Some say even the fallen can reclaim their salvation. His salvation wore the face of a mortal girl. I was the girl. I did not yet know of him, or his exile. I was to welcome his presence. And the pain it brought. I was to be tempted by the taste of immortality. I bore the resemblance of his woman, Lilith. She was the reason for his fall from grace.
Dantalion’s lust was my obsession. His curse was mine alone to bear. Strange as it seemed, I welcomed it. Every night. Pain consumed me but at the same time, gave me something back, an empty reflection of the taste of immortality. His was the only voice I ever heard. He became an elixir pulsing through my blood. I could hear his breathing, beside me in the night. Sure as a scream, wearing the face of the angel of darkness. His lust was uncontrolled, almost animal-like, the coldness of his skin moving across my body. He is beautiful. My fingertips traced the contours of his flesh, sculpted to perfection, slender and defined, moving across his arms, over the ripples that defined his abdominals, then to the narrow margin of hair that began at the naval and moved downward. This sensation forced me to believe this was not the flesh of anything that would hurt me.
My nightmares drew me into his world. They were always so vivid. I could remember details and sounds, especially the way He made me feel. I call them nightmares, but they are more like visions, things only he and I were a part of. Things that never happened in a mortal world.
And so it began, I found myself standing in the Courtyard of the Undead, staring down at a circle that had been drawn before me into the earth. This was a demon’s seal, with markings showing rank, title and demonic powers. I heard words being recited from an ancient Grimoire, the Ars Goetia. They were the words from a familiar voice, not my own, yet they flowed freely from my lips.
“Demonic Lord, by your grace, grant me, the power to evoke the Angel of the Fallen, Dantalion, seventy first demon of the Goetia, who bears the seal of ‘Incubus’. I beg thee bring forth Dantalion to manifest before me, of his allegiance, that he may serve and protect me, in your name, Demonic Lord. The legend is foretold, from the writings of the Ars Goetia…he who bears the name of Dantalion, hath fallen from grace. An angel of saintly appointment, he hath committed one of the seven deadly sins, the sin of lust! So it is ordered, he shall be exiled for his transgressions, his woman ‘Lilith’s mortal soul shall be taken to the afterlife. He shall be chained to the sacred altar of the Courtyard of the Undead, his angel wings severed from his body, his immortality taken from him. He who wears the mark of a demon.”
After reciting the evocation, it summoned this demon, this ’Incubus’ to my mortal dominion binding his spirit to my soul. He had no choice but to reveal his true form. Now, in the darkness of the Courtyard of Undead, inside its stone borders, a waning moon cast a sliver of light onto the jagged rock beneath the altar. I collapsed when my eyes gazed upon him:
His arms were bound in chains. His nails were all out, perfect dagger-like extensions of the fingers that touched my skin. He wore the mark of ‘demon’ on his forearm, a dagger lay at his feet. His dark hair fell past his shoulders, jagged parts around his face partially covering his glowing amber-yellow eyes. He was beautiful, even as a face of the undead.
This spirit of his was now bound to my soul, we were an unbreakable bond. This bond that brought us together compelled me to free him from his curse. I know why I had been called upon, my body used as the medium to restore him to her, the woman, ‘Lilith’, who bore my resemblance. It was her words I heard that summoned the demon. Her love for Dantalion transcended time. She waited for two ages to set him free. And he waited, stripped of his immortal soul, for eternity it seemed, to find me. To find her. This was his chance for salvation.
My body controlled by something not of my own doing, I inhaled deeply reaching for the dagger, hands holding firmly onto the hilt, thrusting it into my chest. Blood began pouring down like rain, surrounding my body. His glowing eyes were fixed on me.
For centuries Dantalion guarded the mortal realm and protected. Never as guardian, nor as demon, would he think any mortal girl would sacrifice her life for his salvation. It didn’t matter if Lilith tried to release him from his exile, it was my soul who performed the evocation and my body bleeding before him.
I began gasping for air. I glanced up to a beautiful demon, breathing life back into my lungs. I welcomed his mouth on my lips. His dark hair fell all around his face and down to mine. His strength had been restored and I could feel the pressure of his embrace. He had laid me at the base of the altar, holding my pale face in his hands, still bearing the dagger-like extensions of fingers, cutting into my skin. He pulled the dagger from my chest. When the words were spoken of his curse, Dantalion revealed his true demon form to me for the first time, on this night.
“I am Dantalion. I have fallen from grace, exiled. I come to you in your sleep. I lie with you in mortal flesh. My demon form was hidden from your sight. In me beats the heart of the Undead.”
I listened to the haunting sound of his voice. “A woman I once loved has summoned me. She comes forth before me now.” He knelt beside my bleeding body. His arms passed over me and caused the bleeding to stop. I felt no pain.
“It is foretold, I am branded with the seal of ‘Incubus’. I would not have merely one woman, but you have summoned me. You have transcended time as an embodiment of Lilith. She is alive in your spirit. And your mortal flesh bears her resemblance.”
I felt my strength leaving me and welcomed death now, my body tugged and lifted, as if I was floating above everything below. There was the scent of something I did not know. I cannot remember, only that I was still breathing. Above me were shadows I could not recognize, and a familiar voice. I was fortunate enough to be alive.
I found myself in the confines of my room after that night. I pulled the silk sheets up to my chin settling in a little more comfortably. The pain coming from the puncture wound in my chest kept reminding me it was real.
Ever since I moved here from California, strange things began to happen. I felt an energy, a presence, in the upstairs spare bedroom. It was the spirit of a girl I never knew, but felt her move through my body during one of my rituals at the altar. Now I’m convinced it was Lilith. Was she possessing my soul?
Since that night, I began having the nightmares. That’s when Dantalion found his way into my heart. In his heart beat not the living but that of the undead. My useless attempt to save him only left me with an emptiness even immortality couldn’t fill. I tried to convince myself it wasn’t real. But I remember what I saw. And what was said. This demon called Dantalion would never hurt me. He is bound to my mortal soul. A soul of the undead bound to a mortal eighteen year old girl.
I started to fall asleep when a gentle brush on my arm made me flinch. I began to feel his cold skin against my body moving across my bandaged chest. The pain from the puncture subsided, while something delicately lifted the bandages from my chest. He said nothing, moving away quickly.
Wind chimes played against the wind outside, waking me up the next morning. I lifted my eyes slightly to discover the wound was completely healed. Light streamed through the stained glass window across the hall in the spare room, dancing colors across the hard wood floor. So much had just happened, yet I wanted him to come back. I needed to go back there, to the Courtyard, and see for myself.
I painstakingly searched through my wardrobe, slipping on a faded pair of jeans and a concert tee shirt and made my way across the street to the grove. Wildflowers covered the field bearing deep colors of autumn. I crossed hesitantly toward the tall pines surrounding the Courtyard. Everything was still, yet images flashed in my mind. I knew that Rowan found me here that night. He raced me to the hospital. A puncture wound. Didn’t even come close to my heart.