abilities, alisha costanzo, author, blood, blood phoenix, Boden, book, Broken World, chakras, cyclones, destruction, elementals, fangs, fantasy, fire, folklore, horror, humor, hunger, James, leprachaun, myth, Nami, novel, paranormal, power, publishing, Ria, self-publish, urban fantasy, vampire, vampires, water, writing
Both James and Boden smiled like boys breaking curfew. The four of us stood in silence until Nami and I stepped away from each other. Boden held out a cardboard cup to me. Oh, sweet glorious coffee, we meet again. Sipping the creamy drink told me he actually put milk and sugar in this for me.
My vampire’s face sobered. “Are you ready for what comes next?”
Next? Well, what could be worse than what I’d already been through?
“How about you?” His gaze shifted to Nami, who smiled back to him.
“What happens now?” Excitement consumed her voice.
Reaching under his coat, James pulled his gun. The small device glittered under the moon. “Are you up for a demo, Boden?”
Boden crammed one last cheeseburger into his mouth, wiped his hands down the sides of his jeans, and nodded. They both stepped away from the little black car, standing five or six yards from each other. James raised the gun and aimed it at Boden’s chest. Fear leapt on me, digging its nails into my shoulders. Before it registered, James pulled the trigger, and a deafening echo boomed across the grassy field.
I choked on my coffee.
Oh God. Oh God. Oh God. He just shot Boden! He’s killed him. This isn’t happening.
Boden twisted backwards violently, his hand over his heart. He blinked at James with rounded golden eyes.
Words formed a nest in my throat.
He can’t die…
Boden righted himself with a smile, pulling his hand from his chest. No blood. No scrapes. No torn shirt. He reached his fist out to me. I put my hand under his, and a bit of small warm metal dropped to my palm. He caught the bullet.
I clenched my jaw as heat stroked my face. Boden leaned against the back end of the car again and got another cheeseburger from his bag. He winked, and his smile told me I shouldn’t have underestimated him, and that it had been cute to see me so concerned. God. Sometimes, I hated how we read each other like that.
James held the gun out to Nami. “You know how to shoot one of these, right?”
“What kind of question is that? Of course, I do.” Taking the gun from him, the intricate design lit up under her fingertips, causing her to giggle. “So where am I aiming this thing?”
He gestured for me to join him, so I gave my coffee back to Boden and met James on the other side of the car. “Shoot between us.” His gaze slid over to me. “Let’s see who’s faster.”
Nami aimed and pulled the trigger. The sonic boom fell away to the rush of air that tunneled between us. My movements slowed like those dreams where my legs pumped but I didn’t seem to get anywhere. Though my legs weighed a ton, grass flew beneath my feet, keeping pace with James. The bullet hovered between us, and then slowly James fell back. Itching to grab it as Boden had, I reached out and plucked it from the air beside me. Skidding to a stop, I held my palm out open in front of me. The metal bullet tip rolled over my skin.
James slid in beside me, placing his hand on the small of my back. “What did you find?
Twisting, I held the bullet up to him between my thumb and index finger. His black and gold eyes widened and blinked at the bullet and me. “You caught it,” he said.
“More like pulled it out of the air, but yeah, I guess I did.”
He shook his head, his wavy hair falling across his eyes. “You continue to turn my view of the world on its side.”
“What do you mean? Wasn’t I supposed to?”
“Boden was able to.”
“Yeah. He’s the fastest leprechaun I’ve ever come across.”
Wow, my leprechaun was really one of a kind. More so now that he bonded with me. Then there existed me, a major outlier. Being so special scared me as much as it excited me. What if I didn’t wind up being that powerful or have gifts that deemed me as all that special once I met more mythical beings? What if I was special? What if I possessed the kind of power that made people want to trap me and use me against others or just plain old wanted to kill me because I was a threat? My stomach rolled in on itself, tossing and turning like a fevered child.
“Hey. You okay?” James clasped my wrist and brought it to his lips.
I nodded weakly, swallowing the bile riding in my throat. “What else do you have for me?”
His smile picked at my already decaying composure. “Something special.”
Pacing our way back showed me just how far I ran, a decent mile of grass, weeds, and wild land. Both Nami and Boden looked me over curiously. Holding the bullet out between my fingers, triumph possessed me.
“She caught it herself,” James said. Pride dwelled within Boden’s features, and intrigue visited Nami’s. “Nami, how would you like to initiate Ria into the world of offensive magick?”
She gleamed, a voracious sexual vibe rolled off of her. “I’d love to.”
My stomach flopped again as triumph fled. I stuck the bullet in my front pocket next to the charm and other bullet. Nami circled me; her gaze roaming the length of my body, making me twitch and fidget. Stopping, her arms flung upwards. Water pooled around her hands and swallowed her arms, then she threw her arms toward me. Water erupted against my face and chest, choking me. My human habits hurt. I pitched my hands in front of my face to block the heavy spray while my lungs hacked and screamed at me. Once a heavy amount of water evacuated my lungs, I shut my airways down and dropped my hands.
The water froze my skin, almost ice. Nami had water. I had fire, mostly. Focused on its heat and its ability to turn water into steam, my inner temperature rose.
Come on guys, I pleaded to my chakras. This shit is starting to hurt.
My flesh stung, and the steady beating of water gave me a headache. Wings fluttered in my chest, and the water sizzled back. It retreated from my face enough I could open my eyes. Steam hung heavy in a cloud as I pushed my hands and arms into the tidal wave Nami threw at me. With a collective gasp, the water stopped. A wheeze poured from my mouth as I opened my airways. Arms still stretched before me, rainbow flames rippled over my skin.
Nami’s voice wafted toward me seconds before a gust of wind struck, knocking me back a step. The rainbow flames flickered and scattered before going out. Fire could consume air but not with pressure this high. But I had air, too, didn’t I? Struggling against the winds, I imagined a bubble or air around me. Titling my head down, I took another step back.
A glinting, yellow, ten-petaled lotus swam behind my closed lids. Anxiety and fear slowly dripped away as my personal power rose. Manipura smiled, her voice low and gruff and empowering. Air is yours, is a part of you. Grasp hold of it and allow it to surround you.
Her words hung on my lips as I whispered into the strong winds. “You are a part of me, surround and protect me. You are a part of me, bend to my will.”
The strong gust slowly separated and tunneled around my body. One by one, my chakras leeched from me and mixed with the air, causing the wind to twist and fold. Soon, I stood in the center of a vortex, the eye of a miniature tornado.
Nami’s arms dropped to her sides, her jaw agape. The wind swirled higher as the many-petaled loti rode the cyclone like a merry-go-round, giggling and laughing goodheartedly. Reaching out to them, I wanted to feel their joy, and the wind circled higher and higher, faster and faster until it reached the overhanging clouds.
Wrenching my heart from me, the cyclone pulled away, dropping me to my knees. Squeezing pressure encased my chest and ribs as if I might collapse into myself. The pain paralyzed me.
“Take it back into yourself.” A small cool hand pressed against my cheek. I choked against the crushing pain in my chest. The panic in Nami’s voice worsened it. “You have to claim it again, or it will not stop. It will keep moving and destroying until you stop it.”
Fuck. How did I to do that with my insides decaying?