Gabriel rushed past Gwenn, gathering Jamika into his arms and jumping high into the air and hovering there, just to the right of the scene below them. Jamika expected a bright light or maybe an inky blackness to burst forth when the jar opened, but she got neither. There was movement, and it was pouring out of the jar and surrounding Gwenn, who seemed frozen, in a tight swirling column that rose to nearly the height of the swaying pine trees. She would later liken what she saw to the heat waves that caused the mirages of water on asphalt. Now all she could do was wrap her arms around Gabriel’s neck and safe, mouth agape, as Gwenn dropped the jar and its contents splattered all over the floor of the hole she’d dug, completing the summoning. A deep pulse rolled through the crossroads, bringing a loud rushing wind. All the trees bent towards the center of the road, and birds started screaming in terror. The only oasis was the immediate are around Gabriel and Jamika, but even then their hair was buffered by the violent wind. Jamika could see the Mustang being rocked on its wheels, each time barely keeping from lifting off the ground. The sound of its motor’s powerful growl almost sounded fearful. She wondered how the commotion didn’t wake Colton even in his exhausted state.
Though Gabriel had yet to speak to her since snatching her up and taking to the air to avoid the worst of the danger, Jamika could tell he wasn’t unaffected. Every eye on his body was wide open and dolling wildly in their sockets. His arms were like steel bands around her, and there were growing dark bruises where his fingers dug into her flesh. She couldn’t have escaped his hold even if they weren’t a hundred feet in the air. What worried her the most was the faint sound of ringing emanating from every inch of his body. There were words in that sound, words no human mouth had ever uttered, and those words burned her.
“Gabriel, what’s happening?” Jamika screamed over the howling wind. Gabriel turned his face to her, and she found herself flinching away from the brilliance of his glowing eyes. He smiled savagely, his suddenly sharp teeth an almost blinding white against the backdrop of his dark brown skin. “The demon is preparing to take possession of its human vessel. Right after it enters your friend, we will make our move.” She was horrified to realize how excited Gabriel was. This is what the archangel lived for, more than the gentle saving of souls or her saintly companionship, the hunting down and destruction of evil. There was no greater thrill for one such as he. The thought was vaguely disquieting.
Suddenly it got quiet. Jamika had the impression that all the previous noises were the equivalent of an indrawn breath, and the next moments would see that breath pushed out over the dimly lit roadway. “Reveal yourself, demon,” Gabriel muttered. There was such anticipation in the air; it hung so heavily around them. The column hovered above Gwenn, almost pretty in the way it shaped above then. There was a moment, between heartbeats, where absolutely nothing moved. The moment passed, and the column collapsed inward, flowing into Gwenn’s astonished mouth. “Now!” Gabriel shouted, descending so fast it took Jamika’s breath. He landed hard, dropping Jamika, who landed hard on her arms and stomach, and leaped forward, grabbing Gwenn around her midsection and bringing her to the ground with a bone shattering thud. “Reveal yourself!” Gabriel snarled. A laugh escaped his captive, and that’s when Jamika realized Gwenn was gone. Jamika crawled over to the struggling figures, snagging the forgotten jar of holy water as she crept closer. Gabriel had the demon under firm control once she reached them. Gabriel’s face was grim, and his eyes were full of pity when they rested on her. The demon laughed.
“Gabriel and I were just catching up. It’s been such a long time since we saw each other last. I was just telling him how surprised I was to see him in a male body for once. But I guess he didn’t want to upstage his pretty little black saint,” it said. It was amazing how little the demon looked like Gwenn even while it was in her body. The voice was different, the facial expressions inhuman. It smiled at her, and a thrill of disgust ran up her spine. “Stop talking to me. I know you’re not Gwenn,” she said lowly. An amused smirk stole across its face before it adopted a remorseful look. “Nevertheless, Gwenn is still here. Her torment has already begun. It is no easy thing to be possessed by a demon, even if it’s willingly, and yet with me she has a chance at salvation. Your friend Gabriel would condemn her to hell. Just look at his face and see how he yearns to end my existence at the cost of your dear friend’s life,” the demon said with a sad shake of its head. Jamika looked at Gabriel. There was struggle written on his face, but there was a steadiness in his eyes that had her believing him when he said, “I can do nothing except by your command, and I am bound to tell you the truth. You swore to God Himself that you would destroy the demon coming to plunge your home in darkness, and I am truly sorry to say that means your friend’s life must end. There is only one way to keep this creature from going out into the world.” Though Gabriel’s words were grim and his face a mask of righteousness fury, his tone was gentle and his eyes were sad. She swallowed thickly.
“What do I have to do?” There was sympathy in the archangel’s smile as he directed her. “The holy water is all we need. Using it, you must seal the demon inside Gwenn. This will keep it from leaving her body force it to consume itself. I will instruct you on the proper symbols to trace on her face. Do not engage with either the demon or Gwenn, instead occupy yourself with prayer,” Gabriel said. He shifted position, digging his knees into Gwenn’s arms and grabbing her face with his hands, forcing the demon to keep still. He glanced at Jamika while she struggled with the holy water, his face full of God’s judgment. Her heart pounded in her chest, and she crouched next to him, her hand deep in the warm water. The air around them was cold, nearly freezing and had its origin in the demon, but the heat pouring off the archangel as he exerted more power to restrain the demon had Jamika sweating in her light jacket. The demon stared at her with Gwenn’s green eyes. She began to shake. She couldn’t do this, there was no way – Gabriel’s voice cut through like the ringing of a bell. “Jamika. Pray. I will instruct you.” Her hands stopped shaking. She took a deep breath and gave Gabriel a firm nod. She was ready.