Angel fire, p.115
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       Angel Fire, p.115

         Part #2 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
 
Page 115

 

  Raziel was there too. Naturally – where else would he be? This was his glorious hour.

  He didn’t hesitate for an instant when my angel self swooped in front of the final Council member. I saw his face gazing coolly upwards as he aimed. The force of the bullet slammed through me, and I felt myself drifting, barely able to make it back to my human form. Against the wall, my fists slowly unclenched as a dark tide washed me away.

  Then there was Seb, picking me up in his arms. Seb, I’m sorry, I want things to be the same between us again, I thought. I couldn’t get the words out. I clung to him as the world swam and slipped away from me once more. Vaguely, I had a dream that it was Alex holding me instead; the feel of his embrace was so real that I wanted to stay wrapped up in it for ever.

  When I came to, I was looking up at the sky. Distant shouts; a scraping noise. I sat up, my head still groggy – and saw the view from my dream. All of Mexico City was spread out below, stretching into infinity. There was a weird hush in the air, as if the very world was holding its breath. My scalp prickled. The roots the Council had put down felt loose now, dangerous – like the bodies of headless snakes moving restlessly about, causing ripples in the earth.

  I struggled to my feet – I was on a helipad. There was a door nearby; Alex, Seb, Sam and Liz had just dragged some sort of metal unit in front of it. The door shuddered rhythmically as the sound of shouts came through.

  “Hold on, everyone!” called Alex. Even through his shirt, I could see his muscles flexing as they all strained to hold the barricade in place.

  Still feeling dizzy, I ran to add my weight to theirs. The metal unit looked like part of a giant air conditioner. I shoved myself against it and pushed. Seb was beside me – head down, hands propped on the metal edge as he groped for purchase with his feet. “Are you okay?” he gasped, glancing at me.

  “I think so,” I said faintly. Alex’s eyes met mine and I could see the deep flicker of thankfulness in them; then he turned away without speaking as the metal unit scraped across the cement. The door burst open a few inches, then banged shut again as we all heaved. Incoherent shouts, a glimpse of angry faces.

  “Oh god, they’re going to get through!” Liz’s cheeks were red with effort. “Alex, what are we going to do? There’s no place to hide up here!”

  “Start pickin’ ’em off one by one as they come through,” grunted Sam on the other side of me. His broad shoulders looked like they had softballs in them as he pushed.

  “Yes, that will work for about two minutes maybe,” said Seb, raising his voice over the shouts. The door was shuddering, shaking. “How many cartridges do you have?”

  “Enough to make them sorry they ever followed us up here,” said Sam grimly. “I’m going down fighting, that’s all I know. ”

  “But we’ll still go down,” said Liz, sounding agonized. “There’s just too many of them! And Trish and Wesley—” She broke off with a sob. I felt like crying myself. Trish, who everyone had loved so much; Wesley, who’d wanted only to avenge his family. Were we supposed to open fire on them now?

  The screams intensified as the door shoved open by almost a foot; we struggled to close it again.

  “Okay, don’t panic,” said Alex. “We’ll have the advantage as they come through the door. We’re going to have to let go of the unit and position ourselves over to the side. When the crowd bursts through, start firing. Try a couple of warning shots first, but don’t waste too many cartridges if it doesn’t work. ”

  Though his tone stayed matter-of-fact, I knew how much he must hate this; he loathed the thought of using a gun against another human being. He wasn’t the only one. I imagined pulling the trigger; seeing someone crumple in front of me. My lips went dry. I didn’t think I could do it.

  “Give me your gun and get behind me when we let go,” said Seb to me.

  I swallowed. “Seb, no – I can’t let you shield me—”

  His voice was strained. “Please, just do it. You don’t think you can shoot, and I can. ”

  “Seb’s right,” said Alex shortly. “Stay behind both of us. ”

  And as our eyes met again, I saw what I already knew in his: Liz was right, too. There were just too many of them for us to fight – and from the sound of their shouts, they weren’t going to be slowed down much by warning shots. Unless we could think of something else, fast, we were going to die.

  “Okay, on the count of three,” said Alex, loudly to make himself heard. The shouts were almost deafening now, the door thudding open and shut like a heartbeat. “One. ”

  I looked wildly around us, frantic to find something that maybe the others had missed. Like an elevator, that would be a good thing to find. My gaze came to the edge of the building, and stopped. I stared at it, my thoughts tumbling.

  The unit almost hopped as it scraped forward six inches. “Two,” said Alex, his jaw tight.

  My dream. The tower that I’d flown from; the way my wings had felt so heavy. Seb turned his head and stared at me as he picked up what I was thinking – and it was so completely insane that I knew it was our only chance.

  “Th—”

  “No, wait!” I burst out. “I’ve got an idea!”

  It took an agonizing minute or so for Seb and me to prepare ourselves, while I tried not to focus on the metal unit sliding steadily backwards – the door inching open. As I concentrated, I heard the others’ grunts of effort to keep holding the door shut; beside me, Seb was straining as both our angels hovered overhead. He obviously found this just as hard as I did.

  Finally I reached up and touched my angel’s foot as she looked down at me. Her face was my own, as white as a statue; her wings gently stirred the air. The foot felt cool and firm. It was a very weird sensation, to literally touch another you.

  I glanced at Seb; his angel looked just as solid. He nodded. “We’re ready,” I said, lifting my voice. I managed to keep the fear out of it. If I was wrong, then we were about to plummet to our deaths.

  Alex’s brow was damp as he struggled against the unit. “On the count of three, then – a good shove, and then run. One – two – three. ”

  We heaved hard; howls came from the door as people were shoved back. Then we raced for the edge of the building, with the two angels gliding overhead. There was a loud scraping noise as the air conditioning unit was shoved aside; then I could hear people stampeding through.

  We’d already decided who should go with who. The human Seb was stronger than me, so he was going to have to hang onto two of them, and he couldn’t support both Alex and Sam – and I definitely couldn’t support the burly Sam.

  So it was only common sense that I took Alex. Even so, my heart thudded as we reached the edge, and I knew what we were about to do was only part of it. For a second, Alex’s blue-grey eyes were unguarded as we glanced at each other; my pulse skipped at the expression in them. Oh god, if I knew for certain we were about to die, I’d tell him everything.

  The crowd of almost a hundred people had seen our angels now, and stopped uncertainly. Some carried makeshift weapons – jagged pieces of wood that looked like they’d been torn from picture frames. Raziel appeared from their midst in his human form, his poet’s face contorted as he yelled at them. I didn’t have to speak Spanish to get what he was saying: See, they have no halos! They’re not real angels, it’s a trick! They killed the Council, don’t let them get away!

 

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