Los Angeles, the city of Angels among other things. People of al walks toiled around the city of bright lights and perpetual sin, some seeking dreams of glamour and stardom, some just wishing to make it for another night. High above all, there was one dreaming of something very different, something that went beyond success, fortune and fame, she dreamed of atonement; redemption that she was unable to achieve, fogginess that she is yet to deserve.
She pulled the lever and the platform was lowered to another floor, she and her colleague then started to clean the windows on that floor.
She was the Archangel St Gabriel, it was her who appeared to Daniel, the one who foretold the birth of Christ to the virgin Marry, and she dictated the verses of God to Muhammad for twenty-two years till the Koran was complete. She soared through the first sunrise and sang her joy to the first born of the world, and every living thing learnt how to smile. She'd given the Sumerians water of life. She'd covered stirring sleepers with the wings beneath the pyramids. She was there since the beginning.
Then things started to change, man grew insolent and cast out the orders of god, faith became a tool for men to gain power, she cried at the end of the 12th century when men of the same faith yet different religions went to war against each other, it continued till the day. She saw six million man, woman and child burning at the hands of one of those who took part in the Devil's pomps, who thought he was serving the will of god. Some would see and know yet wouldn't have faith, men of the likes of John Constantine.
She'd become what she hated most, a human, though it wouldn't be as bad as being of the Fallen, in the likes of Lucifer. She had regretted plotting against man, she just wanted men to realize how good they had it, she wanted to see the look on Christ's face as he hung almost dead on the cross. He longed for the faith of Abraham, as he looked up at him and said: "Yes, I will take my son and make him an offering to Thee..."
Acceptance. Faith. True Faith. How she long wished to see it again. And these sinners walking by, These sheep in their fields.. He couldn't even look down on them with that pride he'd treasured in his secret moments.
She remembered in pain how a year ago she had damned herself for all eternity, putting her hand in the hand of the Devil's son, till the day she didn't know if she wanted men to deserve God's love or if she wanted to punish them for being loved more than them, the angels.
She remembered how she took the naive boy by the arms and clobbered the ceiling with him; he'd died a painful dearth. No Angel has ever killed a man, except for her.
"Hey Gabriel," said he partner, a chauvinistic disgusting man, "We're not on the clock, hurry up."
When she became human she began experiencing a range of feelings she'd never felt before, the squeezing sensation under her skin that was called 'pain' was the firs, then came that twisting feeling in her stomach that was known as 'Hunger', she had to work to survive, there were many that she knew, she could speak all languages known to man, she knew the exact details of the history of mankind and all nations, she knew who Jack the Ripper was, she knew who Deep Throat was, she knew who killed Kennedy, but she could not make wage for any of that, after all, she had no evidence of existence, not birth certificate or anything, then she realized that unlike many, she had no fear of towering heights, she had long observed earth from heaven that she didn't see what was there to fret about three-hundred feet.
Life as a human, what dreary sorrow and grief.
'Imagine there's no Heaven, It's easy if you try. No Hell below us, above us only sky'(1)
The lyrics that were accompanied with some org playing and heavy drumming seemed to be too inappropriate for the place, so John headed to the DJ and ordered him to cut it. An Angel sitting by the bar was already looking at the DJ with disdain.
'Imagine all the people, living for today. Imagine there is no countries, it isn't hard to do'
"Cut the damn song, play something else. Dammit."
A brood of vampires at one table were not entertained either, the lyrics was striking a cord with everyone.
'Nothing to kill or die for, no religion too.'
The last verse appealed to the Demons and further angered the Angels, the DJ then cut the song and put on some Chemical Brothers.
John made a beeline to the office, meeting sharp stares from everyone on his way there, Demons and Angels alike.
He pushed open the leather padded door and poured himself a drink, eyeing the box of cigars Midnite loved to smoke; the urge was killing him, after almost going to hell he had smoked a few cigarettes, the decided to quit at once, not wanting to go down that road again.
'What cold it hurt?'
"Don't even think about it."
He spun around to look at the girl the had followed him in the middle of room, she appeared to be sixteen, but he knew better, she was dressed entirely in black, and from her back stuck out the wings of raven, black as the night, she held in her hand a scroll .
"Or else you'll be seeing me in a different light."
"Learn to knock, Azrael(2)."
"Why would I want to do that? You don't make that amusing expression when I do."
"Don't you have anything better to do, isn't someone dying right now anywhere?"
"Oh yes, plenty, but then again I'm almost omnipresent."
"That's borderline blasphemy."
"That's why I said almost."
"Can I help you with something?"
"I was just wondering if you've heard about Ellie(3) recently."
"No, thank god, last I saw her she was having a really bad tan."
"Sp you didn't deport her?"
"I don't think so."
"Maybe your friend has."
John remembered Chas and was swarmed with painful memories, "He made only one kill, I guess it's safe to say she's still pedaling her self."
John sat behind Midnite's desk, then asked, "Why the sudden interest, she's not even in your league."
"Can't a girl make some friends?"
John smiled, Azrael was much more tolerable than Gabriel, she had a healthier sense of humor; a rarity among Angels.
"Horns and hooves has eradicated all those half-bread demons that were on Mammon's side, Ellie is the last."
"Nothing, it's just always useful to know what the enemy wants to know. Look John, anything you find out; tell me, I'll owe you big. Until the, don't do anything I wouldn't do."
Azrael left, leaving John and his drink alone, the Exorcist took a sip while thinking about something Azrael said, when she asked if Chas might have shot Ellie, she could have asked him herself, unless he was in Hell.
The Next morning as John stood before the door to his apartment he felt sharp stares at him, he looked behind him and saw no one, so he opened the door and quickly entered.
Inside he looked over at the calendar, Midnite will be back in three days, he was currently in London opening another branch of his neutral occult nightclubs, though John thought club Midnite would be the last establishment to evolve into a franchise, he was seriously wrong. Anyway Midnite kept John in charge of his club for the duration of his trip.
Things have changed for in last year, he'd dodged Hell and lung cancer, he had a second chance and he wasn't going to waste it, so he decided to abandon his former life, his involvement in the occult was lessened substantially, he would still perform Exorcisms occasionally, but mostly he dealt with ancient artifacts with Midnite, he was practically neutral.
For a while he and Angela had a brief fling, but in the end they realized what a huge mistake they were, so she left him and he was alone again. Most of his friends except for Midnite were gone, Hennessey, Beeman, Chas. He was all alone with no family except for a sister and a niece on the other coast. However a lot of his enemies were gone too, Balthazar was dead and Gabriel no longer held an upper hand over him, The Devil had no more claim to his soul either, Mammon would have to wait for a long time before he could be a threat to John, life was good, more or less.
Someone was banging loudly on the door, John was torn from his musings and he went to see who it was, as he looked through the peep-hole he saw someone who was the least likely to come at this time.
"Ellie, what the hell do you want?" asked John sharply, not very pleased to see the demon who'd betrayed him once.
"John, please open up." she said, obviously distressed.
"Tell me one reason why?"
"I'll make it worth your while."
"Don't flatter yourself, go away or I'll call up his darkness himself and let him have you."
"Just open for a bit, satisfy that damn curiosity of yours."
John was hesitated for a minute, then opened the door but kept the safety chain in place, he peeked out and was blown out of his mind.
He shut the door took off the safety chain, he then opened it again and let Ellie in, the succubus who appeared to be f her early twenties was of medium high and has brown hair, she oozed sex appeal. She walked in weakly and her rounded belly was bulging and hanging in front of her, John's bitterness faded quickly and he helped the pregnant demon to a recliner where she could rest herself.
"This is wrong, by all definitions and logics." said John as he was trying to process what he was seeing.
"I'm not going to argue, sweetie." said Ellie.
"Want to start at the top?" asked John, "Tell me how a demon can become pregnant?"
"Sure, just first meet Eudaemon."
"Right behind you."
John looked behind him to see Eudaemon, at first impression he seemed as a tall man of his late twenties with a general air of innocence about him, blonde haired and well built. Then John got a really good look at him, saw the blackened wings that sprouted out of his back, and hovered around him. An Angel. Only then did John realize the look of guilt on his face.
John switched his eyes from Eudaemon to Ellie several time. Trying to comprehend how this could come to be, but he couldn't.
"You have got to be kidding me."
"Wee need your help." Eudaemon said.
"You don't say." John replied as he fished out a cigarette from the medicine cabinet and lit it.
Most of Gabriel's scene is adpated from Hellblazer: Fear and Loathing.
(1) The song is A Perfect Circle's Version of John Lenon's 'Imagine'.
(2) Azrael is the Archangel fo Death in Islamic lore, is the one forever holding a scroll on which he writes the name of those who are born and erases the namesof those who die.
(3) Ellie is a succubus that was cut from the movie, she is the one who says 'Holy Water' before the Ravenscar fight scene.