SHADOW WINGS: A Paranormal Mystery
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Archangel Raguel loses his wings right as the world is about to go to hell...
Hunting a fallen angel bent on changing human history, Archangel Raguel finds a mysterious stone bearing a symbol in the midst of his investigation. Without warning, it throws him out of the angelic realms, abruptly turning him human.
He wakes naked in Gorky Park, in 1980s Moscow, wings gone and no ability to communicate with the other side. Picked up for public drunkenness and nudity, he asks for help of KGB Agent Ilana Kopovich, who is investigating a far more gruesome crime––the murder of a half-dozen children whose bodies were left mutilated in Red Square. Little does she know, the murderer she’s hunting is the same demon Raguel wants.
Raguel asks for Ilana’s help, and she quickly realizes she needs him. Together they must stop the demon before he commits his final crime and brings the world to the brink of war.
HE STOOD BEHIND her, close enough to feel her breaths, to feel the currents of her mind and intention, to hear the beating of her fragile human heart. Raguel found comfort there, in what he felt––moreover, it gave him hope.
Hope that he had someone good on his side down here, which wasn’t always the case.
Hope that she might actually help him to stop this thing.
Her heart was good. Not the physical, beating organ under her ribs, but what humans often referred to as “heart,” the home of her soul and the imprint she made on the world. Her heart held integrity, a striving for justice and truth that resonated sharply with Raguel’s own. That was definitely not always the case for those who held a position such as she did.
Raguel would go so far as to call it an anomaly, in fact.
As a lead investigator for the Soviet Union’s Committee for State Security––or KGB, as it was more commonly known––she had plenty of opportunities to approach her job differently.
Right now, for Raguel, she served as a reminder. A reminder of the purpose of this particular visit, yes. Also a reminder that human beings, despite their myriad flaws and weaknesses and blindnesses and pettinesses, were not the enemy.
They were the battleground.
They were the real territory over which most of Raguel’s battles were fought.
Every now and then, he grew overly attached to particular pieces of that territory. There had been children he grew fond of. People who suffered or died for their principles. Those who had been unfairly persecuted. Those who had been unfailingly kind and met only cruelty in return.
From the nature of his work in the human world, Raguel often found reasons to be protective of his particular charges. He’d been warned about that tendency in himself––of becoming overly personal at times––by other angels, particularly Mik’hil, the archangel who more or less served as Raguel’s “boss.”
He didn’t let himself dwell on that thought now, however.
He had work to do. Anyway, he’d felt enough judgment in his last conversations with Mik’hil around that topic already.
Mik’hil thought he was too fond of this woman.
Raguel knew he might be right.
Still, he could not force himself to address that issue fully, either.
He remained aware of her even now––even though he focused most of his attention on the man sitting across from them both. He knew a part of that hyper-awareness lay in his wish to protect her from this man.
As for the man himself, he did not appear to be a threat, if one looked only through human eyes. After all, he wore handcuffs where he sat in a metal chair inside the small, windowless room in the lower floor of the militsiya building in central Moscow.
A homicide detective, or operativnik here, had been attempting to question the suspect for the past hour or so. He’d made little headway in terms of concrete information.
The tape recorder sitting on the man’s desk continued to record mostly silence. The ribbon wound into the metal carriages had been replaced once already, but most of the words recorded there had belonged to the detective himself, who happened to be a lieutenant colonel. They had given this case to their most senior homicide investigator, but he now appeared bored, and more than a little irritated due to the early hour and the suspect’s lack of cooperation.
The next interrogation would not be recorded, Raguel knew.
Well, not until after the confession had been signed, and the signee likely unable to see through his swollen eyes and face.
He might not even be able to hold the pen on his own by then.
Raguel suspected that the detective was an idiot, unfortunately, despite his senior position and rank within the militsiya. At the very least, he was corrupt in the way most senior militsiya were corrupt, and had received his high-ranking position due to political maneuverings rather than his investigative skill. It was a truly unfortunate state of affairs, given the stakes in this particular case.
It was another reason he felt a wave of gratitude go over him at the presence of the woman.
For Raguel, the woman was his only prayer of a human ally in this.
As for the suspect, he likely relished the thought of the torture and forced confession that would assuredly follow.
He was not what he seemed. Moreover, he might be grinning in the direction of the female KGB officer as well as himself, but Raguel knew that this man, unlike anyone else in the room, could actually see him––meaning Raguel himself.
He was also quite aware of what Raguel was.
Even as he thought it, the man grinned, licking his lips. He focused on Raguel solely, staring directly into his eyes and ignoring the two human authorities who continued to watch him in frustration.
Then again, the human suspect wasn’t really a human at all.
Moreover, while that chair might be holding his human body in place, the creature inhabiting that body could only be temporarily bound in such a way.
Feeling Raguel’s thoughts, the demon grinned at him wider.
“Worried about your pet, Raguel?”
The creature spoke aloud, using its human voice.
As a result, the woman under Raguel’s fingers jumped. They were the first words the demon had spoken in probably twenty minutes.
It licked the air with its human tongue, a disconcerting gesture to the detective sitting there, who grimaced, leaning back in his chair.
“...You should be worried, friend,” the demon added, still staring at Raguel with those too-wide eyes. “You really really should be. She looks positively... delicious.”
Raguel didn’t answer.
The woman stiffened, still unsure if the man spoke to her.
She swiftly realized he spoke about her.
“What do you think, Raguel?” the demon taunted. “Could I get a few deep-throated moans from her before I crushed her skull between my hands?”
Raguel studied those glassy human eyes, barely listening to the specifics of his words. The demon still looked solely at him. He knew the woman in front of him did not see him, meaning Raguel himself, nor did she consciously feel his presence. Therefore, she thought that crazed, half-tilted head and distant look on the demon’s face to be just one more manifestation of his lack of connection with the world.
She was not wrong.