Excerpt from Holy and the Fallen by Amanda Strong:
“Gabriel?” Eden called softly. It was late, she knew she should be sleeping, but talking about him today with her parents had left a void in her heart. Her once again, one-sided conversations were not as comforting as they used to be.
“I guess I got a bit spoiled seeing you so much,” she admitted, staring off into the distance. “You probably ran straight to the angel council and told them to fix it so I couldn’t. Was it that bad? Me seeing you?”
She felt nothing and sighed. “I know you said it made things complicated.” Again nothing.
“Gabriel? Hey, are you there still?” She tried to push the panic down and gripped her blankets tighter. Nothing.
Now her eyes roamed her room, darting to her floor just to make sure there were no claws coming out from under her bed. She knew she was being ridiculous. He was always there. Maybe she wasn’t focusing on the good feeling. Maybe if she just held still and stopped freaking out, she’d feel the calmness and know he was there. Maybe…
She felt something else. A cold, draining sensation in her back. It spread down her limbs, leaving her wrist searing in pain. Eden doubled over, gripping her arm to her chest.
“Gabriel!” she gasped. She peeked down just to make sure no blood oozed out. Her flesh remained intact, pink and healthy, but her insides screamed, like her bones were being snapped in two. Pain rocketed her whole frame, shooting from two points of origin—where the demon had nearly bitten her hand off and where Oeillet’s staff had punctured her back.
She curled into a fetal position, hugging her knees, pinching her eyes shut, trying to manage the agony. When her lungs refused to fill with air, she panicked. Oh my gosh! I’m suffocating! She tried to scream for help, but nothing came out but mangled sounds. Hot pain coursed through her chest, wrapping around her heart like fingers made of fire. What’s happening! She saw no demon, no staff protruding from her heart, but it felt like one was there.
“Eden!” a voice bellowed at the same time white light shot through her room. Arms wrapped around her and pulled her from her bed. A hand brushed hair from her face, clearing her vision. Bright blue eyes gazed back at her, practically buried under the furrowed brow line.
“Gabriel,” she gasped through gritted teeth.
“Eden, what’s wrong?” While holding her, his eyes scanned her body. “What’s happened to you? Where are you hurt?”
She clutched at her chest and tried to speak, but nothing came out. His eyes widened. With one swift motion, he laid her down and placed both hands on her head. Shutting his eyes, he moved his hands down her frame, lightly touching her shoulders, arms, wrist, back, and torso. He stopped where the staff had punctured her months ago. A stream of fluid words came from his mouth, none of which she understood.
“Curses,” he muttered in English. “I should’ve known.”