Send Me an Angelbyrachlou©
This story is an official entry in the Winter Holiday Contest.
A thousand thanks go to Slc_Willie for his time spent editing this piece. Any mistakes left in it can only be attributed to me...
* * *
The girl sprinted down the stone steps, her long dark hair flying out behind her like a banner in the wind. She stumbled on the last step and almost fell, throwing her arm out to one side in an attempt to regain her balance. Her beige canvas bag crashed onto the ground, books and pieces of paper slipping out in an untidy heap.
Malachi watched curiously from his vantage point over by the ancient sycamore tree. He leant against the gnarled bark, his hands pushed firmly into his pockets in the biting December chill, despite the fact he never felt the cold. He always tried to mimic the body language of people he observed and he had noted that they all reacted in subtle ways to the weather conditions prevailing at any given time. It amused him to copy these behavioural gestures in the same way that it amused him to overhear their conversations and pick up snippets of their often mundane lives.
The girl had begun to collect her scattered belongings, a faint blush colouring her pale cheeks. Untidily she shoved everything back inside her bag and continued on her way across the square, dodging the throngs of students until she was lost amongst them, just another dark head bobbing amongst a crowd.
Malachi continued to sense her long after she had disappeared from eye sight, managing to follow her right up until the point she descended into the underground station and was lost to him. He scanned the area briefly and sensing nobody else of interest, he walked towards the busy main street. People passed by him, occasionally brushing against his tall body, but none saw him. He picked up flashes of their lives and fragments of their conversations, listening to their chaotic thoughts and emotions passing over him like a frenetic newsreel.
A tired looking woman in a grey coat was on her way to meet her lover, her heart breaking at the disastrous news she needed to tell him. Her handbag was clasped tightly to her breast, her eyes downcast and inward looking. A young man stood outside the convenience store with a stolen mobile phone in his pocket, edgy and paranoid; his snake eyes flicking over the people passing him by.
In a flash he snatched the leather bag from the woman as she walked past, wrenching it from her grasp with a strong tug. She screamed in panicked shock, reflexively holding onto the handles with all her strength. The young man was far stronger than she was and he soon pulled her to the ground in his attempt to wrest the prized bag from her.
"Let go, bitch!" he hissed viciously and with one final yank, he had the bag and was running away down a side street, disappearing into the crowd in a flash. The whole encounter had taken less than a minute and Malachi watched from a distance as the woman lay sobbing on the pavement while people continued to pass heedless of her distress. He could feel her pain reaching out to him and he absorbed it dispassionately. Eventually somebody stopped to help her, offering comfort as they pulled her to her feet.
It frequently amazed him how cruel humans could be. They were capable of the most amazing acts of compassion and bravery, but all too often the reverse was true. During his time spent observing them, he had been a passive witness to terrible crimes of violence, but it was not these that he remembered. It was the smallest acts of kindness that stayed with him and kept him here, silently watching.
A police car approached the scene of the mugging and Malachi melted away, heading for the Underground station the girl had descended into. The steep concrete steps littered with the detritus of human existence, took him downwards into the brightly lit station and he melted through the barriers unseen, slipping between the other passengers as they hurried to catch their trains.
He wasn't headed anywhere in particular; he never was, so he just followed a smart suited gent down some more steps and onto one of the platforms. It was almost deserted as the next train wasn't due for ten minutes. Litter fluttered like dry autumnal leaves in the draft from the mouth of the dark tunnel that yawned malevolently.
Taking a seat on a hard metal bench, Malachi gazed curiously for a moment at a poster on the wall opposite. It was advertising a new film. The images of futuristic architecture and imaginative demons amused him and he smiled faintly. He was so absorbed in the lurid pictures, it startled him when an old man approached and looked at him hopefully with rheumy red eyes,
"Got a light?" the man rasped, his voice rattling in his chest, as he held out a cigarette in his shaking, liver spotted hand. Malachi turned to fix his violet gaze upon him unflinchingly in surprise, unused to being seen by mortals. The man coughed and wheezed slightly, phlegm bubbling in his throat. Malachi could see the cancer as a dark malignant shadow hanging over the old man. He felt something resembling pity as he realised instantly that the man would be dead within a short time.
Malachi shook his head in response and the old man sighed heavily before turning away again, muttering to himself unintelligibly. He shuffled off towards the other passengers waiting further up the platform.
A whoosh of heat and wind signalled the impending arrival of the train and Malachi got to his feet. He had no idea where it would take him but that was unimportant; he had all the time in the world.
* * *
Olivia glanced at her watch, wondering where in hell David had could be. Her coffee congealed in its cup on the table before her. She fidgeted nervously, thinking back to his online profile and wondering for the fiftieth time whether it was such a great idea to be dating again.
It had taken her a long time to get over Jack - almost a year in fact. There had been no one since. She had had offers, of course, but had turned them down. Her studies were far too time-consuming anyway; men were just a distraction and besides, she had no desire to be hurt again. Her fragile heart still bore the painful scars Jack had etched upon it.
There was a clatter from the entrance to the café and Olivia looked up, startled. A scruffy young man with curly brown hair and a red face was apologising profusely to the surly waitress. Judging by the pile of cutlery on the floor, he had collided with her in his apparent rush to get inside and out of the biting December wind.
Olivia watched him with a sinking feeling. He bore an uncanny resemblance to the photo of David she'd seen and she realised her date had arrived. She knew instantly he wasn't going to be her type and she sighed despondently. With a sense of impending doom, she watched dispiritedly as the man made his way clumsily over to the table with a cheesy grin and a sad bunch of limp flowers.
"Hi!" he beamed nervously. "I'm David, and you look like Olivia! I must say your photo doesn't do you justice!" He sat down without waiting for her response. Olivia noticed with distaste that his paisley nylon shirt had damp sweaty patches under the arms when he removed his thick wool coat.
"Thanks for the flowers," she said when they were thrust into her face making her sneeze. "Erm they're... beautiful." Actually they were half dead and looked like they had been expropriated from the nearest cemetery, but she didn't want to hurt his feelings. Hurriedly she dropped them onto the floor next to her bag to avoid another sneezing fit.
David quickly ordered himself a coffee from the waitress and launched into a tedious monologue about his favourite subject - himself. Olivia shifted uncomfortably into the hard plastic chair and briefly contemplated suicide as David rambled on, seemingly indifferent to her lack of conversation. Oh well, she thought morosely, if this was dating then she was quite certain she would be sticking to fossils in the future. Dead dinosaurs may be boring to some people, but they were a helluva lot more interesting than this guy.
* * *
Malachi left the tube station and followed the surge of humans up the elevator back into the light. The street was teeming with the flotsam and jetsam of Christmas shoppers all trying to find their ideal presents amongst the gaudy displays of expensive garbage. He paused for a moment outside the partially steamed up window of a café, small coloured lights twinkling around the edge of the grubby glass. The girl he had seen earlier sat beyond the window opposite a lanky youth. She was not looking at the young man; she was staring out of the window right at Malachi as her companion chattered away obliviously.
He gazed curiously at her pale, pretty face; the dark strands of hair curling beguilingly around the sweep of her cheekbone. Through the window he could see her eyes were a bewitching turquoise colour and her lips a pale dusky pink. His memories were stirred. The girl reminded him of another woman from a very long time ago. The resemblance was uncanny and for a moment he was catapulted back through the ages to a distant time.
* * *
Octavia's beautiful turquoise eyes welled up with blurry tears. "How long will you be gone this time?"
"I don't know..." Titus said truthfully. He knew it would be a long and bloody campaign; the Gauls were proving to be far hardier adversaries than Rome had ever envisaged, but the Emperor was determined to wipe out all resistance in Gallia. It may well take time but eventually the Emperor would have his way. Titus wished he didn't have to leave his wife, but he was a Legionaire and he had no choice in the matter.
Octavia struggled to control her emotions. The fear of losing Titus was almost more than she could bear, but she didn't want to add any further burden onto him. He had enough to think about without a snivelling wife to distract him. She would just have to pray for his safe return, as she always did.
The fragrant night air was cool and she shivered slightly, her skin prickling with a sense of foreboding. For weeks now she had been plagued with terrible nightmares of death and carnage. She had been reluctant to tell Titus about her dreams, but she was truly fearful that when he left in the morning, he would not be coming back.
Titus crossed the marble floor and lovingly took his wife in his arms. Her dark hair was pinned up in coils upon her head and he threaded his fingers through the curls at the nape of her neck. He inhaled the subtle scent of her skin. They stood together for a long moment, listening to the steady beat of each other's heart, lost in their own thoughts.
"You know I'll always love you, my darling," Titus whispered into her hair. She didn't answer and he felt her warm tears soaking through the fabric of his tunic. Her pain hurt him and wished he could take it away, but he couldn't – his duty was to Rome and they both knew it.
"Shhh," he soothed, "I'll be back before our child is born." He reached between their bodies and stroked the gently burgeoning swell of her belly. She was still in the early stages of pregnancy, but already her body was changing. Her breasts were fuller and the darkened aureoles enlarged. She looked so desirable and he moved his hand upwards to brush across her sensitive nipples, provoking a sharp sigh of pleasure.
Octavia lifted her head from his shoulder and smiled through her tears. "I will wait for you to return home," she said softly and reached up to kiss him, tasting the outline of his lips and flicking her tongue teasingly into his mouth. If they only had one night left together, she wanted to be sure she sent him on his way properly.
"Come..." she said with a coy look. Taking his hand, she led her husband up the stairs into their bed-chamber, away from the prying eyes of the servants. Incense filled the air with spicy notes of vanilla and jasmine; oil lamps burned, casting deep shadows over the modestly furnished room. Outside, the burbling of the courtyard fountain competed with the humming of nighttime insects. Faint sounds of the servants going about their business occasionally infiltrated the inner sanctum of their chamber, but Titus and Octavia were oblivious to it all.
Octavia released the shoulder clasps holding her stola, allowing the fabric to fall to the floor. She stood before her beloved husband, naked and proud, her body lush, ripe and tempting. Titus watched, growing hard beneath his tunic. She walked towards him slowly, her heavy breasts gently swaying. He could smell the subtle scent of feminine arousal and he fought to control his desire to take her then, plunging into her body without preamble until he lost himself within her heat.
Rather, Titus wanted to take his time tonight, to show his wife through his actions how much he loved and worshipped her. Gently, he reached out and slowly stroked her shoulders, moving teasingly down her chest until he held the weight of her milky white breasts in the palms of his hands. His calloused thumbs rubbed cross her taut nipples and she groaned aloud at the exquisite sensation.
Moving his hands back upwards, he kissed her lingeringly while he unpinned her hair and allowed it to cascade over her shoulders in ebony waves. He pulled the lush strands to cover her breasts so that only her nipples were peeking through; small pink nubs against the rich silk of her skeins of hair.
"How will I live without you?" he asked, almost to himself.
"We will be together every night in our dreams my love." Octavia answered; believing this was the only way she could allow him to leave her tomorrow. She reached for her husband and kissed him, plunging her tongue deep into the cavity of his mouth.
Titus pulled her hard against him, tracing the curve of her bottom with his hand and dipping his fingers between her thighs. Octavia parted her legs to allow him access and he smiled against her mouth. She was always eager for his touch, which was one of the things he loved about her; his wife enjoyed their passion as much as he did. Not all husbands could say the same, he well knew. Indeed, many of his comrades complained endlessly about their wives and took mistresses to compensate. But Titus only wanted Octavia – she was everything to him.
She was dripping with arousal and he paused for a moment to regain his self-control. Octavia moaned in his ear and pushed herself down onto his hand, trying to make him caress her, as she desired.
"Patience my darling," he muttered. Kissing her neck and nibbling the skin at the base of her throat, he slid his fingers between the folds of her sex. She moaned louder and he homed in on the hard nub of her clitoris, brushing over it lightly. Octavia trembled against him, her body tensing in a prelude to her orgasm. Slowly, teasingly, he caressed the slick folds of flesh, listening to her panting in his ear. She whimpered in disappointment when he pulled his fingers away from her, but as he pushed her backwards upon the bed, she realised what his intention was.
Invitingly, Octavia spread her legs wide, her open sex displayed in all its glory. Titus knelt between her thighs and inhaled her musky scent deeply. His cock throbbed painfully beneath his tunic, but he ignored its pleading; his only desire at the moment was to please Octavia in the best way he knew how.
He dipped his tongue into the moist depths of her sex, tasting her sweet juices and lapping her nectar. She cried out at his touch and he felt the first faint ripples of her orgasm. Slowly he licked across her clitoris, swirling his tongue round the hard nub and sucking it gently. Octavia's thighs clamped painfully around his head. She cried out again and exploded in pleasure. For a moment Titus couldn't breathe, then gradually Octavia relaxed her iron grip and he took a deep lungful of air, feeling her still quivering beneath him.
Titus lifted himself up and moved to lie next to her sweating body. His wife's eyes were closed as he kissed her lips. He stroked her breasts and belly while she came down from her high. Eventually she opened her eyes and smiled dreamily at him. Turning onto her side, she kissed him and reached for his cock.
The feel of her small hand wrapped tightly around his shaft was almost enough to finish him. He sucked in a deep shaky breath and sat up. Undoing his belt first, Titus swiftly pulled his tunic over his head and threw it onto the floor.
Octavia gazed upon him as he was bathed in the golden light from the oil lamps. His muscles were sharply defined; a light sprinkling of hair covered his chest and abdomen. His cock pointed proudly upwards and outwards. Licking her lips lasciviously, Octavia rolled forward and took it in her velvety mouth.
Titus groaned and half closed his eyes. Her lips were tight and firm around his shaft and he struggled to hold himself in check. The moist flicker of her tongue across the head made him gasp harshly. "Slow down, my love, or I won't last!"
Octavia pulled back slightly and paused for a moment before sinking back down until the head of his cock touched the back of her throat. Gripping her head tightly in one hand, Titus moved himself in and out of her mouth, concentrating on the exquisite sensations.
Nearly upon the point of no return, he pulled away abruptly and Octavia pouted in disappointment. He dragged her to her feet and moved her backwards, pushing her down onto the thick blankets. Moving over her, he positioned himself at the entrance to her sex, feeling her heat burning into him like a furnace. He bent to take a nipple in his mouth, tugging with his teeth and hearing her moan in response.
Octavia wrapped her legs around his waist and sucked him inside her tight channel. For a sublime moment he enjoyed the feel of her inner muscles gripping his cock and he gazed deeply into her adoring eyes.
"I love you," he whispered and slowly began to thrust in and out of her body, watching the pleasure flutter across her face in waves. She gripped his back and dug deeply with her nails, causing him to cry out.
"Aghhh I love you too..." she gasped, climaxing again, her body shuddering amid delicious spasms beneath him.
Titus thrust harder and deeper inside her, his own orgasm overtaking him in a rush of dizzying pleasure. He exploded within her body with a shout, wave upon wave of hot fluid bursting from his balls. He shook with the intensity of his climax, his heart racing.
Slowly the pleasure faded and he rolled off her, pulling her into his body until they lay locked together in a tangle of sweaty limbs. The scent of bougainvillea drifted through the open shutters as they drifted into sleep.
In the pre-dawn light, Titus crept from their bed and gazed down at his beloved Octavia. Quietly he dressed and, being careful not to disturb her, kissed her gently on the lips. She stirred and sighed, but didn't awaken. "I love you," he told her again, even though he knew she couldn't hear him. His heart heavy with grief, Titus left.
When Octavia awoke, she realised he had gone and she cried, her body wracked with wretched sobs. She knew she would never see him again; she could feel it in her heart.
She was right. Three months later, Titus was dead. A Gaul barbarian cut him down from his horse and butchered him mercilessly.
* * *
For a moment, Malachi had forgotten who and where he was. The powerful images from long ago gripped him and the unfamiliar feelings rocked his core. It had been so long since he was mortal; he had almost forgotten how it felt. The love and pain from the past life rocked his being and left him feeling utterly disorientated.
Olivia stared out of the foggy window, into the darkening afternoon. For a moment, she thought she had seen a dark-haired man staring intently at her, but when she blinked, he was gone. She must have imagined him, she thought with a sigh. Funny, though; he had seemed so real, almost familiar. But she searched her memory in vain, trying to work out why she felt she knew him.