The sound of the cell door opening forced Gabe awake, and for one groggy second, he felt a sliver of hope. Someone was here to rescue him, his family or a team of Warriors or God Himself there to fix what was obviously a huge mistake.
And then he heard the click of her heels on the dirty stone floor, saw the glint of her red curls in the flickering torchlight. Hope faded.
“Slept well?” Satan asked as she stepped into the cell, the creature on the end of the chain dangling from her wrist scurrying in behind her. She wore a tight black dress that stretched to her mid-calf, and she managed to look comfortable despite the freezing temperature in the dungeons.
Gabe shot her a murderous look, and she laughed musically. “Oh, don’t pout. It’s so unbecoming in such a handsome boy.” She stretched up to pat his cheek, her small delicate hand blazingly hot against his skin.
Even though Gabe was disconnected from his body on earth, he still felt everything physical, from temperatures to touch. That didn’t surprise him; his kind had never been fully corporeal, and there wasn’t as much of a separation of existences for angels as there was for humans. He was as solid and real here as he would have been in Heaven. He wasn’t a ghost or a wandering soul; he was just Gabriel Junior, Guardian trapped in the bowels of Hades.
“The girl,” Satan said coyly, and suddenly she had Gabe’s full attention. She smiled at him, plump red lips pulled into a knowing smirk. She laughed again. “You really are in love with that monster, aren’t you? I’d reconsider that if I were you. I mean, look where it’s gotten you so far!” she said, all mock concern.
“Don’t call her that!” Gabe snarled. “Abby isn’t anything like you, and you’re the only monster here.”
Satan leaned in closer, her big green eyes widening. “Nothing like me?!” she grinned, baring her perfect teeth. “Are you sure about that?”
Gabe ignored the bait, ignored those eyes that seemed so familiar aside from the crazed light in them. “She’s nothing like you!” he growled.
“Go on, then. Tell me all about the little freak of nature. Tell me what she can do with those mutant powers of hers.” She stepped back and snapped her fingers, an ornately carved wooden chair appearing behind her as her eyes flashed red for an instant. She sat gracefully, smoothing her skirt over her legs. “And then you can explain to me why a weakling like you was called on to protect something as powerful as Abby Shepard in the first place.”
Gabe held his tongue--she was trying to get a rise out of him, hoping that he’d get angry and tell her everything she wanted to hear. That wasn’t going to happen, not if he could help it.
“Oh, come on, Gabe. Is she even worth protecting? Look around! You’re in Hell, literal Hell because of that little skank. If you ask me--“
“I didn’t!” Gabe spat.
Satan continued on like she hadn’t been interrupted, the only indication she’d heard him the grin that flashed across her face. “She’d be better off dead. Why are you angels even keeping her around? That girl is dangerous. Wouldn’t it be better if she just…disappeared?”
Gabe didn’t say anything. He thought of Abby, replayed her face over and over in his mind’s eye. He remembered the way she looked when she smiled, the way her face would light up when she laughed. He prayed to the God who probably wasn’t listening to him anymore that she was safe. He prayed that she stayed that way.
He locked eyes with Satan. “I won’t tell you anything. I love her, and I wouldn’t betray her for anything. Besides,” He tried his best to shrug nonchalantly, his shoulders aching with effort, “I’m already in literal Hell, right?”
Satan stared at him for a moment with an expression he couldn’t quite read. She stood wordlessly, and walked towards him slowly. “Is that what you think?” she asked softly, running her fingers delicately up his bare chest. “That it can’t get any worse?!” She shrieked as she hooked her fingers, driving them into the wounds on his torso.
Gabe cried out, gasping at the sudden sharp pain. Satan dug in harder, fingernails tearing at flesh and muscle. Gabe could’ve sworn she scraped bone.
Her eyes flared red and black, tattoos spiralling inky-black down her fingers. “You can’t even begin to fathom what I can do to you!” Satan hissed, her voice doubling and tripling into a many-layered horror.
Gabe writhed against his bonds, trying desperately to get away from her and the pain and terror he felt. All of that was nothing compared to the absolute dread that filled him when her power entered him. He could feel the darkness pouring in through her hands, its malicious intent as it wormed its way into his very being.
Satan pulled him closer, fingers still hooked into his chest. Blood trickled down her wrists, mingling with her tattoos as they spun wildly. She smiled a hideous, crazed smile. “Tell me what I want to know, and I will free you.”
Her words oozed into his mind like syrup, his vision flickering with black lines. Maybe she was right, part of him whispered urgently. Was Abby really worth all this? One meaningless girl in exchange for his freedom. It was her fault he was here in the first place. Why should he go through all this for that thing, that…monster?
“No!” Gabe shouted, forcing the thoughts away. He breathed hard, feeling his mind returning to him. His vision cleared as he glared at Satan. “I won’t tell you anything. I won’t betray her!”
Satan raised an eyebrow. “Impressive,” she said, yanking her hands out of his flesh. Gabe cried out again in pain, but she ignored him. “though I’d expect at least that level of strength from Gabriel’s son. Come, Eron!” she snapped her fingers, and her pet hurried to her side.
Gabe avoided looking at the poor creature; it made his skin crawl to think of how it had once been an angel.
Satan strode out of the cell, her pet scurrying along behind her. “Now, don’t go anywhere,” Satan smiled cruelly. “I’ll be back soon.” The cell door slammed shut with a resounding clang, and Gabe was alone.