Excerpt #2 for The Innocent by Michelle K. Pickett:
I Googled the names of the four brothers. Jord translated to earth, Brann translated to fire, Himmel translated to sky, and Vann translated to water.
That doesn’t sound good. A fire demon? Crap, regular demons are bad enough. Now we have a fire demon? Great. He sounds like a blast at parties.
“And an earth demon. That’s what the goblins meant when they said the tree was a game and I wasn’t supposed to get here. That tree was meant for me. Jord, or whatever his freakin’ name is, tried to bounce that tree on my car. Damn demons. I’m so sick of them.” I dropped my head in my hands and fisted my hands in my hair.
“Milayna? Are you okay?” my mom called from the hall outside my bedroom door.
“Well, you’re talking to yourself in there. Just wondering.”
I laughed. “I’m fine.”
I wasn’t fine. I’d just learned Ben and I had not one, but five demons after us. And four of them controlled the elements.
Life sucked sometimes… but demons sucked monkey balls all the time.
I grabbed my cell and tapped out a text.
Me: Xavier, have you heard of the Four Brothers?
He didn’t reply. Seconds went by. I didn’t think he was going to answer me. When my phone finally dinged that I had a text message, I jumped.
Xavier: I’m coming over. Be there in ten.
“Where’d you hear about the Four Brothers?” Xavier asked me as soon as I opened the front door.
“Hi to you too.”
“Sorry. Hi. Where did you hear about them?” He ran his hand through his hair.
“My grandmother.” I stepped back and looked up at him. “Why?
What do you know?”
“Just rumors, old legends. They’re supposed to be a group of fallen angels. They each control an element—”
“Fire, sky, earth, and water.”
“Right. Supposedly, they can make the element they control do whatever they want it to.”
“So this Jord guy, he could cause a tree to fall?”
“Geez, Milayna, you know them by name?” He ran a hand across the back of his neck and swore under his breath. “I guess so.”
“The hobgoblins said the tree was for me.”
“When I was driving home, a tree fell across the road. I had a vision that it would hit the car in front of me. It was actually meant for me according to the hobgoblins. They said it was a game. That I wasn’t supposed to get home. That I was a… a problem to be dealt with.”
I waved his words away with a huff of exasperation. “I know, Azazel can’t touch me. But other demons can. Abaddon could. And…”
“And what, Milayna?” he urged when I didn’t continue.
“And Azazel can hurt my family.” I pinched the bridge of my nose against the headache I’d felt building all day. “I think he’s after Benjamin.”
“Benjamin is in a protective state until the year of his eighteenth birthday.” He leaned against the doorjamb, one arm stretched above his head.
I shook my head. “He hasn’t reached the age of accountability yet.”
Xavier sucked in a breath. “You’re sure?”
“Pretty sure.” I said, rolling the hem of my T-shirt around my finger.
That one word scared me. It told me everything my father said was true. Not that I didn’t believe him—I’d just hoped he was wrong.
“Benjamin is in trouble, isn’t he? He’s vulnerable to Azazel and his demons.”
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