Home > Tegan's Magic (The Ultimate Power #3)(8)

Tegan's Magic (The Ultimate Power #3)(8)
Author: L.H. Cosway

“Perhaps I’m the one who should be asking you that question,” says Ethan, glancing away into the darkness.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

His eyes cut back to me. “It means I’d like to know how exactly you managed to burn half of Eliza’s face off with nothing but the palm of your hand. You’re not all that I thought you were; there’s magic in you.”

Ethan looks at me differently now. His hostility is still there, but it’s like he’s fascinated too.

I suck in a harsh breath. I’d almost allowed myself the luxury of thinking Ethan had forgotten about my performance at Whitfield’s. “That was…that was something I don’t quite understand yet.” I go quiet for a moment, not sure how to explain things to him. “Anything you see me do, anything magical that is, it comes out of nowhere. I’m not like Rita, I’m not really doing any of it with a conscious purpose. It just comes out of me like I’m possessed.”

“You’re lying. I can sense your anxiety,” Ethan states, tilting his head.

“I’m not bloody lying. I’m anxious because you make me anxious. You’re a vampire and not exactly my number one fan right now. Not to mention I’m standing in the dark in my pyjamas with no method of defending myself if you decide to let those fangs of yours get the better of you.”

Ethan laughs joylessly. “You know how old I am, Tegan. Long gone are the days when my fangs could get the better of me as you call it.”

He goes quiet for a moment, like he’s thinking of doing something but isn’t quite sure if he should. The next thing I know his eyes have morphed from dark blue to crimson, his fangs are out and he’s advancing on me. He hisses and crowds me up against the wall of the house. Lucas, Dru and Will don’t even give him a second glance.

My heartbeat goes haywire and I let out a high pitched yelp. Every tiny hair on my body stands on end. In a fight or flight response my magic comes to life. My hands whip out at him, overflowing with burning sparks like a sink where somebody’s left the tap running too long. He rears back out of range of the sparks and his fangs retract. His eyes go back to normal and he gives me a slow grin, looking satisfied.

“So you weren’t lying. It seems you’ve got a nifty little defence mechanism there. When you feel threatened your magic comes out to keep you safe. Interesting.” He rubs at his chin ponderously.

“Are you shitting me? I feel like I’m about to have a heart attack because you went all Count Dracula on me as a f**ked up lie detector test? You scared me half to death.”

“I needed to see if you were telling the truth. And please spare me the Dracula references, I find them at best tiring and at worst excruciatingly irritating.”

I scowl at him and at the same time feel like kissing his face off. Stupid lust potion. “I’m going back to bed.”

As I reach out to turn the handle on the back door and go inside, I feel Ethan’s arms slip around my waist. He nuzzles his nose into the side of my neck. “How it kills me to know you sleep under the same roof as that slayer,” he whispers, and butterflies consume me.

A second later his tender hold on me goes hard and tight, too tight. “And oh how I long for the day when I don’t want you anymore. Perhaps then I’ll have the courage to walk away.”

Air gets trapped in my lungs, but just before I have the chance to question what he means I turn around and he’s gone.

The next day I join Rita in her trailer and we hit the books. Gabriel left her with two big boxes full of magical texts as research material before he, Alvie and Noreen departed on their travels. I’m kind of envious of them, because with everything that’s going on right now I really wouldn’t mind a road trip to get away from the city.

We sit and read for most of the morning and well into the afternoon, taking notes here and there. Rita’s looking for information on how to either destroy the mist or send it back to wherever it came from.

I’m simultaneously looking for details on how to hide the Ultimate Power blood from vampires and how to retrieve a human from hell. I read for so long that it feels like my eyes are going to fall out of their sockets. I put down the dusty old hardback when Rita suddenly slams her hands onto the surface of the table.

“That’s it! I can’t believe how simple it is,” she exclaims, grinning from ear to ear.

“What? Did you find something?” I ask, scooting along the bench to sit closer to her and peer over her shoulder at the book spread out before her. I flip over to the front cover for a second to see the title. It reads: On Other Dimensions and Their Inhabitants by E.J. Edwards. Seriously, where does Gabriel get all of these books from? More to the point, who writes and publishes them? I guess there really is a whole other world out there that I don’t even know about. I’ve only unearthed a tiny grain of it so far.

I open it back to the page Rita had been on and she taps her finger down on a small paragraph.

“This bit here explains what the mists are. They’re a kind of physical manifestation of chaos, but not just a manifestation, a parasite too. When they manage to break out of hell and into other planes where there’s a moral life-force they infest it and drive it to self-destruction. In the case of earth, human beings are the life-force that they corrupt. It’s likely that they can’t get to the vampires or to you and me because we’re a mutation. I need to warn Finn about this. He and the majority of Pamphrock’s slayers are human and susceptible to the corruption. It says that once these chaos creatures mix with a foreign atmosphere they multiply, kind of like bacteria in a Petri dish.”

I let out a sigh. “Ugh. We never get an easy run of it, do we?”

Rita smiles. “Oh don’t despair, my friend. This page also contains directions for how to kill them.” She lets out a little laugh. “It’s so simple too. All we need is a mixture of salt, holy water and vinegar. We spray it at the mists and they disintegrate.”

I c*ck an eyebrow. “Holy water? So like, all that God stuff actually means something?”

She shrugs and pinches me on the nose. “Maybe. But it’s too late to go and start getting all holy now, Tegan. If you’re friends with me then you ain’t getting into heaven any which way you try to spin it.” She’s joking, but I also sense a sadness in her. All this business with Theodore is really making her second guess who she is.

“Don’t be ridiculous, you’ll be the one most likely to get in out of all of us. I say it’s the people who don’t know they’re good who really are. The ones who go around acting all pious always turn out to have secret sex-torture dungeons under their houses.” I make the joke to try and cheer her up, but it doesn’t have the desired effect.

She shakes her head and leans back, all smiles gone from her face. “You don’t know what it’s like inside my head. Ever since Theodore tried to lure me to him the other day I’ve been feeling the part of me that comes from him getting stronger. It’s like it’s growing.”

I squeeze her arm in reassurance. What she’s said worries me, but I don’t want her to know that it does. “You’re just going to have to try harder to hold on to the part that comes from Noreen, okay?”

“Okay,” she sighs, and a moment of quiet elapses between the two of us. “Come on, there’s vinegar and salt in the kitchen. Let’s find Finn and see if he knows where we can get our hands on some holy water.”

A half an hour later we’re belted up in Finn’s car, driving towards the church he attends in the inner city called St. Peter’s. Apparently, Finn’s a practising Catholic and goes to mass whenever he has the time to spare. I never would have taken him for the religious sort. I tell him so and he shrugs, explaining that he’s Irish and Catholicism was drilled into him so much growing up that going to mass is a comfort to him. It makes him feel at home.

It sounds kind of nice when he puts it like that. I wish I had something that made me feel at home. It used to be going to visit my dad, but now there’s a strange family living in our house and he’s lost in a world he should never have even known existed in the first place.

The traffic is thick on the way into the city centre, so Finn turns on the radio to pass the time. A news bulletin starts to play and a male announcer’s voice streams through the speakers.

“There has been a traffic accident involving a number of vehicles in the city today causing unexpected delays. The area around Renfrew Avenue has been cordoned off so that emergency services can take care of the injured parties and clear away the wreckage. This event comes heavy on the heels of a string of violent attacks, which occurred late last night. Like the riots two days ago, these attacks are thought to be gang related. The authorities are advising citizens to avoid the inner city at night, as this is when the bulk of the attacks have been taking place. I’m Dean Jones bringing you the afternoon news. We’ll be back at six with an update.”

Oh no, Ethan was definitely right when he told me to watch the news today.

“Well shit,” says Finn, letting out a frustrated breath.

“Do you think we should turn back? The announcer said the accident happened around Renfrew Avenue. That’s close to St. Peter’s, isn’t it?”

Finn runs his teeth over his bottom lip, deciding. “We’ll have to be in and out like a fiddler’s elbow, buy as many bottles of holy water as we can and then get the feck out of there. There’s a little shop to the left just as you go inside that’s run by nuns; they sell funeral cards and all that sort of stuff. I’m willing to take the chance if you two lovely ladies are.”

He eyes Rita who’s sitting in the back through his overhead mirror and gives her a wink.

She grins. “Taking chances is my middle name.”

I guess that’s her in then. “Alright, let’s just hope none of those chaos creatures have wormed their way into any of the nuns. Have you got any weapons on you if we end up being attacked? I know the violence has been more frequent at night, but you can never be too careful. It was broad daylight when I got caught up in it.”

Rita pats the brown leather satchel at her side. “I came prepared. I’ve got a few potions in here that will drive away any nutty humans – or nuns,” she laughs.

Finn keeps one hand on the steering wheel, while reaching into the glove compartment with the other. He pulls out a narrow, rectangular leather box and drops it into my lap. “Little present for you,” he says, glancing at me out of the corner of his eye.

I open it up to discover a vintage barber’s razor sitting inside. It folds in half and has a carved wooden handle.

Finn eyes me warily. “Now be careful, I wasn’t going to give it to you so soon. I’d been hoping to train you first, but the current situation calls for desperate measures.”

Just as he’s saying this I glance out the window to see a woman giving her boyfriend a whack across the face with her handbag. I can’t tell whether they’re having a domestic or if it’s chaos induced.

I focus back on the blade in my hand and flick it open, holding it away from my body. “This is so cool, but I’m not sure I need it. I’ve got my magic to keep me safe.”

Finn gives me a serious look. “That’s all well and good, but you can’t rely on all that airy fairy business. What if you’re standing face to face with a hungry vamp or a crazed human and it doesn’t come to you? You’ll be glad to have something tangible to use as a weapon then, you mark my words.”

I can’t believe it, but I’m actually touched. There have been a few instances over the past couple weeks that have indicated to me that Finn might actually care for me, and this “gift” seals it. If he didn’t care then he wouldn’t be worried about me being left defenceless. I place the blade back in its box and throw my arm around his shoulders to give him a hug. Out of instinct I kiss him briefly on the cheek.

“Thanks buddy,” I say, pulling away and nudging him with my elbow. “This has to be the most thoughtful yet disturbing gift anyone’s ever gotten for me.”

Finn coughs and gives me a smile. “You’re welcome. And I’ll teach you how to use it properly soon. You’ve got the look of a woman who’d be good with a blade. Just try not to use it unless absolutely necessary for now, okay?”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” I reply, grinning and imagining myself being able to use it like a pro some day. I’ll be so kick arse. “And don’t worry, I’m not going to go whipping it out at all and sundry.”

Finn chuckles.

“Well that’s just lovely, did you not bother getting anything for me?” Rita asks, somewhere between amused and annoyed.

Finn levels his eyes on her through the mirror again. “You don’t need any of the weapons I could give you. You’ve a better chance of staying alive than any of us, witchy-pants.”

She seems appeased by this. “That’s true.” A pause. “Don’t call me that again.”

Finn laughs and pulls the car into an almost empty parking lot.

“We’ll have to get out and walk from here. There’s too much traffic, which means we haven’t a hope of getting any closer to the church.”

He hands an empty backpack to each of us for carrying the bottles of holy water back to the car. Rita pulls it on over her leather satchel. I’m curious to know what she’s hiding in there.

As we walk the short distance to St. Peter’s, I can feel a certain frenetic energy in the air that puts me on edge. It’s like my body is aware that the current peace is on the cusp of being broken. It could happen at any second if someone tilts the balance over just slightly.

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