Angel fire, p.17
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       Angel Fire, p.17

         Part #2 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
 
Page 17

 

  It washed over him all at once. The sense of an energy so similar to his own was dizzying, and Seb’s hands turned to fists, grasping the thin material like a lifeline. His phantom half-angel girl, who he’d spent so many years of his life trying to find – she was real; she had worn this shirt. He could feel her so strongly, her spirit whispering through the fabric. Everything about her that he’d been in love with for so long – her kindness, her strength, her humour – it was all here, and more. Seb’s heart was battering in his chest.

  When he could finally focus again, he realized that she was about his own age, and that she’d been worried about a dream. Pictures started appearing in Seb’s mind; he frowned in surprise at the familiar streets. El DF. She had dreamed of Mexico City, and of angels, and a sense of urgency that pulled at her like the tide. They had to go there, she and her human boyfriend – they had no choice. The details from the dream swirled over him; he could feel the girl’s fear, her anxiousness.

  The final image jolted him with shock.

  A boy in her dream stood watching her in a park; he held out his hand, called her querida. Seb could feel how much the girl wanted to go to him; the longing that came over her as their eyes met. And the boy’s face was the same one that he saw whenever he looked in a mirror.

  The dream faded. Seb lowered the shirt, his mind reeling. She had dreamed of him – she’d longed for him just as he’d always longed for her. For a minute he couldn’t help it; still clutching the shirt, he slumped against the side of the bandstand, burying his head in his arms as he struggled against tears. Oh god, it was true – it was really true. She was real; he wasn’t alone.

  The cathedral bells began to ring through the evening, tolling six o’clock. As the last note died from the air, Seb rose shakily to his feet. If the two of them were following the girl’s dream, then they were on their way to Mexico City. It didn’t matter how much he hated el DF; he had to get down there now, this second, so that he could find this girl – even if he had to search every square inch of the place to do it.

  Folding the shirt, Seb tucked it into his bag, his fingers leaving it reluctantly. The photo he studied for a moment, drinking in the girl’s delicately pointed features, her smile and green eyes. He shook his head in wonder as he touched the upturned face. So this was what she looked like; he’d yearned to know for most of his life. So beautiful, even as a child. Was she with her human boyfriend for the same reason he’d been tempted by Lucy – just because the loneliness had become too much, and there was no one else? Maybe this girl had always felt alone too, the same way he had.

  Seb tucked the photo into the pocket of his jeans, wanting to keep it close. Mexico City held twenty million people, but he’d find her, somehow. They had to meet, had to be together. The certainty of it was like a heartbeat drumming through him. No other option was possible – it was meant to be.

  She had dreamed of him.

  THE FIRST THING I NOTICED about Mexico City was the traffic. It was endless, chaotic: cars, taxis, other motorcycles. Horns blaring; red lights being run; hardly any attention paid to the division lines at all, except to see how blatantly you could ignore them. When it stopped for even a second, shouting sellers appeared in the street, striding past with cigarettes and candy. I kept my hands on Alex’s waist as he wove us deftly in and out of it all, swerving and putting on the brakes as people tried to blindside us.

  The second thing that hit me was the smell – a dizzying cocktail of exhaust fumes, the spices from sidewalk food vendors, dust from construction projects. And the sound: jackhammers, rock music, brakes squealing in protest. I couldn’t stop staring, taking it all in. As Alex and I made our way towards the centre of the city, I saw medieval buildings jostling for space beside modern glass structures and art deco ones from the thirties; others that were abandoned, with graffiti-ridden boards covering the windows. I blinked as I noticed something else – a lot of the buildings seemed slightly skewed, as if you were viewing them after a drunken night out. The whole place looked like the aftermath of a giant party.

  And there were the angels, of course.

  I spotted the first one soon after we entered the city, gliding serenely over a neighbourhood a few streets away. As we got further in, I kept seeing others here and there, circling and occasionally diving downwards in flashes of light. I even saw one feeding on a dingy sidewalk as we passed by, not ten feet away. My scalp went cold; I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The old man being fed from stood smiling dazedly; the angel was brilliant white, almost seven feet high, its wings blinding in the sun. It was surreal, the way people on the sidewalk were just shoving past the man; how none of them could see what was so painfully obvious to me.

  The next light turned red and we came to a stop. Alex glanced over his shoulder, pushing his visor up. “We should start thinking about where we’re going. Any ideas?”

  I swallowed. Not even Alex could see what I saw – not unless he shifted his consciousness up through his chakra points. Feeling very alone suddenly, I looked away from the feeding angel, thankful that the thing was too distracted to notice me. “No, no ideas,” I said.

  Then, as the traffic started up again, I thought of something. I raised my voice over the noise. “Wait – can we go to that square, the one I dreamed about?”

  “Yeah, I guess,” Alex called back after a pause. I knew he was thinking about the hunting angels I’d seen in my dream, and wasn’t crazy about the idea – but he didn’t argue.

  It was nearing sunset, the sky spectacular with the pollution: wild streaks of red and pink that swirled across the grey dusk like oil on water. I’d have known the city was seething with angels even if I couldn’t see them – on almost every street corner, silver and blue Church of Angels signs were painted on the sides of buildings like giant billboards. And lots of people were visibly sick. As Alex stopped for another light, I watched a young woman pause on the sidewalk, gripping a street light for support. It could have been a coincidence, of course. She could have just had a dizzy spell or something. But I really doubted it. And if it was this bad here now, what was it going to be like in a few more weeks, now that the Second Wave had arrived? I bit my lip, hating the thought of it.

  Slowly, a massive stone cathedral loomed into view above the other buildings. It had two ornate bell towers; they stood to either side of a central dome, where a golden angel perched on one foot, lifting a garland towards the sky.

  I felt Alex’s muscles tense; when we stopped for another light, he whipped towards me again. “I don’t believe it – that angel’s the most famous statue in Mexico City! It’s always been on top of a column on the Paseo de la Reforma, and now suddenly it’s up there on the Catedral Metropolitana. ”

  “The what?”

  “The Metropolitan Cathedral,” he said. His jaw was tight. “It’s the oldest cathedral in the Americas – it’s been here for, like, four hundred years. And I’ve got a really bad feeling it’s a Church of Angels cathedral now. It must have happened just recently. ”

  “Oh,” I said weakly. That. . . didn’t seem like a good sign.

  “Anyway, it’s on the Zócalo – we’re almost there. And guess what?” Alex added, nodding at a brightly-coloured poster on a street lamp. “That sign says there’s a ‘Love the Angels’ concert going on in the square tonight. ”

 
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