Demon Squad 7: Exit Wounds

BOOK: Demon Squad 7: Exit Wounds
13.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Exit Wounds

Book seven in the Demon Squad series


Tim Marquitz


Copyright 2014


Edited by Tyson Mauermann

Cover design by Carter Reid


Created in the United States of America

Worldwide Rights


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any form, including digital, electronic, or mechanical, to include photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written consent of the author, except for brief quotes used in reviews.


This book is a work of fiction. All characters, names, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events or locales, is entirely coincidental



Exit Wounds

Book seven in the Demon Squad series




Also Available in the Demon Squad Series


Armageddon Bound


At the Gates

Echoes of the Past

Beyond the Veil

The Best of Enemies


Table of Contents


Chapter One

Chapter Two (Scarlett)

Chapter Three

Chapter Four (Scarlett)

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine (Scarlett)

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve (Scarlett)

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen (Scarlett)

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty (Scarlett)

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three (Scarlett)

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five (Scarlett)

Chapter Twenty-Six

Epilogue One

Epilogue Two

Epilogue Three

About the Author




Thank YOU!

Yeah, YOU! Who else would I be talking to?



Exit Wounds




“He who does not learn from the past is doomed to repeat it.”


Yeah, that’s pretty much me.

I’ve mastered a plan of self-improvement: one step forward and two steps back. Sometimes three when I’m feeling adventurous. Can’t have too much change at once, you know? It’s bad for your health. Kind of like the black shapes winging their way toward us.

Rahim pointed off toward the horizon, where a dozen shadowy dots moved against the golden-brown sky. “I suggest we hide.” His deep, sonorous voice came out like he was asking for condoms at the pharmacy.

“You think they’re dangerous?” Rala asked.

Everyone’s eyes snapped to the naïve little alien but mine.

“It’s best to assume they are,” Rahim answered, apparently taking pity on her for adopting my position as the most mentally challenged member of the group. Mighty generous of the kid, but I was a little too preoccupied to thank her.

“Then I’m guessing it’s safe to assume those guys behind them are even more dangerous.” I motioned past the bird creatures to the two monstrosities that streaked through the sky like leathern missiles, scattering the strange looking avians in their wake. Inhuman screeches rang out in warning.

Karra stepped alongside me. Her muscles tensed as she clasped her father’s sword, which she’d gratefully held on to when Azrael tossed her through the portal, landing us in God’s little prison dimension away from home. Pregnant, she was even more of a pit bull than usual, ready to rip the throat from anything that threatened our baby. I eased over a little and inched in front of her so I could feel manlier. She wasn’t making it easy.

“They look like…
” Veronica said from somewhere behind me.

The worst part about that statement was that she was right. Great, sharpened wings cleaved the air, bringing them ever closer, revealing the true extent of their size. They were huge. “You know these guys, Rala? Brothers from another mother?”

“I’m a wyvern.” She snarled as she spit the words out. “I’m not even from here!”

Chatterbox followed that up with a sloppy raspberry, his tongue tossing undead spittle all over, stinking up the place. The two had gotten pretty close over the last couple months, which shouldn’t have been a surprise. She only had a senile old man—Vol—a schizophrenic demon with an asshole complex, and a groovy dead metalhead to hang out with. Now that I thought about it, the choice was pretty clear as to which she’d prefer. Who doesn’t love a little head?

“That was kind of racist, Frank,” Veronica said as she came alongside me. “Not all flying reptiles look alike, you know.”

I sighed and looked to Rahim and Katon in hopes of some testosterone backup since the women and nutless skull were ganging up on me. A foursome of dark eyes glared in reply.

“And you’re looking to us for help?” Rahim asked, motioning first to himself, and then the enforcer, both shaking their heads in unison.

“Fine.” I raised my hands in surrender. “Sic the NAARP on me when we get home, but I suggest you pull a little magic out of your hat, Rocky, and get us gone. Those critters don’t look real pleased to see us unless the local greeting is a friendly chomping.”

The wizard nodded his grudging approval, but then a sour expression washed over his face. He looked to his remaining hand—the other cauterized into an ugly stump—as deep lines furrowed his brow. “I can’t…feel any of my power.”

“None?” I asked. “What about your bear form?”

He shook his head, a horrible sigh slipping loose.

A cold, miserable lump grew in my gut at hearing the despair in his voice. I’d only heard him sound so forlorn once before, and that was when Abe died. Not even when he broke his spine had he seemed so defeated.

I glanced at Karra, unable to stomach the worry coloring his cheeks. She didn’t look any different. The mean snarl that had twisted her lips just a moment before was now a puzzled frown.

“Neither can I.”

“Well, isn’t that just fucking awesome?”

Katon didn’t give me time to wallow in my defeatism. “This way,” he shouted, darting over the cluster of desk-sized stones that were gathered on the far side of the plateau we’d landed on. He was up and over in a heartbeat, disappearing from view before the rest of us even reached the rocks. The shriek of the dragons followed after him, sending chills down my spine. They were coming in fast.

Rala scrambled up the stones with CB and the tome clutched together under an arm so she had one free. Veronica climbed beside her, making sure she got over okay. Rahim and Karra went next with me taking up the rear—no jokes, please—my crispy flesh outfit a little less pliable and mobile than I would have preferred. Every movement was an exquisite agony, brittle, scarred skin ripping and tearing as I ran, every step shooting pain through my bare feet, bits and pieces left behind. Only when I’d started up the stones did I notice that my rental-body—that of the not so fortunate bloodsucker Hobbs—had come without a complementary suit of clothing. My little vampire bits were flopping about, playing a wayward game of helicopter. Like the rest of me, they were a bit on the toasty side. Someone had taken the wienie roast a bit too far, methinks.

A muffled gasp from Rala yanked my attention from the ruin of my borrowed crotch and up the slope just in time to see Veronica and the alien slip over the edge and vanish. I expected a familiar, panicked thump in my chest as they poofed, but there was nothing but cold, empty silence. It felt rather anti-climactic given the thoughts bounding around inside my skull. The disconnect was unnerving.

Next went Karra, but by then I was close enough to see that she’d slid down to a narrow embankment on the other side of the rocks, joining the others. A natural pathway led into a thick mass of enormous, odd looking trees that had been invisible from the plateau. As I slipped over the top, the subtle scent of their leaves hit me, a musky freshness clearing the smell of char that’d been clouding my nose. It must have been how Katon thought to flee that way.

I guess being a vampire wasn’t all bad. Not that I wanted to be stuck in someone else’s body. It was a nightmarish episode of
The Biggest Loser
. Be that as it may, right then I had to worry about becoming dead rather than just undead, so I darted down the path after Karra, following the fluid swivel of her ass. It was a far greater sight than what I imagined was about to swoop down on us and swallow our faces with sadistic glee.

Katon came to a sudden stop where a massive, purple-green branch reached out from the thicker forest, jutting a couple short feet from where we pressed against the stony hill.

“Here,” he whispered, drawing our attention to the leafy limb. “Veronica first, and then the alien.”

“I have a name.” Rala grunted as the enforcer steered the ex-wife past the alien and sent her scurrying along the branch. The limb, a hand span thick, wavered but held sturdy.

“No time for introductions.” Katon grabbed Rala and pushed her after Veronica, Chatterbox’s maggots dancing in his wide eyes. “Hope you’re not afraid of heights.” I choked back a laugh at that.

Rahim glanced behind us, eyes scanning the sky as Karra and I caught up. “They’ll be here any moment now.”

“This way.” Katon motioned to Karra, a move I encouraged when she rolled her eyes at the enforcer’s gallant gesture and glanced over at me.

“Please go,” I begged. “You’re the lightest of those left; this isn’t chivalry.” Which was total bullshit, and she knew it, but she didn’t bother to argue. Baby on board, she spun about and ran gracefully across the branch as if she’d been doing it her entire life. A quiet sigh slipped loose once she hit the cluster of leaves on the other side and stepped into their cover without a word. She was still clearly upset at everything, but I couldn’t blame her. We’d have to have a serious talk once things settled; if they ever did.

“Now you, Rahim,” Katon told the wizard.

It was clear both of us expected him to argue, but to our mutual surprise, he didn’t. He glanced at his reddened stub and drew in a deep breath, letting it out in a low growl before running for the mass of foliage, the tree limb bouncing beneath his weight. An awkward glanced passed between Katon and I, and despite the animosity my little snatch-and-grab of Mihheer had caused, there was an instant there that felt like old times.

And then it was gone.

A gust of wind buffeted our backs as the world was swallowed in shadow. Katon ducked and leapt across the divide between path and tree, little more than a blur in the encroaching darkness. I was on his heels—figuratively—an instant after, though I had to admit, my wild scramble lacked anything resembling the grace Katon had displayed. Pretty much a burnt match with legs, I dove for the trees.

There was a roar that set the leaves to swaying just as I hit the frantic swirl of them, purple filling my vision while I grasped at branches to slow my awkward momentum. Leaves and twigs tore at me, and then there was a warm hand at my wrist, reining me in and pulling me against the trembling, blue trunk. I let out a breathy sigh—not so easily accomplished with no air in my lungs—and leaned against the tree and Karra, my rescuer. The rest of the group huddled nearby, eyes wide and mouths zipped.

Just beyond our tentative shelter, a dragon roared. A fetid stench stung my nose, and I could see a gaping nostril, easily the size of a basketball and black as pitch, through the flutter of leaves. It quivered a moment, sniffing at the branches, and I knew right then we were done. My hands tightened into fists. I wouldn’t be going out without a fight.

Then the giant nose pulled back, taking the darkness with it in a huff of whipping air. Relief washed over me as the dragon roared, rising above us with its companion answering back. There was a sharp
of a whip, another gust of wind, and then silence as the sun snuck through the swaying foliage.

It was a long moment before anyone spoke. They’d all been thinking the same as me.

“They’re gone,” Katon announced, though I noticed he still whispered. That did wonders for my confidence.

“Will they be back?” Rala asked.

The enforcer shrugged, but that was a little more optimism than I was ready to concede.

“You can bet your fuzzy ass, girl.” I could feel the array of dirty looks hitting me, but I couldn’t help myself. We were so deep in the shit I could taste it. Even better, it was guilt-flavored. My favorite. I clenched my teeth to hold back the rest of the self-pitying angst building behind my tongue as the glares intensified.

BOOK: Demon Squad 7: Exit Wounds
13.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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