After a holiday break, Free Fiction Friday is back with the next episode of Forsaken By Shadow.
Just joining us? Links to previous episodes here.
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Embry was nearby. Gage hadn’t seen her yet. He’d been too busy fighting and couldn’t see past the smoke. But the blackened remains of those three soldiers and the fireballs that intermittently flew by him proved that she could see him.
The creature screeched again, whipping its long tail in a brutal arc and slicing through two more men. Gage didn’t know what the hell it was, but it was keeping the influx of soldiers from getting beyond it into the narrow hallway, so he was grateful. A couple of others had joined him. To the left, just beyond the creature, a shrunken woman with dry, desiccated flesh slashed razor sharp nails, leaving gaping furrows in the chest of her nearest attacker. Her eyes flashed crimson and fangs descended as she fell on him, drinking greedily. A dozen feet away from the starving vampire, lightning speared out from the hands of an angular man in bloody clothes. A galvanic fae. Handy. Both of them tore through the crowd, exacting vengeance for whatever tortures they had endured as prisoners here.
Gage drove an elbow into the face of his nearest attacker and the motion jarred his dislocated shoulder. His vision flickered with black for a moment as agony threatened to take him to his knees. He needed enough cover to reseat the joint, not only because of the pain but because his left arm hung useless at his side.
Where the fuck was Adan?
Turning his back to the corner where the hallway turned, Gage surveyed the remaining soldiers. There were fifteen between him and the entrance to another room. He moved forward, intent on taking out the nearest one, when his body burst into flames. The shock and pain were so great, not even the oblivion of unconsciousness could cut through it. Staggering forward, still driving a reverse knife hand into his opponent’s throat to crush his windpipe, he was surprised not to see flames swirling over his skin. The fire was within him.
He stumbled to the nearest wall for support, to keep from going down.
Embry, what the hell are you doing?
Something inside him ripped loose, as if an invisible hand had reached in to grab a vital organ and tear it out. Nausea and pain immobilized him. Unable to even breathe, Gage’s head dropped back against the wall. And through the heads of the cluster of shooters at the doorway to the next room, he saw her.
She was on fire. A living, breathing flame in the shape of a woman. Her hands were outstretched toward him, and he could feel the pull from them. His body fought it. He slumped down the wall, doubling over against the knife-sharp spasms, trying to hold on to whatever she was trying to yank out. He lifted his head to look at her. “Embry, don’t—”
Her body bucked. Once. Twice. She staggered a few steps, then stubbornly regained her footing, continuing whatever she was doing. Gage’s brain was locked down in agony and took too long to process what was happening. Then the flames covering her body began to flicker and die. And he saw the blood.
It flowed down from her shoulder and her side, dousing the flames as it ran.
She’d been shot. Twice.
“Embry!” Gage roared her name. Rage burned through the pain, giving strength to muscles gone weak, propelling him to his feet.
He drove his way through the soldiers, his body dealing death blows as his mind focused on only a single, tangible fact. Embry was down, unmoving on the floor of the generator room.
When the bridge of black appeared, he didn’t pause to think or question. He took it, bypassing the remaining fighters, to drop down by her still form.
She made no response, and he almost stopped breathing again.
Blood. There was so much blood. He wanted to examine her, but they were totally in the open here. Bullets continued to fly around them. She cried out in pain as he dragged her to cover, and his heart leapt that she was still alive. He looked back at the hallway to see if anyone was following him, but the recovered vampire and the fae had engaged the remaining soldiers. They were safe enough for the moment.
Her eyes opened as he dropped to his knees beside her. Their sunburst was dim, the light waning.
“Ember, hang on.” He sat back, linking his hands around his angled knee and bent his neck back, rotating both shoulders forward. The shoulder didn’t pop back into joint, so he shifted directions, rotating backwards. On the fourth agonizing rotation, it slid back in with a click. Taking no time to immobilize it, he moved back to Embry and ripped open her shirt, hissing a breath at the sight of the ugly wounds. He pressed his hands firmly on both of them to staunch the flow of blood. He tried to sound calm and matter-of-fact. “We’re gonna get you out of here.”
She made a choking noise that he realized was supposed to be a laugh. “Always the optimist. I’m finished, Gage.”
“The fuck you are,” he snapped, pressing down harder on the wounds. “That shoulder is a through and through, and I don’t think this side shot hit anything vital.” But blood continued to trickle steadily through his fingers.
“Gage, get out of here. Save yourself.”
“Get this straight, woman. I’m not going anywhere without you.” Terror whipped fury into his voice.
“Gage, stay away from the light.”
He blinked at her. “That’s my line. You’re the one that’s bleeding.”
“No. You had too much of me inside you.” She paused, her breathing labored. “From . . . before. It’s why you couldn’t Walk. I pulled it out.”
The shadows had taken him back. He’d been able to Walk to get to her. “Then I can Walk to get you out.”
“We both know you can’t carry me all the way out of here before I bleed out. And even you can’t teleport or walk through iron walls.”
The truth of it continued to seep beneath his hands.
“There has to be some way.” Gage looked frantically for help. “Where the hell is your father?”
“I sent him after reinforcements.”
“Reinforcements? Who? The other prisoners?”
“Seemed like the thing to do. We’re kinda outnumbered.”
That explained the unexpected backup. “Understatement of the century.” She was so pale. “Look, can’t you cauterize these wounds? Stop the bleeding?”
“I’m sapped, Gage. And even if I could, the internal bleeding from this second shot would kill me. Get out of here while you can.” She tried to shove him away but didn’t even manage to budge him an inch.
“I’m not leaving you,” he growled.
At the scrape of feet on concrete, Gage whirled to put himself between Embry and the newest threat.
The fae stood well back, his hands lifted in a non-threatening posture. “I’m on your side.”
Gage glanced behind him. The vampire was finishing off the last soldier. Around the corner, out of visual range, he could still hear fighting. But there were no immediate threats. He dropped his fists, crouched back down to put pressure on Embry’s wounds.
The fae took a few steps closer. “I think I can help,” he said.
“How?” demanded Gage. “Last time I checked, electrocution wasn’t on the list of approved medical treatments for gunshot wounds.”
A crackle of energy jumped across four of the fae’s fingers as his lips curved in a grim smile. “I’ve got better control than that. A low level electrical charge can be used, under the right conditions, to stimulate tissue regeneration. In essence, I can try to make her body heal itself.”
The right conditions probably didn’t include the filthy concrete floor of a burned out generator room, surrounded by shrapnel, thought Gage. But, desperate times . . .
He looked down at Embry. Her dimming gaze was focused on the fae. “Well come on, Sparky,” she said. “We’re running out of options here.”
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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.