Just joining us? Links to previous episodes here.
* * *
“Where are you taking me?” Gage demanded.
The question, like all the others he’d tossed out, went unanswered. Christ, he needed intel. Embry was somewhere in this bunker with hundreds of highly armed soldiers seeking her out. She needed backup. She needed an entire goddamned team of functional Shadow Walkers, not a has been and a Walker that had been beaten, tortured and who knew what else. But they were all she had.
She and Adan were all he had.
A radio squawked. “Breach on Level 32! Breach! Get a goddamned fire crew down here!” A volley of gunfire punctuated the transmission.
Fear fisted around his heart.
“Bravo team, we need backup!” Static was interrupted by more gunfire and screaming. “The generator—”
When the elevator lurched to a halt, Gage was ready. Taking advantage of their imbalance, he drove an elbow into one of his captors’ ribs and broke the knee of the other. Amid chaos and shouting, the lights went out. Instinct had him intercepting the nearest man and slamming his head into the wall. Behind him, he heard the sound of fists on flesh, the crunch of bone, and the telltale thud of bodies. Someone slammed the butt of a gun into his shoulder. He spun, driving a knife hand into the pressure point under his opponent’s arm, following with open-handed strikes to his ears. His body had barely hit the floor before Gage was feeling around the roof of the car. “Where the hell is the trap door?” Urgency was a frantic drumbeat in his blood. Embry. Have to get to Embry.
Gage could sense Adan a few feet away, but couldn’t see him in the thick black that should’ve been clear as day. So much for Shadow Walker skills coming back under duress.
“I’d ask how you came back from the dead, but I figure that’s a story that’ll have to wait until we get out of here. Why can’t you see?”
“Lost my mojo. Flying blind here.”
There was a click and a creak as Adan found and opened the top hatch. “You don’t have your Walker skills. How the hell did you think you were going to get out of here?”
“This was supposed to be a recon mission. Embry didn’t think that far ahead.”
Adan’s hand clamped around his arm. “Embry’s here?”
“Who do you think blew up the generator? We’ve got to get to Level 32.”
“Where are the backup teams?” he demanded.
“There are no backup teams. The Council refused to mount a rescue mission. Embry would be here on her own if Matthias hadn’t told her where to find me.” Putting an end to the discussion, Gage boosted himself through the hatch and clambered onto the roof of the elevator car.
Adan followed. “How could he let her do this?”
“With all due respect, there’s no letting Embry do anything, and you know it. What level are we on?”
“Looks like between 35 and 36. We’ll have to climb up and force the doors.”
His eyes were adjusting to the dark. Shapes were beginning to emerge from the deeper black. It was a start. “I’m guessing we didn’t catch a break with a ladder up the shaft?”
“Of course not. You still up to pulling yourself up a cable?”
Moving over to the nearest one, Gage wrapped a hand around the thick steel. “I can still outstrip you. The question is, can you climb with that rib?”
“I’ll do what needs to be done to get to my daughter.”
The faint echo of explosions reached them from above.
“Up, up, and away then.” Bracing his feet against the wall of the elevator shaft, Gage began to haul himself up the cable.
For a few minutes they said nothing, and the only sound was of scrabbling feet and the creak of cables. Gage could hear the strain in Adan’s breathing with each passing foot. The pop of gunfire got louder as they neared Level 32. He shoved back the terror that crawled through him. As long as they were shooting, she was still alive.
“Do you know anything about what we’re about to get into? Have you seen much of the base?” he asked.
“Not enough. I’ve been kept on the detention level along with about two dozen other Mirus,” replied Adan. “If we’re lucky, some of them have gotten loose.”
“Two dozen? So much for the Council hoping that they thought you were an aberration.”
“The Council are fools,” spat Adan. “They’re living in another century. It was only a matter of time before we were discovered. Stop here. The ledge is to your left.”
“I see it. Not well, but I see it.”
Gage worked his way over, testing for handgrips and footholds. Adan did the same until they were each perched on the narrow ledge. They each dug fingers into the edge of the elevator doors, prepared to force them open.
“Do you have any kind of plan?” asked Adan.
“Try not to die. Get Embry out. Other than that, winging it.”
A hand reached out, gripped his shoulder. “Be careful, son.”
His muscles strained as he hauled to the left, struggling to make just enough gap for their fingers to get a better grip. A narrow band of flickering light appeared. There, then gone again. They pulled again. The gap came back and Adan swore as the doors pinched down on his fingers. But it was enough space for Gage to slide his in. With one more concerted effort, they opened the doors onto Level 32 and stepped into hell.
The main power was clearly out, but the faint red glow of emergency lights illuminated the scene well enough. The shadows were broken by flashes of flame from further down the hall. The corridor was clogged with people. Most were armed. A steady stream of wounded were being passed through the chaos. No one seemed to notice them slipping from the elevator shaft.
Gage could make out a fire hose snaking in the direction of the gunfire and noise, and he signed to Adan. Can you Walk to her?
His foster father’s hands moved quickly. I’ll get us as close as I can. He laid a hand on Gage’s shoulder, and Gage felt the dark wrap around him. Sound muffled and slowed. Before them, a series of narrow black paths criss-crossed the scene. Adan pulled him onto the nearest bridge. Gage felt his body clench in protest, and fought to relax, to give himself up to the shadow.
But the shadow did not want him.
Adan’s hand slipped loose, and Gage dropped down in the middle of a scorched hallway, narrower than the main corridor.
“What the fuck?” the soldier nearest him exclaimed. Before he could raise his weapon, Gage knocked him out with a well placed elbow strike. His hands closed around the gun, and he came up swinging with it as others noticed him. He fought like a machine, cold, steady, unstoppable. Moving forward, gaining ground.
He was two and three deep with bodies. Dead or unconscious, he didn’t know. Adan had disappeared. Gage hoped like hell that he’d get to Embry and Walk her out of this God forsaken mess. Her survival was all that mattered.
If you enjoyed this snippet and want to know what happens, Forsaken By Shadow is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Sony, Scribd, SpringBrook Digital, Kobo, Diesel, and Amazon UK. Audio purchase links are available on the main FBS page.