Read Horizon, Soul Guardians Book 3 Online

Authors: Kim Richardson

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Horizon, Soul Guardians Book 3 (21 page)

BOOK: Horizon, Soul Guardians Book 3
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She felt a sudden pressure on her back
and flew into the crystal ball’s belly. She landed head first, her
legs followed and twisted clumsily behind her. Once her feet were
in she managed to get herself into a sitting position. It was
tight, can of sardines tight, but Kara fit nonetheless. What choice
did she have? She could see shadows of trees around her. It was
like looking through a thick bottle. The shapes were distorted, but
she could still make them out.


Hang on, Clara. It could
get a little bumpy.”


Yeah, thanks for the heads
up,” yelled Kara from inside the crystal’s stomach, a little
annoyed, and suddenly feeling a little claustrophobic.

The door shut with a bang, and the
edges disappeared. Kara couldn’t make it out anymore. It was as
though the door had never existed. The oracle hoisted himself back
up atop his crystal and swung his beard over his shoulder. The
sounds of grunts reached her and she saw silhouettes of the demons
approaching. They were almost upon them.

Suddenly, Kara was thrown against the
wall with unimaginable force. Pinned to one of the sides of the
crystal, she looked around. Shapes passed her by in a blur. She
couldn’t tell what was up and what was down. It was like a
maelstrom of images thrown together. She felt herself spinning
endlessly. It reminded her of one of the rides from the town fair,
the one that used to make her throw up. She was glad she couldn’t,
it was too tight a space.

And when Kara thought the spinning
would never end, the crystal stopped suddenly. She fell flat on her
face, her legs bent awkwardly behind her. With a pop, the door flew
open and Kara saw the oracle’s face peer inside.


I apologize for the bumpy
ride, Miss Clara. But it was necessary.” The oracle looked behind
him. “It’ll take a good long time before they catch up, those
filthy creatures.” He beamed at her.


It’s okay … really.” Kara
climbed out of the confining space. She fell to the ground and
rubbed her head. “Just glad to be out.”

She looked around and realized they
were out of the forest. A large brass elevator stood before them;
the metal gleamed in the sunlight. Kara blinked the light from her
eyes. The doors were open, and Kara couldn’t see an operator. It
was empty, save for a small wooden stool propped against the side
wall.


Where’s the operator?”
Kara searched the grounds around the elevator. There were no
primates of any sort. It seemed the elevator had been
abandoned.

The oracle clambered up his crystal
and rolled over for a closer inspection. “I don’t know. There’s no
one there, that’s for sure.” He straightened himself. “No matter,
it’ll work just the same.”

Kara remembered the flesh wedged in
the demon’s teeth. She had the nasty feeling that one of the
headless demons had eaten the elevator operator. She prayed she was
wrong, and that it had run away and was hiding in the woods. She
wouldn’t blame the poor creature if it were hiding. Their world had
gone mad. Their torn bodies were scattered around the desert floor.
She shuddered and pushed the thoughts out of her head. They needed
to get to level six.

Kara stepped into the elevator and
turned around. She frowned. “Are you coming?”

The oracle shook his head sadly. “No,
Miss. I must remain here. This is your journey, not mine. You must
go alone.”

Kara had hoped for the oracle’s
company on the way to the council. She didn’t know what to expect.
An extra person would have been appreciated. “So what am I supposed
to do when I get to the council? What did you see, oracle?” Kara
tried to hide the regret in her voice, but it sounded more like
fear.

The little man interlaced his long
beard between his fingers. “I cannot tell you, for fear that it
might change the outcome of the events. I cannot change what is to
be, just as you cannot change your fate. I can only tell you that
you must go to level six. The rest is up to you, my
dear.”

Kara cringed. She wanted more
information from the oracle. She hated riddles.


Well, thanks anyway,
oracle. Wish me luck. And I hope there was a happy ending in those
visions of yours.”

The oracle smiled and waved his little
hand. “Good luck, Clara. May the souls protect you.”


It’s
Kara
—not
Clara
,” laughed Kara at the look of
surprise on the oracle’s face. She turned to the control panel and
pressed the button for the sixth floor. There was a
ding
, and the doors slid
shut.

After about a minute, there
was another
ding
,
followed by a jolt, and the doors opened to reveal a dark grey sky.
Powerful winds rolled into the small compartment, and Kara felt the
elevator shake as though a giant was tossing it to and fro like a
ball. She held onto the sides and struggled to the
doorway.

The dark skies were heavy with black
clouds and the crack of thunder. There was no trace of the
beautiful white clouds and the piercing blue sky of level six. It
looked sick, plagued by the Netherworld.

Kara clutched the sides as another
gust of wind shook the elevator. She squinted. Were there any
sky-cars left or had they all been destroyed, too? She couldn’t
hear the tap-tap-tap of their motors over the roar of thunder.
Maybe they were there, hiding in the clouds.


Sam! Sam!” cried Kara into
the wind. “Sam, I need your help! Sam—are you there?”

Desperation filled her as she waited
for the little bird. If he didn’t come, how would she get across?
She couldn’t fly. Even the prison guards were busy fighting off
demons at Operations. She couldn’t hope to catch a ride with them
now. How did the others get across? Maybe they used the last of the
sky-cars. Kara searched the dark skies for any sign of movement.
Her hair blew into her face. Nothing moved but the wind. How was
she going to get across?

A faint tap made its way to her ears.
She heard it again, only closer this time.

Kara gazed into the blackened skies in
search of the sound. A tiny white spot pierced through a grey
cloud. She recognized the sky-car’s white body. The car dove
towards her, and in a flash it hovered at the door. A large white
bird with black wings stood at the front of his flying device. He
wore a red cap with the numbers 2555 stitched across it in gold.
The corners of his yellow beak were pulled back into a
smile.


Sam, at your service, Miss
Kara!” cried the bird. He flapped his wings and hopped onto the
metal T gear. He tipped his hat and bowed overdramatically. “Like
my new ride? The prison guards destroyed my other one. I had to use
all my tips to purchase this new baby.” He puffed out his chest and
beamed.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Kara
jumped into the sky-car. It swayed to the side with her weight, and
she clung to the seats. It looked exactly like the other sky-car.
“It’s beautiful, Sam. Look, I’m so glad you’re here. I need to get
to the Council of Ministers right away. How fast can this thing
go?” She fastened her seatbelt. She had ridden in the flying cars
before and recalled the bumpy ride.

Sam spread his wings. “Faster than
lightning! Here we go. Hang on!” Sam pushed all his weight forward
onto the gear. The sky-car kicked into life and sped
away.

Kara was pinned to her seat as the
flying car gained speed. Shapes passed her in a blur. She could see
the floating buildings approaching fast. Before she knew it, the
sky-car slowed to a stop and hovered above a large landing zone.
Kara unclasped her seat belt and jumped down. She stood on a metal
platform on the highest part of the council building.


Oh, dear.” Sam took off
his cap and placed it on his breast. His eyes were wet.

Kara looked around. Weapons lay broken
in piles of metal. Piles of uniforms and robes were scattered on
the ground. A chill rolled up her back. There had been a bloodbath
here. She thought of her mother and David. A cry escaped her lips.
Were any of these clothes theirs?

Without thanking Sam, or giving him
payment, Kara ran madly down across the platform and pulled open
the metal door at the far end. Hot stale air brushed her nostrils,
and a faint smell of rot. She raced down the hallway. More piles of
clothes lay crumpled on the ground. Another whimper escaped her
lips. She held onto the soul blade her mother had given her,
suppressing the trembling in her fingers.

Soon Kara reached the massive brass
doors leading to the council chamber. She noticed one of the doors
wasn’t closed entirely. There was enough space for her to sneak in.
She could hear a loud commotion as she neared. Her nervousness
increased. She heard a scream. It sounded like her mother’s
voice.

Kara squeezed herself through the
doors.

At first she saw Asmodeus standing up
on the dais at the opposite end of the round chamber. His hands
were clutched around something in his chest. He was laughing.
Michael stood a few paces before him. An expression of shock
plastered over his face.

The glass dome was shattered and
shards of glass littered the floor like a giant crystal carpet. A
gust of wind blew dust into Kara’s face. The only source of light
came from the few metal lanterns that lined the round chamber. She
crept closer. Angels lay in broken piles, their bodies twisted
unnaturally. Their insides spilled out from many wounds, as demons
feasted on their life lights. Cries of anguish reached her ears.
Cold rattled inside her. It was the massacre she had feared. She
searched for her mother and David, but there were no signs of them
anywhere.

Laughter rose above the whistling
winds and the cries of angels. Kara watched as the demon lord
pulled out a blade made of fire from his chest, laughing. It was
the inferno. He stood unscathed, without any sign of injury or
pain. The demon lord twirled the inferno dagger in his fingers with
a look of triumph on his face.

There was a sudden flash.

A mixture of fire and black lightning
surged into the air. Kara heard a cry. Michael collapsed to the
ground, the inferno blade protruding from his chest. Instantly, he
was ablaze in a golden fire. Kara heard a crackling sound, and then
the fire went out. With a soft clang the blade hit the floor. A
cloud of brilliant particles hovered above where the body had lain.
They glimmered in the soft light and disappeared in a gust of
wind.

Michael, the Legion’s commander, was
no more.

 

Chapter 17

Making a choice

 

 

 

S
ilence. Kara felt numb, her body stiff. The benches swarmed
with lesser demons. Hundreds of demons crawled along the walls;
their wet twisted bodies gleamed in the soft light. Cracks and
thumps resonated in the chamber as the beasts fought each other for
a better seat. The air reeked of rotten flesh and blood.

A large angel sat on the ground
opposite her. White lesions covered his dark skin. Beams of light
spilled from his many wounds, but Kara could see that he was alert
as he clung to a nearby bench. Gabriel’s eyes caught hers. It
pained her to see the strain on his face. For a moment, she thought
he was trying to communicate something to her. His face was twisted
in a deep scowl. He seemed upset to see her there. She realized he
was terrified that she had disobeyed him. She shook her head,
pleading with her eyes and tried to mouth that it was okay. His
disappointing frown made her stop. Kara wasn’t exactly sure what
she was supposed to do either way. The oracle had said she was
meant to be here—only he hadn’t filled in the rest.

Asmodeus clapped his hands. His black
hair glimmered in the gentle light. “Bravo, bravo. What a
performance. I kill myself—I’m so talented. But alas, what a waste
of a powerful soul. It could have given me more power.”

He raised his arms before him. He wore
his usual blood red suit tailored to perfection over his large
body. He looked at Kara. “There you are my daughter. Once again you
arrive just in the nick of time for the show.” Asmodeus snapped his
fingers.

Two higher demons seized her. She
tried to break free, but the higher demons’ grips were too strong.
“Take your hands off me! Let go of me!”

With his hands clasped behind his
back, Asmodeus strolled around the dais. “Do you like to play
games, Kara? We never did play any games together, you and I. As
your father, don’t you think we should have played some
games?”


Go to hell.”


My, my … that’s not how to
speak to your father, dear daughter. I might have to wash out that
mouth of yours.” The demon lord frowned.

Kara wished she could spit in his
face. “You’re not my father,” she hissed.


Oh, but I am. You see—I
created you; therefore
I
am your father. And as your father, I get to
decide what to do with you. And now I wish to play a game. Zadkiel
—bring them.”

Kara heard a commotion at the far end
of the chamber behind the dais. The traitorous Zadkiel appeared
from the shadows. His bald head gleamed in the light. He made his
way through a wall of demons that hissed and spat as he went. Two
shapes struggled in his grasp. Coldness filled Kara’s breast. David
and her mother were in the archangel’s clutches. Kara watched as he
dragged them to the center of the chamber by their necks. Kara let
out a whimper at the sight of her mother’s face. Deep gashes
covered her cheeks and forehead, and one of her legs was bent
awkwardly. She struggled to keep up. David seemed to be in better
shape. Their eyes met. She saw him shake his head. Kara felt a jolt
of electricity pass through her body. This could not be
happening.

BOOK: Horizon, Soul Guardians Book 3
8.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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