Angel fever, p.53
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       Angel Fever, p.53

         Part #3 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
Page 53


  I shifted back a little too. As if nothing had happened, I went on, “Only…it didn’t feel like a dream. It felt real. ”

  When I told Seb about it, he was silent. His arm under my head stayed very still, his hand not touching my shoulder. “It sounds as if we’re going to the right place,” he said finally.

  The possibility that the trouble in Pawntucket had something to do with my mother had never occurred to me. But her eyes, urging me on… I let out a breath, more determined than ever to get back to my hometown.

  “Yeah, I guess we are,” I said.

  The silence grew heavy – and then all at once I picked up on Seb’s feelings. They clutched at my throat, raw in their intensity: a deep unhappiness that felt as if it had been there for a long time…and a yearning towards me that he couldn’t control.

  I lay without moving, intensely aware of Seb’s arm under my head – and of an answering ache within myself. It can’t be for Seb, though – can it? I thought in confusion. It’s never been him I feel this way about.

  My mouth was like cotton. “Well…goodnight,” I said at last.

  “Yes, goodnight,” Seb echoed.

  And that time, I didn’t manage to get back to sleep at all.

  For over a thousand years, the Aztec pyramids of Teotihuacán had existed unchanged, connected by broad stone avenues that stretched in long, sun-drenched lines. Now these thoroughfares of the ancient city were flanked by new, hastily constructed buildings; the hawkers who’d once crowded them, selling souvenirs to tourists, were gone.

  So were the tourists. Instead, Teotihuacán Eden was packed with those humans who’d survived the Mexico City quake – and with the thousands of angels who’d stayed down here too.

  “You’ve got to do something, Raziel,” said Gallad in a low voice. They were standing atop the Pyramid of the Sun, overlooking the busy walled city. Just visible was the dark, fenced building where the immune were being kept. Gallad motioned angrily. “We’re having to put more in there every day. They’re mostly A2s – the angels in that zone are starting to go hungry, do you realize that?”

  “I do,” Raziel said, his jaw tight. In the time he’d spent here, he’d found no answers. His only comfort was that his assassination of the Council was likely to go undetected; he’d found nothing that would give him away.

  But plenty to threaten his leadership, if he wasn’t careful. The angels down here had been baying for blood – he’d spent nearly a week already trying to smooth things over, with no idea of whether he’d succeeded.

  “You do know that some are saying this is because we’re not really angels any more?” Gallad demanded. “First the deaths of the Council, then being separated. They’re saying we’re the walking dead, rejected by the very world that was meant to save us. ”

  “Ridiculous,” snapped Raziel. “What’s happening is just a fluke. We have no proof that it’s spreading. ” The humans affected, it turned out, had all come from the same rundown neighbourhood near the Mexico City centro. Their immunity could just be location-based.

  The other angel’s eyes were unforgiving. “We have no proof that it isn’t spreading either. That’s the point, Raziel. We don’t know. ”

  Raziel thought of Pawntucket; with a chill, he didn’t answer. What was happening in Willow’s hometown was not news that he’d chosen to share with the Mexico City angels. He mentally checked off the aberrations: Kara and the other AKs. Mexico City. Pawntucket.

  The only thing that linked them all was Willow.

  But how? And what if Gallad was right, and this thing was spreading organically? The angels could all die, and his reign would be over before it had scarcely begun.

  His cellphone went off, giving him an excuse to turn away from Gallad without responding. Bascal. About time. He spoke tersely: “What happened?”

  “They’re all dead,” said Bascal with satisfaction. “And, boss, you should have seen it! What a fight – we lost over a hundred, but it was worth it. Those AKs never even had a chance. ”

  Raziel waited, but Bascal didn’t continue. The dolt. Through gritted teeth, he said, “What about Fields and Kylar?” Beside him, he saw Gallad’s eyebrows fly up.

  “I said all, didn’t I?” protested Bascal’s voice. “Everyone in the place is gone now, I guarantee it. ”

  “You saw the bodies?”

  “Well, not personally – but when I left, no one was alive. We took care of that, you bet. ”

  Foreboding pulsed through Raziel, as well as fury with himself. How could he have been so idiotic as to leave this to Bascal? “You will go back and check again,” he ordered. “If you don’t have a body, you have nothing, do you hear me?”

  “We already did check again. We did it days ago, only there’s not much to see – we burned the place out. ”

  “Days ago?” Raziel hissed. “This happened days ago, and you’re only just now telling me? What have you been doing ever since – carousing with A1s in some penthouse somewhere?”

  Bascal’s sullen silence told him that he wasn’t far off. “Well, we had a right to celebrate, didn’t we?” he said finally. “This was a dangerous assignment. Lots of us died. And that reminds me, speaking of A1s—”

  “Don’t. Even. Say it,” cautioned Raziel. “You will lose everything you already have if you don’t do exactly what I tell you – and so will your friends, and they’ll know you’re the reason why. Do you understand?”

  There was a long pause. “Yes, I understand,” Bascal muttered at last.

  “Go to Schenectady Eden at once. Take your army with you. We’ve got another battle ahead – but before that, I’ll be debriefing everyone personally, to find out exactly which AKs died and which did not. I’ll be there by the tenth. Do not delay. ”

  When he hung up, Gallad was staring silently. The grey, ancient form of the Pyramid of the Moon rose up in the distance behind him. “Are you going to explain what that was about?” he asked.

  “This…thing is happening in Pawntucket as well,” admitted Raziel tensely. “Much stronger than we’re seeing here. The only possible connection seems to be Willow Fields. Bascal thinks she’s dead, but she may have escaped. ”

  For the first time, real fear showed in Gallad’s eyes. “Fields…the one who can destroy us all,” he murmured.

  “No, she will not,” retorted Raziel icily. “I’m leaving soon for Schenectady; it’s the nearest Eden to Pawntucket. When I do, I want you to destroy every human here, and then lead the angels to join me. ”

  Gallad’s jaw dropped. “Destroy—”

  “Yes,” barked Raziel, spinning towards him with tight fists. “We don’t know what’s going on, and we can’t take chances. Destroy them! If you’re right and it’s spreading, we must contain it – otherwise we could all die!”

  Gallad looked pale; Raziel could almost hear him thinking that over seventy thousand people lived in Teotihuacán Eden, with another twenty thousand in nearby refugee camps. Below, bright human auras went about their business – shopping, strolling down the long stone roads.

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