He arrived at the instant the boy Deathspoke. Too late to stop it. The entire audience and staff in Wembley Stadium, more than ninety thousand people, died between one breath and the next. Every rodent, insect, bird, anything that had been breathing the moment before lay dead. Even the grass was brown.
The boy, focused on what he had wrought, didn’t notice him at first. A small smile played across cherry red lips, grey eyes shining with a joy that sent chills up his spine. Normally he was imperturbable, immune to the horrors he saw daily. This boy terrified him.
The boy didn’t seem to hear.
Grey eyes reluctantly shifted focus from the carnage surrounding the two to focus on him. Again the chill.
“You aren’t dead.” The boy’s voice was soft, melodious, belying his sick nature.
“You don’t remember me?”
The boy searched his face, hints of recognition flashing in those grey eyes. Then denial, clear and intentional. “Should I?”
“Your mother sent me to find you.”
A tiny pang of regret squeezed his heart. “I know.”
The boy, no longer interested, dropped to his knees, reaching out to run his fingers along the cheek of what had been, only a moment before, a vibrant teenage girl. “Beautiful.”
He knew the boy didn’t mean the girl, but her death. Even now they both breathed in its essence. Closing his eyes against a pain he had never thought to feel, he accepted the inevitable. This was what happened when Death dallied with a mortal. There was a reason angels were forbidden to love humans.
Azrael’s wings snapped open, his earthly guise dropping away. “Morte.” His voice so cold the air around him froze. The boy looked up. “It’s time to come home.”
He closed his heart to the boy’s look of fear. Azrael Deathspoke, and all was still.