Angel fire, p.106
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       Angel Fire, p.106

         Part #2 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
 
Page 106

 

  The Zócalo, with its converted cathedral, was also visible; the building’s exterior looked placid and undisturbed even after the terrorist attack earlier that week. Raziel took in its solid, ancient form, thinking of how the Twelve had appointed Tyrel as head of the Church in Mexico just to insult him. Not to mention their televised “promise” of his demise. Oh, he was looking forward to this afternoon, all right. No matter what happened, he was looking forward to it very much indeed.

  Luckily, the chaos caused by the terrorist attack hadn’t kept Sophie Kinney from encountering Kylar; it was a relief to have the information safely in the Angel Killers’ hands. Sophie had been surprised to find out that her role in the operation was now at an end though – Raziel had done the honours himself the day before, just hours after arriving in Mexico City. When he’d glided into her hotel room in his angel form, she’d been sitting curled up in an armchair, tensely watching TV. He’d latched onto her mind with a smooth shimmer.

  “Hello, my dear – we meet at last,” he’d said as he started towards her.

  She’d known who he was immediately, but had been powerless to do more than gape at him. “You – but how—” she stammered, staring up at his radiant form.

  “Yes, it’s me,” he said gently, reaching for her aura. “I have my ways. I’m an angel, you know. ”

  Annoyingly, it turned out that Nate had marshalled her, making her energy so unpalatable that Raziel had only been able to feed for a second before breaking off in distaste. So instead he’d simply had to dispatch her – crude, but effective. He’d left Sophie still sitting in her chair, looking far more peaceful than when he’d found her. A heart attack. What a shame, in someone so young. Still, smokers were prone to them.

  Raziel leaned against the window sill, one hand casually in his jacket pocket as he took another sip of his drink. The AKs must be getting ready; the attack was only a couple of hours away. It was irritating that he couldn’t know for sure, now that Willow had split off from the others. She and the other half-angel had returned to his bolt-hole in Tepito – the boy was as resourceful as Kylar, in his way. Raziel hadn’t been checking on his daughter as much since then; he’d found her heartbreak these last few days fairly tedious.

  Even so, thinking of Willow’s upcoming death, Raziel felt a twinge almost like regret. After the attack, if his gamble went as hoped, he’d be on hand to tidily do away with the Angel Killers, trapped like rats in their dead-end hallway. Kylar’s death, of course, would be nearly as pleasurable as the Council’s to witness, but in a strange way he knew he’d miss Willow – he’d become very used to the workings of her mind. He had little doubt that she’d be there for the attack, regardless of what had happened between her and Kylar. She was determined to take part in it, and like Raziel himself, things she was determined about tended to happen. He started to dip into her thoughts again, then restrained himself; it felt somewhat morbid, when he knew his daughter was about to die. He couldn’t deny that he was curious to see her face-to-face again though, this girl he now knew so well.

  Pity. But never mind.

  Gazing at the sleek lines of the Torre Mayor, Raziel drained his drink and put the empty tumbler on the window sill. As he did so, it caught the sill’s edge – the crystal shattered in his hand. He hissed as a dagger of glass sliced deep into the fleshy part of his palm. Swearing, he went into the bathroom and eased the glass out, his hand throbbing as ribbons of blood streamed down. His human body could feel pleasure; the annoying correlation was that it could also feel pain. At least he knew the blood would stop quickly.

  By the time he left to go to the Torre Mayor, it would be just as if nothing had occurred at all.

  Seb and I were on the Metro when it happened.

  We’d been sitting on the rattling train car without saying very much, which wasn’t unusual now. Sometimes over these last few days, it had been all I could do to make conversation with Seb at all, when before there hadn’t been enough hours in the day for us to talk. As he sat beside me, I could sense the depth of his sadness over this; that he’d do anything in the world to have our friendship back the way it was. I couldn’t help him. I knew it was me who had changed, but I felt too battered inside to try to figure out why, or how I might be able to fix it. All I could see was the look of stunned hurt that had been in Alex’s blue-grey eyes. It made my heart feel like some small, wounded creature that had curled up, whimpering, in the corner.

  The attack was in less than two hours.

  We’d gone shopping earlier, with what was almost the last of our money, so that we could blend in with the others at the reception. I looked down at the clothes I had on: black trousers with a turquoise top. It was weirdly reminiscent of what Beth Hartley had been wearing a lifetime ago back in Pawntucket, when I’d given her a reading and seen an angel, its radiance reflected in the shimmering water of a stream. That was what had started all this, so it was sort of fitting I was wearing almost the same thing now.

  Our plan, such as it was, was to go back to the house and join the team as they left for the attack; it was where we were going now. I had no idea how Alex would react when he saw us. But regardless of how agonizing all this was between him and me, he must know that he’d need every single person he could get to help in the attack; he was too good a leader not to. Imagining seeing him again made my veins turn to ice. If the hatred was still in his eyes, I thought it might kill me to see it.

  Trying not to think about it, I stared at the grimy Metro map on the wall. Since leaving the AK house, Seb and I had been hanging out at the bridge in Chapultepec Park a lot, watching the Torre Mayor. I’m not really sure what we hoped to achieve by it; mostly it was just something to do that might be vaguely useful.

  But whatever was going on in there felt. . . weird. Actually, so did the whole city. Just as I’d noticed a few days before, the energy felt different, calmer – more so than ever now. That sense of “New York on a caffeine jag” was gone. And when I looked up at the Torre Mayor, I kept getting an odd mental image: roots curling down; thick, gleaming coils of energy that twined deeply underground and then wove under the city in a dense tangle. Far away in the distance, I could just sense thinner shoots heading off here and there, in all directions.

  “What do you think they are?” I’d said uneasily to Seb when we’d first noticed them. It was almost the only thing we’d said to each other in an hour. We were also standing in practically the exact same spot where Alex had caught us holding hands that first day; I’d shoved the thought away with a painful twinge.

  Seb had shaken his head, staring upwards. “I don’t know,” he’d said finally. “But they feel. . . alive. ”

  Neither of us had said anything else, but my scalp had chilled; it was exactly the right word. On the Metro now, I sat tensely on the hard plastic seat, wondering again what the Twelve were doing. The roots they’d put down felt practically pulsing with purpose, their energy a part of the earth. As if the Council’s energy had been part of the earth all along.

  A mariachi singer strumming a guitar was wandering through the train. His warbling voice pounded at my skull like a bad dream. Beside me, Seb had his knapsack with all our stuff in it – neither of us had really wanted to leave it behind; it would be too much like admitting we might not survive this. His switchblade was back in his pocket too; Kara had left it lying on his bed at the AK house, where he’d found it when he went to pack his things. I could feel how aware of it he was – his knowledge that soon he’d probably have to use it.

 

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