I'm going to get myself killed...
With a sigh, he followed after Susan.
"Are you crazy?" he asked in a hushed voice when he caught up to her, carefully taking her arm to keep her from going further. "This is how people get killed in horror movies: by wandering off alone."
"Well, I'm not alone now," the photographer said with a shrug and started walking again, despite his hold. "And besides, this isn't a horror movie. This is real life."
"Yeah, a real life with angels and seven deadly sins running around."
"I'll believe it when I see it. Come on, scaredy cat..."
Nathan groaned as she pulled away, but continued to follow, not wanting to risk wandering back and trying to find Micah when he had no idea where he'd gone. Instead, he pulled his cell phone from his pocket, pulling up the whitest image he had stored on it (one of the sample pictures) and used it as a flashlight, just like Susan was. At least she'd had one good idea.
It didn't take long for Nathan to hear the noise that had caught her attention in the first place: a rustling sound, like something very light being shifted about. It didn't sound threatening, but it was definitely odd and out of place. The area also seemed to be getting less dark the further they went. Whereas before everything beyond the digital glow of their phones was nothing but unidentifiable blocky shapes of darkness, now Nathan was able to pick out distinct forms, like a post, some shelves, and some disturbing equipment that probably went out of use for a very good reason. "Okay, this might not be a horror film, but why did they have to choose the creepiest fucking place for a hideout?"
Susan didn't answer him.
The flash of panic that washed over Nathan when she didn't respond was only barely eased when he saw her running ahead, towards a small square of light that explained the decreasing darkness. Torn between exasperation and fear, he nevertheless ran after her. "Hey! Stop running off! It's bad enough you... um..."
She had come to a dead stop, her hands pressed on either side of the small glass window where the light spilled out into the warehouse. It was set into a heavy metal door that looked like it belonged to a walk in freezer, and the photographer stared inside, wide-eyed and unblinking. Cautiously, Nathan tapped her shoulder. "Susan?"
Slowly, she turned her head, the artificial light illuminating her face and frightened, violet eyes. "I believe it."
Nathan gently moved her aside to look in and see what she had seen. His breath caught as he held back a gasp. "Fucking hell... Alton."
The room was definitely a freezer: even though it had been stripped of all but the essentials, the coat of ice and frost in the corners and the steady puffs of breath from the figures inside showed it was still completely functional and running. Alton sat in the middle of the floor, surrounded by a circle that looked like it had been carved deep into the concrete. Unlike like the arcane circles Nathan had seen before, this one was exceedingly elaborate, the runes and sigils extending outwards all the way across the room and inching up the sides of the walls. All carved in. He could easily guess that this time, the Sins had taken extra care to make sure it couldn't be broken. As for Alton, he was in his normal attire, but the reason Susan had uttered those three little words of realization was clear: he had brought out his wings.
Nathan had seen both Gabriel and Michael's wings before, so he shouldn't have been shocked, but Alton's were distinctly different from the other angels'. His wings were black: darker than the shadowy corners of the warehouse for sure, so dark they seemed to drink in the light from the fluorescent tubes overhead. When he ruffled them, Nathan recognized it as the sound they'd heard, and while one was folded on his back, the other was wrapped slightly around him, shielding part of his body from view. It was only then that the writer realized Alton was holding someone in his arms. Nathan banged on the glass. "Hey! Alton!"
The bookseller slowly lifted his gaze, his brilliant blue eyes glowing through the frames of his glasses. Some of his glamour had dropped. He sighed, shaking his head as he looked out at Nathan. "You shouldn't be here..."
"Damn," Susan muttered, holding her phone over the handle of the freezer door as she shook it. "It's locked." She looked up, biting her lip. "What do we do?"
Nathan shrugged as he looked back in at the angel. "I don't know..."
"You have to leave," Alton warned, his brows knotting. "If you've gotten this far, you don't have much time left. You. Must. Leave."
"Why?" He had already started looking for something to break the lock. "We need to get you out of there. Whatever it is they want..."
"No, Nathan! You don't understand, and there's no time to explain! You have to get out of this place before you're in danger! Go!"
He seems panicked, but I have a bad feeling that if I leave him, something worse is going to happen. I just know it. Why doesn't he want me to help? After everything else, why is he trying to stop me now? Something's not right, but I don't know if it's because he's right and I should run, or if it's because there's something more going on here.
What should I do?