Crashing down to earth, p.1
Crashing Down to Earth, p.1Terry Reid
Crashing Down to Earth
By Terry Reid
First published on Amazon Kindle in 2013
First published in the UK by Amazon Kindle in 2013
Copyright © Terry Reid 2013
Cover image by John Loudon
Terry Reid asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
This novel is a work of fiction.
The names, characters and events portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locations, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.
Chapter Twenty One
Chapter Twenty Two
Chapter Twenty Three
Chapter Twenty Four
Chapter Twenty Five
Chapter Twenty Six
Chapter Twenty Seven
Chapter Twenty Eight
Chapter Twenty Nine
Snow fell from a windless night sky bleaching the roads and tower blocks of Glasgow in white. The city was still and silent save for the sound of a police siren in the distance. Within a few moments it had retreated to an echo, then was gone and silence prevailed once more.
A bitter wind suddenly caught Hayley off guard. She forced her gloved hands even deeper into the pockets of her black coat and stomped her feet; toes tingling against the cold. The snow looked romantic, in an eerie sort of way. It was rendered a soft orange under the warm, amber glow of the street lights far below. Standing on the roof of a high rise block of flats was far less so. Up here it was dark and cold - and a long way down.
She noticed Alex was looking at her. He wore nothing against the freezing conditions save his thin dark jacket, jeans and trainers, yet he seemed unfazed by the bitter gust of wind that had just chilled her to the bone. “Are you ok?” he asked.
Hayley blew into her hands and rubbed them together. “I’m standing on the edge of a roof, in the middle of a blizzard. Of course I’m not ok. I don’t understand why you couldn’t have come here by yourself.” She blew into her hands again. “And I don’t understand why this couldn’t wait until the morning.”
A wry look crossed his face. “I’m sorry. Next time I’ll tell the demons to work to your timetable.”
“You can clone yourself, you know, and I could have stayed in bed.”
“He doesn’t like being away from you. It gives him butterflies.”
“You’re the same person!”
“Ok it gives me butterflies then.”
Hayley smiled but said nothing more. Her guardian angel could create two identical versions of himself. It was a trick he sometimes used in fights against demons and their ilk, while the other stayed behind and protected Hayley. But oddly, neither liked wandering far from her side, despite their minds and powers being constantly linked.
Hayley’s gaze returned to the blanketed city that sprawled out far below them. “I don’t think it, whatever it is, is coming.”
“Give it a chance...I definitely felt something coming from this area...”
“I believe you, you’re never wrong,” she said, smiling at him.
Alex couldn’t help but smile back. He knew that Hayley was not just giving him a compliment to make him feel better about the no-show monster. Hayley had lived with Alex for the past two years and in that time she’d come to trust his judgment. “I am an angel after all. Of course I’m always right,” he boasted playfully.
Hayley folded her arms. “An angel that’s too smart for his own good sometimes.” He didn’t laugh. Noticing his distraction, Hayley followed his gaze down to the street. It took her a few moments to see what Alexander was looking at. But when she did her eyes almost popped out of their sockets. Something large and black was pulling itself through a fissure of light on the road…
“Stay here,” Alex said.
She blinked and he was gone. Hayley shrugged at the empty space. “It’s not like you ever give me a choice.” Turning she watched as a dot ran up behind the large, ambling beast on the street below.
Alex’s strides took him farther and faster than any human could ever hope to run. Within a few seconds he caught up with the demon that had emerged from the tear in the skin of the world. It heard him as he drew closer and turned its huge, horned head. It swung round cumbrously to catch a glimpse of what was approaching.
In the same moment Alex leapt, sailing through the air before landing squarely on the demon’s wet, black hide. The beast, easily four times his size in height and build took exception to the move and began roaring and bucking wildly. Alex stumbled and fell forward, landing on his hands. He ducked as a monstrous hand clawed for his head. The large talons swung again before the demon tired and attempted clipping him with his right hook instead.
Alex drew his sword - seemingly from out of nowhere - and swung at the monster’s hand as terrible claws swiped again. The blade gleamed amber in the street light as it sliced through the air, taking the demon’s hand off at the wrist. The noise it made was skin crawling. Alex winced as he clung to the rearing beast. Hayley looked on in horror from half a mile away.
Stop messing about, said a voice inside the angel’s head. Alex ducked again as the demon lashed out with its remaining hand with the speed only an injured and furious animal could muster. The angel teleported before the talons struck and the demon ripped deep lacerations into its own black hide. It shrieked, pulling back claws drenched in its own violet blood. Falling back onto all fours, the demon faltered as the dark fluid congealed from the right stump of its decapitated arm. The monster took a half-step forward, before its right side slumped. It gave out a pitiful whimper and lay there, unsure of what to do. It watched with beady, black eyes as the angel closed from its front.
You worry too much, Alex thought, as he spun his blade a full three hundred and sixty degrees before deftly catching the handle again.
Stop being arrogant Alex. I couldn’t stand to lose you again…
Now upon the demon, the creature whimpered again. Black eyes stared at the angel, unblinking. Alex raised his sword and drove the point home between them. The demon made no protest in the face of death; its exit from the world a silent passing.
Wrenching the sword free, the black carcass shattered like glass, exploding into a cloud of ash. By the time Alex sheathed his blade it was all gone, swirling away on a thin cold gust of snow. Nothing remained. Its blood disappeared too, drying and cracking into dust.
Hayley turned as the angel reappeared in the corner of her eye. Alex stood where he had done only moments before. It was like he had never moved.
“Are you ok?” he asked.
“You look cold,” he said, adjusting his sword belt.
“That’s because I am.” She blinked and found herself standing in the warm, toasty hallway of their flat. She looked at Alex who was grinning that smug way
Hayley woke to the sound of the door bell. She pulled her head out from beneath the pillows, eyes half open.
Maybe I just dreamt it...the screech of the bell dashed her thought. “Alex!” she shouted. “Get the door.” She waited, listening. A minute later the bell rang again, this time louder and longer. Sighing, she threw back the quilts and stumbled out of bed.
She met Alex in the hall, who was waving his arms wildly. “Don’t answer it. It’s Elaine.”
Hayley pushed by him. “Alex, you keep promising to be nice.”
“I know I do but it’s hard to keep my promise when she keeps trying to chat me up. You’d think she would have given up by now.”
Hayley looked back to him and smiled, “She only does it out of jealousy. She knows you’re mine.”
Alex beamed. She was right in every sense of the word. Hayley’s soul had been carved from the angel’s more than twenty years before and as a result he had been charged to be her guardian. The two of them truly were kindred spirits.
Reaching the door, Hayley pulled it open to find her friend standing on the doorstep, eyes like saucers. “Oh my god. You look terrible! Were you up all night or something?”
Hayley’s panda eyes gazed through long twisted strands of brown, crow’s nest hair. “Thanks for that.”
Elaine was remorseless. “Well I thought you’d be up by now. I got a fright when I saw you standing there still in your pyjamas.”
“You never said that you were coming round.” Hayley said, letting her friend in.
“I did! I sent you a text an hour ago!”
Hayley gave a lazy shrug as she led the way to the living room. “I’ve just woken up.”
As they walked through the door, Elaine’s eyes immediately found Alex. The raven haired girl with the big green eyes put on her biggest smile. “Hi, Alex.”
It was all the guardian could do to try and not cringe at the cheesy greeting. Forcing a smile, he said, “Hi, Elaine,” making a show of reading his newspaper. But she pressed the conversation.
“How are you? I’ve not seen you in a while.”
“I’m fine thanks.”
“I’m good too. There was something that I was meaning to tell you about by the way. There’s this new shop that’s on Sauchiehall Street. They do sort of goth clothes. They’d look really good on you. I know you’re in to all that kind of stuff.”
Alex frowned. “Goth? I’m not a goth.”
The colour drained from Elaine’s face. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that, it’s just you wear black clothes all the time.” Her cheeks flushed. “I thought you’d like that sort of thing.”
Alex glanced down at his attire and then at Hayley, who shrugged. His gaze flashed back to Elaine. “I’m wearing a black shirt with blue jeans, how does that make me look like a goth? Do you think it makes me look like a goth, Hayley?”
Hayley shook her head and sank into a chair. “No, you don’t look like a goth.” But her smile said otherwise. The angel glared at her and Hayley knew she had managed to wind him up.
“Look, forget that I mentioned it then!” Elaine said, holding her hands out in supplication. “I’m sorry if I upset you.”
Alex laughed at how serious she was taking it all. “I’m not upset, not at all.”
Elaine forced a grim smile and looked away, suddenly feeling very awkward. She brushed a long, dark strand of hair behind her ear.
“Sit down; he’s only winding you up,” Hayley said. Her friend tentatively took a seat at the other end of the couch from Alex. It was the only one left. Hayley looked to her angel. “Can you go make us some tea, please?”
Alex sat back and opened his newspaper. “I’m comfortable here,” he said with a cheeky smirk.
“Fine. I’ll go make it then. Try to be nice.” Alex watched her go but didn’t say a word. Hayley could tell by his expression though that he was not happy with being left on his own with the hyper shopaholic.
Hayley walked into the kitchen, brushing her tangled, long brown hair back with a hand. The kettle was boiling and three cups lined the counter. Looking into the cups she could see a teabag in each. “So you are making the tea then?”
Alex appeared by the sink, out of thin air. Leaning his back against it, he folded his arms. “I hope you’re happy, she’s in there just now telling me about the three new pairs of shoes she bought the other day!”
“I gave you the choice, Alex. I don’t know why you’re complaining. At least you can divide yourself into two so one of you can get away from her. The rest of us have to just sit there and listen to her.”
Alexander loved being able to exist in more than one place at once. Although his ability often gave Hayley a fright when she left him in one room, only to find him standing in another when she walked in.
“At least she doesn’t flirt with you.”
Hayley held her arms out to the huffy angel and he cuddled her. “I know, I know. She does my head in as well at times.” She looked up to him. At six foot two, the spiky haired angel towered over his human soul mate by a good six inches. “We’ll have a cup of tea and a blether and then I’ll tell her that we’ve got to go out or something. How does that sound?”
Alex still didn’t look happy. “How long’s that going to take?”
Hayley sighed and pulled away from him.
Hayley poured the boiling water into the cups, all the while shaking her head at him. “You’re doing it again, you’re not being nice.”
“But she’s so annoying...”
Hayley stirred the milk into the tea. “I’m sick of having this argument with you.”
“I’m not arguing with you!”
“Yes, you are!” Rounding up the cups she turned her back to him and headed out of the kitchen. She found Alex sitting on the end of the couch - where she had left him - listening politely to Elaine’s ramblings.
Hayley sat the cups on the coffee table before them. Elaine didn’t seem to notice but Alex did. “Thanks, Hayley,” he said. “That’s a thought. Elaine was saying she’s been to that new museum outside town. Didn’t you say you wanted to go there today or something?”
Hayley’s eyes narrowed, unimpressed. But when Elaine looked around at her she quickly forced a smile. “Yeah, I did but it doesn’t have to be today. I don’t think we’ll have time. It is getting on a bit.” She said glancing at the clock on the wall.
“Oh, it doesn’t shut till six. You have plenty of time!” Elaine piped up. Alex smiled at her expectantly.
Hayley looked at him. You’re not getting out of this, Alex. You can sit and talk to her.
I don’t think so, he said inside her mind.
Hayley looked at him and smiled. “I don’t think we can afford it today. Neither of us has any cash and we don’t get paid until Friday.”
“But it’s a museum, it’s free,” Alex pointed out with glee.
“Yeah but it’s on the other side of town. There’s no way I can afford the train, let alone the bus right now and you’re skint too.”
The smile fell off Alex’s face. Damn you.
It was another two hours before Elaine left. As soon as she had gone, Hayley rounded on Alex in the hall. “I really hate you sometimes.”
Alex stood leaning against the wall, his arms folded and wearing his widest grin. “Ouch, Hayley, you really cut me deep sometimes with the things you say.” He placed a hand mockingly on his heart.
“Why must you always be nasty to my friends?”
“I’m not nasty to all your friends. I just don’t like Elaine, that’s all.”
Hayley stormed past him into the living room. He was there too, leaning against the window, arms folded. “Can you blame me for wanting to get rid of her?”
Hayley collected the empty mugs. They clinked together. “You’re like that with all of them! I’m tired of you always being like this, Alex,” she said, walking out the door. “You only do
“Excuse me?!” he asked, blinking in disbelief. Hayley side-stepped him and went to the sink where she dumped the mugs. “And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“You know exactly what it means, Alex. You always start behaving like a baby when we have people round.”
Alex snorted. “You think I’m jealous? That I’m capable of jealousy? Not all of us exist in one form like you, you know. My emotions are much more complex than yours are. I’m beyond such primitive feelings.”
Hayley dropped the cup she was washing. It hit the sink with a clank. She turned on him, eyes narrowing. “Oh I’m sorry, you’re better than me now? I do possess part of your soul too, remember? And there was that one time that we were one. When Gabriel kidnapped and tortured you. Remember? I was inside your head and I can assure you I learnt a lot. I might be too stupid to understand most of it with my tiny, human brain but I am not fucking stupid! Stop talking down to everyone!” She shouted, storming past him.
“Hayley...” Alex said, instantly regretting his poor choice of words, but she did not return. He turned away and sighed, kicking the back of a chair in frustration. It smashed to kindling. “Fuck,” he muttered, hurrying to clear it up. He forgot his own strength sometimes.
It had been a few hours since Hayley and Alex’s fight. Yet his absence did not trouble her; she still had no desire to speak to him, nor did he ever stray too far away from her side anyway.
Hayley opened the door to the cupboard so that she could put the vacuum cleaner away, her mind still clouded with rage at what her guardian had said. As she went to close the door, a faint humming noise caught her attention. Pushing it back open again she glanced inside. She looked high and low, pushing back jackets and boxes. Finding nothing she began to doubt that she had heard anything at all. Then she heard it again; only louder this time. She pushed a large box aside. Her attention fell to the two items that lay behind it. On the floor, in the deepest depths of the cupboard lay two long, slender items. They were wrapped loosely in old white cloth, greyed with dust. Reaching for the light switch in the hallway, Hayley flipped it on to get a better look. Light came flooding in from behind her and her suspicions were confirmed; one of the wrapped items was vibrating, causing the humming sound as it buzzed against the wooden floor. “Alex?” Hayley said, warily. When no answer came she looked behind her. “Alex?” she called again, this time louder. There was still no answer. “I’m not being funny. I really need you just now. Something’s happening to one of the swords...”
Crashing Down to Earth by Terry Reid / Romance & Love have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes