Everyone, except Lyla, had their game faces on as we sat at the conference table. Amony took her sweet ass time with briefs and motivation speeches to the other crews.
They were a mix of ex-special forces, a lot of witches and probably magicians I’ve never heard of. Many of the magic wielders came in this room every now and then to shake the hands of Devante and Layla, asked for advice, and just fawned over them.
It was annoying because Layla sat close to me, which often got me a face full of jacket, skirt, bag, or purse. At the fifth smack in the face, I stood up, angered, my eyes glowing. Everyone froze—no one other than my crew knew that I was a demigod—so to them, I probably looked like either a show-offy sorcerer or an unfamiliar magician type.
“Celebrity time is over,” I said, voice even but somehow sounding everywhere. “Get the fuck out.”
An incredibly buff man with a full beard, glared and stepped up to me.
“You better sit the fuck back down, small fry, or we’ll be having our first casualty before we even get to Sunset’s headquarters.”
The entire place grew silent. I have to give credit to this human for being ignorant enough to have the balls to speak to me that way. They say ignorance is bliss. I have to disagree.
“Hedrick, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll back down,” Devante said. I could tell he was straining to hold back a grin, maybe even a laugh.
“Master sorcerer, why do you have someone like this stinking up your space,” Hedrick continued, ignoring Devante’s warning. “The way he’s looking at me—it’s really pissing me off.”
That day, Hedrick made a mistake. He threw a punch at me. I stopped it with a single pinky.
His eyes to widened.
“I think Amony has been slacking in her recruiting,” I said, evil cheerfulness in my voice. Hedrick was pale, afraid to move his fist.
“I never said anything about my identity having to be secret though. Maybe I should tell our meathead here who the fuck made it possible for his family to eat.”
“She said it’s for your own safety,” Sin said. “In case we get eavesdroppers and infiltrators.”
“Ah,” I said then turned back to Hendrick.
“Want me to break his arms?” Elly said then grinned.
I laughed. “Not this time, but I’ll need to set an example.”
With the same pinky, I released just a tiny bit of essence. That rocketed Hedrick out of the room, into the lobby, and onto his back.
I walked over to him, only to stop when I saw Mickey. She rushed over and smothered me with an unbreakable hug. I still wanted to issue some divine punishment to Hendrick.
“I really missed having you here,” she said, releasing me. “No one would tell me where you were at…I thought maybe you were…”
“It’s a long story,” I said, “but I’m glad you’ve made it through the crisis fine.”
“Yeah,” she said, twirling her dark brown hair. She was a woman in her early twenties with an appearance of a fitness instructor. Dressed in secretary attire, she only seemed to feel comfortable around me and her coworkers. Couldn’t blame her since everyone else where either spellcasters or otherworldly. She looked into me the eyes. “Do you have any idea what’s going on?” Mickey was too close. While no one else would care—I didn’t need Amelia to land here and misread this, so I took a step back.
“You could say we have a really big bust coming up,” I said. “Everyone’s on the edge. Some so nervous, they’d accidentally assault their coworkers.” I gave Hedrick a look. The big man bolted out of my sight. “You,” I said to a human at the desk. “Make sure his actions are submitted to Amony. Can’t have anyone like that watching my back. Arrogant men like him cost lives.”
The attendant nodded then rapidly typed on her keyboard. The attendants figured since I basically meet with the boss on a daily basis, my position was as high as it came. “You stay safe, Mickey.”
I started to walk back into the conference room, but the woman grabbed my arm.
“Wait. Could we talk again later, maybe after work, over dinner?” she said. “I haven’t seen you in months. It feels like you’ve risen from the dead. I know it’s ridiculous.”
I thought for a split second. Looking back on my actions, I took a risky dinner with Elly once. It wasn’t anything special—and that was back in my earlier days of being a confused fugitive. There was no confusion anymore.
A flash of bright light, followed by a loud blast of what sounded like thunder erupted everywhere. People outside screamed. What the fuck?
“Stay inside with your attendants,” I said then turned to the door, only to stop when I felt a vicious, powerful, dark, frightening presence.
Neither god, demon, nor devil. This was far worse. And now of all times. I knew that feeling. Oh, fuck did I know that presence, the aura, the vibe. Sin, Devante, and Elly rushed toward me, solemn expressions.
“What’s going on?” Layla said, holding a head. She leaned over to whisper in my ear, gathering a glare from Mickey to my surprise, but I didn’t have time to dwell. “Something struck the wards really hard.”
Sirens and fire alarms went off in the building. The lights flashed from white to red.
“Is she trying to give us seizures with this alarm system?” Elly snarled. “Fuck.”
“Go to the bottom floors,” I commanded the attendants. “Let the armed agents handle this.”
Mickey grabbed my hands. “Please be safe. I…want to talk to you later.” She hurried into a door with the other attendants, which led to a set of stairs.
Nobody bothered with the elevators.
Amony bolted from whatever room, to us, almost frantic.
“You guys never told me what’s happening,” Layla said.
I looked at her, eyes glowing. “Fucking Fallen.”
I shook my head as I remember how we all didn’t stand a chance. Truthfully, I wasn’t confident about facing the monsters even in state three. How the hell did the knights deal with them….my thoughts froze.
“Amelia…no,” I said, feeling it. Pain in our bond. I switched from partial state three to full for the first time. “She’s right outside. You can stay here or not, I’m going.”
Without waiting for the others to answer, I burst out the door and toward the scene.
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Alvin Atwater is a man of humor, a starving author. With a unique writing style that can outshine even Jim Butcher, Patria Briggs, or Kevin Hearne, he is a character-driven lovable lump of mass. Born in Florida, he's on a mission to defeat his arch nemesis, Florida Man, once and for all.
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Author of the Blood for Soul series and a secret coming-of-the-age epic fantasy. Lover of anime and manga: so yeah, weeb shit? Fun. Sue me haha.
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