Gabriel. Broken. Lonely. Scarred. Delusional?
Abaddon. Lord of Locusts. Master of the Bottomless Pit. Angel of Destruction and Vengeance… But is he real?
After a psychotic episode in his childhood, Gabriel is left shattered and unable to join society. Trapped in the orphanage he grew up in, he is plagued by nightmares of events that never happened, events that left him scarred, flinching at touch and achingly lonely.
Until one day he decides on a whim to not take his meds.
Born from a cold womb in the ground, Abaddon awakens to the world with one goal: to destroy a cult that commits blasphemous crimes in his name. What he doesn’t expect is meeting a boy who survived one of their rituals.
That is when God reveals Abaddon’s true purpose. He shall protect the boy from the vultures circling him and avenge his pain. He shall take Gabriel under his wing and provide all the love and affection the boy never got to experience.
As they set out to hunt the monsters together, Gabriel entrusts his body and soul to his beautiful guardian angel, yet he can’t stop questioning whether Abaddon is real or just a creation of his touch-starved mind.
Either way, vengeance has begun to cut through the cultists with its scythe, and there is no turning back, no matter how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Themes: opposites attract, hurt/comfort, size difference, angst, childhood trauma and abuse, mental health, self-harm, deception, mindf*ck, occult, gaslighting, revenge, torture, blasphemy, orphanage, cults
Genre: Dark, thriller M/M romance
Length: ~ 86,000 words (Standalone)
WARNING: This book contains adult content that might be considered offensive. Strong language, violence, torture, and explicit scenes. Reader discretion advised. Not for the fainthearted.
Virtuous Sinners is a collection of gay romance stories that center on killers who are guided by a virtuous code. These dark novels are connected only by theme and can be read standalone.
The killer’s virtue in “I Am God’s Dagger”: Piety
The morning air struck Gabriel as cold, so he put on a hoodie for the brief walk through the garden at the back of the orphanage. The building had been erected in the nineteenth century, and drafts seemed to always course through the numerous corridors, as if a crypt had opened somewhere underneath, sending freezing air to warn those still living. But after twenty-two years, the chill was as familiar to him as the scent of holy water in the chapel.
He exhaled a cloud of vapor as soon as he set his feet outside, but the garden was only a few moments’ walk away, so he stuffed his hands down his pockets and jogged toward the fields and orchards on the other side of the vast mansion of red brick. It was unusual to see anyone else outside this early, but his mouth stretched when he noticed a silhouette in a red beret scooting between patches of asparagus.
The older woman turned her head toward him, as if spooked, but then raised her hand in greeting and got to her feet, holding a bunch of cut stalks. The early morning sun made her brown skin shine and appear more youthful than it was. “It’s gonna be a beautiful day,” she said, pointing to the cloudless sky.
“I might end up spending most of it in the kitchen, but first I need to get some rhubarb for today’s dessert.”
He looked to the grand old-timey greenhouse standing not far away. It had an ornamental white skeleton, reminding everyone that the mansion and grounds had an upper-class pedigree. Mrs. Knight once expressed the view that the orphanage should honor its heritage by being renamed after Adam, Mrs. Benson’s son, who tragically died so young, but considering that Gabriel still lived at St. John’s, the idea hadn’t taken hold.
“Sounds fabulous!” Mrs. Knight said and put the asparagus into a woven basket she’d owned since Gabriel could remember. Back in the day, she always kept it on her desk, and when he had a bad day, she would reach into it and offer him a fruit. Or a piece of candy to make his young life slightly more bearable.
To this day, she was the closest to a mother he’d ever had.
“Would you like me to bring you some later?” Gabriel asked, but a yawn pushed at his lips nevertheless.
“I’ll gladly have some with you in the afternoon.” Her wrinkles deepened when she smiled, but while age showed on her face, she still stood as straight as a much younger woman, and laughed like one too. Some days, Gabriel pretended she was his real mom, and that he hadn’t really been abandoned at the gates of St. John’s. “Unless the aliens abduct me.”
When Gabriel failed to catch the joke, she pointed to his T-shirt with the X-Files quote I want to believe. He snorted and pushed some off his longish dark hair out of his face. “We don’t know what’s out there, Mrs. Knight.”
She shook her head and got back to the vegetables. “As long as you don’t mess with the spirit world, I’m leaving you to it.”
Gabriel walked off, more thoughtful than usual. As much as he ‘wanted to believe’, no paranormal creatures, let alone God, had ever answered his prayers, so he’d stick with the shows and movies he managed to get on DVD instead of dreaming up fantasies. Dr. Rogers didn’t approve even of those, claiming too much sci-fi could cause his brain to become overactive.
But Dr. Rogers couldn’t monitor what Gabriel did in his own apartment, so he binged on movies that helped him forget the miserable nature of his reality as often as he wanted. He might never get to see the gorgeous vistas of the world or fall in love, but nobody could keep him from dreaming.
Struck by a sudden pang of hunger, Gabriel decided to pick some apricots for his breakfast too. The greenhouse was warm and smelled of the plants occupying its entire length. He liked spending his time here, especially past sundown, when nobody looked for him. When he closed his eyes while biting into a piece of clementine, he could occasionally fool himself into thinking he’d been magically transported from rural Pennsylvania straight to the sunny South of France where there were no walls to keep him from walking to the nearest beach and feeling the cool waves on his feet.
But it was morning, and he didn’t have time to daydream before work, so he collected the produce he needed and headed toward the low building at the back of the imposing orphanage. Apparently, back in the day, wealthy people didn’t want their homes to smell of food from the kitchen, and therefore in houses as great as this one used to be, the cooking facilities would be separated from living quarters. After the mansion’s transformation from a private residence, though, the kitchen and laundry had been attached to the main house with an indoor passage.
Adjusting the jute bag of fruit on his shoulder, Gabriel approached a door in the middle of the corridor stretching between the two buildings and opened it with his key. The clang of falling pots or pans made him stall halfway in. Mr. Watson must have made some kind of mistake, and would be in a foul mood. They didn’t love each other’s company on the best of days, let alone those when the cook drank too much.
Gabriel dragged his feet along the dark tiles, putting off the inevitable meeting, but a scream sounding more like peril than frustration, made the hairs on his nape bristle. Mr. Watson might be another figure from Gabriel’s nightmares, but past delusions wouldn’t keep Gabriel from helping the poor man.
He rushed to the kitchen, slamming the door open, and was momentarily blinded by the golden rays streaming in through a small window. He froze, hit by the scent of oil, bacon… and blood.
Red spots dotted a stainless steel counter, but as he took a deep breath, a tall shadow turned to face him while the halo around him became spell-bindingly bright. Long, tangled hair floated through the air as eyes the color of rain settled on Gabriel, spotlighted by a reflection of the sunshine.
This stranger didn’t belong here, but time stretched like dough fed with yeast, and Gabriel couldn’t make himself look away from the apparition in stunned wonder. The man wore a plain black T-shirt and jeans, both stained with brown streaks of mud as if he’d been wrestling someone in a patch of dirt. Strange tattoos crawled from under the fabric, covering his arms and neck, but while a sense of primal dread overcame Gabriel as he took in the infernal black-and-white designs, he didn’t realize why his body reacted so strongly.
Until his mind registered the blood staining the stranger’s hands.
Gabriel’s gaze drifted to the floor where Mr. Watson lay in a dark red puddle.
A part of him wanted to help the cook and drag him out of here, but the poor man was already gone, and what Gabriel needed to do was run. Run. Run!
He sucked in air, about to spin on his heel and dart toward the main building when the stormy-eyed stranger appeared in front of him out of nowhere, as if he’d crossed half the kitchen within a single heartbeat. A large hand closed on Gabriel’s throat, slammed him at the wall, and then, breathing was no longer an option when his feet left the floor.
The edges of Gabriel’s vision blurred as he grabbed the thick wrist in an attempt to save himself, but he was growing weak fast. And yet, he wasn’t sorry about leaving this life. The only regret he could think of was that he’d dropped the rhubarb, and with the cook dead, there would be no one to make the kids’ dessert.