Home > Tegan's Magic (The Ultimate Power #3)

Tegan's Magic (The Ultimate Power #3)
Author: L.H. Cosway

Chapter One

There’s Nothing Kind About Man

The fighting seems to spring out of nowhere. One minute I’m walking down the street minding my own business, and the next I’m standing in the middle of a riot.

I’m turning the corner onto Campion Row, one of the main shopping avenues in Tribane, when my eye latches onto a fist making contact with somebody’s face. Then, when I have the chance to scan the area, I notice that there are hundreds of people fighting one another. Just going at it like they’ve all suddenly taken crazy pills or something.

A thin, mousy looking woman who seems like she wouldn’t normally harm a fly is pulling down hard on the hair of a blond woman and spouting angry profanities right into her face. Spittle flies from her contorted mouth. What are they fighting for? Was there some sort of protest supposed to be happening today that’s gotten out of hand?

I take a step backward almost instinctively, because my gut is telling me it’s a bad idea to venture any further. I turn around to go back the way that I came, but find that the riot has rapidly spread and now there’s no way out. Only a moment ago shoppers were wandering calmly about the street behind me and now they’re basically kicking the living shit out of each other. Nerves build up inside of me as I try to figure out if perhaps I’m dreaming.

A group of teenagers band together, throwing bricks and smashing the large glass windows at the front of an electronics store. Okay, I can’t even begin to fathom where they might have gotten the bricks from. It’s not like people generally carry them about on their person. Several employees come rushing out to try and stop them, which only functions to create more fighting. The teenagers throw kicks and punches at the employees who wear pale green polo shirts, name tags and dark blue slacks.

At first the employees try to prevent the teenagers from doing any more damage, but now it seems like they’re just as angry as the rioters. They begin fighting viciously for no real reason. I step away further, backing myself up against the concrete wall of the building behind me. Two men fall to the ground a foot or so away from me. The man on top is pummelling his opponent’s face in, bloodying up his nose, and I’m sure creating two horribly black eyes. The man being hit looks like he’s on death’s door, his body limp within his abuser’s grasp. I can’t just watch this happen.

“Hey, stop that!” I shout at the man who’s still throwing punches like nobody’s business.

The man ceases in his persistent beating to turn around and glare at me. There’s a rampant, crazed look in his blue eyes. He’s wearing a woollen top, corduroy trousers, sensible brown shoes and his balding dark hair has speckles of grey in it. He looks like somebody’s straight laced father; an accountant or a financial advisor doing some shopping on his day off. Not some mental case who would randomly beat on a passing stranger. All of a sudden he lets go of the man he’d been punching.

“You little tramp,” he seethes. “What did you just call me?”

The anger and hate in his words strike me as displaced, since I didn’t actually call him anything. I only told him to stop what he’d been doing. The fighting and looting is still going on around me, but all I can focus on is this man’s bloodshot eyes and the saliva that has begun to drip from his mouth, like a rabid dog’s drool.

I press my entire body even harder against the concrete wall. I have no escape route, and the man is quickly advancing on me.

“I – I didn’t call you anything,” I tell him, but he doesn’t even seem to be listening any longer.

“I heard what you said, you f**king bitch. You’re going to pay for that now,” he spits.

“I swear, mister, I didn’t…um, maybe you’re hearing things.”

Okay, that probably wasn’t the most clever thing to say, but I tend to get rude when I’m frightened. If this man were a supernatural being, like a vampire or a warlock, I’d have no hesitation in using my magic to fight him. But he’s only a human, so I don’t know if my sparks would simply incapacitate him or kill him, and I wouldn’t want somebody’s murder on my poor, abused conscience. She’s already heavily saddled as it is.

“Don’t you tell me I’m hearing things. Who do you think you are?”

His jaws clench as he fists his hand and brings it down on me, punching me right on the cheek – once, twice, three times. Fuck that hurts. Sorcerers and ancient vampires might be psychos, but man can be a cruel bastard when the mood takes him.

Then he lifts his leg and lands several kicks to my shin and one in the ankle. Right, well I had tried to save my conscience the addition of murder, but this prick has it coming. Without much effort I summon my magic. Sparks tickle my palm, which I raise and use to smack him directly on his forehead.

Immediately they burn his skin and he leaps away from me, a look of pure, undiluted rage marring his benign features. A vile C-word escapes his saliva ridden mouth, and I wince at the harshness as well as the pain he has just inflicted on me. I glance across at the electronics store to see that the teenagers are now making their way out of the place, laden down with looted items such as laptops, iphones and digital cameras. One of the employees grabs onto a fleeing looter, pulling him to the ground and punching him hard in the ribs.

When I look back to my own opponent I realise that he’s advancing on me again, so I dodge out of the way, dropping the shopping bag I’d been carrying that had contained a few new novels I’d bought today. I suppose losing a couple of books is worth avoiding another punch in the face. The man comes at me yet again, but I turn on my heel and dash through the mêlée of combating shoppers. I can hear him grunting just behind me so I put more force into my run, my lungs burning in the process. I really need to exercise more.

A few minutes pass and the chase continues. It’s not long before I seem to have gotten away from the riot. That bastard is still on my case though, so I abruptly stop and turn around to face him.

“Back the f**k off,” I warn in a hard voice. My tone seems to shock him out of his anger.

Now he starts blinking his eyes and shaking his head, as though trying to rid himself of a daydream. He peers at me, at my face that he had been hitting only minutes ago, and his expression clouds with confusion.

“I – I’m so sorry,” he mumbles. “I don’t understand…” then he trails off and starts shaking his head again while running his hands over his face.

“Sorry for what? For trying to beat the living shit out of a woman you don’t even know, or for the man back there who you have probably left irreparably injured?” My indignation consumes me as I take a step forward to confront this man who appears all but harmless now.

“I don’t know why I did that, why I hit you…I just felt – crazed.”

Something isn’t right about all of this. To quote Shakespeare, something is rotten in the state of Denmark. There was no protest on today; I would have heard about it on the news this morning if there had been. No, there is foul play afoot, and I’d be hard pushed to believe it didn’t have something to do with the Sorcerer Theodore being back on the scene.

“You’re lucky I haven’t decided to call the police. Go home and say a prayer for the man you beat up. Oh, and perhaps call an ambulance for him while you’re at it.”

Although as I’m saying this, I can already hear sirens approaching in the distance, sirens for both the police and an ambulance. They intermingle together to make an unpleasant high pitched wail, like a cat when it tries to sing in the middle of the night. We used to have a cat on our street when I was growing up who would wake me every couple of nights with the most God-awful mewling.

But anyway, I suppose I’m getting off the point. The point is, the paramedics are on their way. I should probably stick around and get checked out, but I can tell that my injuries are mostly superficial. However, as Finn would say, I’ll be limping like a motherfucker for at least the next few days after the number Mister Fisty Cuffs here did on my leg.

He’s still staring at me, bug-eyed. Without another word I turn away from him and start my limping journey home. He calls to me, telling me to wait a minute, but I don’t acknowledge his pleas. It takes all of my self-control not to turn back around and give him the finger.

For the past three days I’ve been spending the majority of my time wandering around the city alone, sitting people watching in cafés or mindlessly browsing through the shops. This is why I was out today in the first place. Basically, I’ve been doing it to get away from the house. There are just way too many people around Finn’s place these days. Half of which happen to think I’m some sort of modern incarnation of Judas. Yeah, the vampires remain pissed over the fact that I went behind their backs to rescue Rebecca.

In the beginning I had spent some of my time visiting Nicky, but she left to go on a month long trip around Europe the other day, so now I don’t have that option anymore.

Rita, her mum and Alvie are still living in the motor home out in the front garden, while Finn, Gabriel, Ira, Amanda and myself have been staying in the house. But get this, Ethan went and bought the house that had been for sale across the road for the vampires to live in while we’re still maintaining our strange alliance. Very cosy. I think he gets some kind of perverse satisfaction out of making me miserable.

He still hasn’t spoken a word to me. It’s only been four days, but still, the vampire needs to learn how to let go of a grudge. I mean, he could at least be civil to me for the sake of working together, but no such luck. Maturity, it seems, is something that has evaded Mr Cristescu and his two-hundred and seventy-nine years.

The sky has only just darkened to night as I slot my key into Finn’s front door. I can hear chattering coming from the kitchen. When I step into the hallway, shrugging out of my coat and hanging it on the banister at the end of the stairs, I pick out the distinct tones of Rita and Ethan having a chat.

Ethan has been doing his utmost to charm Rita recently. The bastard. He knows she’s powerful and he wants her on his side in the long run. I think he also knows that she’s my favourite and wants to steal her away from me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Finn, Alvie and Gabriel to bits, but Rita will always hold a special place in my heart. I feel oddly possessive of her friendship now that Ethan has set his sights on her.

Disgruntled, I fling open the kitchen door and limp my way over to the sink to wash the city grit from my hands. Their chatting immediately ceases and Rita lets out a low gasp.

“What happened to you Tegan?” she asks, rising from her seat with a look of worry on her face.

“I got caught up in a riot down on Campion Row. Some crazy bastard attacked me.” I stop and gesture at my rapidly bruising face. “As you can probably see.”

“Jesus, why would he attack you?” Rita’s words come out half concerned, half intrigued.

“I don’t know. All I can tell is that something funky is going on. One minute everything was normal, people going about their own business doing their shopping, and the next they were transformed into a bunch of violent nut-jobs.”

I allow myself a glance at Ethan. The look in his eyes is murderous, only I can’t tell whether he’s angry at the man who hurt me or if he’s still just angry at me in general. His cold, dark blue eyes cut right through me. Woah, intense or what.

I look back at Rita. “Do you think it might have something to do with Theodore? I seriously wouldn’t put it past him to try sending the human population insane simply for his own entertainment.”

Rita sits back down now, a thoughtful expression on her pixie-like face. Today she’s wearing red lipstick that’s so dark it’s almost black, with this weird white eye shadow and mascara on her eyes. It’s striking to say the least. Her outfit consists of ripped black jeans and a lacy purple shirt. Oh yeah, and bare feet. Rita loves to go around barefoot. Perhaps she feels it brings her closer to that Goddess she’s always invoking in her spells. Mother Earth, maybe?

“It could be the workings of Theodore I suppose, but there’s also a chance it’s something that seeped through from the hell dimension when Marcel brought him back over to this side. There’s some dodgy stuff over there, stuff that might make people go a little bit crazy when released into the atmosphere.”

“Can you be more specific?” I ask her, leaning back against the counter and trying not to wince at the pain in my leg.

“Malevolent entities, spirits, demons, that kind of thing,” Rita answers casually.

“Yay, I love when evil comes for a visit,” I reply sarcastically. “Help me get out the good china, would you?”

Rita rolls her powdery white eyes. They look like they’ve just been snowed on. “Good luck with that. I don’t think Finn’s the kind of man to own fancy china.”

I laugh. “Yeah, you’re right there.” I glance between Rita and Ethan. “Well, I’ll let you two get back to whatever cosy chat you were having before I interrupted. I’m going upstairs to try and doctor myself.”

Rita grins over at a stony faced Ethan, who suddenly jumps up and strides toward me. He grabs my wrist and commands, “Come with me,” before yanking me out of the room and up the stairs to the bathroom. Those three little words are the first he has uttered to me since the party at Whitfield’s mansion. He might still be aggressive as f**k, but perhaps this is progress.

Ethan slams shut the bathroom door and turns over the lock. Fun times! His hand is still clamped onto my wrist, so I jerk myself away from him.

“What’s all this about?” I ask. “Have you finally decided to acknowledge my existence like a mature adult?”

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