Angel fever, p.84
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       Angel Fever, p.84

         Part #3 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
Page 84


  Nina still stood nearby; her eyes widened. “Up in the tower?” she echoed. “But I thought you’d be with the fighters on the ground!”

  “I’m not a good shot and you know it,” Jonah said tightly. “But I can do this, and people need to know what’s going on. ”

  She looked close to tears. “No! You’ll be the first thing the angels see when they come over the square – they’ll go right for you—”

  “We do not have time for this,” Alex cut in savagely. “Jonah, if that’s what you’re doing, then for Chrissake hurry!”

  With an agonized look at Nina, Jonah turned to go. Alex grabbed his wrist. “And do a good job,” he added in a low voice. “I want the Voice of Freedom to tell this exactly like it is. ”

  Nina flung herself at Jonah suddenly, hugging him tight. “Oh god, be careful. ”

  “I’m sorry,” he said as he clutched her to him. “I have to do this—” He kissed her hard, then ran off towards the town hall. Nina struggled to compose herself and then raced off too, her footfalls echoing.

  In the sudden silence, Alex and Seb ran for the doorway of Drake’s Diner. A garish painted mallard still flew on the glass door. Drake’s – the best in town! read the cheery lettering.

  The square was utterly still, with shadowy figures pressed in every doorway. Alex’s eyes flicked up to the clock. Two minutes. Scanning, he could feel the great angelic force heading their way now, and his skin crawled at its sheer size. Even more than he’d thought – there must be five thousand. Christ, how long would the first buffer zone be able to hold that back?

  And how many people were about to die?

  Seb seemed to pick up on this. “You’ve done all you can,” he said, still gazing out at the square. “And you did well, with only minutes to prepare them. ”

  Things had been slightly strained between him and Seb since that morning in the boys’ bathroom; it seemed stupid now. “Listen, stay alive during this, okay?” Alex said, glancing at Seb’s profile.

  Seb gave a dry smile. “Yes, look who’s talking. ”

  They fell silent then as the first explosions came from the south-east – blast after thundering blast. As the sound of gunfire started, Alex stood poised, watching the sky above the square. The rifle in his hands felt cool, ready.

  “Here we go,” he muttered, and then shot Seb a look. “Can you sense her? Is she okay?”

  Seb had his rifle pressed against his shoulder, his stubbled face intent. He paused, then nodded. “She hasn’t gotten through to the angels’ world yet. ”

  Be careful, babe, thought Alex. Please, be careful. And then flashing white wings and angry, glorious faces appeared over the square, and there was no more time for thought.

  MURRAY PARK SAT ON A HILL north of Pawntucket. I screeched to a halt in the empty parking lot; the picnic benches looked damp and abandoned.

  The whole drive there, I’d had my consciousness linked with Mom’s, terrified that any second I’d sense Raziel with her. So far, he hadn’t arrived. What I couldn’t let myself think about at all was Alex’s final kiss, his lips almost harsh against mine.

  A hiking trail snaked away into the trees. I raced down it, old snow crunching under my feet as my breath came in short, icy puffs. When I’d lived in Pawntucket, I hadn’t come here much; I’d sort of saved it for special occasions, when I wanted to feel close to Mom. But the willow tree was just as I remembered, beside a small frozen pond. Its draping branches were empty of leaves now, wreathed in frost like crystal curtains.

  The hill dropped away to one side. Below, Pawntucket was laid out like a toy town. As I reached the tree, I froze. In the distance I could see angels coming, spreading across the sky in a solid sheet of white. My breath caught. So many of them!

  Alex, I thought wildly. And Seb, Nina and Jonah, everybody else. There was no way they could defend against that, none.

  No, I thought, staring down at the town. This couldn’t happen. It just couldn’t.

  There was no time to try and protect everyone’s auras again; I did it anyway. I quickly shut my eyes and this time didn’t let myself think at all. I just stretched my energy out as wide as I could, as if it were a huge blanket.

  Wide – wider. The sensation was bizarre, as if at any second my energy would fray into pieces. But it didn’t – it just kept expanding, getting thinner. Slowly, my heart beating hard, I draped it down over Pawntucket.

  The dizzying sense of two hundred different auras hit me; I could feel them all craning towards me in return. My teeth clenched as I tried to grab hold, shrink them down – it was like trying to juggle too many balls at once. I was trembling; I’d never be able to hold this, even if I’d managed to get them all.

  The sound of distant explosions started. No more time. Breathing hard, I opened my eyes – and stared as angels jerked backwards in the air like shot wildfowl; others exploded like fireworks, with thousands more coming up behind.

  Please, please, let me have done some good, I thought frantically – and ran for the tree.

  As I ducked through its branches, the smell of damp earth enveloped me. Forcing myself to ignore the gunfire, I took a deep breath to steady myself. With one hand, I reached out and touched the tree’s bark – felt its slight roughness. Then I lifted up through my chakras and studied the air in front of me.

  At first I couldn’t see anything and was horror-struck. Maybe I’d gotten this wrong. Stop. Calm. Look again. And this time, ghostly in the predawn light, I saw the gate just as Alex had described: a small patch of air like rippling water.

  Limp with relief, I quickly explored it psychically. Not quite complete yet – the ether felt thin, insubstantial, as if I could flick my finger through. Suddenly my heart leaped so hard it was painful: I could feel my mother’s spirit right on the other side.

  Mom, I’m here! I thought wildly. I craned my energy towards hers; it was as if we were each touching a pane of glass from opposite sides. Warmth started to build: a gentle swirling that was melting away the fabric between worlds.

  Suddenly I saw myself twelve years ago, standing in the sunshine, only feet from this very spot – my mother, smiling and taking my photo: It’s a special tree. Someday I’ll tell you the story of why you’re named after it.

  “Mom, I know,” I whispered as other images started to come.

  Raziel had met with her here – I’d been conceived here. The barrier between worlds was so thin in this place because her spirit had spent years just a hair’s breadth away, yearning for the angel she’d been in love with. My throat clenched as I saw her looking young, beautiful – her green eyes full of awe.

  Raziel had known exactly what he was doing to her and he hadn’t cared.

  Then I caught my breath – my connection with my mother’s physical self had strengthened too. All at once I could see everything: Mom was sitting in an armchair in what looked like a lake house, her blonde hair soft around her face.

  “Mom!” I cried aloud.

  “She’s in here,” said Aunt Jo’s voice.

  My heart froze. No! With a sense of loving regret, my mother’s spirit in the other world drew quickly away. A second later I could feel her again – still in the angels’ world, but now just beside her physical self.

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