Home > Tegan's Magic (The Ultimate Power #3)(16)

Tegan's Magic (The Ultimate Power #3)(16)
Author: L.H. Cosway

I turn around, bracing my hands on the banisters. “Yours isn’t so bad either,” I reply cheekily. I’m trying not to think about what Ira said about Finn being “enamoured” with me. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I’m sort of emotionally stunted in that sense. Even though I know it had nothing to do with our relationship, some part of me died when Matthew took his own life. It hardened my insides. Made me fear being truly in love with anyone again.

“You wanna stay in my room tonight?” he asks, eyes on my chest.

“Is that a wise idea?”

He reaches out and runs a hand down my bare arm. “Probably not.”

“There’s your answer then.”

“Oh you’re a difficult one,” says Finn with a playful growl. He takes my hand and leads me to my bedroom door. Then he pulls me close to him and gives me a kiss goodnight that practically melts my bones.

Slowly but surely, Ethan’s hatred is starting to matter less and less.

Chapter Eight

Hey Light Fixture, You Are Much Too Bright

Swooooooosh goes the fire extinguisher I’m trying my hardest to keep a hold of as I stand in a back alley in the middle of the city, aiming the spray in the direction of the dark mist hovering in a corner. I almost tumble over, not expecting the force of it. The mist disintegrates on contact and I feel a sense of victory. This must be what it’s like for all those people who go to shooting ranges to blow off some stress. Only more fun – way more fun.

“Okay Miss Trigger Happy, take it easy would you?” Finn shouts at me as he comes running into the alley after me.

He’s dressed in his all-black DOH gear, which I’m finding incredibly sexy right now. I’d taken off at warp speed when I’d spotted the mist slithering down a side street. In an unlikely turn of events, I actually outran Finn when he started chasing after me. I suppose excitement will do that to a person.

Earlier today Finn asked me to join him and Ira with the DOH on their hunt. Pamphrock has divided his men into groups, assigning them different shifts at various times of the day so that the chance of the chaos infecting people is minimised.

I walk silently back out of the alley with Finn. Since it’s daytime we’re getting quite a few curious looks from passers-by. Nobody seems to question us though, perhaps because we’ve got about fifteen young slayers with us and their uniforms are sort of official looking. They’re probably all wondering what the Goth chick is doing hanging out with the army dudes.

Over breakfast I told Finn about Ira breaking his vow of silence. The smile that split his face was priceless, as he stood and clapped Ira around the shoulders.

“Ya big secretive bastard,” he exclaimed.

Only Finn can call someone a bastard and make it sound genuinely friendly.

“It wasn’t a secret, Finn. He just wasn’t ready to speak yet,” I’d said, pointing my fork at him. “You try being a dog for two and a half decades. I’m surprised he doesn’t need extreme therapy after that.”

He laughed and gave Ira a wink. “Petal’s not a morning person. Isn’t that right, cranky knickers?”

I gave him an expression that was half smirk, half scowl and continued eating my breakfast.

Ira has still been relatively quiet though, only making one or two brief comments here and there. Despite this, he’s been great out here today with the mists. At one point we came across two men in the middle of a hardcore brawl. Ira held both of them apart, seemingly without effort, while I put my hands to their chests to expel the mists that had infected them.

I follow Finn to another back alley. Alleys and side streets seem to be the places the mists frequent most during daylight. It’s like they know they’ll be more likely to be seen out on the main thoroughfares. The idea that they have conscious thought is unsettling.

I stumble in fright when I see just how many of them there are back here. It looks as though there’s hundreds of them, slithering along walls, creeping by window boxes. The slayers obliterate them with their extinguishers, and I get a sense that the mists are becoming angry at the attack. The ones that remain conglomerate into an almost solid mass and the combination makes a distorted humming noise.

“Oh God, that’s so f**king creepy,” I say to Finn as we advance just behind the slayers.

“All at once, boys,” Finn shouts the order at them. “On the count of three.”

The slayers nod to one another as Finn counts, “One..two..three,” and then they let loose on the blackness. This time it doesn’t die though. The edges fade but the centre holds strong. I guess it’s true that there’s strength in numbers.

“Shit,” Finn mutters, before ordering loudly. “And again, one, two, three!”

Again they unleash Rita’s concoction on the combined mist and it rises up against the attack. Black and grey swirls within it, as though working to make a shape. I watch as it forms a clear picture. Then the swirling stops. The mists have created a horrific face with deep, dark holes for eyes. The mouth opens and tendrils seep out, lashing at the slayers.

“This isn’t good,” I say.

“Nope,” replies Finn, loping forward and spraying at a tendril that’s reaching out for one of the slayers. But he’s not fast enough. The mist gets into the slayer and he drops his extinguisher. His face contorts, and as I glance back up at the fake face the mist has somehow formed, it’s making the exact same contortions. The mist face’s mouth moves at the same time as the infected slayer’s does.

“Retreat!” the slayer demands. His voice sounds like it’s been computerised, but with the wires going to all the wrong places – if that makes sense. The noise he makes is jagged and robotic, sort of like it’s got a blown fuse.

“The mist is communicating through him,” Finn mutters as he steps back over to me.

“Yeah. It just keeps getting creepier.”

The slayer’s entire body puffs up and his mouth opens wide, his teeth all showing. I can hear his bones cracking as more and more mist fills him – too much for his body to hold. He looks horrific. “REEEEEE-TREEEEAT!!” Again, he gives sound to the demands of the chaos mist.

“I think we should go,” I say to Finn. “He’s not walking away from that and the mist is f**king well pissed off right now.”

Finn’s expression is agonised. I can tell how hard it is for him to accept that his slayer can’t be saved. A moment later he gives a small nod of resolve and calls to his men, “Okay boys, let’s call it a day.”

Only one slayer seems conflicted about the leaving. The others back away slowly from the raging chaos.

“Come on Owen, he’s gone,” Finn urges, grabbing the slayer and pulling him back.

“He was my best friend!” he cries out as Finn gives his shoulders a squeeze and guides him away with the others. Something catches in my throat at seeing the slayer’s grief over losing his friend.

When the mist sees that we’re leaving the face fades away and it’s just a huge black mass again. The magic inside of me can sense its triumph. I turn my head to make sure Finn and slayers are still leaving, then, feeling brave and incredibly angry, I march my way right into it.

Bad idea.

It parts for me, unable to infect me since I’m not completely human. Distorted screeching fills my ears and I have to clamp my hands over them to block it out. It stays at least two feet away from me, but it’s also encircling me, trapping me in. The screeching is deafening – maddening. This was the worst idea I’ve had in a while (and I’ve certainly had some bad ones). I let my temper get the better of me far too often these days.

My ears are ringing now and the screeching begins to sound like laughter. It’s laughing at me. My eyes become heavy and when they drift shut all I can see is fire and darkness. Then I see a body lying on a rock, curled in on itself crying. I recognise the person as my dad almost instantaneously, and know that the mist is showing him to me, showing me his pain because this is the only way it can get to me. It can’t infect my body, but it can infect my mind.

“Shit! Get out! Get out of my head!”

I’m vaguely aware of my own voice shouting and swearing. Then I’m being grabbed and hauled away from the dark. When I open my eyes I’m sitting on the ground out on the main street, with Ira standing over me. After being so completely enshrouded in darkness, the light hits my eyes so hard and bright that it hurts. I blink, my vision patchy, and then finally my eyes go back to normal.

“You shouldn’t do that. You have power, but you are not indestructible, Tegan. None of us are.”

This is the first time he’s addressed me by name.

I keep blinking my eyes to try and block out the image of my dad. “I know that. I just let my anger get the better of me.”

“Anger is on a par with stupidity. The two go hand in hand. Remember that.”

I squint up at him. “I’m starting to think I liked you better when you didn’t speak.”

Ira actually laughs at my response. “Well, nobody likes a mirror held up to their flaws.”

He takes my hand and pulls me up, before guiding me over to a small car park where Finn has assembled the slayers and looks like he’s debriefing them.

“Isn’t that the truth,” I say with a sigh, my heart finally recovering its normal rhythm after what just happened.

Finn drives me home, sending the slayers back to their compound for the evening. He tells me that Pamphrock has to go away for the night and has requested that he and Ira watch over Rebecca while he’s gone.

“Where’s he going?” I ask, nosy as ever.

“To visit Rebecca’s mother, Felicity. He’s going to take some of her blood for your spell.”

“He is? But I haven’t even figured out what else I’ll need yet,” I say, a little panicked.

“Well, that’s what you can occupy yourself with doing for the rest of the day, since I won’t be around for you to lust over.” He gives me a little smirk.

“Ugh, you’ve had such a big head ever since…” I pause mid-sentence, remembering that Ira’s in the van with us.

“Ever since what?” Finn asks, raising a knowing eyebrow.

“You know what,” I say, giving him a little shove. “But fine, I’ll hit the books as soon as I get home.”

And I do. I gather the books I need from Rita’s RV and bring them into the house with me. I’m reading through a list of ingredients for blood spells when I come across one I’ve never heard of before. Alone in the house, I grab Finn’s laptop from his bedroom and bring it down so that I can do a search. After I’ve looked it up and written down its uses, I remember the email I sent the other day to E.J. Edwards. I decide I’ll check to see if he’s replied yet, however unlikely that may be.

I scan down my new emails, most of which are junk, until I see what I hadn’t expected. A brand new message from Evan James Edwards. It doesn’t have a title so I have no clue what it’s going to contain. However, it does have one of those little red exclamation marks on the side bar, which usually means that the contents are “urgent”. Perhaps it’s an urgent tongue lashing about sending prank emails.

I hover the cursor over the message anxiously, praying that he’s written saying he knows how to bring Dad back. When I finally build up the nerve to open it, it reads as follows:

Dear Miss Stolle,

You were wise to contact me. I have read your very detailed email and I understand that your situation is one of great urgency. I have unrivalled knowledge and experience pertaining to the methods of retrieving individuals such as your father and I feel it’s my duty to put them to use. In truth, I have not encountered a predicament such as yours in a long time and I feel a sense of invigoration for the challenge that lies ahead. I am an old man and one last expedition into the realms I once journeyed through is something I have longed for for quite some time. I will be boarding a flight first thing in the morning and will arrive in Tribane at approximately nine-thirty tomorrow night. I would like to get straight to work, so if you could please arrange to meet me at the airport I would be much obliged.

At your service,

E.J. Edwards.

Holy hell. I scramble for a pen and paper to write down the flight details he’s attached. That’s when I see that the email was sent yesterday, which means he’s arriving today. I glance at the clock to see it’s already eight-thirty. He’ll be here in one hour! Why did this have to happen when nobody else is around?

Rita, Gabriel, Alvie and Noreen have been gone all day to a top secret magic market outside the city and they won’t be back until late. Finn and Ira are on babysitting duty. If I don’t want to meet this stranger alone I’m going to have to do what I dread and call over to Ethan’s. Perhaps Delilah will be around and I can ask her to come with me.

As frazzled as I can possibly get, I throw on a coat, grab my phone, keys and wallet and head out the front door. I walk over to the house that now belongs to Ethan. It’s a little bit bigger than Finn’s place. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there’s anyone inside. I knock lightly three times and get a surprise when I hear footsteps sounding down the staircase. A moment later the door swings open, revealing Ethan topless, messy haired and looking like he just pulled on a pair of jeans. The button above the fly is still undone. The V at his h*ps goes down, down, down. I swallow and pull my eyes up to his face.

“What are you doing here?” he asks, curious. I’d forgotten that the vampires would normally only be waking up around now.

I let out a nervous cough. “Um, I’m looking for Delilah. Is she here?”

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