Angel fever, p.35
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       Angel Fever, p.35

         Part #3 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
 
Page 35

 

  Breathing hard, he slowly rose again, groping at the table for support as he stared. There was a hole in the air. Through it, he could see another room. A plain white wall. Where the opening ended, so did Alex’s view of the room; the outer wall was still seamlessly covered with angels.

  Blood pounded at his brain. The two realities danced before him. He’d actually done it.

  But so far he’d only manipulated energy on the ethereal level – for his father’s plan to work, he had to be physically over there. And when something tangible passed through that hole… Alex’s own voice came back to him: It’d be suicide. Can you even imagine the burst of energy if he tried it? This whole place would blow sky-high.

  Alex’s gaze flickered again to the walls around him. Cully must have thought surviving this was at least possible – but, Jesus, here Alex was, surrounded by hundreds of staring angel eyes. Had this place really been the work of a sane man?

  He straightened his spine. Enough of this crap. This was what he’d come for, wasn’t it? Millions of angels were feeding on humanity and would go on doing it for ever unless something stopped them – everything else paled in comparison. Everything. Even his own life.

  Keeping his eyes on the opening, Alex picked up his backpack and put it on. His pistol was in the holster under his trousers; he reached for the rifle and hooked it over his shoulder, ducking his head under the strap.

  Then he looked down at the woven bracelet on his wrist – and unable to stop himself, touched it briefly, remembering the night Willow had given it to him: the smell of her hair, the feel of her in his arms.

  He let his hand fall. He shoved the table away with a single harsh screech and backed up to the opposite wall, facing the opening. The other room still waited. Alex squared his shoulders, not taking his eyes from it.

  “Okay, let’s do it,” he muttered.

  “There!” I said, sitting up straight and pointing.

  It was just like I remembered: white buildings clustered in the desert. And oh, thank god: Alex’s grey 4 × 4 was parked outside the gate. I let out a breath as we drew closer, rumbling over the rough terrain. Too relieved to smile, I closed my eyes to feel what Alex was feeling – and gasped as his heightened emotions slammed into me.

  “No,” I whispered, gripping the dashboard. “Sam! Stop!”

  Sam screeched to a halt. Before he’d completely stopped, I flung open the door and scrambled out, running as hard as I could. Alex, you can’t go through with whatever this is – please, you won’t survive it—

  As my feet beat over the sandy ground I could feel the coolness of tears on my face. Everything had slid into slow motion: a hawk circling above, the gate ahead of me as it grew larger.

  “Alex!” I screamed. “Alex!”

  Alex stood poised, his gaze fixed on the opening. Now that the time had come, he felt only an intense determination, all other thought banished. The angels watched from the walls as the strange room sat cloaked in shadow.

  Now, he thought, and started to run.

  He threw himself into the air at the last possible moment, meeting the opening head-on – and as he did, he thought he heard someone call his name.

  The impact was like slamming into concrete.

  The explosion screamed through him as the world erupted. The route between worlds vanished. Angels were shattering into pieces, flying up into the blue sky. Alex was falling, floating, being ripped apart.

  Pain…oh Jesus, the pain.

  Willow…I’m sorry, he thought.

  It was the last thing he knew.

  THE GROUND TREMBLED UNDER my feet as the entire centre of the camp exploded. With a roar that shook the earth, buildings went up in a wild fountain of flame, cement, and smoke, brilliant against the blue sky.

  “No!” I screamed.

  I’d been sensing Alex’s rapid heartbeat – his near-certainty that he’d die. Now, for a brief, endless flash, his agony crushed me. Blown apart, wrenched into pieces – so much pain—

  His heart gave a last weak beat…and then stopped.

  Emptiness.

  Before I could take it in, a wall of air slammed into me. I was knocked flat on my back, gasping for breath – dimly aware of rubble falling all around, thumping into the sand.

  Muscular arms pinned me in place. “Keep down!” Sam yelled in my ear.

  “Let go!” I cried, struggling wildly. “Let go of me!”

  Somehow I got away and was running again, sprinting as fast as I could. It had all taken only seconds; now a terrible, chilly silence lay over everything. Debris lay scattered across the desert. A billowing cloud of dust and smoke rose from the camp.

  The gate was half flattened, mowed down by flying shards of concrete. I scrambled over the barbed wire and lunged across the chain-link diamonds with a clatter.

  “Alex!” I shouted as I ran into the enclosure. “Alex!”

  Dust hit me, so thick I could barely see. Eyes streaming, I kept going, stumbling over the rubble-strewn pavement to the ruined centre of the camp, a scorched crater filled with debris and dust. Smoke drifted up into the sky.

  Alex’s father’s house was gone. So were half a dozen buildings around it.

  He could still be alive, I thought frantically, dropping into the hole. After the earthquakes, some of our AKs had survived for days trapped in collapsed buildings. Falling to my knees, I saw what looked like part of an angel’s wing drawn on a chunk of concrete – I barely noticed it as I hefted it aside, and then the piece after that, and another.

  “Alex!” I called. “Please, answer me!”

  As I dug, I scanned desperately. His energy always came so quickly – as if our love were an arrow leading me straight to him. Now there was nothing. I kept scanning, shaking so hard I could barely think.

  Nothing. And I’d known that already…because I’d felt him die.

  My mind flinched from the knowledge. “Alex!” I yelled again, still digging feverishly, bloodying my fingers against the dusty shards of concrete.

  Slow footsteps came from behind me – the sound of someone dropping down into the crater. Then I felt Sam’s hand, warm and heavy on my shoulder.

  His voice was ragged. “It’s no use, darlin’. ”

  “It is – it is!”

  Sam crouched next to me. His eyes were red-rimmed. “Willow. Do a scan. The only ones still alive here are us. ”

  I shook my head hard, not even pausing as I dug. “No. No. You’re doing it wrong. He’s alive – he has to be. ”

  Then I saw it. My throat thickened, words leaving me. The piece of concrete I was holding slipped from my fingers, landing with a dull scraping noise. In a daze, I stretched across the wreckage to pick up what I’d seen.

  Alex’s shoe.

  A small moan escaped me as I turned it over in my hands – realized distantly that I was trembling. A battered once-white sneaker, now covered in dust and a streak of blood. I’d seen him put it on just yesterday, leaning over as he sat on the bed, his dark hair falling across his forehead.

  An ice pick stabbed at my temples. The sense of being blown apart – his warm life-energy coming to an end. Oh god, I’d actually felt it.

  I’d felt it.

  “No!” The word tore painfully from my throat. I clutched the shoe to myself, hunching over it as I began to rock.

 
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