The Order Ch. 01bypurefire©
It would take one last trip to the basement of the library for Nadia to get the information on Forcas, one of the original members of The Order of Zebulon. According to many of the books she read, he was in charge of keeping all other demon sects in line. He was also in charge of the various hit-men The Order had under employ. At first she overlooked all information on him but after reading a particular passage which described his dealings with humans she realized he was worth further investigation. Not only was he able to shape shift, but he used his abilities to walk around and travel the world. She needed to know as much about him as she could. This was a lead she could not give up.
Nadia took the elevator to the basement, uncomfortable with taking the stairs. Yes, the stairwell was lit, but it was in a secluded corner of the library. Anything could happen to her and no one would be able to help her. The elevator was in the center of the library; she would be seen getting on if anything happened. It wasn't much better than the stairwell, but there was some insurance, especially considering the fact that no one went to the basement unless they were looking for dark and dangerous things as she was.
Once the elevator doors opened, Nadia stepped out and began searching through the various shelves. There were many books on witchcraft, sorcery, and even cultural folklore. There was an entire section specifically for vampires and one on werewolves. The section she searched for, the section specifically on demons and demonic culture was in the very back of the basement, toward the left corner. Of course such a delicate subject would be kept in the most secret of places; what sane person would want to know about such things?
With a sigh, Nadia walked to the section she was to search in. She hoped she would find a book on Forcas. This was something that could help her find the demon that killed her parents and uncle.
Suddenly stopping, she looked around. Something wasn't right. It felt as if she wasn't alone, and not in a good way. Turning three-hundred-sixty degrees, she looked about the shelves carefully. She wanted to go back upstairs, but couldn't until she found the book she needed. When she was sure there was no one else in the basement with her, she turned back to her task. It took long minutes and several curses, but finally she was able to find a book which had the information she needed. Excited, she clutched it to her chest as she made her way back to the elevator. She stopped again, however, when she noticed a movement to the right. She wasn't sure, but she could have sworn it was a man. A very large man. Not taking any chances, she walked to the elevator. She needed to get to the main floor where there were people and more than two exits.
Nadia stopped again when she saw the figure again. It too was headed to the elevator. "I don't think so," she whispered. Turning left, she began to weave through the aisles, trying her best to throw whoever was downstairs off to what she was doing. As she weaved, she walked toward the staircase, convinced that she would be able to make it unnoticed. The last thing she needed was to get attacked in the semi-scary basement of the university library.
When Nadia heard a noise to the left, she started running. She was determined to make it to the staircase and to the main floor before anything happened. She knew that she was probably overreacting, that reading about demons everyday for over two months turned her into a paranoid psychopath, but she did not care. She would have preferred looking like an idiot rather than being caught unaware.
All she needed was a left turn and she would make it to the staircase. Then she would be safe. Nadia felt relief washing over her. Once she was upstairs she would laugh at herself. Until then, she would keep running.
Nadia screamed in shock when she felt as if she slammed into a brick wall. She went flying backward but was able to stay on her feet. The book in her hands unfortunately fell out of her arms and landed on her left foot. Cursing again, she reached out and held onto a bookshelf for support. "What the hell..." Looking up, Nadia nearly fell over. She was right; there was a large man in the basement with her. But she never expected a man like this; he had to be at least six foot three and from what she could see, he was nothing but solid muscle. His forearm had to be the size of her calf - and being a plus sized woman meant her calf wasn't small. His skin was the color of toffee; smooth, flawless, and absolutely decadent. Looking at his face, Nadia felt her breath catch in her throat; his square-shaped face was nothing but sharp angles and mystery. He was a bald man with thick, dark eyebrows over black searching eyes that burned into her. His nose was not overly large, but it was slightly crooked, an obvious sign of a break sometime in his past. His lips, while not thick, were not lacking.
He had to be the sexiest man she'd ever seen in her life.
She looked him over again. Being the size that she was, Nadia was used to being around men who were her height and were smaller than she was. Even the men she knew who exercised religiously had smaller frames than she did. This man did not. It was quite apparent that he could probably cover her face with his hand if he wanted. He made her feel small, as if he could lift her off the ground with his index finger. She did not like this new vulnerability and decided that she needed to get away from him. "Uh, sorry." She bent to retrieve her book and gasped when his hand covered hers. They'd reached for the book at the same time. Surprised, she lifted her head and found herself inches from him. She tried to back away but could not move far because he still had her hand in his.
"Don't worry about it."
Nadia nearly fainted. His voice was rich, deep, and extremely arousing. It was the kind of voice that would paralyze a woman when he whispered, the kind of voice that would make her do anything with the slightest command. Confused, she watched as he used his other hand to retrieve her book before he helped her to stand. Her heart felt as if it would explode at any given moment. The feelings coursing through her were new and she did not know how to process them. She'd been in front of the man for less than two minutes and was ready to melt.
Clutching the book to her chest, she looked away from him. If she didn't, she would stare at him forever. She wanted to. Hell, she wanted to do more than stare. "Uh, thanks." Before things became tenser than they already were, Nadia skirted her way around him and ran up the stairs as fast as her thick legs would allow. Once on the main floor, she allowed herself to take a proper breath. Never, in all of her years was she able to imagine a man who looked like him. "Good Lord, he hit not one branch when he fell off the ugly tree." Laughing at herself, she shook her head. She needed to go back home. She couldn't concentrate after an encounter like that. Walking to the counter, she checked the book from the basement out for the night. Afterwards, she packed her things and made her way toward the exit.
The weird feeling washed over her once more. Nadia felt the hairs on the back of her neck come to attention. Stopping for a moment, she looked around and felt her breath catch in her throat once more when she saw him. He stood near the card catalogue but it was quite obvious his sights were fixed solely on her. She could not match his stare. Feeling her cheeks heat to the point of combustion, Nadia walked out of the library. A cold shower was needed.
* * * * *
Andraemalek walked slowly as he followed Nadia home. He could not afford to have her see him so soon after their first meeting. His plan was to make sure he knew every aspect of her schedule so that he could pinpoint the perfect moment to complete his mission. He still had to know what she knew about The Order, but that was the easy part of the plan; a minimum of ten minutes alone with her and he would get all the information he needed. Until then, he would follow her, just as he did every night, making sure he knew how she made it home, no matter what route she took.
She was an interesting target, Andraemalek thought to himself, an interesting target indeed. Nadia C. Stevens seemed like an easy enough mission; after a month of watching her closely, he'd come to learn that Nadia was a twenty-two year old senior at Cline University, one of the most prestigious institutions in the country. A pre-medical major, Nadia worked hard, maintaining a 3.8 grade point average every semester she attended the university. She was very much into science fiction which was not surprising, considering the reason he was sent to kill her. Nadia also liked to keep to herself and somehow managed to always have her face stuffed in a book. Until the incident in the library, he'd never seen her entire face; quite miraculous considering the amount of time he took in his research on her.
And what a face it was. Though she wasn't what he would consider drop dead gorgeous, Nadia's face had an element of beauty he could not describe. Her face was heart shaped, which seemed to work with her milk chocolate skin and long black-burgundy locks of her shoulder length hair. Her dark brown eyes reminded him of a doe; the wide-eyed expression she gave him at her first sight at him only seemed to enhance the feature. Her nose, straight and slightly upturned at the tip led to lips that, while not overly full, looked soft to the touch and incredibly delectable. He was quite surprised; it wasn't the fact that she had a pretty face; it was his reaction to her that caught him off guard. Andraemalek wanted to touch her. He wanted to see if she was as soft as she looked. As she walked down the street, he looked at the way the moonlight reflected off her hair, the way wayward locks moved with the wind, and even the way she would occasionally lift an arm to tuck those same wayward strands behind her ears.
What was it that had him so entranced? It wasn't only her face. Her body wasn't much to swoon over either; she was a larger woman, one with lush curves and a surprisingly appetizing bottom. Most men would not bother to look twice at a figure like hers. He only seemed to want to hold her. There was an aura of strength around her but there was something in her eyes, a vulnerability that pulled at him. He had to ignore it if he wanted to complete his mission. Soon enough, she would be gone, like the rest of his targets. There was no reason at all to think the foolish thoughts he did. Who cared what she looked like?
There was a smell in the air, a familiar scent that he knew meant danger. His prowess as a hunter gave him the ability to not only smell the differences in the air, but the emotions running through humans. This particular scent was specific; I reeked of cruelty, anxiousness, and oddly enough, apprehension. It wasn't coming from the woman. Nadia's smell was something else entirely, something he refused to let himself analyze. No, it couldn't have been Nadia.
There was another player.
Lagging back, Andraemalek waited for the scene to unfold before him. It didn't take long. A man crept from the shadows, openly following Nadia. He wore nothing but black but nothing could hide the pale color of his skin, not even the oversized sunglasses. Andraemalek felt something wash over him, something he'd never experienced before. Worry. It was a sick, nauseating feeling. He knew what would happen. Part of him wanted to walk away and let the natural course of humans take its place. But there was another part of him, the part that was drawn to Nadia that had to stop such a monstrous thing from happening. He treaded slowly, keeping a close eye on the man.
When Nadia turned left after passing the town pizza parlor, Andraemalek rolled his eyes heavenward in exasperation. Behind the pizza parlor was nothing but a dark alley. Yes, it saved her fifteen minutes of walking back to her apartment, but it was nearly one in the morning. The girl was stupid.
He waited forty five seconds before he walked into the alley. The alley reeked of rotting food, animal waste, and urine. The large green dumpster seemed to overflow with the amount of waste stuffed in it. Of all the times she decided to veer off her normal course home...
He felt his blood go cold at the sight of Nadia pressed tightly against the damp-looking brick wall of the pizza shop. The man held a menacing looking knife to her throat with his right hand as he slowly cupped a supple breast in his left. Nadia's eyes were closed. Her face was blank but a single tear slid down her cheek. Her chin trembled. Her breath came out in short harsh bursts. The smell of her fear overrode the dank scents of the alley. The thick, cloying and bitter scent penetrated him to his core.
The killer in him took control.
In what looked to be a casual stance, Andraemalek reached into his pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. He quietly pulled one out of the pack and placed it between his lips as he watched them. After placing the pack in his pocket, he pulled out a lighter but stopped when Nadia whimpered. He kept his eyes on the man as he said, "I don't think you want to do that."
The man turned and looked at the owner of the deep, menacing voice and casually raised a brow. He was a large man, larger than he and far more muscular but he didn't have a weapon nor a reason to use it. "She's mine." He pressed the sharp blade of the knife against her throat when she tried to wiggle out of his grasp. "I'm not done with you yet, baby girl."
Andraemalek reminded himself to wait before he killed him. He was a thin man, thinner than he looked to be in the black hooded sweatshirt and pants. His face, partially hidden behind the hood of his sweatshirt and shades was long and bony. It was obvious he was under the influence of very serious drugs. The kill would be easier than he thought. Slowly, he lit the cigarette and took a long and thoughtful drag. "I don't see your name on her." He watched as the man eased his hold on Nadia. The look on his face was one of calculation. The man was working out his plan on how to kill him before he had his way with Nadia.
Sensing that it was the only chance she had at freedom, Nadia used all of her strength to push her attacker. He took a shaky step back. She didn't wait for another chance. Turning, she stepped forward to run and cried out in surprise when she was brutally shoved toward the wall. She felt the stab of white hot pain in the back of her head before she succumbed to darkness.
Rage swept through Andraemalek. In a quick move, he used the attacker's face to put out his cigarette before he quickly broke his neck. He wasn't satisfied. He wanted to tear his bones apart slowly, agonizingly, all while the son of a bitch was alive. He dared not only to touch her, but hurt her as well.
With a sigh, he realized it was too late. He'd killed the bastard and that was the end of it. He quickly went to work disposing of the body. Thanks to a few demonic connections, he was able to use a clear liquid which disintegrated a human body within moments. There would be no questions concerning a murder in an abandoned alley.
Andraemalek turned to Nadia's limp body. He took a breath. The image of her being shoved against the wall played in his head continuously. He wished he could have brought the pig back to life so that he could kill him again.
He knelt and checked Nadia for injury. She had a large bump on the back of her head. Luckily that was the extent of the damage. Gingerly, he lifted her into his arms. She was amazingly soft and emitted the sweetest whimpers he'd ever heard. Through the bitter scent of her fear, he detected a sweet and soft smell that was unlike anything he'd ever encountered before. He wanted to bury his face in her neck. Shaking his head, he adjusted her in his arms and carried her home.
He was at her door within five minutes. It took him no time at all to find her keys and open her door. From his surveillance of her, he knew the layout of her apartment and easily maneuvered his way to her bedroom in the dark. He set her down on the bed and turned on the bedside lamp. He'd seen the room before but never from the inside. The walls were a rich brown, enhanced by framed black and white photos of the university. To the left, there was a medium sized dresser placed in front of the center of the wall. It was riddled with small jars of crèmes and bottles of perfume and spray. Attached to it was a large mirror that reflected the large king sized bed across from it. On the floor between the bed and dresser was a tan rug etched with dark brown spirals. A small portion of the rug was covered by the trunk at the end of the bed.
Andraemalek looked at Nadia. She remained as he placed her; she lay on her back, her head turned slightly toward him but slightly facing the fan-decorated ceiling. Her hair had formed a black-burgundy cloud around her head. She looked angelic, especially with her right hand resting just above her supple breasts. It was then he noticed what she wore. A light khaki jacket covered her brown tank top. Underneath it, she wore a white one to highlight the color. The tanks were low, showcasing mouthwatering mounds covered by silky skin. Fitted dark blue jeans covered long legs. Tan shoes completed the look.
No wonder the bastard went after her.
Shaking his head, Andraemalek stepped back. This was no time to give into human emotion. He was in her apartment. This was the perfect opportunity for him to look for information. He searched through the trunk first. It held nothing but blankets and sheets for that inviting bed of hers. They were soft and smelled like fresh cake.
Did everything of hers have to smell so damned enticing?
He shifted his search to the dresser. He sifted through the drawers but gave the underwear drawers more detailed inspections. She had two drawers just for underwear; one with cotton briefs and boy shorts, the other nothing but lace and sheer material which made his palms sweat. That unique smell of hers drifted to him. Sniffing the air, he looked at the top of the dresser. A clear bottle of yellow oil was left separated from the rest of the items. He closed the underwear drawers and lifted the bottle to his nose. It was her smell, all right, but it missed one important factor, the soft smell of her skin. The scent of human. Of woman. Simply thinking of the intoxicating mixture set his blood to a boil.
At the surprised gasp, he looked at the mirror. Nadia's surprised reflection regarded him warily. Having a strange man in her home didn't make things much better. He turned slowly and looked at her. "Are you ok?" Those wide doe-like eyes pulled at him. Why did they have to be so innocent and in need of protection?
Nadia was sure she was dreaming. There was no way the man from the library, the same man who scared the breath out of her and ignited every spark of passion within her was in her apartment, in her bedroom, staring at her body oils and sprays. The throb emanating from the back of her head suggested otherwise. She brought a hand to the back of her head. "What happened?" She looked at the hand and was glad to see that there was no blood, only a lump the size of a tennis ball. Combing her hair would be fun in the morning.
Her subtle movements entranced him. She barely paid him any mind but it was quite obvious the action was intended. Why didn't she want to look at him? "You were two seconds from being raped but I helped you."
It took a moment for his words to penetrate but once they did, Nadia remembered. She remembered walking through the alley, the feel of his hands on her shoulder, pushing her against the brick wall, the cold steel blade against her neck. He smelled of rusted metal and week old milk. She remembered the fear, the panic...