Angel fire, p.107
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       Angel Fire, p.107

         Part #2 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
Page 107


  Glancing at Seb’s profile, I was heavily conscious of the silence between us. I hated it, when we could both be dead so soon – but somehow I could still hardly think of anything to say to him. It was like there was a wall separating us now, and I was unable to break through, even though I’d put it up myself.

  I started to rouse myself to say something anyway; I don’t even remember what. Before I could, I gasped and clutched my hand.

  Pain – I’d cut myself. A shard of glass, a window sill. I stared down in confusion, expecting to see blood streaming down my palm.

  “Willow?” said Seb, watching me with a frown.

  I shook my head as I ran my fingers over my undamaged skin, half-sure I was going to encounter glass sticking out. I could feel it in there – no, it was being pulled out. I gritted my teeth at the sliding sensation, the warm rush of blood. A sink that was a stylish white slab. Pink water swirling down the drain. Good thing it’ll stop soon – wouldn’t do to look less than perfect when the Council dies, now would it? After all, it might be my first moment as the new Seraphic Head.

  The images and the internal voice faded, leaving me reeling. Raziel.

  “Willow, what’s wrong? What are you seeing?” Seb’s voice had turned urgent over the noise of the train; he started to reach for my arm and then pulled back.

  “Wait,” I murmured. “I just have to. . . ” Jumbled thoughts were sweeping over me: the energy stream my first night in Mexico City, so strong and pulsing that I’d been afraid it might drown me – how it had trickled to nothing seconds later. That sense of being watched sometimes. My angel’s distress, and the way whatever had been bothering her had just vanished, the moment both Seb and I went looking.

  The train, the people, had all taken on a surreal edge. I closed my eyes and searched fervently once more, feeling my frustration mount with every second. There was nothing there. But I’d felt Raziel – what he was doing, what he was thinking. He was in there somehow, he had to be.

  And then it came to me. If I couldn’t find him inside of me. . . then maybe I was inside of him.

  I flicked my consciousness from within to without and tried to sense my own energy, the same way I looked for Alex’s – drifting, searching, letting it come. After a moment, a silver and lavender flutter appeared. I swallowed as I took in its gentle light, wondering if my hunch was true. Instinctively, I knew that I had to be very, very careful.

  With only the tiniest nudge of my thoughts, I touched the grain of energy. . . and found myself in Raziel’s mind. A world with tall towers and robed beings; an amphitheatre where lectures were given psychically, and it was all so boring, boring; the wall between worlds where he’d slipped through thousands of times to indulge himself on humanity.

  Knowledge flowed into me like water pouring into a glass. I caught my breath, cold with shock. Oh my god, it wasn’t just that there was a spark of me in Raziel; there was a spark of him in me, too. Nausea rose in my throat as I realized he’d been spying on me all along – taking in all my private thoughts, my feelings. Knowing all our plans. And now I could see his. Sophie, a memory stick. False directions for escape.

  I felt dizzy as the details washed relentlessly over me. It was a trap. Destroying the Council might not kill all the angels after all; that was only one possibility. And as the others came, my blood went cold.

  One of them showed the earth trembling – major cities all around the world collapsing into dust.

  I sat stunned, hardly able to believe what I was getting. This couldn’t be true, it just couldn’t be. So many people might die. Raziel didn’t even care. If it happened, he thought any surviving angels would still have plenty to feed on, especially with the way “the creatures” bred. And no matter what, Mexico City was certain to go if the Council was killed – those roots of their own energy that they’d woven deep below the city’s surface would ensure it.

  My stomach lurched. The second I had everything, I rushed out of Raziel’s mind and back to my own. I had to get rid of it, get it out of me now.

  He’d hidden it so, so well, nestled deep in my consciousness. I’d never have guessed that the tiny flame of his energy was there in a million years. Vibrant silver, with a purple tinge. I eased it from its hiding place, loathing its familial feel. With an urgent flutter, my angel appeared; cupped in her shining hands, the spark glowed brighter, and then vanished. Raziel couldn’t spy on me any more – but it was a little late for that now.

  My eyes flew open. Panic was crashing through me; I stared blindly at the crowded Metro train; the mariachi singer who was still strolling through. Seb sat half-twisted in his seat, his hands gripping mine. I didn’t know how long he’d been holding them, but from the expression on his face, long enough. He looked just as sick and pale as I felt.

  I could hardly get the words out. “Seb – did you see—”

  “Yes, I saw,” he said grimly, just as the car reached our station. He snatched up his knapsack from the floor by his feet. “El DF for certain, and maybe even more. ”

  “We’ve got to get to the house in time! We’ve got to stop them—” I jumped from my seat and pushed through the crowded car, with Seb right behind me; we hit the platform running and pounded up the concrete stairs onto the street. Everything we passed, every car, every person, suddenly seemed as vulnerable as an eggshell. My lungs were burning as we raced towards the house, and in a weird way it was almost like that first day, when we’d run after the angels through the park.

  Except that if we didn’t manage to stop the attack now, then Alex and the others were all going to die. . . and so might millions more.

  “Okay, I think that’s everything,” said Alex.

  He’d just finished putting Kara’s bag in the back of Juan’s white van along with the rest of their luggage. As he emerged, he glanced up at the house, trying to think if they’d forgotten anything. That morning, it had suddenly occurred to him that after the attack there’d be no reason for them to remain in Mexico City. Either they’d have succeeded, in which case they could all head home to the US, or else they’d be on the run for their lives, and need to get the hell out of the city anyway.

  There was a third option, of course. He set his jaw and ignored it.

  “Good. We’re almost ready, then,” said Kara. Her nails were red again today, with little flecks like diamonds; they matched her bright red top. Thankfully, things hadn’t been too awkward between them since the other night, though Alex had the impression Kara thought he was kind of an idiot not to take what she’d been offering and just enjoy it. He couldn’t really argue.

  Sam appeared, carrying a cardboard box on his shoulder. “Have we got room for this?”

  “What is it?” asked Alex.

  “Just some of the food supplies. Munchies for the road. ”

  The decision that they should pack up had been met with obvious relief by the rest of the team. Though Alex hadn’t expected it to act as a morale boost, it obviously had – it gave the attack this afternoon a sense of when we succeed, instead of if.

  “Yeah, I think there’s room. ” Kara moved past him to delve into the van, shifting Alex’s tent and sleeping bags to one side. Alex looked away, remembering lying in that tent with Willow. If he was still alive after the job today, he’d soon be putting hundreds of miles between them, with no idea where she even was any more. Frankly, it was part of the appeal of taking off. He wanted to get as far away from memories of Willow as possible.


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