Her Black Wings (The Dark Amulet Series Book 1) (20 page)

BOOK: Her Black Wings (The Dark Amulet Series Book 1)
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CHAPTER

FIFTY-SIX

 

 

Brandon

 

Brandon had problems. They consisted of five people he owed money to, one of whom would make the problems disappear if he murdered a guy. After staking out his place, it appeared the man he needed to kill wasn’t connected to Damien in any obvious way. He had a nice home, career, and a wife. A younger wife, but she appeared to love him. This he surmised because she always gave him a kiss on the porch before he left for work, and she had not entertained another man in the house while her husband was out.

He pulled into the driveway of his crash pad and looked out his rearview mirror across the street. The old lady neighbor busied herself watering the potted flowers on her front porch and steps in the dark with only a porch light on to guide her. An older model black Cutlass with a missing hood ornament and black-out windows was parked in the driveway. He remembered this car from someplace, although couldn’t recall where.

He held his breath as his garage door trundled up. The last thing he was in the mood for was another demented conversation with the old lady whose name he could never remember. All he could remember was that it started with a “B” or something.

As he got out of his car he heard her thin old grandmotherly voice. “Yoo-hoo.” The sound carried over to him in the still night.

Oh God. I don’t need this.
He looked up and sighed.

“Bran-don…”

She stood directly across from him on the other side of the road. No escape.

“Hi, Mrs…?”

“Bishop, you silly. Listen, a friend of yours has been waiting inside for you. I told him you would eventually make it home. I was just about to make us some tea. Why don’t you come in and join…”

Oh Jesus, the woman could drone on and on. Forever. And you could never get a word in.

“Friend?” He didn’t have any.

“Yes, your friend. Lovely man, so sweet, even carried in my groceries from the garage. I would’ve waited for you, but you’ve been busy. I can see that.”

Oh my God.

“You didn’t give him any money, did you?”

“Oh no. He’s so nice. He wouldn’t take it.”

“What’s his name?” Brandon couldn’t believe Mrs. Bishop. Staring across the street, he saw a dark silhouette through the front picture window. An orange glow of a cigarette grew brighter for a second. Brandon looked back at the old lady.

“Oh shoot, I’m so bad with names…”

While she continued to ponder, he peered across the street again. The shadow had disappeared. He could have sworn he heard laughing.

“I’m not friends with anyone who drives that kind of car. Why did you let him in?” He gestured with his head at the parked vehicle.

“He said he knows you, called you by name. Why don’t you just come inside? Have tea with us. He’s been waiting all night for you to—”

“Naw, I better not.” He shook his head and started to walk away.

“This isn’t about the money you owe him, is it?”

Brandon cringed like someone had bopped him over the head.

Fuck me.

Mrs. Bishop led Brandon inside her home and into the kitchen.

Whoa.
Holy. Crap.

He blinked until his eyes adjusted to the yellow gloss paint on the walls and ceiling. The overhead lighting accentuated the glare. Sitting at the table with his back to Brandon was Damien. He could tell the bastard had a big fat grin on his face while he held a tea cup out to the side waggling his pinkie. Light from the harsh bulbs glinted off Damien’s silver ring. The muscles in Brandon’s jaw clenched.

“Have a seat, old friend.” Damien chuckled in the back of his throat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER

FIFTY-SEVEN

 

 

Amalya

 

Amalya
poofed
back underneath the old lady’s kitchen window. Her eyes peeked above the sill. This made no sense. Seated at the table, Damien Stone spoke in hushed tones with another person across the kitchen table. Her view of the other person was obstructed by the refrigerator.

She could
poof
inside the house concentrating on Damien, but she didn’t want to risk freaking anyone out. There was another window closer to the table. Hopefully it was open and she’d be able to hear their conversation.

Making her wings invisible didn’t help her become stealthier. The invisible thing apparently only worked on humans. She might as well have been wearing wind chimes around her neck for all the noise she made getting to the other window. Bushes and rose thorns caught on her feathers. When she looked back at the trail she’d made, the expectation was for there to be more feathers stuck to the plants than to her wings. But only a couple were lost. She decided to leave them alone and not go back for them.

Mercifully, the crank type window was open. She heard two men’s voices before she got into a spot where she could peer in without being seen.

“…keeping my eye on you. And like I said before, you have until the end of the week,” Damien said.

“I know. Friday. I had to stake the place out first.”

Brandon? No. Please, no.

“You just make sure you take of it or Mrs. Bishop and I be having another little talk. One where I do all the speaking. We clear?”

“Yes, I told you I’d do the—”

“You still have the piece I loaned you?” Damien asked.

Finally able to confirm the owner of the other man’s voice, Amalya’s stomach threatened to join her esophagus. Her organs began turning themselves inside out. Bile rose. She suppressed the gag reflex.

Oh God.

Two souls, and a huge problem. One was working against the other. Her own soul was screwed.

Backing up from the window Amalya tripped on her bottom feathers, ass planting on the ground, hard. She gritted her teeth, bit her tongue, and teared up.

Elliott…

She needed Elliott. But her mind wouldn’t cooperate, and neither would her limbs.

Hearing the sound of someone running over grass, she crab walked backward into the shadows next to the house. Woodchips from the mulch dug into her hands.

Elliott…

She kept going until she was covered by the shrubs. Cheap sneakers appeared under the foliage. Amalya breathed a sigh of relief as the shoes moved away. Then a knee came down, settling right outside the flower bed.

“Did you think I didn’t know you was there?”

Amalya gasped.

“I’ve been wait’n for you for a very long time, Amalya.”

What? How does he know my name?

“You thinks you can save my soul, shit.”

Tears rolled down her cheeks. She wiped her nose on the back of her hand. Weren’t there rules to this deal? How was Aba able to tell Damien about all this and Brandon didn’t have a clue?

“What he did promise you?” she blurted.

His face came into view. “Ha! I knew you was there. And what makes you think he promised me anything?”

“He lies, you know. You won’t get whatever he said he would give you. You’ll just wind up in Hell as somebody’s bitch.”

He laughed. “I didn’t mind Hell the first time.” A hand gripped the bottom of her pant leg. She kicked him off. “You bitch! I should’ve never picked you up in my car.”

What?

Nooo.
All the blood drained out of her head in an instant. She became lightheaded.

Reed…

Elliott’s worried face rushed back to her. He was chewing on his nails. “Elliott…I…need you!” she cried. White hair. Shiny onyx eyes. The want for him overpowered everything else. She closed her eyes and chanted her angel’s name over and over until she felt a whoosh as she whisked to someplace else.

She opened her eyes in a bathroom stall. The door was open. Pounding dance music vibrated the wall behind the toilet. A man washed his hands at the bank of stainless steel sinks.

Damn.

She closed the door, squatted with her feet on the seat, and waited for him to leave. Elliott had to be close. Maybe she just missed him. She could
poof
to him again, but wait, never mind, bad idea in a public place. There was no telling where in the club he could be.

Someone came and sat down in the stall next to her. She held her breath and pushed her way out, running on her tiptoes toward the exit. Once outside the bathroom, she relaxed.

She peered around the club and scanned the length of the bar. She ignored the dance floor; Elliott wasn’t the type. She looked up to the glass-walled VIP section. He could be up there. The same bouncer manned the staircase entrance. Hopefully exposing her tits wouldn’t be necessary this time. A smile lit up his face as she approached and he unhooked the rope without a word. She brushed a shoulder across his chest, a cheap thrill done only for his benefit and as a thank you.

Amalya leaned side to side searching for her angel. Women dressed in tiny dresses with plunging necklines sat provocatively with their backs straight and legs to the side at a table to the right. To the left, several men leered with their tongues on the floor, too chickenshit to go over and make a move. The bartenders working the center bar were overwhelmed by demanding drunks.

Walking the circle around the bar turned out to be a waste of time also. She headed for the elevator to avoid the smiling bouncer at the bottom of the stairs. A group of girls were just being let off when she got there. She got on and turned around in time to hear her name being called. And by someone she had no intention of ever seeing again.

“Amalya! Hey wait, it’s Hazel.”

Crap.

Amalya repeatedly stabbed at the “Close Door” button. Their eyes fixed on each other.

“Amal—”

The door slid shut, blocking out her niece and the expression on her face, concern mixed with curiosity. By now Amalya could only imagine the conversation Hazel had had with her mother. She blew out a long breath.

Below the first and second floor buttons rested the “Emergency Stop” indicated by an engraved metal plaque. The button itself wasn’t red as one would normally find, but pearl-white. It looked like material you would expect Heaven’s Gate to be made from, luminescent and liquid. She had a strong suspicion she would find Elliott if she pushed the button. She stabbed it repeatedly with her finger. No obnoxious wake-the-dead sirens blared. The car came to a stop and opened with a ding. She stepped from the elevator half expecting an alarm to sound or the world to end. Instead an empty lobby greeted her.

A hostess podium about the size of a movie theater ticket collection box stood in front of an archway to another room beyond the atrium. She hid behind high bamboo planted in beds built into the floor on either side of the entrance. At first glance she thought she crashed a themed costume party where everyone had come as an angel. Which was stupid.

Duh.

Angels existed. Elliott
must
be here. If she were an angel this would be where she would go.

She looked between the bamboo poles trying to see if she could spot Elliott in the crowd. Up the center of the long room ran a brick path. Glossy, as if it were painted with thirty coats of varnish. It led to a set of closed French doors. Urns of climbing white roses nestled between tapestries of female angels. Their golden wings were spread out as they fought demons. And crowded on either side of the walkway—angels. Lots of them. They had wings in varying shades of white, from off to snow. Not a single one of them had black wings.

The room had soft lighting, but she couldn’t tell its source. Okay, clearly finding Elliott couldn’t be accomplished from her current vantage point. With her head held high, she came out of her hiding place and stood under the arch.

An angel closest to her tugged on the wing of another. Shrill whistling halted every conversation. All the angels turned toward her, gaping. Feeling flushed, she swallowed, choking on her own saliva. She weighed her needs. Run and hide vs. finding Elliott.

“I, ah…I-I’m looking f-for Elli…Elliott.”

“Yeah, you can find him in the back!” someone yelled, and another angel chuckled.

“Okay.” She walked a few paces, wishing everyone would go back to their own business. Unfortunately, Amalya felt every untrusting eye on her like a thousand pinpricks. How could there be this many angels in the Detroit area? Didn’t they have lost souls
to attend to?

Assuming “the back” meant through the French doors, she speed walked all the way.
Poofing
didn’t seem like a good option at the moment, especially as suspiciously as they were watching her.

The door opened as she raised her hand.

Elliott. Oh God, Elliott!

She threw herself at him, flattening her cheek to his bare chest. The thick muscular pads were a comfort. She wrapped her arms around his waist. His naked waist.

“Why don’t you have any clothes on?” She tried to look behind him, but he blocked her view.

“You’re not allowed to bring anything with you from Earth.”

“What do you mean?” She angled her head up so she could see his face. He looked miserable—bloodshot eyes, blotchy face. Her angel had been crying.

A lot.

“What’s in there?” she asked.

BOOK: Her Black Wings (The Dark Amulet Series Book 1)
4.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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