Hell and Styx #14: Fairies and Bitter Coffee

First of all–it’s the last day of school!!!! Holy crap, I’m done.

Also–Hell and Styx #14! It’s a continuation of H+S #13, and if you want the timeline explained again, please go check out what I wrote for #13, because it is complicated and I don’t feel like going through that again.

Still a flashback. Still technically continuing the Heaven plot line of 9, 11, 12, and now 13. Some sense can be made of this series on the Hell and Styx page.

Hope you enjoy! Likes and comments are always open, and check out the new Hell and Styx Pinterest board.

Hell and Styx #14: Fairies and Bitter Coffee

Heaven sat down on a fire escape, happily invisible, a cup of coffee held between his knees, and watched a busy city wake up. The physics of the human world were strange for Heaven. He walked through objects but the floor was solid. He could walk up stairs but not knock on doors. He figured gravity had something to do with it, but there were never solid answers.

The coffee was the product of his imagination. All food in purgatory was—everything for the gatekeepers was. You need another room? Purgatory creates one. You want to eat pizza? It appears. You want to cook? A kitchen, ingredients, and—hopefully—some knowledge of what the heck you’re doing will appear.

He wasn’t sure if Hell or Styx ever came to the human world, but the rules were the same. He wanted a cup of black coffee to overpower the bitter loneliness in his mouth? Poof.

The choice of scenery was an unconscious effort to keep himself as far away from memories of Lilith as possible. But he couldn’t, and he kept remembering.

 

The next night, a year and a half ago, he chanced visiting the street again.

She was waiting for him in front of the café, perched on the sign he had knocked over the day before, in jeans and the same sweatshirt.

“Now you’re just showing off,” he said, stopping in front of her.

Lilith shook her head. “I was, but now I’m stuck and I think if I try to get down it’s totally going to undermine my illusion of gracefulness.”

She suddenly seemed to him like a fairy that hadn’t figured out how to use her wings yet without knocking other things over.

That was a person he could relate to.

“So, what? You’re just going so sit there all night?”

“Well, I sort of thought this guy was going to be nice to me and help me off,” she teased.

Heaven laughed and stepped closer and she wrapped her arms around his neck as he grabbed her waist and lifted her off. Her foot got tangled in the sign and they tripped, Heaven dropping her to keep from falling down. The sign fell over anyway.

Lilith took a step back and smoothed down her hair. “Well, that didn’t work.”

“I think the sign hates us.”

“Us? There’s no us. That sign was perfectly nice to me before you came along.”

And Heaven remembered Hell growling, “There’s no our work.” But the two girls were too different to exist in the same universe, so he went back to remembering Lilith.

“Have you thought of a nickname for me?” he asked.

“I haven’t. Everything I think of sounds…bad.”

“That’s okay. You don’t really know me yet.”

“Nope.” She looped her arm through his and started down the street, leading him away from his house. “At this point you’d probably be the Sign Murder or something.”

“That’s not very flattering.”

“I guess we have to get to know each other better.”

Heaven followed her through a sleeping town. He wasn’t sure where he was, some small town in the US. Geography wasn’t something he kept very close tabs on, as he could blink himself to wherever he wanted.

She talked about high school and complained about grades. She gossiped about the head football player and a creepy science teacher. Heaven just listened, closer to be a human had he’d been in years.

“You should meet my friends. They’d love you.” She grinned and admitted, “They aren’t every picky, to be honest. You’re cute, that’d be enough.”

Cute?

Heaven wrenched his mind away from her adjective and forced himself to say, “I’m not sure that’s a great idea. I’m not normal…”

She nodded, like she had expected his refusal. “I had a feeling.”

Heaven gently pulled his arm free from her embrace. “Look, Lilith. I’m not sure any of this is a good idea. I’m really not kidding when I say I’m not like you. I don’t know why this happened but it probably won’t keep happening.”

Lilith frowned at him. “You think I haven’t figured this out yet? You dress in suit shirts when its forty degrees outside and don’t have a jacket. You seem surprised whenever you touch something.”

Heaven stepped back, worried about how much she had figured out in such a short amount of time. He wasn’t ready for people to know him. He was here to be invisible, not…whatever this was.

“But that’s okay,” Lilith said. “I’m the girl that saw a random guy on the streets at ten o’clock at night and decided to start a conversation with him. I’m not normal and I’m probably not very smart, but I decided to talk to you, not the other way around. Just—remember that.”

Heaven blinked. “I won’t.”

And he never had.

 

Back in the present, his coffee was cold. A simple thought would warm it up again, but he didn’t. He thought about Hell’s words and decided she was wrong. It wasn’t torture to remember happiness, and it wasn’t torture to look for it again.

It was how Heaven dealt with a world without Lilith. He looked for more Liliths.

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