A child's life is at risk. That should be my priority.
Nathan swallowed the bile in his throat, forcing himself to look at the two angels. Gabriel had already gotten most of the hooks out, but the gaping holes in Lumiel's wings still oozed with blood. The writer held a fist over his mouth to help keep down the queasiness until he could manage to speak again. "I'll go help Michael," he muttered quickly, then started to leave. He stopped. "You're going to heal him, right?" Stupid question, Nathan thought, but he was surprised to see Gabriel shaking his head.
"I wish I could."
Before he could ask, nausea overwhelmed him and he took several steps back, turning and vomiting on the floor. The smell made everything worse, and Nathan closed his eyes to ignore the disgusting mixture of blood and puke spread around him He heard Gabriel sigh and then felt a hand on his shoulder. Instantly, he tensed and jerked around, but the angel held up his finger. "Shh," he whispered, red eyes glowing softly as he pressed his hand to Nathan's lips. "You've nothing to fear from me, Nathan. I have my other job back." He gave him a thin and weary smile, and suddenly the writer no longer felt sick. The putrid odor of the mess in the room still hung thickly in the air, but it didn't bother him anymore. He looked at his shoulder; the stitches were still there, but the wound was fully closed and healed.
"Now go," Gabriel commanded gently. "And remember, if you really want to help him, you can."
Nathan didn't ask any more questions and simply nodded, heading to the only door. He made one more glance back at the angels while Gabriel removed the last of the hooks, but left the room quickly, hoping they'd both be alright.
It felt like ages before Nathan found a place that seemed familiar. He was glad to find his phone still in his pocket, as the dim light of the screen was the only thing allowing him to see in the decrepit place. He reached the room they'd found Wren in and quickly hurried past it, trying to ignore the tacky, half-dried blood smeared across the ground. Had they gotten out? Did Wren make it? Was Susan able to get them both to safety? A chill ran down his back, reminding him his sweater was gone, and he pushed onward. Michael wouldn't be too far now, and he picked up his pace as much as he could. There was a lot to tell him: Lumiel was alive, but very injured; Gabriel was his guardian again; and Wren and Susan were (hopefully) out of the factory. And to think this had started when they'd gone in search of a key...
Nathan froze in his tracks.
"Shit." Nathan had completely forgotten about the key Micah had asked them to find, the one that would let them open the door to the freezer. It was the only way he was going to be able to help him. When they'd found Wren, that became their new priority, and then everything had spiraled downward from there. Nathan cursed again, rubbing his hand across his face. The key. He'd been asked to do one simple thing, and he hadn't. He had failed.
How was he supposed to help now? The poor kid... how long had he been gone anyway? Gabriel said that he was still alive, but he didn't know how much time he had...
"No," Nathan muttered to himself. He couldn't think like that. Both angels had said if he wanted to help, he could, and that's what he had to do. He started forward again. He had to help Micah; he would help Micah. Somehow, he would. Finding the key had been his mission; maybe there was still something he could do. Hell, maybe he still had time to find the key...
The odd clink his foot made when he stepped down made him pause again as he was filled with a brief rush of hope. No way. He braced himself for disappointment and slowly lifted his toe. It couldn't have been that easy.
Sure enough, beneath his foot was the very thing he had been looking for. "No fucking way," Nathan breathed as he bent to pick up the small object. It was about the right size, and looked like it might go to something like a freezer door. Had it just been laying on the floor the entire time? Nathan looked up. In the darkness, he could see the point of light he knew was the freezer. They had to have walked right by it the first time.
Finding it now was just way too convenient, but he wasn't about to question it. He pocketed the key and hurried back to the freezer.
"What happened?" Micah was sitting on the floor, leaning back against the door when Nathan reached him, and he didn't even look up when he asked his question, his gold eyes still glowing and staring off into the darkness. "I heard the screams. You must have found the teen. What happened?"
"I'll explain later," Nathan said, digging the key out of his pocket and nudging Micah, trying to get him to move out from in front of the door. "Gabriel said he doesn't know how much time we have."
The angel stood, but was slow to move from his post. "I could not leave. I was grateful you did not summon me, but..." His eyes fell on the key while Nathan tried to fit it in the lock and suddenly widened. "You found it?"
"Just now." The writer held his breath until the key slid into the lock, releasing it only when he realized it was a perfect fit. Looking through the glass, he could see that the boy had moved, curling on his other side to keep warm, but he was extremely pale and shaking more violently than before. Nathan didn't hesitate to unlock the door and throw it open.
Immediately, Micah pushed him aside and tried to rush in and reach his charge, only for the elaborate circle on the ground to flare up with light. The moment the angel's foot touched the edge he was hurled across the room and into the same pillar he'd been thrown into before. Micah growled as he rose to his feet, staring desperately into the open freezer. "You will have to pull him out, Nathan. I... I can't cross the barrier."
Nathan nodded, but as he stepped up to the door, something didn't feel right. The sudden sense of dread that raced through him made him shiver more than the frigged air that rolled out from the freezer.
I don't know why, but something's wrong here. I know the barrier won't let him pass through, and someone needs to get this kid out of here, but... I just get the feeling that something isn't quite right about this. Maybe it's just my nerves about everything that's happened, but... what should I do?