by Kara Ashley Dey
Below the Greek temple, hidden from moonlight, Sister Rachel took one long drag on her cigarette before flicking the glowing cherry free. She dropped the butt and straightened.
“Bad habit,” Bishop said under his breath.
She blew out smoke and eyed the older man. “So how’s it a prince of Hades wears the collar?”
Bishop shrugged. “Some angels fall downward; others crawl up.”
She spat, but just missed Bishop’s toe. “A disgrace.”
Omen watched their exchange with growing unease. Red Boss had chosen their team, explaining others might be corrupted, and had assured him the three could manage. Omen wasn’t so sure. He liked even numbers, and this certainly was no trinity of trust.
“Kasha’s turn tonight?”
Bristling, Omen avoided Rachel’s shrewd eyes. “Our informant swore.”
With the soft echo of footsteps on marble, Omen looked toward the temple. A willowy figure in white gracefully walked between the temple’s pillars and turned toward the moon.
“Showtime.” Rachel lifted an arrow from her quiver and lowered it toward Bishop. Her mouth twisted. “Father?”
Bishop chanted. His gloved fingers hovered over the arrowhead. He touched his rosary to the tip, then to his mouth. The cross sizzled against his lips.
Like a black cat, Rachel slinked down the path, then up two ledges until she stood level with the temple. She stretched the bow, aimed and released. The arrow caught the moonlight before it hit the mark.
The woman’s arms stopped in mid-salutation toward the moon, her slender limbs outstretched like a swan’s wings greeting the day. She collapsed forward. Her gossamer robe fluttered down to cover her prostrate form.
They rushed up the ledge, their robes whispering against their limbs. Omen reached her but kept his distance, waiting for Bishop. To identify her was both the demon’s right and punishment.
Celibate from an early age, Omen couldn’t fathom what Bishop was thinking as the old man turned her limp body and brushed her hair from her face, his eyes searching in disbelief until recognition lightened then shadowed his expression. “It’s her.” He leaned back on his heels. “She looks like her mother.”
Rachel clamped a hand on his shoulder. “Well Pops, one down, one to go.”
“Don’t touch me.”
Bishop straightened. Rachel leaned down and snapped off the arrowhead protruding from Kasha’s chest. “Souvenir.”
Omen glared. “Must you?”
She opened her mouth to retort, but an alarm sounded. Thunder vibrated beneath them.
Rachel motioned a retreat. “Move!”
Omen paused to look at Kasha. A pity. She was pretty.
Her lids fluttered open. Recognizing her eyes, he sucked in his breath and took a step back. Blackened veins ran like water from her forehead down her face. The veins of his hand darkened in response.
Omen plunged his spear into her sternum. The weapon’s automatic release split the point into three, ripping her heart to pieces. Though her red irises faded, the power behind them continued to burn his core, revealing to him what he was: the last to go.
The Omen War series of short stories came from a short story class called “Five in Five” offered by Savvy Authors many moons ago. “Latest Light of Day” has been online for a few years already, and I am excited to share the rest with readers now. –Kara