ah. Don’t worry about the guards. I’ve cloaked our presence. As far as they’re concerned, you’re alone in here.”
Abby wasn’t entirely convinced, but no one had come rushing in, weapons drawn and powers blazing. They hadn’t even reacted to the light from the mirror, and that had been pretty unmissable from where Abby stood. “What do you want?” she asked. “It must’ve been important for you to risk coming here.”
Judah snorted as he rifled through Abby’s dresser, tossing random articles of clothing onto the floor. “I’ll say,” he said, holding up a paint-stained hoodie. “hey, is this the warmest thing you own?” Abby gave him a weird look, unable to answer as Horace cut in.
“We’re here to help you in any way we can, Abby.” He said, dark eyes boring into her green ones. "What did you want to ask me?”
Abby blinked. She hadn’t expected that. “Can I--can I trust you?” she asked quietly.
“Yes.” Horace answered simply, holding her gaze.
“I need you to do something for me.”
Abby looked at the ground for a moment, thinking hard. She looked back up at him, certain. “I need you to get me out of here.” She’d hurt enough people around here, people she cared about. She’d only hurt them more by staying.
“Are you sure about this?” Horace asked.
Abby nodded. “I can’t be here anymore. I’m a prisoner now, a time-bomb they don’t know how to defuse. I love them, and now I’m tearing them apart. And until Gabe comes back, I’m only going to be the reason that he’s gone. Serena can’t even look at me anymore, and Fern--”
Her voice broke and she stopped for a moment, swallowing back the lump in her throat. “They’re better off without me.” She sniffed, willing away the emotions that unfurled inside her, hot and bitter and aching like an old wound that had never properly healed.
Horace didn’t say anything until her breathing returned to some semblance of normal. “If that’s what you want,” he said after a long minute, “we have a place prepared for you. Somewhere far away from here. But I want you to be sure.”
She thought about Aiden, and all he’d done for her. He wouldn’t want her to leave, certainly not with two demons, but she had to. It was the right thing to do. She didn’t want anyone else getting hurt because of her.
She remembered what Metatron had projected to her, how she should go with them to master the powers warring inside her. She didn’t have much of a choice. “I have to.” She said.
Horace inclined his head gracefully. “As you wish. I’ll need your help. Can’t have those Warriors raising the alarm, and they’ll definitely notice when you disappear.”
“Can’t you just use your power to hide my presence? Or lack of presence, I guess.”
Judah shook his head as he dumped Abby’s backpack full of art supplies and began shoving warm clothes into it. “Not with the power you’ve got. That’s like getting an infrared camera to miss a raging volcano. It’s just not gonna happen.”
“Okay, so what do we do?” Abby asked, hoping the answer wasn’t ‘kill them’. She couldn’t go through with that. She thought of the look on Izrafel’s face when he’d seen her. She’d already done enough.
Horace inhaled deeply, closing his eyes. When they opened, they were pitch black. Glowing black tattoos wound down his arm, stretching and reaching over his hand and swirling down his fingers. "Your hand,” he said, holding out his own.
Abby hesitated for a second, glancing from his hand to his black eyes, then reached out and took his hand in hers. His power flooded into her in an instant, merging with her own. Gold and black spun in her veins, and she felt as though she’d be carried away by it. His free hand pointed at the door and he snapped his fingers once, twice. Abby felt her power being controlled by his. There were two identical soft thuds against the floor outside as the angels collapsed. Something in Abby new that they were unharmed; only unconscious.
Horace dropped Abby’s hand. “Thank you.” He said, his eyes returning to normal and his tattoos receding.
“Wait, so that’s your power?” Abby asked shakily, the thrum, the rush of that much power flooding her still fading.
Horace smiled faintly. “I’m a good teacher. Channelling and directing someone else’s raw power is part of helping them learn to control it themselves.”
“Yeah, it’s a great parlour trick,” Judah grunted as he struggled to zip up the backpack and hefted it onto his back. “Got all your essentials here, but you’d better put something warm on--It’s cold where we’re going.”
“Okay,” Abby said, “Thanks. Turn around so I can change.”
They did as they were told, and soon Abby was dressed in thick jeans and her warmest baggy sweater. She pulled on the parka Aiden had purchased for her, and the boots she hadn’t had a chance to wear yet.
“Ready.” She said, and the two demons turned back around.
Horace stooped to pick up the mirror from the floor, and held it out to Abby. “I don’t think you’ll want to forget this.”
“Thanks,” Abby said, pocketing it quickly.
He pulled another mirror out of his own pocket, one similar to hers but made of tarnished, greening copper. He opened it, murmured something in the demon tongue to it, something she didn’t quite catch.
A flash of orange and a blast of freezing air filled the room, and Abby heard footsteps in the hallway, coming closer and breaking into a run.
“We’re out of time.” Horace said, nodding to Judah. Judah saluted him sharply but mockingly and disappeared in a flash of orange light.
“We have to go!” Horace said, grabbing Abby by the arm. The footsteps had reached the door, and know there was muffled shouting. Someone starting banging on the door, the handle rattling hard as someone tried to force it open.
The door burst open and Aiden ran in just as Abby and Horace were engulfed in orange light. Abby felt her head spin as the world went white.
She landed on her knees in something cold and soft, and she opened her eyes, blinking a few times. The world was still white.
“Snow?” she wondered aloud, looking down at her legs. She had landed in a tall snowdrift. Horace stood a few feet away on a beaten-down path through the snow. She looked around. It was night, and they were in a forest of tall, bare-limbed trees. It was snowing fat, puffy flakes that were building up rapidly on Abby.
“Here,” Horace said, grabbing her by her arms and helping her up out of the snow.
She dusted herself off on the crude path, and looked at Horace. “Thanks.”
Horace inclined his head. “Of course. Come on, it’s just down this path.”
Abby was going to ask what ‘it’ was, but Horace was already walking away. She struggled through the snow to keep up with him. There was a light on the horizon, a soft golden glow that was faint at first, but it grew stronger with each passing minute. Finally the source of the light came into view. A cabin sat in the middle of a grove of pine trees, smoke puffing from the chimney.
They walked to the door, and Horace stood there, hand hovering over the doorknob. He turned to face her. “Are you sure?” he asked. He was giving her one last chance to go back, she realized.
Squaring her jaw, she nodded affirmatively. “Yes.”
He gave her another rare smile and opened the door. “Come inside, then.” He said.
Abby walked into the cabin, refusing to look back.