The day had been magnificent to say the least but everyone’s 16th birthday was that way. It was the day you were no longer labeled as a child, giving way to adulthood and every single decision from here on out would affect your afterlife. The whole city turns out for your birthday which is filled with feasts and a magnificent ball. It’s truly a lovely event and at 11:59 p.m. you are granted your guardian angel who will direct you through the rest of your life, making sure that you stay on the right path and not steering from it.
I should be excited for this moment. I’ve been dreaming about this day since I was a toddler and yet, I find myself outside of the party, wandering the dark alley alone. The party was suffocating me. So many nice people that were there to congratulate me, that were happy for me even though I’m not happy for myself. They don’t know what I’ve done. How many of them have I hurt and they don’t even know it yet?
Everything is forgiven on your 16th birthday. You get to start over with a fresh, clean slate, but how? How can I start over after everything I’ve done? Once they find out about my terrible deed I’m sure they will send me away, even my parents. Especially my parents. They will send me to the otherworld once they find out. The world for the criminals where they are quarantined from the good so they can’t infect them with their evil.
I can hear the people at the party searching for me as I slink farther into the shadows of the alleyway. It must be getting close to the end of my birthday. I whisper a prayer to God to send me a mighty guardian, one that will help save me from my old ways. Can they even find me out here?
“Happy birthday, Amelia,” a strong male voice calls from behind me causing me to gasp as I spin around to face the person.
A tall man dressed in a red and black suit stands behind me. The moonlight casts a glow over his deep black hair making it look as though a halo sits on top of his head. He steps closer to me but instinctively I take a step back.
“Are you my angel?” the words tumble out of my mouth before I can stop them.
The man snorts, almost tuning into a laugh as he leans against the wall of the building next to us. A smirk plays on his smooth skin as a hint of mischief shines from his golden eyes.
“I’d hardly call myself an angel,” the man retorts.
I look at him quizzically, studying features from the distance until I finally notice the black of feathers on his back. I gasp again. Of course, my deeds had been so horrendous that even God couldn’t bear to send me an actual guardian. I felt a lump rise in my throat but I raised my chin anyways. I would show no fear despite the circumstances.
The man noticed my change in demeanor and a low chuckle escapes his lips. “There was a…clerical error, Amelia. It seems you’ve been assigned a demon instead,” he says casually before the man straightens and takes a step towards me again. “My name is Damian, the devil’s finest warrior, and I’m at your service.”
I didn’t back away this time. This was my fate after all. I’ve done horrible things, unforgivable things, and this was my punishment. I would face my punishment with grace, I told myself.
Before I could speak, the man – Damian – held up a hand to stop me. Halting my words on the tip of my tongue, I snapped my mouth shut. Damian continued his speech, “Now, now, Amelia. I know you’ve done wrong and you want to right your ways but, unfortunately for you, I’m not here to help you do that. You weren’t born to do that.”
“What do you mean?” I asked as my brave face faltered.
Damian stepped closer until he was directly in front of me. I caught the smell of smoke and fresh cut trees as his hands reached for me. I couldn’t force myself away from his touch even though I desperately wanted to. One hand rested on the low of my back while the other cupped my chin, forcing me to look into his molten gold eyes. The heat in his touch threatened to send me ablaze like that of a phoenix burning to ashes just to be reborn.
The words that fell from his beautiful lips sealed my deeds in and made me crumble what little resolve I had left. “You are the devil’s daughter, Amelia,” Damian whispered against my ear before disappearing back into the shadows from which he came.