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Authors: Michael Dean

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BOOK: Burn (Drift Book 3)
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The crowd gasped at the sight of their ruler smashing into the ground like a flapjack.
I reappeared standing over him. Shimmer shook his head and looked back at me in shock. For the first time in our fight, I slugged him in the face. The crowd booed at the sight of their “untouchable” leader getting slugged like a common peasant. While I had the upper hand, I decided to test his body with some punches to his back. I discovered that indeed he was hard beyond his skin and my couple of punches struck the steel within his body and I recoiled back like I’d hit a spring.

T
esting his body core didn’t hurt him. He spun around and swept my legs out from underneath me. He was on his feet in a snap and tried to punch me while I was on the ground, but I was able to change into shadow again and avoided it. This allowed me to get back on my feet. He was able to track me and when I appeared again he struck me hard, which knocked me on my butt.

Quickly I used
my wings to push off the muddy ground and he came at me again. I was getting good at changing back and forth between shadow and physical in the middle of a fight. I had to change to mortal form in order to strike him, though. I’d dodge a few and he’d punch through me, then he’d land other blows when I changed back and tried to hit him. He was still too fast for me. Not only that, he was getting better at timing his offensive to coordinate punching me when I reappeared.

I was getting slower and slower at changing because it took energy to transform into shadow,
and before I knew it, I was weaker than before and I could no longer change. I found out in the midst of our struggle the disadvantage to having this particular gift. Shimmer was beginning to have his way with me and he knew it. I was losing…badly.

“You should have taken the deal, Leo
.” He stood in front of me after knocking me to the ground again. “There’s something you don’t know about me…I can’t be killed.” He grinned.

Little did he know, I was aware of his “steel secret
”, but I wasn’t about to let him know that. It was best that I held the advantage of knowledge in this fight.

Now Shimmer was really showing off. He w
as picking me up off the ground and then punching me back down into it. Then he’d strut around for the adoring crowd. He did this a few times before addressing them when he knew I could no longer retaliate. I was worn out, lying on my back in the muddy field, watching him gloat.

“My Gods and Goddesses, quiet down, quiet down. The end…has come!” He shook his fists in the air.

The mass exploded in jubilance as I tried to turn on my side in order to get back up, but I was exhausted and fell back into the mud with a splash. Using shadow form so frequently while fighting, not to mention absorbing Shimmer’s best punches, was a tactical, and what looked to be, fatal mistake. A lesson learned, but it appeared to be too little, too late.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 9

 

 

DEFENSELESS

 

Shimmer nosed around the arena, looking for the Demon Dagger to finish me off. He continued to gloat as he bought time, making sure to keep the crowd at a fever pitch. Once or twice I’d gain a touch of strength back and start to push myself up on
my knees and Shimmer would stop what he was doing just to come over and blast me back into the mud with about twenty hard shots.

Finally, he found what he was looking for and held the dagger up for all to see.

“Bear witness to the death of a traitor!” The crowd roared.

“And…
the first ever death of a demon by a vampire!” The crowd stood up and cheered louder than I’d heard them all night and they didn’t quiet.

Again, Shimmer raised his hands in
the air as he sported the Demon Dagger. He glanced over at Shade, who was watching the spectacle unfold right before her eyes.

“Your hero…has fallen
, girl, and now you… Will. Be. Mine.” He laughed sadistically.

I managed to muster enough strength to get back on my knees. I couldn’t stand up, but I damn sure wasn’t going to let him take me out of this world lying on my back like a beast. I may have been muddy and beaten, but at the very least, I was going out on my terms.

Very methodically, Shimmer strutted towards me.

“No!” Shade called.
My wings lay bent at my side, the tips submerged in the mud. I was about to die.

I looked up into the storming sky and watched the lightning storm above through the falling rain that pummeled my face. Shimmer got within a foot or two of me and wished me farewell.

“You lose…hero.” He smiled.

I didn’t look at him, just kept my
eyes on the sky and awaited my death. I saw him out of the corner of my eyes rear back, preparing to thrust the dagger through me. Then, in the skies above, I saw the same thing happen that occurred while I was in the Caverns of the Forgotten. All of a sudden a series of lightning bolts shot to a center point in the sky directly above us. This caused the crowd to look up as it lit up the entire area like daylight. This halted Shimmer as he too drew his gaze up to the heavens. Just like before, a massive singular bolt exploded down from the sky, this time, instead of striking a pool of water, it struck directly in my head.

The next thing I knew I was experiencing the vision of the two young girls again.

“Please, do what you will, but leave her out of this…she had nothing to do with it,” she cried out, just like in the visions I’d had before, but this time, it went a little further.

“This is your daughter
, Leonard.”

All I could hear was muffled
, but very erratic breathing. I looked around and saw a blurry figure behind me. He mumbled something in my ear. I couldn’t make out what exactly what he said to me, but my point of view turned back around to the cowering girls. I started to approach them and they cried even harder. Suddenly, the image faded to black and I heard the sound of a gunshot, then just like that, once again, the vision broke.

Next thing I knew I was struggling to see through blurred vision of my own. I was completely deaf at first, but it eased up a little at a time and I could hear the sounds of a nervous crowd getting louder and louder in my ears. I wiped my eyes in order to
clear my sight. There was a strange blue and white charge around my arm. I felt funny as well. I was tingling from head to toe and felt very warm. I raised my other arm and saw little static charges of what looked like tiny lightning bolts circling around it, too. I raised both up and stared at them in awe. I looked down at the rest of my
always
blurry body and saw the same thing happening around my whole body. It was as if I was the center point of a Tesla coil, except I wasn’t distributing the electricity, it was more like I was harnessing it. I was charged full of the lightning like a battery. This burst of energy made me feel very powerful. My strength came back tenfold.

I stood u
p and looked around for Shimmer. He got blown a short distance back away from me and was getting to his feet, dazed and confused. He was literally smoking all over his body. He must have been struck by the bolt too since he was standing so close, but I didn’t know for sure. He was staggering around, trying to hold his balance.

Then I saw him bend over and pick up the Demon Dagger from out of the mud. He grabbed it, stared at it for a moment,
and then charged me with a rebel yell.

Something within me stirred; a feeling. All this electricity needed a release. If I could aim it, say at the oncoming Shimmer, maybe I could stop him from stabbing me to death.

I raised my hands in front of me and straightened by fingers. I felt everything within my body rush through my arms. All of a sudden a gigantic bolt of electricity shot from the tips of my fingers. It was so loud coming from me that it muted the sounds of the rambunctious crowd.

It fired out of
me in a tornado of blue and white bolts, shooting directly into the rushing Shimmer. It stopped him dead in his tracks. When it entered his body, it lit him up like a Christmas tree. His head tilted back and bolts fired from his eyes, out of his mouth, and random points all over his body. He began to scream in pain. The bolt just kept flowing from me and to him.

I watched him fall to his knees. His skin began to melt off like hot butter. Once the skin was gone I could see his torso of steel. That too was beginning to drip into liquid. The electricity just kept shooting from me and nailing him. Before I knew it
, his bare bones, with small traces of liquid steel, was about all that remained of what was once a very mighty foe.

The next thing I knew the bolt flashed a few times before weakening to a small stream of energy coming from within me,
to nothing at all. Then something even stranger happened, I felt the urge to pull out the letter opener Elysia gave me, almost like I was being directed to do so. I reached into my pocket, expecting it to be melted into nothing, but it wasn’t. Instead I found the opener completely intact, and surprisingly cool.

I looked over to a still kneeling Shimmer, who was nothing now
but a smoking mass of bones with charred insides and red eyes. I walked up to him and held the letter opener up in front of him, still unsure of what to do with it other than show him that I had something from his past.

“How-where-did…you get that?”

“From a friend.” I grinned.

“I can’t believe I’ve lost to a Drift Demon.”

I didn’t say anything and looked to his still beating heart within his body. Then I had an epiphany. I took the long opener and stabbed it straight through the middle of his heart. He screamed in agony.

“This is for
Geoffrey Lonecrow…and all the other humans you caused heartbreak to.” I twisted it around within the heart and he continued to bellow.

“Agrelia’s weakness was a big mouth, yours…is vanity. You’re right, you shouldn’t have lost
, but your arrogance betrayed you…goodbye, Shimmer.” I slammed my fist into his chest and gripped his heart before pulling it out of his body.

“I’ll see you in Hell…hero.” He chuckled through his pain.

“Either way, win or lose…that will never happen.”

Just like Agrelia, a bright light shot out from within him and lit up his entire body. The same thing was happening to his heart in my hand. Before I knew it, he exploded into ash and so did his heart. The letter opener was all that was left in my palm where I once held the Vampire Lord’s heart. It was over. I had won again.

“That’s two,” I mumbled as I tossed the letter opener down into the mud at my feet.

I looked around at the
crowd, who had witnessed the fall of their King, staring at me in stunned silence. Only the sound of the falling rain and occasional roll of thunder could be heard.


Your master…has lost,” I announced to the spectators, who began to mumble to one another in confusion.

“I
make you an offer…an offer…that you will have no choice but to accept. Refuse it and suffer the same fate as your Lord.” They stopped chatting and focused on me intently.

“You can leave me, Shade, and the humans of earth in peace…to suffer no recourse from my actions here today. Or…you can attempt to kill me, Shade, or any innocent human in retaliation. If you should choose to go that route, let it be known that you will die. Then, the entire race of earthbound vampires will be in jeopardy. I will seek you out and kill you. Every. Last. One. Of. You. Today will mark the countdown to your extinction.
No blood seal…just an ultimatum. So choose carefully…it’s up to you.”

They glared at me in indecision.

“So what do you choose?”

“Go in peace.” I heard one of the elders yell
near the empty thrones.

A few more mumbles started in sporadic areas around the arena before I heard a couple more vampires tell me to go in peace
as well.

“You’ve chosen wisely, but betray me…and die
,” I warned as I headed over to the crucifix where Shade was still bound.

When I walked past
the spot Shimmer met his fate, I saw the Demon Dagger lying free in the mud. Being more cautious this time, expecting Christian to pop up out of nowhere again, I looked all around before reaching down and picking it up. I secured it and continued my march over to a very happy Shade.

“Next time you decide you want to spend time apart with someone else…can you let me know first?” I teased her.

“Shut up, lackey. Get me down from here.”

I huffed in laughter and bent down, pull
ing apart the chains that held her feet. Then I reached up and ripped apart the chain cuffs that held her wrists in place upon the crucifix. She fell down into my arms and we kissed each other immediately in the pouring rain. I was so happy to be reunited with her that I almost forgot we were still being watched very closely by thousands of pretty upset vampires.

We stopped kissing and I
pulled her necklace out of my pocket, which oddly enough escaped the electric charge as well, and placed it back around her neck. Again, the object was surprisingly cool.

“You really should keep better track of your things…try not to lose this again.” I
smiled at her and she returned the sentiment without saying a word. “As for your little black book…we can talk about that later,” I joked before cradling my weak girlfriend in my arms. I fluttered my wings and we shot out of the Cavity into the skies above.

“Aren’t you going to go back and at least kill Sierra and Molina?” Shade asked.

“No.”

“But why? Don’t you think they’ll come after you for revenge?”

“Well, for one, the vampires need leadership. To leave them on their own to pick a leader could be a disaster…for everyone. At least with the twins still being alive, they are still respected…and feared by all vampires on earth. I’m sure the twins will have no problem keeping their sheep in line. If a day comes that they come to me for revenge…I’ll be ready, but I don’t think we have anything to fear from them anymore.”

Shade smiled
and we set our coordinates for home…together.

 

BOOK: Burn (Drift Book 3)
8.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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