by Alyssa Rabil
There’s a rip in the dimension somewhere that allows otherworldly beings to cross over to earth, and it’s the Black family business to trap and kill these creatures before they can cause any harm. Andy Black loves being in the family business. But when she goes to a job expecting to find a dead angel and instead finds a very alive—and very angry one, Andy’s world is flipped on its axis.
Oriana is used to human cruelty and learned long ago not to trust any of them. Half-human, half-angel, she’s been held captive by a trapper for most of her life. Now that she’s escaped, she finds herself held by more humans. But the unexpected kindness of the Black family, and from one member in particular, brings Oriana’s human instincts to the surface.
When their worlds collide without warning, Andy and Oriana must work together to move forward—and conquer the monsters that haunt them.
FROM THE AUTHOR
"Fallen began as fanfiction. Frustrated by queerbaiting in many TV shows, the author wanted to write a love story where the characters actually end up together. The characters were inspired by the Captain Kirk and Spock dynamic. Oriana believes she is a monster because she is inhuman. She is steadfast, though a bit naive. Andy kills monsters. That's always been her job. Both women are stubborn and subconsciously looking for a change in their lives. Ultimately, change finds them and they must prove they're strong enough to survive it."
Cathie W. - Fantastic paranormal fiction about angels, demons, and humans that hunt those that are considered evil.
Rubi C. - Fallen by Alyssa Rabi was an interesting and and enjoyable story....The writer has the ability to describe the story in such a way I can picture it as I get swept along. A fun paranormal fiction that is a well-written, remarkable adventure. A great read about demons, angels, with humans. It was a lot of fun.
Ava is convulsing.
Faith’s bleeding out.
Andy’s shaking like a leaf and she’s so mad she’s not sure who she’s going to yell at first when they finally come around. Why the fuck didn’t they tell her where they were going? Why didn’t they wait for her to get to town?
Faith called her about an hour ago, shouted a few directions and then the line went dead. At least she had the sense to call.
Now, Andy’s got a dead angel outside and she’s going to have to burn and bury it on her own. She can’t have the body getting reanimated by something else. Its wings are massive. That’s going to be a problem. The wings usually disappear.
Andy goes to her little sister first. Faith’s pulse is steady, and the wound isn’t as bad as the blood makes it look. She checks Faith’s head—no bumps or injuries. It’s got to be a spell, but that’s just a guess. She’s not the doctor in the family, no, that’s Dr. Faith fucking Black, who is currently passed out on the floor of this godforsaken shack. It looks like the blood isn’t Faith’s. That means blood loss isn’t the problem like Andy had first suspected.
“Fucking monsters.” Andy’s talking to herself. It keeps her calm. She shouldn’t even be here.
She checks Ava, her aunt on her father’s side. No external injuries, but her eyes keep rolling back in her head and she’s drooling.
“Ava!” Andy shouts and gets no reply. This has magic written all over it. When she’s done in here, she’s going to chop that angel into one hundred pieces and mount the wings on a wall. She’s got a nice assortment of individual feathers from her kills over the years, but these wings—big, glistening, and inky black—will be the star of her collection.
She hears a groan behind her and turns to see Faith blinking and clutching her forehead. Andy runs to her side, anger replaced with relief. “What happened?”
Faith takes a minute to orient herself. “Ambush,” she answers. She spots Ava and scrambles to her feet. She crouches next to her and rolls her onto her side. “Jesus, Andy,” she growls. “Priorities. Ava could choke to death like this.”
Andy is unmoved. “What happened?” She hates repeating herself.
Ava stops shaking and Faith holds her fingers against her wrist to check her pulse. “We were ambushed by another trapper. Thought we had the drop on the guy. Don’t know how he knew we were coming. The angel might have warned him.” She brushes her long hair out of her face and looks up at Andy. “Can they do that? Can they sense humans?”
Andy nods, waiting for more information.
“Knew it,” mutters Faith. “Ava owes me twenty bucks.”
“If she wakes up,” snaps Andy. She shouldn’t snap. It’s been two years since she’s talked to Faith in person. This isn’t how she wanted their reunion to go.
“The guy hit us with tranquilizer darts. She’ll come around in a minute.”
Andy jerks her head to the door of the shack. “I figured the angel got her.”
Faith perks up. “Angel? She’s still here?”
“Yeah, it’s outside. Didn’t you kill it?”
“She’s dead?” Faith looks like she did when their dad told her there was no such thing as Santa Claus. She doesn’t give Andy a chance to answer. “Stay with Ava, I’ll be right back.” She gets up, moving entirely too fast for someone who was just unconscious a second ago, and goes outside.
Ava’s breathing is back to normal and her eyes are shut. She’s still and appears to be sleeping.
“Andy!” her sister is shouting from outside. Andy is on her feet and out the door in a flash. Old habits die hard. She freezes when she sees Faith.
Her pain-in-the-ass, dickhead, stubborn baby sister has hoisted the blood-soaked angel into a sitting position and is trying to lift it all by herself. “Can you push her wings into place?” Faith grunts the question as she shifts the creature’s body.
“Just leave it,” says Andy. “I’ll hack it up and burn it once—”
“No!” Faith shouts. She looks angry, then horrified. She finally settles on an expression somewhere between kicked puppy and guilty toddler. “She’s not dead.”
Instinct and muscle memory take over and Andy’s got her bowie knife in her hand. Faith drops the angel on the ground and stands over it to prevent Andy from slitting its throat.
“What the hell?” They don’t have time to do this right now. Andy needs to act while the thing can’t fight back.
The shuffle of boots on gravel distracts both sisters. Ava’s up and coming outside. She’s rubbing her head and has her other hand pressed against the side of the shack to support herself. “I told you not to call her,” says Ava.
“I thought we were dying,” snaps Faith.
“Well, you thought wrong, Doc,” says Ava.
Andy takes advantage of their engagement and lunges for the angel. She underestimates Faith’s reflexes. Andy’s on her back and Faith’s working to disarm her. She succeeds and pins Andy to the ground.
Jeremy Black taught his daughters well. If he were here, Andy’s sure he’d be proud to see Faith hasn’t forgotten her training.
Andy shakes her head. She can’t think about her dead dad right now.
“Andy,” Faith says her name like a warning, “I need you to be calm. I’ve got some things I need to explain, but first, I need you to help me get the angel in the van.” She releases Andy slowly, probably hesitant, not knowing what Andy will do next.
Andy glares but nods. She’s curious now. It’s not Faith’s fault she’s keeping secrets, the Black family is genetically predisposed to lie.
“We parked about a quarter of a mile down the road,” says Ava. “Can you two behave long enough for me to go get it?”
Faith looks at Andy.
“I’ll be good,” says Andy.
Ava leaves to bring their van up to the shack. They don’t speak while they wait for Ava. They’ve got a lot of shit to talk about but now just isn’t the time.
Instead, Andy starts a mental list of questions to ask Faith. She’ll bring them up once they’re back at Ava’s ranch and everybody’s got a drink in their hand. Faith had a lot of explaining to do before this shit show happened, and now Andy figures interrogating her will take the rest of the evening.
When Ava pulls up, Andy rolls her eyes. Of all the cars at Ava’s disposal, their ride is an ugly two-ton monstrosity of a creeper van. It’s white and only has front windows. Faith slides the door open and instructs Andy on the best way to situate the angel. Andy doesn’t need instructions. She knows how to handle possessed bodies. She shoves the angel’s wings in place and Faith snaps, “Be careful.”
Andy rolls her eyes but tries to be gentler with the other wing. She’s dismembered enough of these to know which parts go where. Their training shaped them. Faith’s a damn good doctor with a great marriage and an almost normal life. Andy’s just a psychopath.
Andy grips the large bone near the shoulder and, following Faith’s orders, carefully encourages the rest of the wing to fold at the joint. The angel twitches and Andy checks to make sure it’s still unconscious.
It has possessed a woman with dark hair who looks to be somewhere in her late 30s to early 40s. Andy makes sure to absorb her features so she can see if someone’s got a missing persons report out for the body. The human is beyond saving, and there’s nothing Andy can do if she left behind a grieving family. Still, Andy likes to know. It’s a habit she picked up from her father.
Now isn’t the time to think about that shit, though. It’s never the time. She focuses on the wing, and only then does she notice how badly both wings are damaged. They’re crusted with blood and pale skin peeks through where patches of feathers are missing. Andy stops pulling on the joint and runs her fingers down the length of the massive bone. It’s fractured in two places.
“Broken wing,” she says.
“Great,” mutters Faith. She pushes Andy aside and inspects it. Andy surrenders to her sister’s medical expertise. Faith sets the wing and gently folds it in place.
Andy doesn’t ask why she’s bothering to be so careful with a monster. She’s sure it’s a hell of a story. She keeps her mouth shut while they load the creature and secure it. Andy deserves a fucking medal for how patient she’s being.
They’re thirty minutes away from Ava’s. Andy tails behind them in her truck. Faith drives like she’s ninety. Andy grips the wheel a little tighter and curses under her breath.
They reach the ranch forty-five minutes later and Andy is again silent and obedient as they unload the angel. They set it down on a gurney that Ava apparently had waiting, then Faith turns to her.
“The cabins are clean.” Faith points across the lawn to a row of three guest cabins. “Pick one.”
Ava built them years ago when the ranch was a ranch instead of ground control for monster killers.
“Is that your way of telling me to beat it?” asks Andy, crossing her arms.
Faith sighs and suddenly looks ten years older. “Please. We’ll meet you over there in an hour.”
Andy bites her bottom lip and eyes her sister in a futile attempt to decode her. She fails, and surrenders. “Fine. See you in an hour.” She turns on her heels and goes to sulk in one of the cabins.
When she first found out what Faith did for a living, Andy pitched a massive fit. Angels and demons come from a dimension parallel to the human world. There’s a rip somewhere in the fabric between the worlds. Humans can’t find it, but monsters seem to know how to exploit it.
In theory there’s a war going on in the other dimension and the monsters come to the human world to get away. At least, that’s the lore Jeremy passed down to his daughters.
Angels and demons blend in for the most part and generally people don’t notice them. In fact, very few people know they exist. However, every now and then, someone spots something weird flying around. That’s where Andy comes in.
They can’t sustain their true forms here, so they possess humans—pose as people and prey on their life force.
It’s Andy’s job to know this shit. It’s her job to see the signs and kill the poor bastard the monster’s possessing. It’s impossible to save someone after possession.
Andy’s seen more than one occasion where a creature left the human alive, but the human still retained some of the creature’s power—almost like they were still tied together. It drives the victims mad. Possession means death. No exceptions.
That is, unless you’re Dr. Faith Black and Dr. Tristan Naser, and now apparently Ava Black. Faith and Tristan started a rehab facility in Oregon where they try to heal and help people after possession. They claim it works.
Andy’s just waiting for the inevitable day when Faith realizes their work has been an exercise in futility. If people could be saved, Jeremy would have found a way to save their mother. If people could be saved, Andy might be able to save her still. She can’t afford to think like that. Hope gets people killed. She takes another drink.
Andy and Faith were trained to trap and kill. They come from a long line of trappers on both sides of the family. It wasn’t unusual for trappers to marry each other. That life didn’t allow for outsiders.
Trappers were part of an ill-funded federal program, one that technically didn’t exist. Kids weren’t supposed to grow up as killing machines, but it wasn’t uncommon in their line of work. Andy and Faith weren’t the first children to learn how to vivisect an angel before they learned to drive.
She gives Faith and Ava half an hour to get comfortable before she sneaks back up to the main house. The door’s locked because Ava is the master of keeping secrets. It doesn’t matter. This isn’t the first time she’s been locked out of the house. It takes her three tries to guess the right code for the garage. The large metal door rumbles and groans as it slides up against the ceiling. Andy slips in and makes sure it shuts behind her. She’d be worried about the noise, but most of the rooms in the main house are soundproof. Ava relies on surveillance cams and her bizarrely accurate sixth sense to alert her to danger.
Andy’s pretty sure they took the angel down to the chop shop (lovingly named for the angels and demons that have been dismembered there) in the sublevel of the house. Last time Andy was down there she was a teenager.
She gets into the house via the door connecting the kitchen to the garage. She creeps through the halls trying not to think about how long it’s been since she’s been inside. Faith was sixteen when she put her foot down and refused to go back with her family. Andy had just finished packing her duffel into the truck when she heard Jeremy and Ava shouting. Faith had been standing behind Ava, cheeks burning red and tears in her eyes, but the way she was staring at Jeremy… It was like she’d decided her father was the devil incarnate.
Jeremy and Andy left without Faith. That was about twenty years ago. Ava gave them regular updates and the four of them would meet up on the road every now and then, but Jeremy never went back to the ranch. Faith went to med school. Ava and Andy went to her graduation. Jeremy showed up for dinner but didn’t stay long. As far as Andy knew, that was the last time Faith saw their father.
Andy rubs a hand over her face. This place always has this effect on her. It’s always like coming back to a home she was never allowed to want. She finds the basement and is careful going down the stairs. She can’t remember which ones creak. Once she’s finally down in the dark, musty underbelly of the house, she hears a door slam and Ava lets out a string of obscenities.
“That little bitch bit me,” says Ava. She sounds shocked, pissed, and downright offended.
“I told you not to touch her,” says Faith.
Ava mutters something back in response.
Andy sneaks closer until she can see them standing in the pale fluorescent light outside of the entrance to the chop shop. A heavy-looking metal door and seven locks secure the room. Clearly Ava has done some upgrades.
“I thought she’d be angrier,” says Faith.
“At least she’s talking to us,” grumbles Ava. Faith’s tending to her hand. “We’ll need to get Tristan down here to check out her mental state.”
Faith laughs. “I think we know her mental state.”
Andy rolls her eyes. They’re wasting time. There’s no reason to delve into the angel’s mind. They need to kill it and be done.
“I’m trying to be serious,” says Ava. “She’s been through a lot since your daddy died. Hell, she’d been through a lot before that. You both have.”
Andy frowns. They’re talking about her and not the angel.
“I know,” says Faith. She lets out her breath in a puff. “I shouldn’t have left them.”
Ava yanks her hand back and finishes wrapping the gauze on her own. “What’d I tell you about thinking like that? It’s survivor’s guilt. You got out and you’re better off for it. Jeremy didn’t do Andy any favors. Not that she’s broken. She’s still pretty hardy.”
Faith nods. “I know. She’s strong. I just worry about her.”
Ava puts a hand on Faith’s shoulder. “You can stop worrying. We’ve got her back. It was my mistake letting her go the first time, not yours. I’d be a fool to let her wander off again.”
After a moment of silence, Faith says, “She’s going to hate me when she finds out.”
Ava rolls her eyes. “News flash. Andy’s not capable of hating you. It’s going to take her a while to understand, but she will. Hell, you convinced me, didn’t you?”
Faith nods and seems to feel better.
Andy feels a stab of guilt for not being the one to comfort her sister. How many times in the past has Faith needed a friend and Andy’s not been there for her? How many times has Faith been upset and Andy didn’t know because she was too far away, or too busy to pick up her phone?
Andy pulls a flask from her pocket and takes a nice, deep pull. Whiskey can’t heal, but it sure as hell helps the pain. It’s her own fault Faith doesn’t feel comfortable talking to her. Andy’s an abrasive, stubborn, monster-killing, son of a bitch. Faith’s a compassionate, fearless, healer.
Suddenly, something crashes into the door of the chop shop from the inside.
Faith looks to the door, then looks to Ava. Andy decides to come out from hiding.
Faith sees her first. “I told you to wait.”
“I did wait,” says Andy.
“It hasn’t been an hour,” says Faith, glancing at her watch. “How long have you been standing there?”
“Long enough to know you two need help,” answers Andy.
“As much as I hate to admit it,” says Ava, “you’re right. We could use your help on this one.”
“We don’t need help,” says Faith.
Ava shakes her head. “You know humans but your sister knows angels. We’re not going to get anywhere unless we can figure out a way to talk to this one.”
“Is it mute or something?” asks Andy.
Faith raises an eyebrow. “No. Angels can’t speak in human form, and I don’t know their language well enough to write to it.”
Andy rolls her eyes. It’s like amateur hour. Monsters can speak, most choose not to around humans. “So, you want me to get in there and kill the angel, but save the human?”
“It’s a little more complicated than that,” says Faith slowly. “I don’t think that’s a human.”
“Not right now it isn’t,” says Andy. She knows Faith is already feeling vulnerable. She should be nicer. She should be a lot of things she isn’t.
“It’s a hybrid,” says Ava, apparently tired of pussyfooting around the issue. “There’s not a human to save and there’s no angel hiding under that skin. We’re looking at something I’ve never seen before, and frankly, didn’t think was possible.”
“But,” says Andy, “you don’t know for sure because you can’t talk to it.”
“Why do you think it’s a hybrid?”
She’s heard rumors of otherworldly beings mating with humans to create something new. But she’s never seen it before and figured it was just a tall tale designed to keep trappers hypervigilant.
“Her powers are weaker than they should be,” says Faith, “even though she’s injured. And when we found her, she had…She was in bad shape. Her wings were…” She chokes again so Ava takes over.
“Somebody captured her,” says Ava. “I think she was a pet or something.” The disgust is obvious in her voice. “They had her caged. We found a journal with her with all kinds of records from blood tests and x-rays and physical exams. We’re pretty sure she’s at least partially human.”
“And,” says Faith, “her wings don’t disappear. So, either she’s something new or she’s a hybrid.”
“Hybrids are a myth,” says Andy.
“Actually,” begins Faith, and Andy just hates it when her sister gets that tone, “genetically speaking it is possible; it’s just not common.”
Andy’s too tired for this shit and her brain’s too busy trying to keep her memories at bay. She shrugs. “Okay then. What do you want me to do?”
“She’s restrained,” says Faith. “We were hoping you could go in and see if you can figure out a way to communicate with her. She’s pretty freaked out, but I think she’s stopped throwing things. I really need to check on her wounds or I don’t think she’s going to last much longer.”
“Fine,” says Andy. “But if I do this, I do it alone.”
“No—” Faith protests.
“Deal,” Ava says. “But you can’t kill her and you can’t hurt her. You’ve got to trust your sister on this one.”
“Whatever. I’ll be back in a second.”
She goes to her car and retrieves a Kevlar vest, her bowie knife, a handgun, and a bottle full of the concoction her dad called “holy water.” It’s basically acid, but Andy can’t remember how exactly he created it. She’s got the recipe somewhere. She spilled some on her boots once. The liquid hissed, bubbled, then ate through the leather before Andy had a chance to get her foot out. She ended up with third-degree burns and she’s still got the scar.
Sufficiently armored up, she returns to the chop shop. Faith is obviously reluctant, but she lets Andy go in alone and shuts the door behind her. The first thing Andy realizes is that the chop shop is no longer a chop shop—it’s a goddamn recovery room.
Andy rolls her eyes. If Jeremy knew about this, he’d never let Ava live it down. They used to come here to dissect and dispose of creatures, not host them like it’s a B&B. There’s a bed instead of a table. The walls are covered in pictures and charts instead of knives. The water hose is a makeshift shower and there’s even a stall for the toilet. Andy snorts. The term “creature comforts” has never been truer.
The angel is sitting on the back corner of the bed, withdrawn, and tucked against the wall with its wings pulled forward around its shoulders. It looks submissive, but the wings twitch and give it away. It’s prepared to attack and defend. It’s in bad shape, but Andy can’t afford to underestimate it. She approaches slowly.
“Those two knuckleheads outside think you can’t talk,” says Andy. She pulls a small notebook and a pen out of her pocket and scribbles something down in Enochian, the language of monsters. Andy is by no means fluent in the language, but she knows enough to get by. “I know better. I’ve heard your kind speak before.”
The angel’s eyes are a deep, dark brown, and they follow Andy’s every move.
“What do you call yourself?” asks Andy.
The angel doesn’t answer.
Andy approaches the bed slowly. She can see the angel’s restrained to the bed frame. She sets the note down in front of it. “You don’t have to answer. A little bird tells me you’re part-human, part-angel, so for now, you can just be Monster.”
As Andy backs away, the angel lunges and that’s exactly what she was hoping would happen. She gets her knife out first. If the angel attacks her, she can kill it, claim self-defense and Faith won’t be able to say jack shit about it.
Turns out, the angel must have broken free of its restraints after Faith and Ava left, because the chains aren’t attached to the bed anymore. It tackles Andy to the ground, and she can tell it’s using every ounce of strength it has left to try and kill her.
It knocks the knife from her hand but fails to do much more. It’s much stronger than it looked when she first saw it, but in the end it’s not enough.
Andy delivers a few well-placed right hooks and the angel crumples.
It lands on its broken wing and hisses in pain. It starts to push itself back up and manages to get up on its knees, but it’s too weak. It’s bleeding, bruised, and exhausted. It stares at the floor while Andy reaches for her gun.
Bullets can’t kill an angel in its real form, but when they’re bound to a body, they’re vulnerable. This thing isn’t human, not according to Faith. Andy can shoot it and not have to worry about the residual guilt of taking an innocent life.
Andy stalks around to stand in front of the creature. Its wings hang down, uncomfortably bent with its body so low on the floor. It takes several deep breaths, then slowly raises its head to meet Andy’s gaze.
Her hand itches on the trigger, but Andy can’t bring herself to shoot. Something about the fucking look the angel is giving her throws her off. It lost the fight. It knows it lost and it’s ashamed. It knows it can’t win and it’s just ready for this to be over. It’s tired, broken, and defeated on a level Andy isn’t sure she understands. Then again, maybe she does. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t kill it.
It’s staring at her. Its eyes are too human. They don’t glow and they aren’t an otherworldly color. They’re just deep and pleading.
She lowers the gun and backs away from the angel. She can’t look into those eyes anymore. They’re hopeless and Andy’s own hopelessness is reflected in them. She grabs her knife from the floor, makes sure her other weapons are secure, then hurries out of the room.
Faith is on her the minute she emerges. “Well?”
“That thing has death wish,” says Andy. “Best thing you can do is put it out of its misery.” She doesn’t know why she says that. It’s not like she had the courage to kill it.
Faith starts to pry, but Andy doesn’t want to talk right now—can’t talk right now. She leaves without another word and retreats to her cabin where a bottle of liquor is waiting for her.