Harold watched his lover and child as they progressed through the room.
Gillian held her daughter's hand as she danced through the rows of stiff, silent figures, the polished steel of their skeletal faces reflecting the overhead lights and making them appear to watch them. Lucy pulled out their spirits as she passed each one, the flaccid worms falling from her hands onto the concrete floor and sinking like maggots thrown on the surface of a canal.
Harold kept a tally of his daughter's progress, shifting position slightly to keep the pair of them in sight. “Three to go, two, last one...done. Phew.” He let out his pent-up anxiety in a heavy exhalation and turned to Dill. “How many of these storage rooms are there?”
“Seven.” Dill's voice was hollow, the spirit of Sam speaking through his temporary host. “Plus an eighth that's only partially completed. I commend you on your efficiency. I had envisioned removing the cubes from each homunculus to render them inoperative.”
“Luck of the draw, really.” Harold watched his daughter play with the last spirit she'd extracted. Instead of releasing it she was moulding it like plasticine, pressing the ectoplasm into flattened worms with her thumbs. “Who knew the child of two half-demons would be an angel?”
“Genetic probability?” Sam's tongue clicked as he performed mental calculations. “The angelic genome is present in all nephilim, so the likelihood of an angel being born as a product of two of them is always a possibility. The probability will depend upon the strength of the angelic DNA and the compatibility of the two species copulating.”
“Or she could have been human.”
“Indeed. Conversely, since demons and angels have identical DNA but for minor cosmetic differences, her appellation as an angel might be a misnomer. She may equally mature into a demon.”
“I'll take the risk.” Harold looked up ad Gillian and his daughter approached. Gillian picked her up. “Well done, Lucy. What have you got there?”
“It's for you, Daddy.” She held out the manipulated spirit. She'd pressed it into the resemblance of a rose, grey folds of its essence still pulsing with what and making the flower shiver. Harold wondered who the spirit had been when they were human, and if they would have been happy with their eventual fate.
“Thank you, darling.” Harold bent to kiss the top of her head. “What a lovely gift.”
He turned to face Sam. “Still think she'll turn out as you projected?” He smiled, holding out the twisted soul. “Never underestimate the importance of a rose.”