each night before she drifted off to sleep and each morning when she awoke, but
he never came for her. There was a time when all Kleio had to do was think of
Calliel and he’d appear, a glorious winged warrior with piercing silver eyes
and hair as golden as the sun.
connection hadn’t waned. It had grown stronger.
world, where light came from glass bulbs and food could be warmed at the touch
of a button, whatever bond had linked them to one another had been severed,
setting her adrift.
people’s tongue, figured out how to operate their strange new-world machines
and live as one among them. They called her Daphne, like the tiny pink and
white flowers that had once bloomed in her courtyard. At first she’d argued
that her name was Kleio. Whenever she did, her new family would give her that
sad, mournful look and a smile meant to pacify, then go right back to calling
along with her new life, but not a moment went by when she didn’t wonder about
Calliel. What had become of him, of their son, Athanatos? She’d given her soul
to save her boy. Why then was she suddenly free?
catching up on her history, trying to understand what had transpired in the
past six millennia while she’d slumbered. What she’d learned both fascinated
and horrified her. Her entire civilization’s history had been wiped away, all
the progress her small village had made thanks to the angels erased and
forgotten. Historians called her time period the Neolithic era, neos lithos, the new Stone Age.
invented farming, weaponry, pottery, sculpting…and yet, according to the great
minds of today, they’d been no better than monkeys, running around swinging
their faulty assumptions, though. She blamed the heavens. As Calliel had
feared, a Great Flood had come, wiping out most of humanity…and her history
along with it. It had taken thousands of years for mankind to achieve the
progress her small civilization had enjoyed in the so-called Stone Age, all
because the angels had thrown a temper tantrum.
had the flood wiped out the fallen and their cursed offspring as well?
existing in a world without Athanatos, without Calliel. And yet here she was,
imprisoned in a home she could never call her own, living with a family who
insisted on addressing her by someone else’s name.
Joyce shuffled into the living room, a large purse strapped over her shoulder.
“We’ll have to leave soon if we’re going to beat the Christmas rush.”
Christ’s mass, meant to celebrate the birth of Christ, yet another pivotal
event she’d slept through. “Sure, Mom. Let’s go.” She’d promised Joyce she’d go
shopping with her, and Kleio wasn’t one to break a promise.
had been both physically and emotionally draining, but in time it had gotten
easier. Joyce and Theo had taken her in, given her a home, helped her recover
from her injury. The least she could
do to repay them was allow them to believe their daughter had survived the car
crash and her subsequent coma.
the machine that was keeping Daphne alive when Kleio had awakened in the
deceased woman’s body. No wonder they’d looked at her as though they’d seen a
followed Joyce to the car, tightening the scarf around her neck as a light
drizzle began to fall. The probability of a white Christmas in San Francisco
was low, but December was rainy season and considered one of the coldest months
of the year.
Joyce gave her a wistful glance. “We used to do this all the time when you were
little. You always begged me to take you to Union Square so you could see the
Christmas tree.” Joyce watched Kleio for a reaction, hoping against hope that a
memory would miraculously unfurl in her mind.
the desperation she caught in the woman’s soulful brown eyes. She understood
better than most the agony of wishing for something that could never be. “We
can pass by and see it, if you like.”
the pain, and Joyce beamed. “That’s a wonderful idea, darling. Maybe—” She
didn’t finish her sentence.
Kleio knew exactly what the woman had been about to say.
the tree will trigger a memory, the past four years will melt away, and you’ll
be my Daphne again. Then I’ll stop seeing a stranger each time I look at you.
pummeling the windshield with violent fists. Dark, churning clouds gathered in
the distance, blocking all traces of the sun. Funny, the forecast hadn’t called
for a storm today.
wasn’t such a good idea.”
grip on the steering wheel as the car coasted forward. “It’s just a little
adjustment of all. Who would’ve thought that in the future people would travel
around in steel boxes, catapulting forward at inhuman speed?
Bridge, Kleio gripped the door handle, as though the futile act could protect
her from a two-hundred-foot plunge into San Francisco Bay. The
three-mile long suspended bridge always sent ice chips skittering along her
spine, and today was no exception.
from the car accident Daphne had suffered, and Kleio didn’t bother to correct
the woman’s misconception. What could she say?
hail from a time when the only means of transportation were a stubborn mule and
a pair of scuffed sandals. Oh, and let’s not forget the angels.
or two, before he’d been ruthlessly stripped of his wings. She remembered what
it had felt like to soar thousands of feet from the ground, the world below fading,
becoming a tangled blur of shapes and colors. With his arms fastened around
her, she’d felt safe and ridiculously happy, as though there wasn’t a force in
heaven or hell powerful enough to pry her from his grasp.
vehicle until it groaned. The bridge seemed to rattle beneath them, and fear
snatched the air from her lungs. “Turn back.”
sympathetic grin. “We’re almost there. Don’t worry, honey. We’ll be fine.”
ordinary storm. Kleio felt it in her bones. Darkness swept over them, cold and
greasy and familiar.
to a leviathan rising from the depths of the sea, a giant wave surged,
accumulating in mass as the car arrowed forward. Surely, the swell couldn’t
reach two hundred feet in height, could it?
another desperate prayer. “Calliel, where
are you? I need you.”
purchase in her soul. With a thunderous whoosh, the wave crested over the
bridge, washing everything from its path. Joyce screamed as she lost control of
the Audi. The sedan flew sideways, sweeping across the blacktop in a graceful
glide reminiscent of Cal’s wings.
it breached the metal barriers and plunged, nose-first, into the hungry bay.
“A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri
Cal has loved and mourned his wife for six thousand years. Now, fate has seen fit to resurrect her, but Cal is unwilling to risk his mission…or his heart. Kleio is the reason he fell, the reason he damned all of mankind, and he fears if he lets her in, history will repeat itself. But her loneliness matches his own, and emotions he thought he buried ages ago keep rearing up within him. If he’d not careful, he may very well end up falling all over again.
“Inner Demons” by Julia Brennan
Cal is an angel battling both inner and outer demons, and no matter what it costs him, he can’t stop fighting. This is a battle he can’t afford to lose because he is humanity’s only hope
“Angel” by Theory of a Deadman
Kleio and Cal are worlds apart, as different as the earth and sky, and yet they challenged the heavens to be together. Cal thinks loving Kleio makes him weak, that he’ll fail to fulfill his mission because he’s unable to let her go. As for Kleio, she’s loved Cal for ages, blinded by his light. Her love was selfish, robbing him of his wings and his grace. To save the world she helped curse, she much find the willpower to finally set him free.
“Let’s Hurt Tonight” by One Republic
Cal and Kleio’s love has brought them nothing but pain, and yet they can’t seem to walk away from it. It’s in their blood, in their veins. When it comes to their relationship, love and pain are so intricately linked, they can’t experience one without the other.
Human by Christina Perri
This song could have been written for Kleio. She longs to be worthy of Cal, to be the warrior he needs her to be. She’s willing to go into battle with him, to shoulder the weight of the world alongside him, to help him restore balance to a universe overrun by darkness. But she’s only human, and this fight will eventually break her.
Cal, Leader of the Watcher
Hair Color: Blond
Eye Color: Silver
Age: Unknown (over six thousand)
Build: Square and muscular, built like a god
Style: Battle gear
Best Quality: He’s a fierce leader
Worst Fault: He can be ruthless when it comes to achieving his goal
Pet Peeve: Having his authority questioned
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown
Age: In her twenties (but her soul is six thousand years old)
Build: Sleek and athletic
Style: Warm, comfortable clothing worn with Ferragamo pumps in her current life, chitons in her past life
Best Quality: Kind and loving
Worst Fault: stubborn
Pet Peeve: Cal ignoring her