Angel fever, p.86
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       Angel Fever, p.86

         Part #3 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
 
Page 86

 

  Raziel moved his fingers back and forth in Mom’s life force, making the dying grey of her aura swirl. Think carefully, Willow. Do you really want to kill your mother?

  And suddenly I was shaking too hard to stand. With a sob, I staggered and then fell to my knees, clutching at the willow’s trunk. I couldn’t do this – couldn’t watch my mother die. Please, no – I’ll do anything you want, I started to say – and then Mom’s spirit stirred again.

  I felt a wave of love, and then heard her voice clearly for the first time. This is my choice. I love you, Willow.

  My heart quickened – from the cabin by the lake, her gaze was meeting mine; I wasn’t imagining it. She smiled, her lips curving gently upwards. Then, with a weary sigh, she closed her eyes and settled more deeply into her chair. I could sense her giving in to the damage Raziel had inflicted.

  “Mom – no!” I gasped.

  So softly I almost didn’t hear, she said, You know what you have to do. As her body slumped, her blonde hair feathered across one cheek. Her aura faded, its grey lights slowly flickering to nothing.

  She was gone.

  I felt a flash of Raziel’s fury, then the connection vanished. For a second the energy of the angels’ world bucked wildly, but I was immersed in it enough now that it was part of me – I could still control it, even without Mom’s support.

  And she was right: suddenly I knew exactly what I had to do. With tears streaming down my face, I got back to my feet. Standing half in the angels’ world and half in my own, I linked the two energies and dived into them.

  Raging power. But what had once been chaos could now be tamed. I held onto Alex more tightly, feeling his love for me.

  I closed my eyes and began.

  The sky was a seething mass of angels.

  When they’d first appeared over the square, Seb had started shooting at the nail bombs automatically, trying to ignore the panicked screams. As the bombs went off one after another, nails spewed into the air like glittering fountains; the angels’ wings writhed as they jerked back. In seconds, fragments of perished angels were drifting down like sun-kissed snow.

  How many dead? thought Seb tensely, still shooting. Over a hundred, maybe?

  But there were thousands more. As the last of the bombs went off, Seb’s fellow fighters darted out into the square, firing upwards; others raced for the ladders leading to the roofs.

  Seb sent his own angel out. A girl slipped and fell; as an angel swarmed in for the kill, Seb dived to block him. He and the snarling angel battled briefly, wings colliding with sparks. There was gunfire, and the angel vanished in a burst of light.

  The girl scrambled up and ran, still firing into the sky – and Seb registered her aura. A second ago it had looked normal; now it had shrunk close to her body. It flickered, growing larger and then small again.

  Abruptly, Seb’s attention snapped back to the battle – his angelic body darted aside as a spray of bullets tore past, and his human self shot another angel, catching it as it went high.

  Alex was firing like a machine, his finger barely pausing on the trigger. Then he glanced across the square and clapped Seb’s arm. “Come on – they’re heading north. ”

  They broke cover from the diner and ran, firing upwards. Seb caught a glimpse of Jonah up in the town hall tower, talking urgently into a mic – and then a group of angels converged on him in a frenzy. Seb’s heart sank; he slowed down as he shot at them, but Jonah had vanished in a haze of wings.

  Seb and Alex plunged into the streets north of the square; all around, Seb could see auras doing that same flickering. He winced as an angel managed to grab hold of one and rip it away – the fighter fell. But nearby, another angel veered off with a furious screech as an aura shrank to nothing. Willow? Seb thought, dazed.

  Quickly, he checked on her again; the energy roaring through her tingled at his scalp. She’d opened the gate, then. You can do it, querida, he thought as he and Alex ran, footsteps pounding as they tried to get ahead of the angels. Just keep going – you can do it.

  The street took them to a residential neighbourhood. Alex paused, scanning the sky. Over the centre of town it was still a churning white, the angels now behind them and heading their way.

  “We need to get onto a roof, fast,” Alex said. “Damn it, these houses aren’t fortified – how are you at climbing?”

  “I was a thief, remember?”

  Alex nodded tensely. “Okay, take one of these; I’ll go a few streets over. Just hold them back, no matter what. ”

  Seb had no intention of doing anything else. He could sense that the angels were looking for Willow – and just then the air started to throb with the force of what she was doing. Seb swore; it wouldn’t be long now before they realized and took off past the town to stop her.

  As Alex raced off, other fighters came pouring into the street; Seb shouted out hasty instructions as the first few angels appeared. He quickly chose a house and started towards it – and then a flurry of action caught his gaze.

  A tall girl with long auburn hair, sprinting for the houses. She turned and shot at an angel; nothing happened. It dived – her aura was low but not low enough—

  With no thought, Seb went hurtling towards her; he tackled her to the ground just as his own angel swooped to defend them. He could feel her heartbeat crashing against his, and then his human self rolled off her, firing upwards. The angel burst into light and vanished.

  For a second Seb lay breathing hard. Don’t scare me like that, chiquita – I thought I’d lost you. And then he realized that of course the girl beside him wasn’t Meghan at all.

  Rachel scrambled to her feet. “Thank you!” she gasped. “I ran out of cartridges – I thought I was going to die—”

  Stunned, Seb got up too. He swallowed hard and glanced behind him. The first few angels, dead now, had been ahead of the others; just behind were a thousand more.

  The sight galvanized him. “Hurry! Take cover!”

  As Rachel ran off, Seb leaped up onto a window sill; after a quick scramble, he gripped the rough, sloped surface of the roof and pulled himself onto it. Other fighters had gotten onto roofs too; they waited tensely in position all up and down the street.

  The angels hit in a rush, turning the sky white even with their depleted numbers. The roof was slick with frost. Seb crouched beside the chimney, bracing himself against it as he shot again and again. More shooting came from the houses nearby – the air was full of confetti, of flashing wings that dived straight at him.

  Seb pivoted himself frantically around the chimney as he shot, his feet sometimes slipping a few inches, his angel protecting his back. His jaw was tight. He couldn’t think now about what had just happened; he only knew he felt a raging sorrow inside, a fury at his own stupidity that made him want to tear apart every angel he saw with his bare hands.

  Then, for a moment, everything seemed to hang suspended, even the angels. A sense of gathering power grew. Above, the sky lightened to an ominous white; to the north, a swirling vortex had appeared, an angry eye peering down from the heavens.

  In the physical world, everything had gone still; on the ethereal level, it felt as if Seb were standing in the path of an oncoming train. The angels seemed to realize all at once what was happening; with roars of rage they began streaming to the north, ignoring the fighters now in their hurry to get to Willow.

 
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