Read twice cursed mage 05 - claimed Online

Authors: j a cipriano

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BOOK: twice cursed mage 05 - claimed
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It was hard to aim through my spotty vision, especially because my grip was so shaky, I had to hold the gun with both hands. Even though my right hand was covered in my own charred blood, I didn’t seem to be bleeding anymore.

“I don’t know why you’re after me, but here’s a word of warning.” I said in my best Yosemite Sam voice while sighting the Colt on the Texan. He was sprawled with one elbow on the cot, a look of anger seared across his face. “I’m Mac Brennan, the roughest, toughest, rip-roarin'-est
hombre
whatever packed a six-shooter.”

“Think you’re funny, eh?” he asked as I pulled the trigger. The crack of the gun was loud even though I’d expected it. The gun bucked in my shaking hands like a bronco, throwing my aim off enough for the bullet to zing by his left arm and bury itself in the drywall behind him.

Distantly I could hear screaming, but beyond that there was something else. An alarm. Someone had pulled the goddamned fire alarm. That was not good.

The Texan came around the metal morgue tray that had been my resting place as I scrambled backward on my hands like a broken crab. My stomach howled in pain, but less than it had before, and a quick glance told me that behind the charred flesh flaking off my stomach, the Hellfire had done something to staunch the bleeding. I wasn’t sure how permanent it would be or if it was even good that I’d tried to char my own guts, but I didn’t care. It’d work for now.

As Sargent stepped in front of me, I took another shot at him, and without breaking stride the motherfucker knocked it aside like he was Bruce Lee swatting arrows out of the air. The bullet flicked off, shattering a mirror off to his left. Holy fuck. No wonder he wasn’t scared of me pointing the revolver at him.

“Come on, boy, let’s see some of that Hellfire you’re so famous for,” he said, his voice a thick drawl as his black snakeskin boots stepped onto the white tile between my splayed legs. “What have you got to lose?”

“Fair enough,” I said. “Ignis!” Light blazed along my tattoos as I launched a blast just above his head. Why? Because he’d been expecting me to shoot him with it, and that meant he had a plan to deal with it. What he didn’t have a plan for was about a hundred pounds of ceiling tile crashing down upon his head as Hellfire cleaved through the ceiling.

Flame licked out across the roof and the fire sprinklers sprang to life, dousing me with cold water as the Texan went down like a sack of potatoes. As he fell, sprawling to the side, I saw the doctor standing there holding what looked like some kind of crowbar. I wasn’t sure what the hell it was used for, but I sure as shit didn’t want her to hit me with it.

“Just let me walk out of here and no one has to get hurt,” I croaked, surprised I could talk. Everything hurt so much. “Well, no one else, anyway.”

She took a deep breath and weighed the crowbar in her hand as water streamed down, plastering her hair to her face. “Get out of here.”

“Thanks,” I replied, glad something was going right for a change. I got slowly to my feet. My knees were so shaky, I knew I wouldn’t get far. Still, I had to get out of here and fast. I could collapse into a puddle and rest later.

“Leave the gun.” She glanced at my wrist and stepped close to me. Before I could tell her she could have it after she pried it from my cold, dead hands, she lashed out with her crowbar.

Pain flared along my wrist as the metal smashed into me. My grip on the gun loosened, and the gun fell to the tile with a clatter. As I turned to toward it, I saw the Texan was already starting to rise. Fuck.

“What the fuck,” I said, turning on my heel and staggering toward the door with the big neon green exit sign above it.

“I will not be the one to arm the zombie apocalypse,” she said, shaking her head. A dazed expression filling her features. “I need to retire.”

A laugh that hurt like Hell had donkey punched me, rippled up from my insides, and I nearly passed out as I stepped into an empty hallway stark-fucking-naked. I wasn’t going to get far like this. I made my way down the hallway, and as I did, I ducked into the first room I found. A row of lockers stood against the far wall. Jackpot. Where there were lockers there were usually clothes.

I called on my power and held my hand out toward the wall of combination locks. “Resero!”

A wave of magic hit the lockers, and with a sound like Christmas morning, the locks snapped open. I pulled open the one closest to me and found myself staring at a pair of green hospital scrubs. I jerked them out and pulled them on as I stumbled back toward the door. I could hear people in the hallway, and as I stepped out, I saw armed security guards moving toward the morgue. I also didn’t see the Texan. Good.

None of the jackboots paid me any mind as they surged past me toward the morgue. I waited for a lull in the crowd and made my way past them toward the elevator at the far end before they decided to bother me. Hey, I didn’t have a problem with them, but all it took was one small dicked asshole to ruin everyone’s day.

As I reached the elevator sans incident, I thanked my lucky stars I was wearing scrubs. I’d probably looked familiar enough that they’d ignored me. In my experience, people usually left you alone if you looked like you belonged. As I stepped into the elevator, I really hoped they’d be able to detain Sargent long enough for me to get good and far away, but being that the Texan could knock bullets out of the air, I didn’t exactly have high hopes.

Either way, as the elevator door closed, I was glad to be alive. Now I just had to find Ricky and figure out what the hell was going on. Oh, and I needed to shoot Jenna in the face because she’d shot me the second we’d escaped Hell and left me for dead. That bitch was gonna pay if it was the last thing I did.

 

Chapter 3

As I stepped through the morgue’s rotating doors and out into the fresh air, the sunny day outside was immediately marred by the glass doors immediately behind me shattering. I threw myself sideways into the bushes as the plate glass crumbled to the ground in gummy sheets. The crack of the sniper rifle hung in the air, and as I sucked in a breath, I was just glad they hadn’t used any magic bullets. If they had, I’d be deader than JFK. You know because he’s living in Brazil with Elvis, Tupac, and Kurt Cobain.

I crawled forward on my hands and knees, careful to keep low to the ground. My abdomen screamed with every movement, and as I stopped to give myself a breather, another bullet tore up the space a foot or so in front of me, plunging into the dirt I’d been about to move onto. Jesus, that had been close.

A horrible thought filled my brain. Could they see me? I wasn’t sure, but either way I had to get out of here, especially since I had no idea where they were. My spidey sense started going crazy, and I threw myself to the side. A bullet smacked into the wall where my head had been, tearing a hole in the plaster and pelting me with debris.

I rolled into the bushes, ignoring the branches as they snagged at my scrubs. The second I was free, I sprang forward into a roll toward the police cruiser parked by the sidewalk. It hurt like all of Hell had decided to throw a party in my gut, but I pushed it down. Hey, it wasn’t like I was particularly tough or anything, but adrenaline and fear of death are wonderful things.

Blood seeped through the torso of my scrubs as I reached up and jerked open the cop car’s passenger door. A quick glance told me the keys were in the ignition. Good.

A smirk crossed my lips. The owner probably hadn’t expected his cop car to get boosted, but then again, I hadn’t expected to wake up naked and sliced open inside a morgue. Besides, sometimes it’s all about making that GTA.

As I threw myself inside, another bullet shattered the driver’s side window before lodging itself in the center console. I ignored it, pressed the heel of my palm down on the brake and turned the key. The police car roared to life as I shifted into gear and pressed my hand down on the gas while tucking myself beneath the passenger side dashboard.

The car took off, immediately biting into the curb as I reached up to swerve into the street. Another round hit the car, tearing through the rear driver’s side window and punching a hole in the backseat. As I pulled the passenger door shut, I took three breaths and poked my head up enough to see what’s what. I was rewarded by not getting my skull blown apart. Satisfied, I was out of the sniper’s range, I slid into the driver’s seat and maneuvered into the street. The bottom of the car scraped along on the curb as I gunned it. The jolt made my teeth snap together, but when another bullet didn’t give me another hole in my head, I counted myself lucky.

The car was too hot to keep for long, especially because the gunshots would likely have the owner sprinting back outside, but I probably had at least a couple minutes. I turned a hard right down a side street, and as I did, I realized I’d turned down a blind alley. Damn.

As I slammed on the brakes, and the car shuddered to a stop, I collided with the dashboard. My breath whooshed from my lungs. I wasn’t sure how long I lay there slumped over the steering wheel, but it was far too long for it to be safe. I got my battered, bloodied body up and took a look in the rearview as I shifted into reverse, only to see a black paneled van with tinted windows that looked absolutely nothing like a police vehicle swing into the alley and block me in. Fuck. I didn’t know who it was inside that van, but something told me it probably belonged to the people trying to kill me.

“Fuck!” I cried, slamming my foot down on the accelerator while wishing I’d actually been stopped by law enforcement. I know, sad right?

My cop car rocketed backward in a screech of burning rubber and opened the driver’s door. It caught on a dumpster and was sheared off the vehicle in a spray of sparks.

Just as we were about to collide in a horrible game of chicken, I sucked in a deep breath and threw myself from the driver’s side door. As the police car’s rear bumper kissed the steel front end of the black van, I was too busy slamming into the brick wall with my shoulder and turning myself into a bloody mess to see what happened, but I heard it. Breaking glass, shrieking brakes, and crumpling metal.

The smell of gasoline hit my nose as I pulled myself to my feet and hazarded a glance at the van. It was a mistake because even though the police car had been ground under the van like a badly designed ramp and flames were sprouting from beneath the van’s hood, an MP5 was pointed in my general direction. The staccato crack of a full auto burst hit my ears as I dropped to my knees in the alley.

Bits of shrapnel bounced off the wall over my head and hit me as I scrambled forward out of their range. I threw myself around the dumpster, hoping the thick steel would protect me. There was just one problem, I had nowhere to go. Fuck. Double fuck.

Well, if I was going down, I was taking these bastards with me. I called upon my power, causing my vision to go hazy. Crimson flame danced across my arm as I summoned a ball of pure Hellfire to my hand.

The sound of boots hitting the gravel filled my ears as I counted silently in my head. When I got to three, I spun and threw my flaming right hand toward them.

“Ignis!” A blast of concentrated flaming death leapt from my outstretched fingers and slammed into the lead gunman, throwing him backward into his three buddies. Fire washed over his blackened SWAT-style body armor before falling away, and I realized whatever they were wearing would deflect Hellfire. That wasn’t good.

Undaunted, I sprinted toward the guys with the guns because if I couldn’t fight them with fire, I had two fists just itching for some facetime.

My bare foot smacked into the gunman on the left as he started to get to his feet, snapping his head backward and throwing him to the ground. I didn’t stop moving, stepping past him and his buddies and bursting out of the alley.

My lungs screamed with the effort, and my legs were so shaky, I nearly collapsed as I took a few steps onto the sidewalk and whirled.

“Ignis,” I muttered. More Hellfire sprang from my hand as the light from my tattoos winked out and exhaustion overtook me. I staggered backward, trying my best to hurry as the fireball hit the police car about where the leaking gas tank was.

The resulting explosion threw me from my feet. I landed hard on my back, stars shooting past my eyes as I tried to orient myself to my situation. The world felt cloudy and opaque as I rolled myself onto my hands and knees and tried to breathe. I succeeded, but barely. My breaths were so shallow, they barely constituted as such.

My abdomen was completely soaked with blood, and even though I tried to ignore it, I knew I didn’t have long before I passed out, died, or both. Already, the sounds of sirens were filling my ears, and I wondered if these were people who had been diverted from the morgue, or if someone had just decided to send the whole goddamned force.

Still, I was surprised at the level of resistance I’d faced already from the people out to get me, and if I’d heard Jenna right before, I was betting these guys belonged to the Council of Seven who had come to claim the city because these guys had come prepared, that was for damned sure. And that was when they thought I was dead. How would they come after me now? I almost didn’t want to know.

As I got to my feet and took a shaky step, that thought was suddenly replaced by another one. Were my sister and nephew safe? If these people knew about me, had they kidnapped them? I hoped not. That’d be stupid. Then again, I was nuzzling up against death’s door.

I tried to take a deep breath, and as I did, I saw the glint of something on a building far off. I collapsed to my knees just as a bullet split the air where my head had been. Only there was nowhere to go. I was in the middle of the street with no cover. Cover. There was a manhole cover right beside me.

I leapt for it, calling everything I had left as I did so.

“Ignis!” I cried right as my hand touched the metal. Crimson flame sprang from my fingertips, enveloping the manhole cover and turning it into superheated steam as I crashed through into the darkness below.

 

Chapter 4

BOOK: twice cursed mage 05 - claimed
10.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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