Angel fire, p.111
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       Angel Fire, p.111

         Part #2 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
Page 111


  “Okay, do we know that killing the Twelve will cause damage to our world?” he asked as he steered them onto the Paseo de la Reforma. Up ahead, the empty plinth where the Mexico City angel had stood for decades was like a solitary sentinel, with traffic streaming past on both sides.

  “It’ll definitely cause damage to Mexico City,” said Willow. “Apart from that – no, we don’t know. It might be that killing the Council really will destroy all the angels. That’s what most angels think will happen. Or it might be that it kills only some angels and not others, and the rest of the world will be fine. But—” She broke off, her face pale. “I just don’t think so,” she whispered. “They’ve put down roots like that under dozens of other major cities, too. There’s a chance those may not have had time to take effect yet, but the Twelve’s energy feels so entwined with our world now – I can’t imagine that there aren’t going to be serious consequences all over. ”

  With just over ten minutes to go, they were nearing the Torre Mayor. It rose up above the other buildings in a graceful curve of green glass, its half-moon summit gleaming. As he turned onto the Rio Atoyac, Alex swore suddenly.

  “What?” demanded Seb from the back.

  Alex explained, his voice terse. His original plan for getting the team into the loading dock area had depended on them having the white van, which actually looked like a delivery van – he’d then announce a delivery for a company that always took for ever before sending someone down to let the guy into the elevator.

  “Plus I was going to piggyback along with the afternoon FedEx delivery,” he finished grimly. “So that we could get into the service elevator when someone let the FedEx guy in. ” He rapped the steering wheel, trying to think. They were going to have to force their way past the guard, except how could they? Somewhere overhead, security had their beady eyes on the video screens – they’d bring the service elevators to a screeching halt the second they saw guns being waved around.

  Willow shot him a concerned glance; for a second, it was as if things between them were the same as always. “Go on to the gate and tell the guard you’ve got a delivery,” she said suddenly. “I think I might have an idea. ”

  Seb seemed to sense whatever it was; in the rear-view mirror, Alex saw his face slacken in surprise. “Willow, I’m not sure this is even possible – and besides, you’ve never tried it!” he burst out.

  “Well, no time like the present,” she muttered, shoving a hand through her red-gold spikes. “And since it happened to you once, it shouldn’t be impossible for us to do it at will, right? In theory, anyway. ”

  The conversation with half its words missing did nothing to reassure Alex. But they didn’t have much to lose. They were almost at the service entrance by then, with the building looming up over them; he turned into the barricaded drive and stopped by the guard booth. Putting on a relaxed smile, he said, “Buenos días, Señor. I’ve got a delivery for Ortega Graphics. ”

  The guard frowned, his gaze scanning over the blue 4 x 4. Just beyond the security barrier, a blocker rose out of the drive: a huge metal wedge that faced them like a solid wall. It would stay there until the guard lowered it into the ground.

  “Oh?” said the guard. “What company are you with?”

  Alex named a company that often made deliveries to Ortega. In a white van, which this so totally wasn’t. Not to mention that he looked like he was dressed to go to church or something.

  Beside him, he was aware of Willow concentrating hard; shifting his consciousness, he saw her angel self soar out of the truck and hover unseen near the guard booth. Meanwhile, the man’s expression had turned even more suspicious. “Un momento, I’ll have to confirm this. ” He rarely confirmed deliveries for Ortega – just let the drivers through and then buzzed someone to come down.

  Alex could feel Willow’s human self straining with effort. And then slowly, her angel became more. . . tangible. There was no other way to describe it. Instead of an ethereal being of light, she shifted until she looked almost solid, as if Alex could reach his hand out the window and stroke one of her gleaming wings. It was what the angels of the Second Wave had done, he thought in a daze: slowed down their frequency so they could be seen.

  Instead of reaching for the phone, the guard stood gaping, taking in the radiant creature that had suddenly appeared before him, emanating peace and kindness. The psychic blast Willow’s angel sent towards him was so strong that Alex caught it too: Let them in. It’s all right. Let them in.

  Alex had seen hundreds of people encountering angels; the expression on the guard’s face now was as awestruck as any of them. Staring at the angel with a wondering smile, he slowly pressed a button. The security barrier swung open; beyond it, the blocker sank into the drive.

  “Gracias,” said Alex hurriedly, and gunned them through before the guy came back to his senses.

  The loading dock was a dimly lit cave. With Willow’s angel still flying above, they parked with a shriek of wheels and ran up the short concrete ramp that led to the service elevator. Someone was just wheeling an empty cart off it, and they plunged in.

  They stayed tensely silent as the elevator hummed its way to the fifty-fourth floor. With an effort, Alex kept his eyes off the security camera. Glancing sideways, he could tell how drained Willow was from the effort with her angel, and felt a stab of anger towards Seb, who gave her a concerned glance but then just stood there without even putting his arm around her.

  Though Willow looked nervous, her chin was lifted firmly. She’s determined to be there. She loves you very much, you know.

  As the words came back to him, Alex went still, taking in Willow’s face. He realized he was staring and looked away. Get a grip, he thought, irritated with himself. He had nothing to do with why Willow was here any more; she was in love with Seb.

  “Is there a plan?” asked Seb as the elevator neared the top. He looked almost relaxed, his eyes coolly determined.

  Alex shook his head. Glancing at his phone, he was agonizingly conscious that their private audience was due to start in less than a minute. “I wish. Just follow me, as fast as you can – I know where the team will be heading. We’ve got to get to them before they go in. ”

  The elevator stopped; the doors glided open. A few seconds later, they were in the stairwell, rushing up the concrete stairs. Time slowed; Alex was hyper-aware of everything: Willow ahead of him, her short spikes bouncing as she ran; the thin scar on Seb’s arm catching the fluorescent light; the adrenalin pumping through his own veins.

  They reached the door at the top. Alex punched in the code; the light turned green and he flung it open. High glass ceilings, a glimpse of blue sky and clouds – and then they were hurtling their way down a carpeted corridor towards the lavish reception ahead.

  At promptly five past three, Raziel shifted to his angel form with a smooth ripple; wings spread, he glided out into the Mexico City afternoon. The metropolis of over twenty million people stretched out to the horizon in every direction, ringed by low purple mountains in the far distance. Raziel could feel the unnatural calmness here since the Council had been interfering, as if a soothing blanket had been draped over everything. It irked him, so that he was almost glad the place was about to be levelled.


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