The Battered Lamp
Chapter Twenty-Three: The Watery Dagger
© Copyright 2014, 2015
Comments are very welcome. I would like all criticism, positive and negative, so long as its
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Click here for Chapter 22.
Note: Thanks to b0b for being my beta reader.
Cast of Characters
Kyle Unmei Jr.: Half-Japanese/Half-Kurdish owner of Aaliyah and wielder of Earthbones. Tased and knocked unconscious by Detective Donnar.
Aaliyah Unmei: A Jann sent to marry the prophesied savior of the Djinn. Kyle’s First Wife.
Fatima Unmei : Kyle’s younger sister and wife, wielder of Fireheart and has woken up from her coma.
Christy Unmei nee Leonardson: Kyle’s long-time girlfriend turned third wife. She was a member of Ms. Franklin’s dark coven and betrayed Kyle and Aaliyah. Christy has found redemption from Ishtar and serves the goddess. She is returning to Kyle.
Fumi Unmei nee Nakamura: Kyle’s girlfriend and wielder of Windfeather. She has returned blind from Japan, able to lie with Kyle without killing him.
Britney Kingston: Kyle’s best friend since elementary school. She is a Rakshasa and has sworn to defend Kyle. She is a hermaphrodite and has claimed Phillipa as her mate. Wielder of Waterclaw.
Principal Burke: A man posing as the principal of Kyle’s school and a powerful warlock who desires Aaliyah and her power. He has dominated kyle’s mother.
Sultan Rashid ibn al-Marid: The despotic ruler of the Djinn and leader of the Marid clan. Wants Aaliyah dead to thwart the prophecy.
Zaritha: An Ifrit serving the despotic ruler of the Djinn and sent to kill Aaliyah. Captured by Burke, she was freed fighting Fumi in Japan. Joined Kyle’s harem to cement her alliance to attack Burke.
Detective Donnar: The homicide detective investigating the deaths of Ms. Franklin and her coven. Kyle is his prime suspect. Under Burke’s domination, has arrested Kyle.
Shadow: A member of Burke’s coven. She is Masquerading as Mrs. Skinner, Kyle’s math teacher.
The Vicar: Another member of Burke’s coven. Masquerading as Mr. Skinner, a teacher at Kyle’s school.
Erinyes: The vengeful daughter of Hecate hunting Christy for betraying her oaths to the Goddess Hecate. Since Christy serves Ishtar, Erinyes can no longer hurt her directly.
Braiden Smythe: yle’s former friend. Braiden is in love with Christy. Turned into a familiar by Burke.
Frankie/Zane: Two students turned into familiars by Burke.
Ms. Franklin: The deceased servant of Burke and leader of the coven. Also known as Celestite.
Chyna Unmei nee Coel: Kyle’s first concubine. Ms. Franklin cast a spell on Kyle and Chyna, forcing them into a slave/master relationship.
Shannon Unmei nee Coel: Chyna’s hot mom and Kyle’s second concubine.
Alexina Unmei nee Kendrick: Blonde concubine.
Carla Unmei nee Tyler: Redhead concubine.
Antonette “Toni” Unmei nee Buckley: Cheerleader concubine.
Daniella “Ms. Capello” Unmei nee Capello: Kyle’s English teacher and concubine.
Lois Unmei nee Smilingfox: A lesbian Domme that serves Kyle as a concubine.
Ann Unmei nee Weaver: Fatima’s friend and strawberry-blonde hair.
Kayleah Unmei nee Peterson: Fatima’s bleached blonde concubine and former rival.
Teleisia Unmei nee Otis: Aaliyah’s African American concubine.
Phillipa Kingston nee Stoddard: Former member of Ms. Franklin’s coven where she was known as Jade. Captured by Britney, Phillipa submitted to Britney and became her mate, discovering that she is a masochist.
Mindy Unmei nee Stoneking: A nurse at the hospital where Fatima is sick and Kyle’s newest concubine.
Sable Purcell:Also known as Tourmaline, she was a member of Ms. Franklin’s witch coven. While fighting with Christy, she was hit by a Love Elemental’s attack and now completely loves Christy.
Faiza Unmei: Kyle and Fatima’s widowed mother. Was dominated on her date with Burke.
Mrs. Skinner: Kyle’s first period math teacher and Aaliyah’s third period math teacher. Killed by Burke and replaced by Shadow. Her husband was replaced by the Vicar.
Corey Derrickson: Kyle’s friend and master of Aleah, his concubine.
Iris: The daughter of Ishtar and the spiritual guide of Christy on her path of redemption through the Spirit Realm.
Wednesday, January 27th – Mount Shasta, CA
“Listen. I can’t talk more,” her husband said over the phone. Joy burned inside Christy. It was so amazing to hear his voice again. “But I know about him. Can you get back soon?”
“I’m in California.” Some of her excitement died. It would take almost a full day of driving to get back home. Christy stood naked in a cave in on the slopes of Mount Shasta. At her feet, her new concubine Sable knelt, staring up with love. Just minutes ago, Sable had been her enemy, wanting to kill Christy for betraying the coven. But Christy had use a love elemental on Sable and now the witch was wholly besotted with her.
“Okay. I’ll have Aaliyah wish you—”
“Kyle Unmei!” a muffled voice shouted over the phone.
“What?” Kyle answered.
Christy’s heart beat faster. “What’s going on Kyle?” she asked.
“You’re under arrest for the murders of Michelle Franklin, Karrie Robertson, Rashawn Underhill, and Lorrie Gore.”
Arrest? “Kyle! Are you okay?”
She heard some strange, buzzing noise, then Kyle cried out in pain.
Panic gripped her heart. “Kyle!”
The phone went dead.
She stared at her cell phone, her hand shaking.
“What’s wrong?” Sable asked, still kneeling before her. Christy’s enemy turned concubine, thanks to a Love Elemental, looked so scared, her orange, spray-tanned face twisted with concern. “Is it…him?”
Burke! Anger began to replace fear. Burke was the man behind Christy’s former coven, directing them to capture Aaliyah. Was Burke moving against my husband?
“We need to get to South Hill immediately!” Christy snapped. She could contact Aaliyah. If the Genie’s telepathy worked at such a distance. But could Aaliyah answer my wish? It had to benefit Kyle and still fall under her restrictions of hearth and harem.
Guilt twisted her stomach. Would she even listen to me after what I did to her?
Rainbows flashed around her, Iris dancing in the air. “Iris, could you make a path that would get me to South Hill faster?”
*I can* she beamed. *Is that what you want to spend your boon on?*
“Yes! I need to be with Kyle right this instant. He’s in trouble.”
*I don’t move that fast,* Iris giggled. *Take Sable’s hand and we shall travel upon the rainbows*
She seized her concubine’s hand, the other clutching her amber pendant swinging beneath her naked breasts. It wasn’t too cold in the cave, but she really wished the Incubus hadn’t ripped her clothes to shreds.
Rainbow light danced around them, then they were soaring through the skies.
South Hill, WA
Aaliyah wasn’t able to go straight to math class after gym. She had to drop off one of the silver dildos. It also meant she couldn’t walk with her husband across the courtyard before they had to split off. Beside the Gym was the music department. She slipped into one of the music rooms, unoccupied during this period, and threaded her way through the chairs and then the collection of drums and other strange instruments.
Her finger traced one made of different lengths of metal bars laid out side-by-side on one instrument. She tapped one with her fingernail and a sharp, chiming note rang out. She smiled and struck another one and a third before she remembered she had class.
“I cannot tarry,” she sighed. School was something she enjoyed. It was structured and solid. Be here at this time. Then go there. So wonderfully ordered and solid, even if she had math class next. She dropped the silver, invisible dildo behind one of the strange instruments.
A thought popped into her mind. “I wonder if Fatima played with hers. I bet she did.” Her cheeks flushed as she pictured Fatima working the invisible dildo out of her tight, bald pussy, her lips spreading up around seemingly nothing, revealing her beautiful, pink depths.
“Maybe Kyle would like to have fun in English. Ms. Capello could tutor him later and…” She sighed. We must attend to Burke and cleanse this wonderful place of his presence.
She crossed back out of the music room, not bothering to play the strange instrument. A minute later, she strode through the hammering rain, hunching in the coat she wore as she hurried across the courtyard to the main building.
The bell rang. She was late for class.
Her shoes squeaked as she strode through the hallway, water dripping off of her, leaving damp puddles in her wake. Her math class was on the first floor, and she quickly reached it, pushing into the door. “Sorry I’m late, Mrs, Skinner,” she said, smiling at the woman.
“That is inexcusable,” the teacher snapped, her face, framed by brown curls, stern. “Not right at all.”
She looked down. “I’m humbly sorry.”
“You need to see the Principal. Zane, come with us as well.”
Her insides twisted. She couldn’t go to the Principal. Everything she knew about High School said this was an overreaction. “Are you one of his?” she asked, backing into the hallway.
“Seize her, Zane!” snapped the teacher.
A tall, brawny youth stood up, one of the brawlers that played football. He walked towards her, his face twisted. There was something not right with his eyes. *Kyle!* she sent as she turned, and ran down the hallway.
Her wet sneakers squeaked on the slick floor. She stepped in the water she had tracked in. Her foot slipped, she stumbled forward, arms whirling. She caught herself on the beige lockers, struggling to keep from falling over.
*Kyle! They’re trying to capture me! I need you to wish me to your side!*
A strong arm seized her as she pushed away from the locker, spinning her about. Zane loomed over her, pain flaring in her arm. She kneed him in the balls, just like Fatima would. She put all her strength into it.
He didn’t flinch. No man could have taken that blow without flinching.
*Why won’t you answer me, Kyle!*
Fear twisted the Djinn’s stomach. They had neutralized her husband somehow. Principal Burke was on to them.
“Hey!” a youth shouted. Corey ran out of the classroom and seized Zane’s hand. “What the fuck, man! Let her go.”
Zane backhanded him. Corey flew back, landing on the ground in a heap, his legs twitching. He groaned, struggling to stand, a lump forming on his temple. No human could backhand someone with that much force. Sorcery had enhanced Zane.
Mrs. Skinner stepped out of the classroom, stepping over Corey’s stunned form without a single glance. “Bring her,” she commanded in a cold voice as she swept by.
Zane obeyed, dragging her along.
*Fatima! Fumi! I’m under attack! Kyle’s not responding! I’m on the first floor, down by the math rooms!*
The bell rang, sounding the start of third period. Britney frowned at Kyle’s desk. He should have arrived before the start of English class. Her hair bristled. Something was not right. There were no reasons he should have been delayed.
She caught Ms. Capello’s eyes. The concubine looked tight with worry.
“Ms. Capello, I must use the restroom,” Britney declared, standing up and striding to the door. She had to make sure Kyle was safe.
“Of course,” the teacher nodded. “Find him.”
“Find whom? Your husband, Ms. Capello?” Iseul asked, a sneer in her voice. She was Christy’s friend and believed the rumors about Kyle’s involvement in Christy’s disappearance.
“Be quiet!” Ms. Capello snapped. “Everyone, read from stanza 314. Silent reading.”
Britney strode out of the classroom, looking around. She had thought she heard something in the hallway, but it had been muffled by the walls and it was always so noisy between periods. On the ground was a broken cell phone, bits of plastic surrounding it. She strode forward; Kyle’s scent flooded her nose.
And his blood.
Red smeared across a dented locker. She reached out with her mind, imagining the smooth surface of Waterclaw, hiding so much power in its blue depths. The katar flashed into existence in her hand. Kyle’s scent was mixed with the burnt, ozone smell of an electrical discharge, gun oil, leather, sweat, and Detective Donnar’s musk.
“That bastard,” she hissed, striding down the hallway, each step longer and faster than the one before it. The change was coming on her, stripes darkening her face as adrenaline pumped through her system.
She leaped over the banister at the stairwell, landing almost at the base of the stairs, then strode to the front doors. She burst through the glass doors into the rain, looking around the parking lot. An unmarked car surrounded by a pair white, Pierce County Sheriff patrol cars turned onto 86th avenue, driving north from the school.
Britney hissed in rage, then pulled her golden, skeleton key out, stuck into the main doors and opened them. She stepped into the extradimensional play room Aaliyah had created. Every door on campus was connected to this room if the key was used. She immediately opened the door onto a biology classroom.
“Phillipa, come now!” she barked as the matronly substitute teacher, filling in for Ms. Franklin, blinked in surprise at her.
“Excuse me? Who are—”
Britney growled, baring her teeth. They were sharp now. The change was fully on her.
Her mate stood, grabbing her backpack. Phillipa rushed past her surprised classmates and stepped through the door.
“You just can’t leave!” gasped the teacher, pushing down her fears to stride towards them.
Britney pulled the door shut. The substitute wouldn’t be able to reach them now.
“What’s going on?” Phillipa asked. “Is it Burke?”
“Probably. The cops have arrested Kyle. He was wounded.” She opened the door and it looked out on the rain at the rear of the Gym. Shannon should be parked on the shoulder through the small gate in the nearby fence. “We are going to rescue him.”
Britney ran out into the rain, her mate following. She leaped over the gate, her body filled with energy that needed to be used. The SUV was twenty feet away. Fumi was climbing out, her asymmetrical bow, Windfeather, in hand.
“Kyle has been captured,” Britney hissed. “Get in the car. We are going to rescue him.”
“Aaliyah’s under attack!” Fumi snapped, rushing by. “We need to save her.”
“I protect Kyle first. He’s the one I am sworn to.”
“Well, I know Kyle would want Aaliyah protected before him.”
Britney glanced at the Japanese teen as she strode to the gate. “Then save her. I am going to save Kyle.” She ripped the SUV’s door open, jumping in. Phillipa followed, fear covering her porcelain face.
“What’s going on?” Shannon asked. She was the oldest concubine, the mother of Chyna, and her hazel eyes bulged with terror. “Are we evacuating?”
“Aaliyah’s in trouble,” Mindy, Kyle’s newest concubine, said. She clutched her first aide kit on her lap. She had been a nurse until Kyle had claimed her.
“Kyle has been arrested. The cops are driving north on 86th Avenue. We are going to rescue him. Drive! Now!”
Her last words came out as a spitting hiss. Shannon yelped in fear, then put the car into gear, whipping out onto 128th Street, and performed an illegal U turn. The engine roared as she floored it towards the four-way stop sign where 128th Street crossed 86th Avenue.”
“Which way is north?” she asked as the car braked.
“Right! And speed!”
Shannon ran the stop sign at 86th avenue, the tires squealing on the wet asphalt. Rain hammered on the roof, the windshield wipers squeaking as they wiped back and forth on the fastest setting, sloshing water off. Britney peered ahead. She could make out the cop cars crossing 9th Avenue. They were heading to the freeway.
“Faster!” she hissed.
Fatima hated history. It was the most boring subject. She sat in the back, her concubine Ann sitting next to her. She leaned back in her chair, her skin itching. She just wanted the school day to be over with so they could kick Principal Burke’s ass and free her mom from whatever spell he placed on her.
Her eyes flicked to the clock. Only a minute had passed since third period started. Today was going to be so long.
“It’ll be okay,” Ann whispered, reaching over to take her hand. Her concubine had a sweet smile on her innocent face.
“Yeah,” Fatima said, giving her hand a squeeze back.
“It’s good to have you back, Fatima,” Mr. Sokoloff said. “We were all worried when we heard you were in the hospital.”
Fatima groaned inside. Everyone had made a big deal about that. It was so annoying. “Yeah. But I’m fine now. Eager to learn.” She was proud she kept a straight face through the lie.
“Good. Because you missed out on most of the Reconstruction era. Which is just one of the most fascinating periods of our…”
*Fatima! Fumi! I’m under attack! Kyle’s not responding! I’m on the first floor, down by the math rooms!*
Adrenaline spiked through Fatima at Aaliyah’s fearful thoughts. She leaped to her feet. “Follow, Ann!”
“What are you doing, Fatima?” gaped her teacher.
“Going to save my wife!” she said, holding out her hand. She reached out for that wonderful, burning, ever changing fire as she rushed up the aisle.
“Sorry, sir,” Ann squeaked behind her.
She reached the door, letting Ann past. Her concubine produced her key and stuck into the lock as Fatima’s yari flashed into existence in her hand.
“Shit!” her teacher gasped as he stared at Fireheart. Three feet of steel rose from the point of her spear. She gripped the haft in her hand and followed Ann into the playroom.
“First floor, Mrs. Skinner’s classroom. Hallway.”
“Yes, Mistress,” Ann gasped, her voice tight with fear.
“Then you go to the SUV. Do not follow me.”
The door opened onto the hallway. Fatima leaped through it.
“Be safe! I love you!” Ann called.
Corey lay in a stunned stupor on the floor, his forehead bruised. Aleah, his concubine, cradled his head. “Which way did they go?”
Aleah looked up, eyes full of tears, a choker tight about her neck proclaiming who owned her. “That way.”
Fatima dashed down the hallway, rounding the corner. Aaliyah struggled in the grip of one of the football players while Mrs. Skinner strode before them. Fatima grit her teeth, set her spear, and charged at the football player.
Karrie’s dark eyes opened in terror…
Fatima pushed that memory down. Karrie had tried to murder Aaliyah. And this football player was trying to kidnap the Genie. She didn’t hesitate then, and she wasn’t going to hesitate now. The hulk turned as she raced down the hallway, her yari leveled at him.
He didn’t even grunt as her spear was thrust into his gut.
“The fuck?” Fatima gasped.
She yanked her yari out, the wound oozing black blood. The hulk rippled, his skin fluid like the surface of a lake rippling after a rock had broken its surface. The skin darkened, growing hard and waxy. A carapace formed, thick and disgusting with spindly hairs.
“Kill her,” Mrs. Skinner hissed.
The insectrosity’s arm lashed out. Fatima caught it on the haft of her yari. The force threw her back anyways. She tucked her body, holding her yari out, as she spun. She landed hard, rolling and coming up in a crouch.
“Are you okay?” Aaliyah asked, clutched in the clawed fist of the insectrosity, dragged behind it as the thing advanced on Fatima.
“Fine,” she muttered, slipping into her stance. Fire burned on the tip of her spear. She wanted to roast the insectrosity, but that would risk hurting Aaliyah.
The thing lashed out with its fist. She caught it on the blade of her yari, deflecting the blow. Her edge didn’t do a thing to its hard carapace. She let its arm slid past, then thrust her yari’s tip at its chest. Her weapon cut through his shirt, exposing more dark carapace.
“Fuck,” she muttered, ducking his next blow, falling back. Poor Aliyah gasped and grunted as she was hauled behind the creature.
I need to be smart.
She eyed the creature, holding her yari up in a defensive posture, falling back carefully. No panic. She threw a look over her shoulder. She had couldn’t back up forever, the hallway juncture was approaching. Twenty steps and she would be pressed against lockers.
“The joints!” Aaliyah gasped. “He’s armored, but the joints are always vulnerable.”
Fatima hadn’t considered that. While she practiced sojudo in armor, she wasn’t trained to actually fight an armored foe—it was only worn for safety. There were gaps in the insectrosity’s carapace at the knees, the elbows, beneath the arms.
She feinted, stabbing for the chest. The monster’s posture shifted, telegraphing his overhand blow for her head. She ducked, shifting her thrust down. Air rushed over her head; the insectrosity attack just missing. Her yari had a three-foot blade, practically a double-edged sword, at the end of a five foot haft, and the edge of her blade bit into the things knee joint.
It didn’t roar as sinew and ligaments were cut. But it’s leg buckled. She had wounded it. “Not so tough! I’m going to enjoy stepping on you and scraping you off my shoe, bug.”
The shadows around her shifted, moving like oil slicking the surface of water. “Kill her, children,” hissed Mrs. Skinner.
Fatima trusted her instincts. Shadows lanced at her, turning into stabbing spears. She was already moving, her body diving for the floor. She rolled, coming up in a stance; her arm throbbed. Her sweater was cut, blood oozing into the dark fabric.
“I’m going to kick your ass for that!” Fatima yelled, her anger burning hot inside her.
The insectrosity lunged. The shadows stabbed.
Fumi raced towards the main building, Windfeather in hand. She had never been to Rogers High School. She only had her instincts to guide her. The rain was cold, filling her vision with green streaks, making everything indistinct. She sent a gust of wind at the building, driving back the rain for a moment. The wind crashed into the building, rippling along its surface.
Painting a pair of doors green in her mind.
She raced towards it, everything growing fuzzy as the rain fell again. There were advantages to her new sight—it didn’t matter that her long, black hair was plastered across her face and eyes by the driving rain—but there were disadvantages.
I’ll never see the pink-white beauty of a cherry tree in bloom.
She pushed those thoughts down, ripping open the door and striding into the school. She stood in a hallway. Tiny currents eddied down a hallway, painting lockers in green across her vision andflowing around Fatima. Her wife was wielding a spear as she dodged the attacks of some horrible, vaguely humanoid monster, Aaliyah clutched in its grip. And between Fumi and the fight stood a woman, her arms moving, like she was directing something.
Something hazy, almost insubstantial, knifed out at Fatima. Her sister-wife danced, spinning her yari, the air distorting around her yari’s tip from its fire, deflecting the insubstantial attacks. They were almost shadows of real objects.
Fumi fired at the woman directing the shadows. Her arrow planted in the woman’s back. The woman fuzzed, growing as insubstantial as the shadowy attacks that threatened Fatima. Her arrow was solid, embedded in the midst of the shadows. The shadow woman grabbed her arrow, pulling it through her body, then throwing it to the ground, her body fuzzing back into solids.
“I see Zaritha failed to kill you,” hissed the woman, turning to face Fumi.
She was already firing a second arrow. The woman fuzzed and ripped the arrow from her body, a cackling laugh echoing down the hallway. The woman’s hands moved. The shadows lanced out at Fumi.
Fumi summoned a wind to pull her back, landing with grace on her feet, firing another arrow.
“These are useless against me,” cackled the shadowy woman, her body fuzzing. She reached into her chest to pull out the arrow.
Fumi unleashed gust of wind through the air. Winds howled down the hallway, rattling lockers, knocking over a trash can tossing garbage. The woman’s fuzzy figure blew apart. “Guess they’re not so useless,” Fumi gasped, relief washing over her.
“That’s great!” Fatima showed, her flaming spear lancing at the big brute, attacking at its joints while Aaliyah struggled in its grip.
Fumi fired an arrow at the monster’s elbow holding Aaliyah. His arm moved, her arrow striking carapace and clattering to the floor before it dissolved away into wind. Fumi drew a second arrow, watching the beast’s movements, trying to time the perfect shot.
Shadows fuzzed in front of her. The woman reformed.
“You can’t banish shadows, girls,” she hissed. “We are everywhere! No wind can sweep us away.”
Fumi fired her arrow at the figure. The woman fuzzed before her arrow landed, passing right through the woman. Then the shadows attacked. Fumi sent wind whirling about her, disrupting the shadowy essences. She was blind, she couldn’t see past the fierce winds surrounding her.
Fumi needed a plan. She couldn’t keep hiding behind her wind. That wasn’t going to save Aaliyah. Fumi couldn’t even be sure the shadowy woman was attacking her. She could have turned her attention back to Fatima.
How do you banish shadows?
Fatima had kept the woman’s shadows at bay with her flaming yari.
“Fatima! We need to switch opponents!”
The SUV’s engine roared as Shannon floored it down 9th Avenue. The convoy of cop cars that had captured Kyle were approaching the light at the Costco ahead. Shannon jerked the wheel, passing a car, the tires squealing on the rain-slicked road.
“How are we stopping them?” Shannon asked, her voice tight. “They have guns.”
“And I have Waterclaw,” Britney answered. She reached out to the rain hammering down, guiding the droplets that fell, gathering a ball of water above the SUV. Water could never be controlled or tamed. It could only be channeled and guided.
She channeled the water. The heavy ball arced away from her car, an orb of undulating blue. Britney watched its trajectory. It was on target. The ball crashed onto the hood of the lead cop car. The hood crumpled beneath the water’s weight, the rear popping up, then slamming back down.
“Shit!” Shannon gasped.
“Stop behind them and duck behind the engine block in case they engage you,” Britney said, the adrenaline flooding through her and the stripes burning black across her body. “Phillipa, follow me. I will need your spells to help defeat them.”
“Okay!” she gasped, her voice tight with fear.
Britney reached over and gave her hand a quick squeeze. “It will be okay, my love.”
The SUV squealed to a halt. The cops were climbing out of their cars, staring in amazement at the wreckage of the lead car. Britney ripped open the door, leaping out. The rain hammered cold upon her, matting her bristling, honey-brown hair.
She didn’t care. She had to save Kyle.
A growl escaped her lips as she charged at the cop hanging back at the rear cruiser. He was leaning into the drive door, talking on the radio. He heard her growl and turned. The cop gasped, the radio falling from his hand as he frantically tried to rip his gun out.
“Knife!” he shouted right before her katar punched through his bulletproof vest and sank into chest. She ripped the katar out, the cop slumping down, blood pouring out of the thick hole.
Detective Donnar and the four other cops turned. Guns were drawn as she whipped her knife before her, sending droplets of rain streaking away from her, splashing into the nearest cops face. He stumbled back, blinking his eyes, trying to wipe the water away.
Britney was already moving, diving behind the cop car. The air exploded with gunfire. Metal pinged as bullets raked the cop car she hid behind. She loved the thrill. She was testing herself against the best warriors Pierce County had to offer. This is what she was born for. She opened her mouth to let out a roar.
Britney’s roar died. Her mate fell back, blood pooling out of her stomach. Everything faded. She no longer felt the cold rain, heard the barking guns, smelled gunsmoke and metal. Only a deep, dark rage filled her, surging out of the abyss of her soul.
They shot her mate.
Mindy crawled out of the SUV, her first aid kit in hand. Britney could do nothing for her Phillipa. Kyle needed to be rescued. The cops needed to pay for hurting her mate. The gunfire died. The cops were reloading.
Britney jumped onto the trunk, took two steps across the cruiser’s roof, and leaped at the cops. She landed between two of them, Waterclaw flashing. One was Hispanic and he cursed as her katar sliced through the air and cut through his thigh. He collapsed in a spurt of blood. She spun about, coming face to face with the second.
His gun was pointed right at her.
She channeled the water, forming a sheet before her. The bullets struck the water, slowing the bullets down as she ducked and rolled. Fragments of the bullet’s copper jackets peppered her back with searing heat, burning through her soaked sweatshirt.
Britney ignored the pain. The cop’s clip emptied. She guided the wall of water into a compressed ball and launched it at his throat. He collapsed, clawing at his crushed trachea. Britney peered around, looking for the Detective and the other two cops.
“Flank her!” Donnar shouted. “We need to keep her pinned.”
Britney took a deep breath. Heavy, booted footsteps ran by the cop car she crouched against. She peered her head up over the hood. Detective Donnar’s gun barked, sparks flashing on the trunk. She ducked and glanced at the trunk of the car. A cop’s boot stuck past the fender.
She channeled water, a wall of rippling water springing up behind her as she charged at the trunk.
“How the fuck is she doing that?” Donnar cursed, his gun barking. She trusted the wall to protect her.
The cop crouching at the back of the trunk stepped out, his gun coming up at her chest. She reached out with her left hand, pushing the gun to the side. It fired, hot gas brushing her cheek, a searing-hot spent casing striking her left hand.
“Fuck!” the cop cursed before she slammed into him, punching with her dagger. She fell with his body, landing atop him, and jerked her katar out before ducking behind the cruiser.
“How is Phillipa?” Britney shouted, glancing at Mindy working over her mate’s body.
“Bad. She needs an ER!”
Everything had gone wrong today. Britney knew this was all Burke’s fault. I’ll rip out his entrails and feast on them if Phillipa dies!
“Shit, Wilson’s down!” a cop shouted.
“How long on back-up, Frank?” Donnar called back.
Britney peered around the trunk, her wall of water was still undulating and she could make out the Detective and the other cop crouching behind the damage lead car.
“You hear that, Britney!” Donnar shouted. “You’re a smart girl. You have to know that every cop in Puyallup and Pierce County is hauling ass for here. I don’t care how you’re controlling the water, you’ll be cornered and die.”
Britney didn’t answer, a plan formed in her mind.
“Think about that poor girl bleeding out behind you. Your girlfriend is dying. Do you want that?”
“No!” she hissed. Her blood boiled. She had to end this.
She guided the water wall to her, adding more and more, forming a thick shield of water in front of her as she charged over the cop car. The shocks squeaked and the metal crumpled as she ran across the trunk and roof. She leaped to the second car.
“Fuck!” Frank hollered, his gun barking.
Bullets struck her wall of water, cavitation bubbles rippling in the bullets’ wake. But her wall was thick enough, the bullets slowing so much they hit Britney with the force of a thrown rock, bruising the Rakshasa.
She leaped and landed on the ruined cop car, looming over Donnar and Deputy Frank. She could smell the fear on both of them. She threw the wall of water at Franks, crushing him to the ground beneath the waters weight as she launched at Donnar.
His gun barked. Pain flared in shoulder. She crashed into the Detective, her katar taking him in the belly. Donnar grunted as he landed on his back, Britney falling on him. She twisted her katar in his gut. “You shot her!” she hissed. “You shot my Phillipa!”
He coughed and sputtered, his hand twitching, then he fell still.
Pain burned in her left shoulder. The bullet was lodged against her shoulder bone. She ignored the pain, ripping her katar out. In the distance, sirens approached. More cops. She forced down the pain and walked to the unmarked cop car and ripped open the back door.
Kyle lay unconscious in the back, a sheet of blood covering his face from a wound on his temple. He still breathed, his face pale-olive. The cops hadn’t even bothered to give him first aide. She unbuckled his seat belt and tried to pull him out with one arm.
“Shannon!” she shouted. “I need help!”
The cop cars were roaring towards them as Shannon ran over, her face pale. They screeched to a halt behind the SUV. Two cars, the cops spilling out, aiming shotguns at them. Despair filled Britney. She was shot, her left arm useless, blood pouring out of her.
“Sorry, Kyle.” She slumped down as Shannon ran up.
“What are we going to do?” Shannon asked, her face pale.
“I fight,” Britney growled, forcing herself to stand. She was a warrior. She was going to die swinging her blade. “Surrender to the cops once I fall.”
“Fatima! We need to switch opponents!” Fumi shouted.
Fatima whirled her flaming yari keeping the stabbing shadows at bay. Mrs. Skinner, her body stained with shadows now, had turned her attention back to Fatima when Fumi had surrounded herself with whirling winds.
The insectrosity that had been the football player lunged, dragging Aaliyah behind him. Fumi’s arrow struck his elbow joint. The monster roared in pain, releasing Aaliyah. The Genie ran into the corner.
“Finally!” Fatima shouted. She channeled her fire with all the anger inside her. Flames exploded from her yari, driving back the shadows attacking her and striking the insectrosity in the face. It lurched back, bellowing, its eyes blinking.
She dived past it, racing towards Mrs. Skinner. Her body seemed liquid now, made of inky shadows. Fumi’s arrows streaked down the hallway and the creature behind her roared loud.
“Banzai!” Fatima screamed, aiming her yari at the shadowy teacher.
Shadows stabbed at her, halting her charge. She swung her fiery spear and the shadows were dispersed by her flames.
By my light. Just like the nightmare had been.
Mrs. Skinner took a step back as she approached, her flames burning brighter and brighter, a white-hot fire shining at the tip of her spear. She fed it with all the anger and passion possessed in her small body.
This bitch tried to kidnap my wife! She tried to kill me! She tried to kill Fumi! “How dare you try to harm the people I love!”
She lunged with her yari shining pure light. Mrs. Skinner’s body rippled, flowing like shadows back away from her lunge. Fatima bellowed her rage, stabbing and stepping forward, working through her forms as she tried to let her blade find the shadow teacher’s flesh.
“Stop that! Just stand still so I can kill you, bitch!”
“I am the shadows! I cannot be touched. I can always flow away from the light!”
“You can never touch me. You are a weak, insignificant worm. I will enjoy watching the light fade from your eyes!”
Fatima feinted, attacking to the left. Mrs. Skinner flowed to the right and she change her thrust. Mrs. Skinner reacted, her body rippling back away from the point. The tip of Fatima’s yari was mere inches from finding the shadow’s form.
It wasn’t enough.
A great wind roared, sweeping down the hallway. It struck the shadowy teacher, pushing her forward onto Fatima’s spear. Mrs. Skinner’s body rippled as her spear penetrated shadowy flesh. Fatima pushed all her anger into her yari; the fire burned even hotter. Pure light shone through the inky teacher, dissolving the shadows, leaving unmarred flesh behind.
Her light flared so bright, Fatima had to squeeze her eyes shut.
When Fatima opened her eyes, an old woman was impaled on her spear, her body twisted by the ravages of age. The hag’s body slumped, sliding back off her spear, a burned hole in her stomach, smoke rising in small tendrils up.
“Fatima!” Aaliyah shouted. Her Genie sister-wife threw her arms around, hugging her tight. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine!” Fatima said, hugging her back.
The insectrosity was gone, reverted back to his human form. The football player lay dead, his body pincushioned by Fumi’s arrows. Fumi walked over, throwing her arms around the both of them, hugging them tight.
“What’s going on?” Fatima asked. “Why didn’t Kyle come?”
“He’s been arrested,” Fumi said. “Britney went to rescue him.”
“We can’t stay here,” Aaliyah shouted. “Burke’s office isn’t far. He has to have heard the fight!”
Fatima glanced down the hallway, fear itching at her guts. Burke could step around the corner at—
She let out a gasp of fear. Burke appeared, his handsome face twisted in anger. “Let’s go! There he is!”
Aaliyah produced her key, used it on the door, and opened it onto the special room. Burke’s eyes narrowed on Fatima as he strode down the hallway. Aaliyah dived in, then Fumi, and Fatima followed last, slamming the door behind her.
“He can’t get in here, right?” she asked, leaning against the door.
“No,” Aaliyah said.
“What happened?” Ann asked, throwing her arms around Fatima.
“Why haven’t you evacuated to the SUV?” Fatima asked, looking around at all the concubines.
“Britney commandeered it to save Kyle,” Fumi answered. “I guess we just have to hunker down in here.”
Christy hurtled down through the thick, gray clouds wrapped in rainbow light, her hand gripping Sable’s. The clouds suddenly gave way to rainy South Hill, hurtling down at a group of three cop cars, the ground littered with dead cops.
What is going on?
The asphalt road rushed up at her. The rainbow light vanished and hammering rain struck her, ice cold knifing through her naked body. She stood next to a wounded Britney, the fierce girl’s face twisted in rage, blood staining her shoulder. Kyle lay inside unconscious.
“What’s going on?” Christy asked.
“Where did you come from?” Britney gasped, then she shook her head. “That does not matter. We are surrounded by the police.”
Christy looked over and blinked at the cops aiming shotguns at them from behind their car.
“Mistress?” Sable whined.
“We need to work a sleep spell,” Christy said, grasping Sable’s hand. “Quickly!”
“Lie facedown on the ground!” a voice boomed through a megaphone. “Hands on your heads, ankles crossed! Now!”
“Ishtar,” Christy chanted, raising her hand up as her amber pendant flashed between her naked breasts. Her teeth wanted to chatter so bad, but she forced herself to ignore the cold rain. “Protect your servant and put to sleep those that threaten her!”
“Ishtar,” Sable chanted beside her, looking the opposite way.
“Lie facedown now or we’ll…open…what’s going…?”
Ishtar’s spell took affect, the cops dropping down, their shotguns clattering on the asphalt. Christy turned to Britney, shivers wracking the wounded woman’s body and she hugged herself. “Let me heal you, Britney.”
“No! Phillipa is hurt!” She pointed to the shot girl. “She cannot die. Help her.”
“Sable,” Christy said. “Go help Phillipa.”
“Jade is alive,” Sable whispered, using Phillipa’s coven name, and stumbled over to the wounded witch.
“What’s Phillipa to you?” Christy asked, touching her shoulder.
Christy blinked, wondering what had happened while she was in the Spirit Realm. No, that can wait. She cast the healing spell. She had worked it before when she healed her mother’s ovarian cancer. The bullet worked out of Britney’s shoulder, falling to her lap, then the flesh knitted back together.
She turned her attention to Kyle, grasping his head and bending down to kiss his bloody forehead. Then she prayed, “Ishtar, share your love with this man and restore him to his health.” Her amber pendant flared bright, bathing his face. His angular eyes opened, staring up at her, blinking in confusion.
“Yes,” she whispered, tears joining the rainwater dripping down her face. She tensed, waiting for the hatred to appear in his face. He sat up, his arms reaching out, then he pulled her to him in the backseat of the cop car.
“You came back.”
She shivered in his arms, absorbing the heat of his body as she clung to him. “You needed me.”
His lips captured hers and she forgot all about the cold.
Burke’s feet echoed as he strode down the hall, barely giving the corpse of Shadow a glance. He muttered a shield spell as he reached the door Aaliyah, Fatima, and Fumi had disappeared into. It was a janitor’s closet. They were trapped like rats.
It was time to end this.
He ripped open the door, ready for their attack.
A mop handle spilled out. They were gone.
A great rage burned inside him. He turned, seeing the students peering out of their classrooms. “The school’s on lockdown!” he snarled.
Classroom doors were slammed and locked.
“So Shadow couldn’t handle some teenagers,” the Vicar sneered as he strode up still wearing the disguise of the dead Mr. Skinner. Besides the useless Sable, he was the last member of Burke’s coven. “She always was a useless cunt. You should have left her to rot in that Magyar hovel.”
“Kyle and his whores are dangerous,” Burke growled. “We have to assume the cops can’t hold Kyle for much longer.”
“What should we do.”
“Something is keeping Faiza in her house. Take Braiden and Frankie and go fetch her. It is time to end this.”
The Vicar smiled, a staff of black forming out darkness appeared in his hand. Then his body folded, teleporting through Darkness thanks to Shadowedge, the Ghul artifact he possessed. Burke strode back to his office. He had long prepared this school. It was time to activate its defenders. It was time to fight.
He was not going to let Aaliyah slip out of his hands again. For almost thousand years he had been obsessed with that lamp. Ever since he picked the lamp up from that Moslem’s corpse and felt its power. He was so close. His fingers clenched, remembering the feel of the brass lamp slipping out of his fingers as the Mediterranean had swallowed them both up.
He opened a locked cupboard and pulled out a simple candle made of black wax. The focus for the spell. He lit it and the sickly-sweet scent of maidenhair leaves billowed through the air, wafting down all the halls of the school. Students, teachers, and janitors inhaled the scent.
They would defend their school.
To be continued…
Click here for Chapter 24.
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