Lucifer is fed up with humanity. He created hell to deter evil, but man’s inhumanity is only escalating. He just wants to return home to heaven, but ever since that little problem in the Garden of Eden, the Pearly Gates remain firmly shut to him. It doesn’t help that he’s the first vampire, an abomination in God’s sight.
Fortunately, two thousand years ago Lucifer’s estranged brother, Jesus, gave him a prophecy. To fulfill it, all Lucifer has to do is find the right artist, study her artwork and the path back to heaven will be revealed. The artist even bears a symbol so he knows who she is. Too bad she is murdered every time he finds her.
Janie’s a frustrated artist and college art teacher who wants two things—a guy she can show her paintings to and a night without nightmares. Each nightmare plagues her until she paints it. She doesn’t realize these paintings are key to unlocking her destiny, one that could redeem the original fallen angel.
“Where’s Eve?” Lucifer shouted. The columns shook, but remained standing. He balled his fists until talons pierced his palms and blood ran down his hands.
“With Adam in Sumeria.” God warmed his hands by the fire.
“What will happen to Eve?” Quiet resignation filled his words, though his thoughts were spinning a mile a minute.
“You don’t care what happens to Adam. They both ate the fruit.” God shook his head and turned around. “They suffer for their disobedience.”
Eve’s scream squeezed around Lucifer’s heart, making it stop. He covered his ears and shut his eyes. In the dark, she collapsed. He leaped up.
“Punish me.” He could better withstand God’s wrath than Eve. He promised her he wouldn’t let anyone hurt her, including God. Maybe especially God.
“They expect to be punished. If they are not, they will not learn anything.” With a wave, the pedestals righted.
“You lied.” Lucifer stood in God’s face. “The fruit did not kill them.”
“That isn’t what I told them. I said if they ate the fruit, they would die. I did not say when.” God placed his hand on Lucifer’s shoulder. “I told them what they were ready for, just like heaven is being made in an image they can understand.”
“Adam gets that big palace.” It was an accusation more than a statement. “I named the angels. Heaven should be mine. I am a far more benevolent master.”
God’s laughter made Lucifer’s talons grow longer. The edges of the world turned red.
“The palace is for me. They expect their creator to be exalted.”
“What will happen to Eve?” Lucifer could still help her, somehow circumvent God’s punishment or at least mitigate it. He would find a way to take it for her.
“They have been expelled from Eden. By the sweat of Adam’s brow shall he get bread to eat. In pain shall Eve bring forth children.”
Eve in pain? He didn’t know what was worse. Eve in pain, or having Adam’s children.
“So because they expect it, Eve must suffer. That is wrong.” The words were directed at himself as much as they were to God. If only he had left Eve alone.
“Wrong.” Another power word, one that tasted similar to justice.
“That is not for you to determine.” God’s eyes swirled gold, and a pulsing white aura surrounded him.
Lucifer recoiled and shielded his eyes.
Not for him to determine? That’s exactly what he’d done. He turned his back on God and scratched his head. Wrong. Justice. These were words that made no sense yesterday. Now they were power words.
Justice. Friend. Wrong. Strong words demanding strong action, even if that action was against God.
He froze. Against God. Abba. His heavenly father. A voice inside him cried. A louder voice spurred him on. He was the only one who could protect Eve. His heart beat strong and steady. At his feet the Sword of Justice glinted in the firelight.
Keeping Eve in Eden was definitely an act of justice.
In one smooth motion, he kicked up the sword, grabbed it, raised it above his head, and plunged it through God’s back into his heart. He twisted the sword, and God slid down into a crumpled heap at Lucifer’s feet.
“Now it is.” Lucifer held the sword above his head. It didn’t ignite. Who cared? Justice had been served. Little did God know the sword he’d created would be his death.
Eve appeared next to Lucifer. He couldn’t contain his joy. Now they would fashion the universe how they wanted.
She touched the sword with one delicate finger. Blue flame consumed the hilt, and he dropped it. Before it hit the ground, it disappeared.
“You are not ready for this.” Eve/God’s thoughts held a tinge of disappointment.
Lucifer appeared outside of heaven. A high wall of the same gleaming material as the palace formed around heaven. Eve appeared behind an open gate. Its gleaming bars stretched up and down into infinity until up became down and down became up. It swung shut.
He raced for it, but was too late. The clang echoed in his soul, and he collapsed to his knees.
“You are no longer an angel. You don’t belong in heaven. You must find your way home.” God turned away.
“What am I?” Lucifer rose and sent a burst of energy at the gate. It remained shut.
“Am I human?” His soul bled at the question and darkness surrounded him. As a human he had nothing to offer Eve. He couldn’t protect her. He couldn’t create another Eden for her. She would beget Adam’s children in pain. Lucifer cringed.
Eve/God appeared next to him and traced three triangles above his heart, each attached to the other two at the corners of its base to form a fourth triangle in the center. They burned, and he screamed until his voice was raw. He collapsed and gulped fire.
Standing above him, God laid her hand on his shoulders. Pain shot down his back. He reached around, and his hands passed through wings of fire. God ran her hand along his arms. His skin itched, and then burned, as it morphed into swirling red, orange and yellow. With sweat pouring down his face, he allowed God to help him up.
“Your re-creation occurred in fire. This is now your true form. To maintain your angelic powers, you must feed on the intense energy of fire.” A ball of fire appeared on God’s outstretched hand. She shoved this into his heart.
A sharp pain stole his breath, but Lucifer refused to collapse again. He grit his teeth, and his entire body shook.
“What am I?” He stared at his arms.
“To maintain free will, you must drink the blood of humanity every three generations.”
“What am I?” he shouted toward the center of heaven.