Chapter Eighteen—Case No.: 194 Part II


Bella

"It's more like a fissure, but it will get bigger if we don't close it soon."

Garrett disappeared from the back seat and reappeared near the house where Jacob stood, waiting. Their heads tilted toward the sky, watching the swirling mass of energy only visible to us—for now. Their wings stretched out behind them, a luminescence to the feathers despite their greyish color.

Garrett had prepared us for anything, still stating that my safety was their primary concern. That and the souls meant to be heaven bound. The once lost ancient spell they had to open a passage to heaven would no longer take such a heavy toll on me and we'd have to use it later.

Edward still insisted it would be too dangerous, but the fact that children were involved was the only reason I was with him. The angels warned us of other types of gateways before, left him on edge, not that I blamed him.

"Stay in the car," Edward stated as he reached for the handle. From the stern look on his face, I had little choice in the matter. I wasn't stupid enough to face a gateway to hell while pregnant, but any other time, I would.

However, Garrett looked over his shoulder and whispered something for meant for only me. "You may need to help close it." I ignored him for the moment, deciding to cross that bridge only if it came down to it.

Matching the intensity in Edward's eyes, I replied, "I will." Before he had a chance to step out of the vehicle, I grabbed his face with both hands and pressed my lips over his. He seemed surprised by my kiss, but eagerly returned it. I would blame it on my overwhelming hormones due to pregnancy, but it was so much more.

I loved Edward with every fiber of who I was; that and fear tinged with desperation fueled my kiss. The dire situation seemed temporarily forgotten, as Edward groaned and curved one hand around the back of my neck to deepen the kiss. He tasted of the cinnamon toast and coffee he had earlier. His lips soft, but the slight scruff of his jaw and chin was a pleasant and welcomed burn along my skin.

"Be careful," I murmured, reluctantly pulling away to breathe. His eyes opened, vibrant and wider and focused on mine, falling to my lips.

"I will," he promised and kissed me once again.

The moment the door closed behind him, I fortified all the walls I learned to erect through the years with my ability. It didn't always work, and it had been years since I'd done it successfully. The protection spells on my necklace and charms seemed to amplify it, so I visualized myself closing a heavy black door, essentially hiding me from those that sought the light. Garrett and Jacob had told me before that I emit a glow, which was like a beacon for spirits to flock toward and haunt me.

My head fell back against the headrest as I focused my mind. I knew if I remained outside of the house for much longer, the dark entities and lost spirits lured to the energy from the fissure, would detect me.

I hoped I could keep the door closed, because my ability was itching to stretch out and close that crack in hell's walls with an iron fist.

Edward

"Remember I can't see you," I grumbled to whatever angelic presence was near could hear me. I made my way up the stone walkway, noticing that yard maintenance was lacking. Edges had gone weeks without trimming, with grass overgrown and yellow in several spots.

"We're on the porch," I heard Jacob's deep voice a few feet away.

"Where did she go?" Garrett's voice floated and seemed to zip right past me. "How is she doing that?"

He was talking about Bella; he had to be. I turned to see her wave from the backseat, a worried look on her face. I immediately returned to the passenger side of the truck.

"What's wrong?" she asked, lowering the window with the keys I'd left behind.

"We can't detect your presence anymore," Jacob's said from my right. The lack of seeing the angels grew steadily more annoying.

"I used a few old practices I learned to close all access to my mind," she said warily. "Did I do something wrong?"

"We can see you, but we can't see you."

I rolled my eyes toward Garrett's general direction. "That clarifies things."

Bella tried to hide a smile and replied. "What my husband is trying to say is that we don't understand."

"To us, and others like you, you have this look and feel to you that makes you stand out as different. Demons have it, too. Now, suddenly that which made you different is somehow masked."

"I had to modify the charms I wear slightly, since I have angel blood in me." She had mentioned she did some research on it. A trio of symbols that once combined created the symbol for part angel, part human, often referred as Nephilim. A few modifications on the symbols on her necklace and coins were enough to protect her better.

"That's why the protection spells on the coins, cuffs and necklaces didn't always work before, since you're part angel," Garrett stated. "Smart woman, but you'll have to show us how you close your mind and essence so well. I never thought it was possible. We know how to manipulate our essence to appear like demons, but not as you can. Perhaps we'll be able to remain undetected as well as the demons are."

I looked around, and though the street was quiet for an early morning, I didn't trust that we were truly alone. "Is it safe to have this conversation here?"

We had an upper hand, and if Bella's able to teach the angels to mask their essence, then maybe we stood a chance. Already paranormal activity was up throughout the state and stretching countrywide. Whatever was happening, would likely reach worldwide if we didn't win a few battles.

Jacob replied, "I put up a few spells to protect us from further interference, but…"

"We can't get in the house," Garrett finished for him. "Someone anticipated our interference and cast a spell so we can't enter." From what I learned about spells, an angel couldn't destroy the drawn seal without severe consequences. Someone else had to do it. I'd have to go look for it.

"Edward."

I was firm, putting my hand on the window. "No, Bella. I'll go look around."

"I need to see if the 'imaginary friend' is truly a threat. There are children in that house."

I understood the need to help, since I felt the same way. It was too risky, though, and she knew that. "Where's the damn fissure?"

On the drive to our location, I was afraid of something like this happening. We were, in essence, at war with evil and they would do anything to win. It didn't help that most of the time Bella and I were in the dark. The angels only told us what we needed to know, and only when they found it convenient.

Garrett hummed for a second. "From what I can determine from out here, I'd say Maggie's bedroom."

"Her closet to be more precise," Bella murmured, wincing when my eyes widened. "I'm picking up tidbits from some of the lost spirits around the home."

"Evil ones?" I asked, armed with nothing but salt and old iron crowbar. I felt ridiculous for even pulling out the items, but Bella insisted if a vengeful spirit were to come at me, throwing the salt or hitting it with the iron it would temporarily displace it. It would give me the opportunity to get away if needed.

Bella continued to explain. "Some spirits can't tell that they're being drawn toward hell, only that the energy expelling from that crack feels familiar."

"Very deceptive," Garrett growled. "They won't know until they're too close and too late."

"Exactly," Bella said softly, placing her hand over mine. "Someone created this crack and if it proves successful, soon we'll find more cracks between the hell and earth. They'd be able to capture more earthbound souls."

Therefore, tipping the scales toward evil.

"There aren't enough of us to protect Bella and others like her, and continue fighting the things that are coming out of hell."

Jacob meant demons. From what I learned over the years, demons couldn't walk the earth unless they took possession of a human.

"What do we do?" I asked him, in the general direction his voice had come from.

"She needs to help us close it while Garrett and I keep her safe from anything that tries to stop her."

I shook my head, standing protectively in front of my wife. "I didn't agree to this! I will not put my wife and daughter in danger."

"Edward," Bella tried, tugging on my shirt from inside the truck. "Look." I followed the direction of her finger, terror gripping me at the sight.

"Hi." A little girl of about seven years old stood on the roof her house, just above the porch. Dark red-brown curls gleamed in the dimming sunlight, darkening clouds covering the sun. Her skin was a soft tan that complimented the bright lavender dress she wore. "Do you want to meet my friend, Christopher? He wants to meet you."

As a father, there would be nothing stopping me from saving her. A chill ran through me, her voice deepening toward the end of her otherwise innocent words. She blinked and her big hazel eyes disappeared when they opened again, the entire whites and irises were black.

"Oh God," Bella whispered behind me, the door opening. "It's got a hold of her."

Maggie had to be at least twelve feet off the ground, on the lowest section of the house's roof above the porch. Clutched tightly in her hands against her chest was a dirty stuffed teddy bear. Under a thick canopy of lashes, she blinked again, her eyes now colorful and vibrant.

"He said he can make us fly." She giggled, running up the slope of roof, and disappearing behind the brick chimney. "Come fly with me."

"Where are Rebecca and her father? Get the family," Jacob hissed. A blur of grey and white passed by me, and I ignored the implications of that, fear motivating me to save the child. "I'll look for Maggie outside."

Bella and I ran toward the house, the front door locked. Even as I tried to turn the knob and throw my weight against it, I knew it wasn't just a deadbolt keeping us from going inside. Bella screamed and banged on the door as I ran to a nearby window. One swing of the crowbar I held and the glass shattered easily, a wail escaped from within; an ominous greeting.

I looked for Bella, only to find her gone. Panic struck me as I ran around the house, to find her cutting into a painted symbol on the house. "Help me!" I told her to move and struck against the wood siding, the blood red symbol glowing for only a few seconds then seemed to turn to a sooty black.

The moment the house was no longer angel proof, I heard thumps and the slash of wings. I turned to find a small battalion of angels on the lawn, staring at something in the sky before running inside the house. They seemed unfocused or not corporeal enough, as if I could only see them at certain angles.

"The veil is thinning," Bella hissed, turning to grab my arm and lead me inside the house. "That's why you can see them. Come on, there's not a lot of time before police will arrive."

As we passed what looked like a living room, I swore I saw something, but it was gone when double-checked. "If I can see them, the neighbors can, too."

"Exactly," she said just as Jacob suddenly appeared in front of us, forcing her to come to a halt. "Damn, stop doing that!"

"I can't find my sister, her husband, or Mika." Mika was the little boy that also lived in the home. I shook my head, realizing that we were in way over our heads, as we had been for months.

"I swore I caught of glimpse her at the corner of my eyes, but when I turned…she was gone."

"How could this happen?" Bella asked Jacob urgently. "From what I remember, they're a very close knit family. This kind of thing doesn't happen unless there's something wrong from within the family, if they're vulnerable."

"She lost her job, months after her husband did. They're barely scraping by on their savings," Jacob said, shaking his head, leading us up the stairs. "The tension has been pretty thick in the family and Rebecca hid all their problems from dad, too. Or else I would've known. I haven't been able to visit Rebecca since she's perceptive." Bella stopped him, looking at him in question. "No, nothing like you, but it does leave her more open to the supernatural. She'd detect me, so I never checked on her."

"This isn't your fault," my wife tried to reassure him. Jacob wasn't listening.

"We have to believe they're in the house." Garrett stood outside of the little girl's room. I assumed. "They wouldn't leave their daughter willingly." He asked us to lean in closer, muttering something under his breath. Instantly, something enclosed us in some type of bubble, his voice echoing off the walls of it. He told us exactly what had to happen, and though I didn't like it, it was the only way to leave relatively unscathed.

The moment he pulled back after revealing the plan, sound returned to normal. Even though I couldn't see much more than fuzzy angels, I felt and heard something. The landing vibrated, the air cackled with energy and a hundred voices seemed to swirl around us. Bella slapped an unmodified coin in my hand, kissing me once before asking me to hold on to her. My hands settled on her hips, squeezing her once.

Garrett and Jacob flanked her, as a growing number of angels surrounded us. "Remember what we discussed, Bella, Edward. This is a perfect chance to try this simpler method of opening or closing a gate to heaven and hell." Bella nodded and pulled out a small knife, cutting into her palm with a small whimper. She rubbed her hands together, spreading the blood around. She passed the knife to Jacob, who did the same, Garrett following suit, as well as another angel I'd never met. For the spell, they needed three angels and one conduit, meaning my wife. They nodded at the same time, holding their hands up, asking me to open the door. I kept a hand on Bella the entire time as I did. I was her anchor. The one thing that would keep her grounded.

"Will this dispel the demon from the house and child?"

"No," Jacob answered as he approached the closet door with caution. "That will require an exorcism." I was afraid of that.

The door opened widely, the room was a little girl's fantasy. It was obvious that her parents spent what they could on their kids. It had a pink and purple color scheme, many of the things refurbished but repainted in pastels and sparkles. My Hayley would've loved it.

A low rumble interrupted my perusal of the room. "Was that the closet?" Bella only nodded in response. "I hate this."

"I know."

She approached the door slowly, hands in front of her, as they were the only things keeping a demon or vengeful spirit away. Angelic blood did repel them, but it hardly seemed adequate. Lower type of demons, like those in the house, couldn't open up a gateway to hell, but an angel could, as well as close it. They could still harm her, despite the blood on her hands.

For every step closer, the door seemed to breathe, the wood creaking with each breath. It rattled on its hinges, groaning and wailing as it continued to expand outward. A ripple moved through the wood. It looked like a hand, fingers, scratching and slashing over the surface toward us, as if was reaching out.

Bella, Garrett, Jacob and the other angel started to chant as the door swung forward. Wind, tinged with the scent of decay and sulfur whipped around us. It carried tension, depression, fear, hate, and an overwhelming sense of malevolence.

"Hold on to me," Bella whispered. It was a mere breath, but also an indication of her fear. "I love you."

Near her ear, I whispered, "I love you."

We stepped inside the walk-in closet, shielding our eyes as the wind picked up. Between the combined powers of the three angels and Bella and the incantation muttered through four sets of tense lips, I felt the wind start to diminish. The floor seemed to quake beneath our feet in defiance and I held on tightly, holding her up.

The whites of her eyes seemed to glow, her hands held up like the others, lost to the spell. Something pricked my senses behind me, sensing me my distress, Bella whimpered, "Maggie."

I turned to see the little girl watching me with a Cheshire cat sized grin. It was nothing short of evil, her dingy bear still clutched to her chest. Two angels stood beside her, revulsion on their marble faces.

"One of you is not like the others," Maggie sang, swaying from side to side. The salt would do nothing to a demon. The same went for the iron knife in my possession, not that I could use it on a child. "I can play with you," she added, the voice deeper, rough and unlike hers.

Bella suddenly surged forward, her bloody hands prints on the white wall in front of her. She nearly collapsed in my arms, the angels closed in around us. Instantly, the malevolent wind ceased and the heat of it cooled.

"Leave the child," Jacob nearly roared from between clenched teeth, facing Maggie.

I felt Bella shift enough to peek over my shoulder. She started to whisper, the same eerie echo as she spoke to the little girl. Black gleaming eyes turned toward my wife, her upper lip curling in a snarl.

"She's my best friend," the demon hissed. "She belongs to me."

Bella shook her head. "No. She belongs with her family, the people that love her." The little girl screamed, stomping her foot. Wings unfurled around me, several angels ready for a fight, but against a child? The only ones that seemed to notice the distinction was myself, Bella and Jacob, who stood just behind the little girl. "Maggie, come play with me." She held out her hand, and I bit back the need to pull it back. She wasn't close enough to touch the child/demon.

For a second, Maggie's obsidian eyes flickered from black to hazel.

"We can make chocolate chip cookies downstairs with your mom?" Bella tried again, sensing the tension in the angels that shifted toward the little girl. Jacob held up his hands in defense, seemingly asking for a moment.

"Mom?" Again, her eyes flashed back to normal, her lips forming a little heart as she pursed them. "I love cookies." She nodded happily and smiled, holding out her hand for Bella. I wanted to protest, but instead of touching her, Bella dropped a small coin in her hand. I exhaled sharply, as Maggie examined the small trinket. She gave Maggie one of her protection spells. "Not oatmeal ones, mom likes to play tricks on me."

"Where is your mom?" Bella kept her voice soft.

"In the walls," Maggie replied and walked out of her obliterated closet. Several sounds of rushing wings echoed around me, forcing me to pull Bella's head back against my chest for protection.

"What just happened?" I asked her, aware that we seemed to be alone.

"Jacob is with her and the others are looking for her family. The demon didn't have enough of a hold over her to remain in control," she whispered, sighing deeply. "Call your friends. After we find the rest of her family, we'll do what we can to protect them until they can come help perform on exorcism on the house, but the demon will not go away until then."

"And the spirits you said were around the house?"

"I need to open a gate, soon." She shook her head and asked me to help her to her feet. At almost six months pregnant, it was hard to do on her own, especially from the floor.

"Let me look at your hand." I led her out into Maggie's room, taking in the destruction. The door of her closet was against the adjacent wall, broken in four jagged pieces. The doorframe was gone, sheet rock and studs exposed around where it used to be. The bed, dresser, vanity, and nightstand were by the window, the mattress resting halfway up the wall. Toys and books scattered everywhere.

"It's fine," Bella whispered and tried to pull away. I held her firmly, not only with my hands, but by a look, too. She sighed and turned her palm up, only instead of a cut as I expected to find, a thin pick scar stood in its place. "It was the angels' energy that healed me while doing the spell."

Her voice was so soft, as if she feared that all of it was too much. Honestly, it was but it wasn't enough to run away and leave her.

"Let's go find the others."

She nodded and laced our hands together. Stepping over toys and the chaos that surrounded us, we found Maggie waiting for us near another door. Garrett stood near the newly rebuilt staircase that led to the attic.

"Where did you find the teddy bear?" Bella asked Maggie.

The little girl tilted her head to one side, and pointed with a thin, pale finger toward the attic.

"It's Christopher's. He let me keep it." Bella only smiled and asked for it. Maggie seemed reluctant, but eventually gave it to her.

"I need you to hold onto this," Bella said, pulling out a spare bracelet that would ward off the demon. It could still influence Maggie, but as long as she had it on her, it could no longer take possession of her.

"When you said your mom was in the walls, what did you mean?" We had to find her parents and her brother.

Bella grabbed my hand and shook her head. Leaning toward me to whisper, "Go into the attic, the angels are working on freeing the others. She doesn't need to see that."

Taking Maggie's hand, they went downstairs. I swallowed deeply and hoped she'd be all right. "She'll be fine, there will be a couple of angels down there with them," Garrett said as I joined him. "The demon is too weak at the moment to do much but blow cold air."

"I can see you." If the veil between life and death, hell and earth, had thinned enough earlier for me to see them, it was safe to assume after the small gateway was closed I wouldn't anymore. Yet, Garrett stood before me, wings cramped in the narrow passageway to the attic.

"I know, but I'm hoping you're becoming more perceptive." He didn't sound convinced.

I continued into the attic, where Jacob and another angel were ripping away at recently installed sheetrock. "She couldn't possibly mean that literally!" I ran toward them, careful to tear away material without hitting anything behind it.

"I found the son," the yet to be introduced angel. The boy, tall for his age of eleven, fell into the angel's arms. "He's breathing, but barely." That seemed to get Jacob and Garrett to move faster. I helped him put the boy on the unmade bed nearby, checking on him. The angel returned to help.

"Where are the others? There were at least a dozen of them before."

Garrett replied. "They were needed elsewhere." That sounded serious.

"I need to check on Bella," I said just as Jacob cursed, as his sister Rebecca fell into his arms.

A fine white powder from the sheetrock covered their dark skin, hers only a shade lighter than his. Her long lashes fluttered, opening until her dark gaze met her brothers. "Oh hell, I'm dead, aren't I?"

Before Jacob had a chance to reply, her eyes shuttered close. He dumped her into my arms, her eyes snapping open as she started to scream for her daughter. "Where's Maggie? Maggie! Maggie!"

"She's downstairs with my wife," I said, helping her to stand. It took a moment for me to realize she couldn't see Jacob anymore. That was a good thing, especially since the others were still working to find her husband behind her. "I'm the parapsychologist, we had a meeting earlier."

She stood on her feet, dusting herself off. Jacob shook his head behind her and said, "He's not here."

"Well, you're really fucking late," she said angrily.

"You have no idea." I pointed to her son, the moment her eyes laid on him, she ran toward the bed.

"Thanks for that," Jacob said. "No idea why she saw me for that moment, but now she can't." I nodded and asked what we should do now. "Find out where her husband is."

"Where's your husband, Mrs. Lawrence?"

She fussed over her son, whispering his name. "My husband disappeared this morning or maybe last night. We went to bed together, but I woke up alone. His truck in the garage, my car is, too. Along with his wallet, keys, and glasses, he just disappeared."

I didn't get a chance to get more information. "Edward," Bella called from downstairs. "You better get down here. We have company."


AN: It's been a while, huh? Sorry about that, with summer and everything in real life going on, it's been tough to find the time and energy to write. First, check out the lovely cover for this fic! It's gorgeous and created by the talented Mina. She's amazing and now is reading this fic, which makes me happy. Thanks, hon!

As you can see I'm greatly influenced by the show Supernatural and even Buffy. I did try to create my own rules, so some aren't exactly like those shows. Besides most angels in SPN are assholes...aside from Cas of course. I'll try not to take too long for the next update. :D