Black Spring Page 53

“Yeah, but what about this mess?” Beezle said, gesturing toward Evangeline’s body.

I looked down at her, my many-greats-grandmother, the woman who had cast my fate centuries ago by falling in love with Lucifer in the first place. I felt a little sad for her. Could she have known that she was carrying this horrible thing inside her? Had she been dreaming of little fingers and toes, of soft downy hair and chubby cheeks?

And would I suffer the same fate as she? My child, too, was born of the line of Lucifer, and my baby’s father had been the son of a nephilim. Those little wings I felt fluttering inside me—were they the wings of a monster?

“I will take my son now, Nathaniel,” a voice said behind me, icy cold.

I shifted on my knees, and saw Lucifer standing in the hallway, just a few feet away. I had not felt him approach, and I was slightly shocked that I had not. His eyes burned like starlight, and his magic was a palpable thing. Normally I could feel Lucifer’s power coming near.

Nathaniel rose to his feet as the Morningstar stepped forward. Nathaniel’s shoulders were hunched in tension as he handed the kicking, mewling thing to Lucifer. My grandfather took the baby, looking down at it. The creature ceased making noise once it was in Lucifer’s arms. It seemed unnaturally aware, as though it knew it was with its parent. Lucifer’s face softened in a gross parody of fatherly affection.

Nathaniel backed away from Lucifer to rejoin us. I came to my feet, as did Jude and Samiel. Evangeline’s body lay inside the circle we made, and all of us were studiously avoiding looking at it. The silence that hung over us was heavy and fraught with peril. None of us could predict what Lucifer would do, and we were all afraid of what might happen.

For several moments Lucifer appeared to be communing with his offspring. Then he looked up, and snapped his fingers.

Two flunkies appeared out of nowhere. They took the child from Lucifer without a word and disappeared back into the walls or wherever they had come from.

Now Lucifer looked at the five of us—me, Beezle, Nathaniel, Jude and Samiel—and the body that was partially hidden by our feet.

“I want to see her,” Lucifer said.

We all moved aside. I glanced down at Evangeline—the stab wounds in her chest, the open cavity of her abdomen still leaking fluid, the gaping sockets where her eyes used to be. It was a horrifying sight.

Lucifer walked to her body and crouched on the floor. He still wore the expensive suit he’d had on earlier in the evening but didn’t seem the least bit concerned about blood on his shoes or the cuffs of his pants.

His face was a mask of stillness though his eyes burned bright. I could not tell, or guess, what he was thinking. Nor could I feel his emotion as I had done in the past.

After a long while he stood, and gave each of us a measured look. “What has occurred here?”

I explained what Nathaniel and I had heard, how we had found Evangeline dying outside our door, how we had been unable to save her but had saved the child at her request. Throughout my narrative Lucifer showed no emotion.

When I was finished he said, “And none of you thought to investigate the area for her attacker? Did you not care that a murderer has managed to kill my fiancée in my own home?”

“We were kind of preoccupied with trying to save her and the kid,” I said, my natural inclination to defy authority reasserting itself. It wasn’t fair of Lucifer to act like we’d somehow been negligent. “Where were you, anyway? How come she was up here all alone in the first place?”

“I am not answerable to you, Granddaughter,” Lucifer said, and for a moment I felt the surge of his anger. Then he leashed it again, and I realized how tightly he held himself in check. He was saving his wrath for the culprit, and when he found whoever had killed Evangeline, there would quite literally be hell to pay.

“However,” Lucifer continued. “I will tell you that I do not know why Evangeline was here. Perhaps she wished to speak with you.”

“In the middle of the night?” I asked.

“You and your party are among only a few guests who have retired. Many others remain awake. It is not unthinkable that Evangeline would think she could approach you at this hour,” Lucifer said.

“I can’t imagine that we would have much to talk about,” I muttered, but Lucifer heard me.

“I realize you and Evangeline had quite a difficult history, but I requested that she attempt to make amends with you for my sake,” Lucifer said. “After all, you are both precious to me. She may have decided not to wait until tomorrow.”

“Or maybe it had nothing to do with me at all,” I said. I started to say, “Maybe she was meeting someone else,” but didn’t think that would sound too good.

It implied that either she was cheating on Lucifer (unlikely) or she was up to some nefarious plot, and I don’t think Lucifer would believe his darling Evangeline capable of such a thing.

He seemed oddly naïve about her. Evangeline would never in a million years have shown up in the middle of the night to apologize to me. She might have come looking for me to threaten me, or to make sure I understood the order of things now that she was to marry Lucifer. But to “make amends”? Never.

I’m not sure I would have accepted her apology in any case. I tend to get unreasonable when people try to possess me from beyond the grave and use me as a tool of their will.

“Whatever she was doing here, someone took advantage and murdered her,” Lucifer said. “I intend to find that person and punish them.”

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