Home > End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days #3)(9)

End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days #3)(9)
Author: Susan Ee

Beliel thrashes against his chains. He’s so frantic I think he might actually have a shot at breaking free. These are not the screams of an angry man. These are the nightmare screams of someone having his soul torn to pieces right in front of him.

Beliel breaks down and sobs. He sobs for his Daughter of Man. For the girl who even now looks to him to rescue and protect her. Maybe even for their children, who are likely being hunted and killed by someone he thought was his friend. A friend like Raffe.


I’m so preoccupied with watching the plight of the two lovers that I haven’t been paying attention to anything else. But now, the back of my neck prickles. My sixth sense is urgently whispering to me, trying to get through all the noise of what’s happening in front of me.

I look around. And that’s when I see that the demon lord riding the chariot is staring right at me.

How can he see me? I’m just a ghost in Beliel’s memory.

But he stares right at me. His eyes are bloodshot, looking like he lives in a world of perpetual smoke. His face is curious and angry at the same time, as if he’s offended by an intruder watching him.

‘Spy,’ he hisses. ‘You don’t belong here.’ His words sound like a hundred slithering snakes, but I can still understand him.

As soon as the demon says the word spy, the hellions all look at me. Their eyes widen as though they can’t believe their luck. It doesn’t take me long to figure out that I’m not invisible anymore.

The demon takes a good look at me with his bloodshot eyes. Then he whips his stick in my direction. The heads – the screaming, drowning, bloody heads – shoot out toward me at the end of his unspooling whip.

Their expressions are a mix of despair and hope. They’re desperately delighted to be heading my way, with their fractured teeth showing in their gaping mouths. Their hair, which should be flying back, reaches toward me.

At the same time, the hellions leap at me, all claws and fangs.

I stumble backward.

I try to turn and run, but the uneven ground trips me, and I’m falling onto the sharp glass and shards of bone.

The heads scream as they race toward my face.

I’m falling.


I stumble backward and fall onto my butt.

I’m back on the island. Beliel, wingless and shriveled again, lies on the ground in front of me.

Then a hellion jumps out of Beliel’s back. It leaps at me with extended claws.

I scream, crab-crawling backward.

It swipes my shoulder as it flies past me. Blood flows down my arm.

The tip of my sword is still buried in Beliel’s back. I try to pull it out. There’s resistance, like someone is pulling on the other side. Revulsion reverberates through my arm as though the blade is an extension of me.

Two more hellions shove through along my sword like conjoined twins. They pop out of Beliel’s back, which is bleeding from the slit where the hellions came out.

They’re leaping out of his memories.

I finally yank out my sword and scooch back as fast as I can away from Beliel.

The hellions land in the garden with a thump. They roll and land on their feet, shaking their heads and moving drunkenly as they look around the small yard. They squint against the sunlight and lift their hands to shield their eyes. That gives me a second to get on my feet and catch my breath.

But then they jump. It’s all I can do to lift my sword and swipe blindly in front of me.

I’m in luck because they seem disoriented, and one even trips over its own feet. They change course and stay out of range of my blade.

But their disorientation doesn’t last long. They circle me until they get their bearings, gauging my moves with crafty eyes. These hellions are smarter than others I’ve fought in my sword dreams.

One feints while the other tries to get behind me. Where’s the third?

The missing hellion leaps out of a bush and comes at me from the side.

I spin, bringing my sword up to slice the beast. My arms adjust as I move – my angel sword wielding me instead of the other way around. The blade adjusts into a perfect position to cut through the hellion’s torso. It lands on the grass, shuddering and bleeding out.

I finish my spin and kick the one trying to get behind me.

It lands on the far side of the fence. It pushes itself up and hisses at me.

The two surviving hellions back off, keeping their eyes on me.

Then they run off and take flight, disappearing into the trees.

Beliel chuckles. ‘Welcome to my world, Daughter of Man.’

‘I should have known you were going to trick me,’ I pant as I put pressure on my shoulder to stop the bleeding. The blood feels slick on my fingers as it soaks through my shirt.

Beliel sits up, chains clinking. He’s a lot more mobile than I thought. ‘Just because hellions came after you doesn’t mean what you saw wasn’t the truth. How was I supposed to know they could get through?’ He doesn’t sound at all surprised.

‘What happened to Mira,’ he says, ‘that’ll be you someday soon. And your precious Raphael will be responsible for it. I once thought of him as my friend too. He promised he’d protect Mira. Now you know what becomes of people who trust him.’

I get up shakily and head for the house. I don’t think I can trust myself to be in the same space with that horrible creature for much longer.

I could kick myself for listening to him in the first place, but I guess I don’t have to. He already did it for me.


I’m washing the blood off my shoulder in the kitchen when Raffe comes back.

‘What happened?’ he asks, dropping a plastic garbage bag on the floor and rushing to me.

‘Nothing. I’m fine.’ My voice is stiff and standoffish. I think about covering up the wound, but my shirt is torn, so I can’t. The old cropped T-shirt is hanging off my wounded shoulder by a thread. No doubt it would be sexy if it weren’t for all that blood.

He brushes my hand aside and leans into me to look at the gashes on my shoulder.

‘Are these from the dead hellion in the yard?’ He’s close enough that his breath caresses my neck. I step away, feeling awkward.

‘Yeah. And his two friends.’

He clenches his jaw so hard I can see his cheek muscles twitching.

‘Don’t worry,’ I say. ‘Being around you had nothing to do with it.’

He cocks his head at me. ‘What makes you think I was worried it had to do with me?’

Oops. Did he ever mention hellions to me? Or do I know he worries about them coming after me because I peeked into his memories through Pooky Bear?

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