Authors: Candace Blevins
Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Urban, #Erotica, #Bdsm
I remembered what he’d said about being able to be killed by an aura weapon wielded by a god, and my heart hurt.
She shook her head.
I sighed, “Me either.” I couldn’t tell her what he’d told me, but I truly didn’t know if he’d be able to come back.
They brought a stretcher, the kind without wheels, and put the two halves of Mordecai together and lifted him. The vehicle claimed to be a furniture delivery truck, and all of the men, wolves, and the lion I was assuming was Nathan were carried or helped into it. They got Mordecai in and closed the back and drove away, leaving behind a few people to clean things up.
The guys knew my cell phone would be on vibrate and it was okay to call it tonight no matter how late. I had it in my lap, willing it to vibrate, but Cora received the first call – someone from her pack checking on her. It seemed most of the pack had gone unconscious for five to ten minutes this evening, and they were checking on everyone to see if they needed help, since many of the wolves were still incoherent and disoriented.
“Even the wolves not on the op?” I asked her when she hung up.
She nodded, “Women, kids, men… everyone but me, so far.”
Finally, about forty-five minutes later, my cell phone rang. No number showed up, but I answered it and heard, “Are you okay?”
It was Aaron.
“Of course I’m okay — are you? And did you see Mordecai? And what about Nathan? I’m going crazy! You needed me and I was stuck here watching, not able to help!”
“Nathan and I were badly injured and both of us shifted to heal. I heal magically when I shift so I’m fine, but Nathan’s healing isn’t happening instantaneously. He’ll be okay, but he’s hurting and they’re advising him to stay a lion for a while longer.”
“He’ll be okay, but it will take him some time, possibly four or five days before he’ll be well enough to regain consciousness.”
“You male chauvinist bastard!” Now that I knew he was okay, I could get pissed at him. “Making me sit here and watch when I could’ve
“If we couldn’t stop him then you wouldn’t have been able to, either.” He sounded tired, but he wasn’t listening to me.
“I could’ve hit him with the laser from fifty yards away and still been nice and safe while killing him. What happened to the wolves? Apparently a lot of them passed out, not just the ones there with you, but Cora was fine.”
“The entire pack passed out, if Cora didn’t then she’s the only one who didn’t. Even the Alpha was out.”
We talked a little more and then said goodbye, with me making sure he knew I was still pissed at him. I turned the laptop off and Cora and I tried to go to sleep.
My mind was racing, though, and I settled on the puzzle of why Cora was the only one in the pack not affected by whatever had knocked them out.
And then I started thinking about the patterns. The next murder would be tomorrow night on an H street. Hawthorn, Hemlock, Hickory, Holly. There were too many H trees.
It wouldn’t be easy, but I wasn’t going to ask Aaron for help. I was going to figure out the
all by myself and then sneak out tomorrow night to go take care of this bastard. I’d situate myself far enough away I could use my laser to kill him before he knew what hit him.
The next day I researched what I could between every appointment, and I stayed at my desk during lunch and researched then, too. It wasn’t easy, and I had to use my credit card to get into a few of the databases I needed, but I found two Irish names on two different H streets, and finally decided to go to the one a few streets over from the first murder, as it seemed this guy wanted us to find him.
I was sure there were other Irish names on H streets I must’ve missed, I just had to hope the one I was going to was the right one. I’d be in Denny’s jurisdiction, but I didn’t think it would matter.
When I got home from work I went upstairs while everyone was still downstairs, and moved black long johns, black jeans, black socks, black athletic shoes, a black shirt, and a black fleece pullover to the cabinet under the sink.
After dinner and homework I said I was going to take a nice long bath, and took my mp3 player and the speaker for it in with me.
I pulled up my heavy metal playlist, turned the water on, changed clothes, and timed it so I lifted the window as David Lee Roth screamed about running with the devil. Apropos for the way my week was going, I thought.
The window screen was already loose so it wasn’t hard to lift it and then hang onto it as I levitated up and out of the window. Thank goodness Aaron hadn’t asked Abbott to send vamps to keep an eye on the outside tonight, but I still needed to be quick. I made it around the house as quickly as possible, unlocked my car and was in it and gone before they missed me.
It took seven minutes for my cell phone to start ringing. Once it did, I opened it and took the battery out so they couldn’t track me. I needed to know how big of a head start I had, and I’d need to be able to make calls later, but for now I wasn’t available.
When I arrived in the neighborhood I looked around to get an idea of the best spot to hang out and wait. Last night the murderer had gone up the front steps and I was assuming he’d do so again. I ended up on the roof of a house across the street and caddy corner from the intended victim’s house. Or, I hoped it was the intended victim.
I was all in black and was on a black roof, and it was cloudy and dark. My car was parked about a half mile away at a fast food restaurant, and I was as full of energy as I could get without help.
Now all I had to do was wait. Lucky for me the temps were in the low sixties and I wasn’t too cold, since the roof was holding some of the heat of the day.
I alternated second guessing my decision with being certain I was doing the right thing. I had a little over an hour to wait, and I was a bundle of nerves when a car pulled up shortly after eleven.
The giant of a man got out, and I knew I’d guessed right.
I lifted my hand to aim the laser, and he turned and looked straight at me. My heart jumped into my throat as I shot the laser at him. The fiery beam hit him, but he moved a little so it didn’t get his heart. He ran so
, answering my question about whether he’d be a blur in person, as I had a harder time seeing him now than I’d had on camera. I tried to aim again, but he ran zigzag and there was no way.
Adrenaline flooded my system and I was purely in fight-or-flight mode by the time he launched himself into the air, and I levitated up and headed for the trees to try to use them to get something between us. He moved faster than should’ve been possible, and all I could see was his bulk and that damned scary sword, and it was all I could do to dodge, run and, levitate to avoid it.
We were in a forested area behind the houses now, and I dropped to the ground and manifested my quarterstaff. He paused for maybe a second and a half when I manifested it, which gave me time to land several punishing blows — one of which I would’ve sworn should’ve decapitated him, but it didn’t.
He backed off, not running from me, but regrouping as he decided on a battle plan, and I shot the laser from the end of the quarterstaff, and
time I took his head off.
Quick, before anything could regenerate, I exploded his head into a million pieces, and then got to work burning his body to ash. I used every bit of energy I could muster doing it, but within five minutes he was nothing more than a pile of ashes.
It was supposed to take Mordecai days to recover from being cut in two, I figured I had at
a couple of hours before this guy could come back from ashes. Hopefully a few centuries, but I’d take what I could get.
I pulled my cell phone and battery out of my pocket, put them together, and called Aaron.
“Where the hell are you!” he demanded.
“Hemlock Street, Fort Oglethorpe. I killed him. Or, I think I did. He’s a pile of ashes. And my arm hurts like,
, he must’ve gotten my left arm with his sword. I didn’t realize how bad it was. Oh shit, now that I’ve seen it, it hurts. Why is that?” Part of me realized I was in shock, wondering more about why it didn’t hurt until I looked at it than worrying about whether I could stay alive long enough for help to get to me.
“Abbott will fly to you. I need a landmark to give him.”
I told him the fast food restaurant out on the main drag and how to find Hemlock Street from there, though I figured once he got that close he could find the stench of the burning murderer with his nose. Aaron and crew were already in an SUV headed my way, and Aaron intended to keep me on the phone until Abbott reached me.
I sank to the ground and concentrated on my breathing, trying hard not to lose consciousness until someone reached me. I can psych myself out of pain when there’s no damage, and I can sometimes even enjoy that kind of pain. But I could see massive damage to my arm — I was looking at raw muscle, and a huge chunk of arm without skin or muscle. If there weren’t so much blood I’d probably be able to see bone.
There was no way to psych myself out of how bad this hurt.
When Abbott arrived I could see the concern on his face. He turned his right hand into something with knives, or maybe razor sharp claws, and cut the ripped sleeves off my shirt and fleece top, baring my left arm. He spoke on the phone in another language so I didn’t know what he was saying, but if he didn’t want me to know, it was probably bad.
“Kirsten,” he said, his voice pulling me from the edge of unconsciousness. “I can numb the pain without taking your mental faculties, but you have to let me into your mind. Will you let me in?”
The only time I ever released all of my shields was while I meditated in the middle of nowhere. I’d hike for hours, find a spot with great energy, and let everything go to meditate and become one with nature. Since I’d learned what they were and how to hold them, I’d only let my shields down all the way for the head monk, the man who taught me so much of what I know.
But I was hurting, and I understood what Abbott needed, and why. So, for the first time in nearly a decade I released every one of my shields around another person. Some were hard to release — like when you need to use the bathroom, but you’ve been holding it so long it’s hard to finally relax and let go.
I was now open to him, as well as anyone else in the vicinity.
I felt him probing around in my head and it took effort to let him. I also felt a shield around both of us, and realized he’d somehow managed to protect me from others, putting me in his shield, so he could get in but no one else could.
I had no idea this was possible, and would need to figure it out so I could shield Lauren, if necessary.
As the pain lessened, I felt what he was doing and wondered if I could do it to myself. I gave him a drowsy smile and pulled some of my shields back up, leaving down enough so he could stay where he was. I wasn’t hurting anymore, but the world had gone hazy. Part of me realized it was blood loss, the rest of me just wanted to go to sleep.
He returned my lethargic smile with a grim one, then picked me up like a baby and flew me a little ways before dropping into some woods and walking me a short ways to my car.
I later learned he used the car keys in my pocket to drive us to meet Aaron, but even though he says I never completely lost consciousness, I don’t remember the drive. The pain had been dulled, but my body was still in shock from the damage.
I do remember Aaron giving me something to drink, and how awful it was. They insisted I drink it all, and then gave me a bottle of Jack Daniels to swig. Even the whiskey didn’t kill the taste, but it helped.
The burn of the whiskey also managed to bring me back to consciousness. I realized Abbott was gone, and guessed he’d taken someone back to retrieve the remains of whoever I’d killed.
Whatever Aaron had given me helped, but I needed to sleep. He gave someone my keys to drive my car back, and he laid down with me in the back of his SUV while someone else drove us to my house. I remember him holding me as I dozed, and I remember him talking, but not what he said.
We went in the back door of my house so we wouldn’t wake Lauren. Aaron handed me to Cora, and she got me upstairs, undressed, into and out of the shower, partially dressed, and then Aaron helped her bandage my arm and shoulder.
They didn’t wake me at the normal time the next morning. Cora told Lauren and Xiaolan I’d been sick last night and needed sleep. She drove Lauren to school, and used my keys to get Xiaolan into my office to retrieve her bike.
As they left, Aaron arrived. He gave me more of the horrible stuff to drink, followed by another shot of whiskey, though I didn’t know what it was until I gulped it. I must’ve brushed my teeth for five minutes, trying to get the taste out of my mouth.
Thankfully, the giant man had mangled my left arm and not my right, and I could do my makeup. I was surprised Aaron knew how to do hair, but he pulled it up into a messy bun and it looked fine.
We hadn’t really been speaking to each other, both of us still pissed, but I broke my silence to ask, “How the hell do you know how to do that?”
“You’d be surprised the things you learn when you’re alive for millennia. You aren’t the first wounded female I’ve helped get ready for the day.” His words were clipped, but at least he answered.
I was pleased to discover Abbott’s trick to keep me from feeling pain was still working, and with the bandage on my arm, I had no idea how bad the wound looked. Surprisingly, I could move my fingers a little, though I couldn’t last night. The muscles still weren’t letting me move my entire arm, though, and I asked Aaron, again, if I should see a doctor.
He only shook his head, but didn’t answer. I’d just have to trust him, but I assumed the horrid drink was somehow healing me. Aaron is the only person who gets this much trust from me, so I let it go and didn’t ask again.
He fed me, helped me dress, and then silently drove me to work, arriving a few moments before my first client.