Lizzie’s Diary – Entry 52

A life extinguished like campfire embers in a storm.



This entry contains discussions, mentions, and descriptions of dark and triggering topics such as firearm usage, violence, and death.

Reader discretion advised.

20 km outside of Charlotte, NC – 2:37

Matteo was staring at his phone, awaiting any word from the Peters sisters and their Phebean entourage. The humans had been in the market for over fifteen minutes, and the demons had gone in after them not ten minutes prior. What if something happened?

His mind was a swirl of thoughts, most of which pertained to Desideria’s prophecy. The words echoed in his mind, almost as if he had heard them directly from his sister instead of from the psychic of Semes.

“As Chandra oversees the prismatic inferno, a love distinguished leads to lives extinguished. Death lies in wait to collect, as she views Life with little respect.”

He frowned. Chandra… Could the Chandra Coven have returned? That’s not supposed to be possible. Only our true prince or the true chief of Semes can locate her… And what’s with the rest of it? Prismatic inferno, love distinguished? The rest is pretty straightforward–someone, without a doubt, is going to die.

As if on cue, a bolt of lightning struck the earth several meters behind him, leaving a group of spirits in its wake. He recognized his son in an instant, only moderately surprised to see the chief beside him. Included in their party were Alexa, Chris, Tony, Connor, Benji, and another Phebean Matteo couldn’t name off the top of his head. The demons (save for Benji) blinked, adjusting to the aftereffects of the Jovian porter’s teleportation as Monty released his hold on Chris and jogged toward his father.

“Dad! Where’s Lizzie?” he demanded, his eyes scouring the camp with desperation. The seemingly permanent wrinkle on his brow and his breathless manner of speaking told the elder that his son had been worried about his partner.

He’s not the only one. “She and Lori went in to buy Remiel some time.”

Monty frowned, and Matteo had to stifle the urge to smile. His beautiful wife, Zenobia, had once remarked that their son most resembled him when he wore a scowl. He begged to differ, wholeheartedly believing that Monty was the spitting image of his grandfather for whom he was named after.

“What are you talking about? Remi’s helping to clean up the Nashville market,” Monty disputed, to which Matteo nodded.

“Yeah, but Leah showed Lizzie some of the bandits inside, and they went in before our mission was finished in order to provide Remiel some cover,” he explained, his tone cautious. He couldn’t let his son’s emotions get the better of him.

“Then why weren’t they pulled after Remi was finished?” Monty all but shouted. His eyes pierced into his father’s as he approached, his bright green eyes darkening as his expression hardened.

Matteo let out a sigh. “The head bandit inside is Clyde Peters.”

He watched as rage flashed across the prince’s face. “Their uncle’s here?”

Matteo’s only response was a nod, and he could tell Monty was about to lose it. “Chris, we’re going in after them.”

“They’re not alone, Monty,” Dane pointed out as he stepped forward with the teleporter. He had not stepped between the two spirits, though, and the elder couldn’t help but respect the teenager for not outright stopping his son. “Tripp took three of mine in there after them. They have backup.”

Matteo could sense the prince’s hesitation; his jaw seemed to tense as he clenched his left fist by his side and ran his right hand through his hair in an exasperated gesture. The young man opened his mouth to speak when three things occurred in swift succession, and as much as Matteo had wished for them to be separate, isolated incidents, he knew better than to be optimistic in situations such as this.

The first was an explosion–it was loud, the sound drawing their attention back to the abandoned city. Matteo could not discern the point of origin until a moment later, when thick clouds of black smoke billowed from the center of the market. He immediately pulled his map from his back pocket and unfolded it, desperate to be proven wrong.

When his eyes found the marker he made to indicate Clyde’s location, his blood ran cold.

Monty and Dane were by his side, scanning the map as well. Benji was close by, studying the distant smoke with Alexa and Chris beside them. The remaining spirits all huddled around the prince and the chief, awaiting orders.

That was when the second explosion occurred, followed almost immediately by Monty swaying slightly as energy returned to his body. Leah must’ve been caught in the blast…

Finally, Matteo exhaled through his nose and lowered the map. “I’m pretty sure that’s where they were headed.”

“Alexa, can you hear Gab?” Benji suddenly asked, grabbing the attention of the surrounding spirits. Their tone was calm, even, undisturbed by the idea that their soul mate could be in danger.

“I can–she’s with Tripp, Gavin’s on his way to back up Lizzie, Lori, and Kent…” She frowned. “Gavin seems to think he saw someone else out there before the explosion, but he couldn’t see who.”

“Could they have been targeted by Clyde’s men?” Connor proposed, but the psychic shook her head.

“No. The explosion targeted Clyde directly, allowing them an opening. Whoever set off the bomb, they did it to help us.”

“We don’t know that for sure,” Matteo found himself muttering, only for his son to chime in.

“Whether they’re on our side or not doesn’t change the fact that our people are in there, and we need to get them out.”

Dane, who had been eerily quiet during their evaluation, nodded in affirmation. “Agreed. Ben, Koji and I are coming with you.”

“You don’t have to–”

“Those are my demons in there, not your angels,” the chief countered, his expression dark. “I get that Lizzie’s your mate, and she and her family are your colonists, but I’m needed in there just as much as you, if not more.”

“I’m coming, too,” Matteo said. Before his prince could protest, he added, “I was the one who let them go in, son. I gave the order–I need to be there to make sure they come home.”

It was Monty’s turn to sigh and, without another word on the matter, he gestured for his teleporter to step forward. “Alexa, Connor, come with us. Everyone else, stay behind and finish packing up. Head back to Atlanta as fast as you can.”

“Should I wait for you guys?” asked Vince, his expression guarded. Matteo was only vaguely aware that Koji had rushed over to the nearby truck and pulled the tarp off of the cage in its bed. The boy called Spencer was on his tail, one of his hands transformed into a pistol and trained on the caged creature.

Monty chewed on the inside of his lip briefly before nodding. “Yeah–as soon as we get back, you and Tony are gonna unleash hell on the market. I want this place leveled by the time you’re done.”

The teenagers shared impish grins before nodding to their superior. “Yes, sir.”

“You got it, cuz.”

“Alright, everyone ready?” Monty asked, but Dane cleared his throat.


Spencer returned from behind the truck, followed by a large panther with a tan coat. Its eyes were dark, reminiscent of the demon possessing it. The cat skulked over to their group, causing more than a few scouts to gasp at the sight, before it stood on its hind legs and placed a paw on Benji’s shoulder. Then it let out a purring sound, prompting the group to erupt in chuckles.

“I think you’re gonna have to reach out to him, Chris,” Benji explained to the porter, who blanched at the thought of willingly reaching out and touching a wild cat.

“Do I have to..?”

“I got it,” Alexa told everyone. She then reached out and planted her hand firmly on Koji’s hide before nodding to her soul mate. Though apprehensive, Matteo watched as Chris’ eyes glowed a vibrant red–and he caught Alexa’s eyes flash the same color as their surroundings were replaced by a blinding light.

When the light receded, their group–Koji included–stood in the middle of a street before a tall hotel. Beside them was the wide stadium-like center that Lizzie and Lori were tasked with infiltrating… And both buildings were on fire.

Matteo regarded their porter and psychic with intrigue. “How long have you two been able to swap abilities?”

They swapped wary glances before Alexa shrugged. “We can’t really swap them. Sometimes Chris can tap into psychic knowledge when asked, and I guess I can help port others as an extension of him. I think it’s specific to us, though–like, he’s a lightning rod, and I can channel his power and extend it to include someone he isn’t physically touching.”

Matteo nodded at her analysis. It was obvious to him that she had suspected she might have this ability for a while now, but she withheld it for reasons he couldn’t fathom. We’ll discuss this at length during your debriefing, he thought quietly, knowing she would be listening in.

She gulped and lowered her eyes, granting him a single nod before turning to face the burning buildings. Matteo gazed up at them as well, and it took him a second to realize what he was looking at.

The top two floors of the seventeen-story hotel were engulfed in pink flames, while the next floor down seemed to house fire with an array of colors. The stadium next door had erupted in pink, reddish-orange, and yellowish-orange flames, fighting one another for dominance as they ate away at the structure. A few bandits ran out of the building, coughing as they took in fresh air.

“Ben, Koji,” Dane ordered vaguely.

His intentions were clear enough to his subordinates; Koji growled, lowered his front paws to the asphalt, and bolted over to the growing group of surviving bandits, his fangs bared at the terrified scavengers. Benji, on the other hand, was a little more hesitant before Dane added in a softer tone, “I’ll bring her home. You have my word.”

The teenager nodded, pulled their gun from its holster, and sprinted after their friend with renewed focus.

“Connor, Chris, give them a hand,” Monty commanded. The young men ran off in an instant as the prince turned to their psychic. “Alexa, keep us all connected–Chief Dane, too. Guide us from out here.”

She nodded, her earthen hazel eyes taking on a violet sheen.

When Monty turned to his father, Matteo cut him off with a wave of his hand. “Don’t you dare bench me, kid. I’m going in there, whether you like it or not.”

Monty rolled his eyes before summoning Leah, who hopped off his forearm and landed on all fours with a soft thud. “Just keep up, old man.”

Then the prince ran into the hotel with Matteo close behind and Dane bringing up the rear. Leah was barely a meter ahead at all times, leading them toward the building’s stairs and speeding up the steps. Monty took the stairs three at a time, but the elder and demon chief did not fall behind.

Alexa relayed, Fifteenth floor, now!

They had only just made it to the fourteenth when she gave them this information, and they were about to continue on up when Leah scratched at the door leading into the fourteenth floor, whining and yipping.

That was all it took for the young prince and chief to share knowing looks and open the door, allowing the fox to dash inside. The air was thick with an unbearable heat, and the hallway was surprisingly void of smoke.

Monty? Why’re you guys–

Leah wants us on this floor! Monty explained impatiently to the psychic. He was already barreling down the hall when a third explosion rocked the building. The younger men stumbled some, while Matteo braced himself against the nearest wall for support. It was over in less than two seconds; Leah was waiting for them at the third door from the end, scratching and yipping like crazy.

Then they heard her scream pierce through the building, and Matteo’s heart dropped. Lizzie!

The three men were at the door in seconds, and Monty wrenched it open. Matteo’s pistol was at the ready as he glanced into the open bedrooms, and he saw that Dane was doing the same. Monty, on the other hand, simply barged on ahead, stubbornly following his fox creation. Their party was met with even more heat as they ventured deeper into the suite, but it was not until they ran into the main living area that they found the reason for the rise in temperature.

One of the explosions, presumably the last, had caused the floor above to break apart. A hole had opened up above them, and huge chunks of the surrounding structure were only just settling in a cloud of dust. A quick glance above revealed two things: one, Lizzie was up there, backed up against the edge of the pit. Two, the entire suite above them was encased in a wall of fire; the flames ranged in color from magenta, vermillion, and gold, much like the neighboring building, but Matteo noticed cerulean flames mixed in. The sparks and overlapping blazes resulted in a mix of colors such as white, emerald, violet, all swirling together in a lethal rainbow.

The elder angel’s eyes widened. A prismatic inferno.

“Shit! We have to get up there–” Monty cursed, and he was about to run out of the suite when Dane stopped him. The chief’s eyes were glued to the scene above, and Matteo couldn’t help but watch along.

A man came into view–a man I had only caught a few glimpses of from a distance. A man so evil, that I once fantasized about bringing his life to an end.


The bandit leader stood a few feet before Lizzie, and Matteo briefly wondered if Clyde could see them from his vantage point. Matteo raised his gun, aiming for Clyde’s head just as the bastard trained his own weapon on Lizzie.

Something off to the left of the pit caught Clyde’s attention, and he was readjusting his aim when Lori came into view. Her body was riddled with bullet holes and it looked as if it pained her to stand, let alone latch onto her uncle and drive her dagger into his side.

Then Gavin emerged from the flames on the left and dove at Lizzie, tackling her out of the way as Lori struggled with the bandit. For the briefest of moments, Matteo believed the girl had the upper hand… Until Clyde pulled the knife from his side and stabbed his niece in the neck.

Her body went limp as he shoved her into the pit, and Matteo moved to catch her when a third demon dove in after her with no regard to his safety.

Dane was at Matteo’s side just as the older man recognized the demon; Kent wrapped his arms around Lori protectively and spun in midair, aiming to land on his back–

Monty grabbed at his elbow, peeling the tattoo of a spider web from his skin and flinging it into the air. It grew, stretching taut across the room until it latched onto the walls and windows. The three men had to duck as Kent and Lori landed safely at the web’s center.

Dane let out a heavy sigh and clapped Monty on the shoulder. “Thank you.”

Monty nodded, his hunting knife in hand as he joined his father in cutting down their comrades. Kent was barely conscious–he had sustained several injuries, including a broken leg and a gunshot wound. Still, he did his best to lay Lori down gently on her back as Matteo moved to check her vitals.

The older man’s hand stopped short, his body frozen as he took in the human’s face. Her eyes were open, all the life drained from them as she stared off at nothing in particular. Her chest did not move, and no air passed through her lips. Her normal warm sepia complexion was replaced by a ghastly pallor, and his fingers barely had to graze her skin to reveal how cold she was to the touch.


Matteo took her wrist in his hand and checked her pulse, still hopeful in spite of the signs. He found no heartbeat.

With a sigh, he placed her hand beside her body and shook his head without looking up at the others. Kent shut his eyes and laid back against the tile floor, his left hand still stained with her blood. Dane knelt by his subordinate, his hand on his shoulder in a gesture of silent comfort as he assessed the man’s wounds.

Monty, on the other hand, was seething–and he didn’t have time to register his shift in emotions as several shots rang out over their heads. The three uninjured spirits shrunk back at the sounds, their eyes immediately drawn to the altercation on the floor above. Clyde had aimed his gun off to the right this time, to where Gavin had disappeared with Lizzie.

Matteo raised his pistol once again, this time prepared to take out the bandit–but Clyde suddenly went rigid. He dropped his handgun and swiped at his arms, patting and rubbing his skin frantically with wide eyes.

He stumbled in place and let out a blood-curdling scream just as someone else came into view, and it took the elder a moment to recognize her.


His breath caught in his throat as he regarded her soul. Human souls were always bland; small, white, and miniscule compared to those of spirits. When the spirits within human vessels burst forth, their souls grew to five times their former size and took on an array of characteristics. Angels bore feathered wings like birds; demons, leather sectioned wings like dragons. The few fairies among them sported insectoid wings; thin, membranous, and gorgeous with their vast color schemes.

At first glance, he thought Lizzie was a fairy, as her wings shimmered with many colors–until his eyes took in their leather appearance, and his sight adjusted to recognize the color as an iridescent gold. The core was a solid mauve sphere with a golden dagger plunged into its center, the translucent outer shell flashed blood red, and the entire structure gave off a faint violet glow.

The same color that had taken over her russet eyes.

Photo by Susan Wilkinson on Unsplash

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