Angel fever, p.57
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       Angel Fever, p.57

         Part #3 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
Page 57


  He’d learned early on that most congregated in the cities – when he’d passed Albuquerque, the place had been comparatively teeming. He didn’t have a clue why the creatures no longer seemed to enjoy strolling around in their wilderness parks, but he wasn’t about to argue.

  As Alex finally drifted off to sleep, he touched his woven bracelet again: the colours of his aura and Willow’s entwined. Not much longer, he vowed silently. He’d get back to her soon – or die trying.

  When Alex had first opened his eyes after the blast, there hadn’t been a single part of him that didn’t ache.

  Gazing blearily upwards, he’d seen smooth white walls that met a plain ceiling, light streaming in through a small window. Dawn. Or sunset, maybe. Ignoring the fact that he felt as if he’d been clubbed with a mallet, he slowly rose to his feet and stared around him.

  Jesus, he’d made it. He was in the angels’ world – though getting here had been agony like nothing he’d ever experienced. Recalling the sense of being crushed, ripped apart, Alex marvelled that he was even still alive.

  The room that he’d glimpsed from his father’s house was weirdly ordinary, something he wouldn’t have looked at twice in his own world – about the same size as his dad’s place, but all one open area. It had the feel of a disused storeroom, with a thin layer of dust and a stale scent. He couldn’t see any form of lighting; apart from that, the only strange thing was a painted line of symbols on one wall – elegant squiggles and swirls that he couldn’t read. A wooden crate lay on its side, empty.

  Wondering briefly what angels needed to store, Alex sank down onto it, his thoughts spinning. Everything ached. He was coated with a powdery grime, and had a dozen scrapes and bruises. His left ankle was the worst: a long, shallow scratch that had clearly bled a lot; his sock was stained with red.

  Sock. Suddenly he realized that he was only wearing one shoe. Alex stared down at his foot in bemusement. The shoe must have gotten blown off in the explosion.

  It all rushed back. That’s right; he’d seen the house go, had lost sight of this room in the blast. He must have passed through just as everything went up – he was even luckier to be alive than he’d thought.

  “But what the hell, Cull,” he murmured. The plain room was silent, ageless. “It is possible to get here. ”

  Alarm hit as he recalled again the force of the explosion. He straightened up sharply. Speeding his consciousness up through his chakra points, he scanned the room.

  The opening between the worlds was gone.

  No, stay calm – he had to be imagining this. Alex got up and circled the room, examining the ether from every angle. There wasn’t even the faintest ripple to show where the gate had been.

  “Shit,” he whispered hollowly. Dust motes glinted, stirred by his walking. How could he carry out his father’s plan with no gate leading back to his own world? No, forget that – how the hell was he supposed to get home?

  “There’s got to be a way,” he muttered. “The angels get through all the time – I’ve just got to find one of their routes, that’s all. ”

  Yeah, simple.

  Alex slumped back onto the crate and slowly rubbed his hands down his face as he gazed at where the opening should have been. Okay, fine – for the time being, he was stuck here. Deal with it. Meanwhile, he’d try to do what he came here for. Maybe that would provide some answers that staring into space couldn’t.

  His father’s idea had first been born years ago, when Martin had seen an angel crossing into the human world. He’d done a hasty scan before the entryway between dimensions had closed – and learned that the energy field of the angel world was wholly different from that of the human one. Far stronger, but also more pliable, organized – nothing like the faint but chaotic energy of home.

  “It could be controlled, I’m sure of it,” Martin had told his sons. “Think of it – the energy field of an entire world at our fingertips! If we could just get over there long enough to connect with it, we could bridge it back to our own world and use it to destroy the angels!”

  Remembering, Alex shook his head. Even now that he’d crossed the first hurdle, the idea still seemed insane to him. I hope you were right about this, Cull, he thought, closing his eyes. Or else I’m stuck here for nothing, and then I really am going to feel like a complete idiot.

  Martin had taught both his sons how to tap into the world’s energy field – something Alex hadn’t bothered with in years; at home there was no reason for it. Now he carefully centred himself, planting both feet firmly on the ground. Then he lifted his consciousness and let it spread out in all directions. In his own world, this sensation made him mildly dizzy; here it brought a wave of nausea that had him pale and sweating in seconds. He paid no attention.

  There, exactly as Martin had described – a sea of seething energy that roared past his senses. Yet he could tell what his dad had meant: there was an order to it. The sense that if you could just figure out the right key, it could be yours.

  Alex felt a flicker of excitement. Cautiously, he started to delve into the energy, attempting to merge into it like Martin had taught him.

  “Ahh!” He jerked back; the crate skidded as he crashed onto the floor. Senses reeling, he hefted himself backwards and slumped against the wall for a minute, breathing hard. The pain had been like grabbing an electrified fence.

  His next few attempts were even worse. After an hour of increasingly violent expulsions, Alex was clammy and shaking, muscles taut. “Okay, yeah, this is a real success,” he muttered finally, wiping his forehead. “Oh, man, Cully. I wish you weren’t dead so I could kill you. ”

  He gripped his temples, forcing himself to face the truth: his energy was alien to that of this world; there was no way for him to breach it. His dad had been wrong. Cully had been wrong. He could observe the energy field here – that was all.

  Alex sat motionless, fury and disappointment raging through him. Yeah, he’d just had to try this thing, hadn’t he? He’d known it was insane, and now what? He wondered if Willow could sense him in this world; imagining what she’d think if she couldn’t, he winced. Oh, Christ, he’d be frantic if it were her. He’d rather have died in the blast than live trapped in this world for nothing.

  Alex’s jaw hardened at the thought. No. He would get home again.

  He did a scan to check that there was no life beyond the walls. Then he grabbed his backpack and rifle, swung them over his shoulder, and stepped out into a gentle dusk in the angels’ world.

  He was in an enclosure reminiscent of his father’s old camp: plain white buildings that were clearly abandoned, though these were clustered around a central courtyard. There was no fence. Desert lay in all directions, startlingly like the one he knew – even the low mountains on the horizon were the same. A warm breeze stroked past.

  Relieved at the similarity between worlds, Alex squinted north across the desert. With the gateway here obliterated, the one place where he knew the angels had crossed dimensions before was in Denver.

  Over five hundred miles of desert and mountains, and he had no vehicle and only one shoe – but at least he had a direction to head in. It should take him a few weeks, if he was lucky and made it without being discovered.

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