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Part One


GOD permits industrious angels
Afternoons to play.
I met one,—forgot my school-mates,
All, for him, straightway.
God calls home the angels promptly         5
At the setting sun;
I missed mine. How dreary marbles,
After playing Crown!


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Prologue, Before

The room was silent, so silent she could hear his heartbeat, even though he was standing across the room. His breaths were even, and slow, and his heart beat at a steady pulse. Although the room was dark, she knew he was staring at her through his thick blonde eyelashes, with his dark brown eyes. She felt repulsed by him, but drawn to him at the same time.
“Jezebel,” he said, quietly. His voice was steady and strong, smooth and toxic. “Oh, Jezebel.”
She continued to be silent, afraid to speak. She just stared at him, and he stared at her, and though she could not see his face, she knew he saw her, every inch of her, cowering against the wall as she was, a tiny sliver of light passing beyond him and over her. He stood, tall and proud, and it was in that moment when she remembered the sweet things he had whispered to her only the night before last, and yet he stood over her, like a kidnapper over his victim.
He began striding towards her, large, heavy steps that allowed him to reach her within a matter of moments. He crouched in front of her, and his warmth made her feel scared and excited at the same time, both because he was so close to her.
“I love you so,” he said. “You know that, yes?”
She nodded, slowly, not allowing him to see how truly scared she was. If she allowed him to see her fear, then she allowed him more power over her than he was already granted.
“I hate to see you this way,” he said, reaching towards her. She flinched away from him, and mentally kicked herself for it afterwards. Although she couldn’t see it, she knew he was smiling. “I wish there was some way for me to help you…”
“There is,” she said, quietly, her voice cracking. She was parched, seeing as she hadn’t been allowed a glass of water for two and a half days. “There is a way for you to help me.”
She could sense his smile grow wider as he said, “How is that?”
She smiled, using all of the energy she could muster. “By going back to Hell, where you belong.”
He was silent, and she could sense his smile had dissipated. Neither of them moved or spoke, until, finally, he drew his hand back, and landed a blow on the side of her face, next to her eye. Without another word, he stood and left her, sitting in her cell.


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One, Hiding

The cold winter morning washed over her body, making her teeth chatter, and her body ache for warmth.  Why was she out here?  Why had she left the safety of her apartment?  Why was she even up at this ridiculous hour?
She could not answer those questions, although she let them swirl around in her mind.  She never left her apartment, for fear of being found.  She had kept a low profile, and she didn’t need anyone discovering who she was.
Jezebel had woken up at five, and decided to go for a run.  She was tired of running, and decided to give up and wait outside of the town’s café.  The sign read Bliss Coffee, and she assumed Bliss was the owner’s last name.  Unless the coffee was really that good.
She looked at her watch again, grateful to have spent the money on it.  She didn’t spend any more money than she had to, which meant that today, she would be spending way more money than she ever really had over the past four years.
Jezebel didn’t eat, not normally.   When she did, it was usually fruits, since her stomach was too weak to process much else.  It wasn’t really healthy for a human to eat just fruits, but she wasn’t exactly human.
It was six fifty-seven.  Three minutes before the coffee shop opened.  She silently urged her watch to go faster, wanting to get back into the safety of her apartment.  She hated going outdoors, hated knowing that every time she stepped foot outside, there was a chance that he would find her.
She shuddered at the thought of him, hated even knowing that he existed.  He was searching for her, no doubt, and it was a wonder that he hadn’t found her.  Four years she had been hiding, and she was thankful for the cover of this town.
At seven o’clock, on the dot, an old woman appeared, fishing through her purse for what Jezebel assumed were her keys.  The old woman pulled the keys from her bag, and unlocked the door.  She propped it open with a rock that had been lying off to the side.  The rock had a lady bug painted on the side of it.
The old woman turned and saw Jezebel watching her move.  She smiled and said, “My granddaughter painted that for me.  She just turned seven a month ago.  Such a sweet child,” she paused and gestured inside.  “You here for some coffee?  We make the best in town.”
Jezebel smiled at that.  This was the only coffee shop in town, and she guessed that was what the old woman meant.  “I’d love to try some,” she answered, following the old woman inside.  Jezebel looked around the shop, scanning in every item.  She wanted to make sure there was something she could use as a weapon, but only if she needed to.  Recently, she always had a reason to be prepared, and this was definitely one of those times.
The shop was full of paintings, collaged across the walls.  Each one was different, and all by different artists.  There was a plaque on top of the wall on the left that read “Art is Therapy”.  Some paintings were amazingly well done, true artists works.  Some paintings were by children, some probably not even old enough to hold a paint brush properly.  Jezebel loved to paint, and she hadn’t for years.  It was six years ago, now.  Six years since she had touched a brush to a canvas.  Seeing the paintings made her hands ache for the feel of a brush in them, and the canvas spread beneath her.
“What will you be having?” the old woman asked, breaking Jezebel from her thoughts.
“Uh, well,” Jezebel said, popping her knuckles, “I’ve never really had coffee before.”
The old woman smiled.  She probably hadn’t understood Jezebel through her thick accent, one that was foreign to people in this realm.  It was a mix of Irish and Italian, and most people could never decide which it was.
“Sorry,” she said.  “I’m hard to understand sometimes.  Uh, well.  I have never had coffee.  Do you have any suggestions?” This time, she spoke slowly and clearly, and the old woman nodded.
“It’s okay.  You Irish, Italian…?  My father was Italian, and he always spoke incredibly loud, God rest his soul,” she said, crossing herself.  “Anyways, I’ve got you covered dear.”
The old woman began to work, without even waiting for an answer from Jezebel.  It was funny to her, how humans could always ask so many questions without ever really wanting an answer.
Jezebel watched the old woman work, amazed by how efficient she was without the help of others.
“Do you work here alone?” Jezebel asked, sitting down at one of the chairs closest to the middle of the room.
The old woman shook her head.  “No,” she said, “my granddaughter works here after school, but I don’t make her work too much.  She has homework and things.  My son comes in sometimes, and helps out with things.  Just those two, though.  We like to keep family working, and working here.  Bliss, our last name,” she said, smiling.
Jezebel nodded, and continued to watch the old woman as she worked.  Then, she began to think of things.  The past, mostly.
Jezebel was born a Nephilim, and had been raised in a family who was open about it.  Her mother was an angel, and her father was human.  They had raised her as a normal human girl, until the age of seven, which was seen as a perfect number in Heaven.  When she turned seven, they gave her the choice—she could learn about her heritage and grow as another person completely, or she could live in the dark.  Her older brother had chosen to live in the dark, and thus, had been shunned when he turned eighteen.  Jezebel didn’t really know her brother; he hadn’t been around much when she was younger.
Jezebel chose to learn about her heritage, and her parents carefully explained to her about her mother, and how Jezebel could no longer go to a human school.  She couldn’t tell her brother about anything, because he had chosen to live without the knowledge.
Her mother gave birth to another child, and told Jezebel that she had to leave to go back to Heaven.  Jezebel didn’t question it, and took up the position of mother to raise her baby brother.
When Jezebel was seventeen, she was going to school and raising her six year old brother.  As her and her father prepared to tell Nathan, her brother, about his heritage, if he chose it, Jezebel met Trysten, a Nephilim.  They were both homeschooled, since they had chosen to learn about themselves.
Jezebel smiled at the thought of Trysten; of his long black hair that had always been braided, of his shining blue eyes.  He had been her one true love, but then…
Nephilim, and the men and women who raised them, lived in a community in a forest.  Jezebel did not know which forest, since her regular lessons had stopped at age seven, and she did not care to know.  All she needed to know was that she lived and cared for those she loved.
Their village had been attacked, houses burned, humans and Nephilim alike, slaughtered.  Nathan and Jezebel’s father were killed in the attack, leaving Jezebel alone in the world at seventeen.  She and Trysten were taken back as hostages, where they stood in front of a court of six men, with the leader of them deciding what would be done with Jezebel and Trysten.
The old woman cleared her throat, bringing Jezebel out of the memories.  She didn’t need to dive any deeper than she had gone; the pain of losing her family was still as strong today, six years later.
“That will be three twenty-six,” the old woman said, smiling.  She popped the lid onto the top of the cup and placed it onto the counter.  Jezebel stood up and pulled a five from her front pocket, and handed it to the old woman.  She accepted it and handed Jezebel her coffee.
“Keep the change,” Jezebel said, smiling.
The old woman nodded and said, “It was nice to meet you, ah…”
“Jane,” Jezebel lied.  “Jane Stone.”
The old woman smiled.  “Nice to meet you, Ms. Stone.  My name is Mandy Bliss.”
Jezebel smiled and said, “Very nice to meet you, as well.  Thank you for the coffee.”
Mandy nodded.  “You have a good day, now.”
Jezebel thanked Mandy and left the shop, pulling the hood of her sweatshirt up over her head, staring down at the ground as she walked back to her apartment.

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