Angel fire, p.116
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       Angel Fire, p.116

         Part #2 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
Page 116


  Trish and Wesley burst up from the stairwell. “They’re Angel Killers! Stop them!” Feeling sick, I tore my gaze from their familiar faces. This was not the time to think about it.

  “Okay, let’s do it,” said Alex grimly. He wrapped his arms around me and I held onto him, feeling his heart beating against mine. Beside me, Sam was lifting Liz up into his arms as Seb stood behind him, supporting him across the chest. My eyes met Seb’s as both of us silently urged the other on. Our angels hovered overhead, centring themselves, getting ready.

  The crowd charged. Trish and Wesley were gaining on the others, still shouting. At the head of them all was Raziel, his suit jacket flapping – and as I glanced back, for a dizzying second I was catapulted into his head again. I caught my breath in shock at what I found there, my arms tightening around Alex.

  Half the angels in the world were dead.

  Raziel knew it instinctively, just like he knew his own heartbeat. Half the angels were really gone. Gone. I felt a rush of dazed relief. . . then stiffened as other knowledge came. Raziel was intrigued by me, sorry that I had to die. He’d enjoyed wandering around in my thoughts.

  Suddenly it was like a gate had been slammed shut, severing the connection. “You don’t actually think you’ll get away, do you?” called my father, the wind whipping at his words as he ran towards us.

  I shivered as I stared at him. I hated that he’d been in my mind; if I could dip my brain in bleach, I’d do it.

  “One way to find out,” I said softly. And as my angel put her arms around us, Alex and I stepped over the edge.

  Wind rushing past – the blur of angry faces staring down at us. The street below spiralled, growing larger; I could see our falling reflections in the curved green glass. In my angel form, my wings beat frantically as I struggled with the unused-to weight. A little away from me, Seb was having the same trouble, only worse – his angel was carrying three people.

  I was not going to let us crash; somehow managed to get the fall under control. It was like a parachute had opened, snapping us into buoyancy. Below us, I saw to my relief that Seb’s powerful wings were in control now, too.

  “Are you okay?” asked Alex over the wind.

  “Fine,” I got out, my arms still tight around him. I could smell his warm Alex-smell. We were so close, just like we’d been a thousand times before; all I wanted was to lift my face to his and kiss him. I looked away, but not before I saw his throat move.

  “Willow. . . ” he started – and then broke off as a sound like thunder rumbled. That ominous sense of the Council’s roots, moving on their own now. The Twelve’s absence had unbalanced everything, like a boulder teetering on the edge of a cliff.

  “It’s not good, is it?” said Alex, watching my face.

  Before I could answer, my angel self stiffened in alarm – and in a bright blur, Raziel swooped down out of the sky, his angel-image reflected in the glass.

  “You know, I think this whole scenario would go better if there was more falling involved,” he said, and he beat at my angel with wings of light that jolted her, threw her off kilter. My human hands went icy as our fall accelerated again – we were still about thirty storeys above the ground.

  “Hang on,” shouted Alex in my ear, and he let go of me with one arm to reach for his gun. Raziel saw the motion; with a snarl, he reached for Alex’s life energy, his long fingers stretching towards it.

  No! In my angel form, I let my wings go completely still, plummeting us downwards like a rock. My human self clung to Alex as we started to tumble, earth and sky and wings flashing past. I almost lost my grip; his arms tightened. “I won’t let you fall; I’ll never let you fall,” he murmured, and I knew he wasn’t even aware he’d said it out loud. The wind was tearing at me; my angel self could barely move her wings. No, we were not going to die this way. Panting, I beat frantically.

  I righted us just as Raziel appeared again; his wings flashed through the blue sky as he dove at Alex from behind.

  “Alex!” I cried. He turned sharply, but my angel’s wings were in his way; she was too exhausted now to manoeuvre. He swore as Raziel drew closer. My pulse was racing. No. This was not going to happen. I took a deep breath; drew my gun and aimed at his halo.

  “Oh, I don’t think you’ll do that,” sneered Raziel as he craned towards us. “I know you very well now, my daughter. ”

  Without answering, I pulled the trigger.

  I missed, but it was enough to startle him; he jerked backwards, flapping. I could see Seb above us with Sam and Liz; sense his distress that he could do nothing to help. Sam was firing on Raziel though, and the angel hissed as he realized it, darting away. Alex finally got a clear shot and aimed, holding onto me tightly with his other arm. “Oh, man, he is so going to die this time,” he muttered.

  The world met us with a crash as we landed on a stretch of grass beside a parking lot. My angel self had slowed us down as much as she could, but it still felt like we’d slammed into a brick wall. I cried out as Alex and I rolled together; there was a shout of pain from someone as Seb and the others landed nearby. My angel merged with me again, limp and exhausted – I could feel her relief that she’d gotten us down safely.

  I lay on the grass for a moment, shaking. Feeling Alex’s arms around me. “Are you okay?” he whispered.

  My face was against his neck; I closed my eyes tightly, savouring the warmth of his skin against my lips. “Fine. ” Somehow my voice sounded steady. I pulled away and sat up, my heart beating hard.

  And then I stared at the sky above us.

  Raziel was high overhead now, out of reach of our bullets – but he wasn’t alone. Charmeine, the female angel I’d seen in his thoughts, was speeding towards him, her long hair whipping in the wind. Several dozen angels were following her. “There’s the traitor who assassinated the Twelve!” she called. “Don’t let him get away!”

  Of course, I thought dazedly, remembering what I’d glimpsed of the power-hungry Charmeine from Raziel’s mind. He only thought he’d totally delved her; she’d fooled him and the Council both. Her gamble had paid off – and now that he’d helped her do away with the Twelve, she didn’t need him any more.

  The angels’ wings glinted like knife points as they descended; somehow I knew this was all that remained of the Council’s hundred-strong entourage. With a snarl of fury, Raziel shot straight up in the air, twisting away from the small army. I watched, sickly fascinated; I knew that I was about to see my father’s death.

  I cried out as the ground bucked like a living thing. The sound of breaking glass came from somewhere. Car alarms going off.

  The ground shook again. . . and all at once a thick strand of energy burst out of it.

  It snapped through the air, whipping wildly – almost invisible, an intensity more than something you could see. It mowed through the battling angels overhead, sending them scattering; lashed back again, so that some of them erupted into bursts of light. My arms went cold. I couldn’t tell who was who any more – what was happening?

  Alex had been watching too. “Come on, let’s get the hell out of here,” he said, scrambling to his feet. He offered his hand to me. I started to take it and then remembered, drawing back just in time. I couldn’t touch him again, not for any reason – already, I might have damaged him even more.


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