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Authors: C. E. Martin

Seven Deadly Sons (10 page)

BOOK: Seven Deadly Sons
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For the first time in their lives, the skinheads used their brains. They fled.

 

CHAPTER NINETEEN

 

 

 

 

 

His name was Forest. It wasn't the name his parents had given him, but the name assigned to him by the military. It had always struck him ironic, as he'd grown up in the inner city of Detroit and had never been in a forest in his life. But after joining the Army and being selected for a very special program, it was the name he'd been given.

Forest reflected, as he often did during the first few minutes of a mission, once again thinking about that day he'd been recruited, several years ago. Back then he was just a skinny kid from Detroit, forced to join the Army because he hadn't felt like there was anything else he could do with his life. No one had been more surprised than he was when he was taken aside and told he was very special.

That special kid from Detroit never would have guessed he would one day be flying, but after months of training that is just what he began to do. Now, only minutes into the mission, he was hanging in the air, at an altitude of roughly one hundred feet—it was difficult to judge his height with any real precision as he had no instruments. Nor any aircraft. He was flying under his own power—sort of. He was on the etheric plane.

And it was a very strange place.

The world Forest had been born on was, from this vantage point, one of blurry light. It was like having tunnel vision, peering through an opening in the deepest of shadow. There was no sun on the etheric plane, merely the glow of living organisms.

Forest knew that what he saw wasn't actually there. It was his brain interpreting the world without flesh and blood eyes, "seeing" what he wished to see. But even after several years of scouting from the etheric plane, it was still strange.

The Ghost Walker hovered in place over the target, watching the glowing forms of the four stone soldiers outside taking up positions. As enchanted beings themselves, the stone soldiers glowed brightly in his clairvoyant vision.

All living things glowed on the etheric plane, but not to the extent of the stone soldiers. Most people were just a mild, soft, almost blurry silhouette of light. He could look past this and see their faces when he concentrated. He saw them simultaneously as light and solid.

Parahumans, those gifted with some kind of paranatural ability, glowed differently. More intensely would be one way to describe it, but that didn't really. The human language had no real words to fully describe the etheric plane. That was why telepaths monitored the Ghost Walkers as they performed their reconnaissance missions.

Forest turned in place, once more looking around at the team. The Colonel had been specific about keeping an eye on his granddaughter, Josie Winters. Kenslir had grown concerned of late about the intensity of the girl's etheric presence. It had been building. Even now, despite her human appearance, she was brighter even than the vampire, Dr. Olson. Nearly as bright as the stone soldiers.

It was quite baff-

Forest shifted. Something had caught his attention. He drifted to the side, trying to get a better view. Despite their lack of presence on the etheric plane, solid objects did often shield the living from view. Which made sense. Technically, Forest and the other Ghost Walkers didn't watch the etheric plane, but watched the real world
from
it. If they could only see the living, their ability wouldn't be all that useful.

Yes, there it was. A sliver of bright intensity, coming from the broken windows of an old warehouse three blocks west of the skinheads' bar. Forest knew it was a broken window as glass blocked the living from view on the etheric plane.

Investigate
came the telepathic command of Gloria, his handler. The telepath was with Forest's body, back at Argon Tower, several miles away, monitoring his mission and communicating with the Command Center about what he saw. It was an arrangement the military had been using with Ghost Walkers for far longer than Forest had been with the program.

He willed himself forward, crossing the distance slowly. He knew full well many in the physical world, particularly supernatural beings, could see him here. Sudden movement would draw their attention. So he drifted slowly forward.

Someone was watching the bar through a second floor window of the warehouse. They moved suddenly, to a larger opening in the broken windows, as if for a better vantage.

Forest turned back to the Mengele and saw why. Brightly glowing vampires were running away from the bar. At least a dozen of them, spreading out like rats from a sinking ship.

Forest turned back to the warehouse. He had to find out who, or what, was watching. He steeled himself and plunged through a wall, the tin and steel structure offering no more resistance than the surface of a swimming pool.

***

 

Josie drew in a breath and concentrated as the first vampire fled the bar—literally running through a wall. Hitting a moving target was complicated, especially one moving toward her.

The vampire screamed, grabbing his head. He tripped and fell, tumbling forward as his brain froze. He quickly came up on one knee, struggling to rise to his feet.

Steam was rising from the vampire now as Josie continued to concentrate, freezing the molecules in place within his head. In a normal human, the cryokinetic flash freezing inside the brain would have produced instant death. But Eric Mosley had shown the hybrid vampires were far more resilient.

Josie shifted her gaze, switching to another target. Paul Briones had reached the first vampire. He, Colonel Phillips, Dean Johnson, Jimmy and Victor Hornbeck were outside the bar, the stone soldiers' knives at the ready when the vampires still standing had decided to run.

Briones reached the vampire just as he stood. The stone soldier's knife sliced through the neck of the creature, removing its head with ease. Briones kicked it away from the body for good measure, then took off at a sprint to intercept the next hybrid.

"We've got the back," Colonel Kenslir shouted as he and Laura Olson ran outside after four skinheads fleeing south. "Stevens, finish off the wounded!"

Inside the bar, Wayne Stevens heard the command over his tactical goggles' speakers and set to work, moving quickly for the first of several bodies so badly mutilated and damaged it would be minutes before they regenerated, if ever. Captain Smith and Jacobson sprinted out the side and front of the building, pursuing more of the hybrids.

"Command! We have a problem here!" Colonel Phillips yelled, extending both hands. He unleashed twin lightning bolts from his stone fingers, catching two fleeing vampires square in the side. Each was blown off their feet, as if struck by a heavy truck. He glanced over and saw that Jimmy Kane was in wolf form now, sprinting along on all fours in a weird, hunched-over loping run, pursing a vampire of his own.

***

 

The figure in the building hadn't noticed him yet. The man was intently staring out the window as the battle at the Mengele raged on. He glowed quite unlike anything Forest had ever seen—shimmering back and forth as though he were multiple people in one body.

He was dressed in Army-surplus pants, with tall combat boots and a white t-shirt. He had blonde and gray hair, swept to the side in an old fashioned manner. He almost seemed to match the worn out interior of the abandoned warehouse.

Forest skimmed along the roof of the big, empty building. Once, it must have been filled with ceiling-high shelving units for pallets of whatever had been stored there. Now it was a wide-open space, filled with broken glass, and filth. A walkway ringed the warehouse at what would be the second floor. The oddly-glowing man stood on this walkway, watching the battle unfolding outside.

The man frowned finally and pulled a small cellphone from his pocket and dialed a number on it. He waited impatiently, tapping his foot, clearly nervous as the phone made its connections.

Finally, the other end must have picked up. "
Ausgang, jetzt
!" he said into the phone. Forest recognized the sound of panic in the man's voice.

***

 

The vampire hybrids were fast, that Colonel Kenslir had to admit. But they weren't faster than a bullet. He stopped running and reached back, pulling a large automatic from under the back of his shirt.

The huge gun, a .50 caliber Desert Eagle, roared three times—three precise shots fired at three different fleeing hybrids. Each jerked as the large bullets tunneled into their legs, dropping them instantly.

Kenslir sprinted forward, toward the nearest one as all three began to wail. Even a vampire didn't like to be burned, and the white phosphorous rounds Kenslir was using consumed flesh faster than it could be repaired.

Laura Olson was faster, reaching one of the fallen vampires first as he clawed at the smoking hole in his thigh. She scooped him up by the ankle of his good leg and swung him around in an arc, smashing the hybrid's head against the pavement. The ground buckled from the blow and the creature's head significantly deformed.

Olson pitched the stunned vampire up, spinning him as she did, so that his head was now upright. She slashed out with both hands, across the wounded hybrid's throat. Nails sliced flesh and bone and skinhead and body separated from each other.

The Colonel was at his man now. He stomped down with one boot, exploding the vampire's head. He followed this up with a snapped shot from the Desert Eagle. The last of the wailing vampires went silent as the magnum's round punched through his head, mixing together white phosphorous and brain.

"Hey! That was mine!" Laura said, pouting. At least, Kenslir thought she was pouting—it was hard to be sure as she was covered in blood and gore.

"Something's up," Major Campbell, back at the Command Center, announced over team's comm channel. "Forest may have located the target in a nearby structure! We're marking your HUDs!"

Colonel Kenslir turned, looking in the direction indicated. In this barren part of town, where there were more empty lots than dilapidated buildings, he had a clear view of the building, which was indicated by a flashing red diamond on the tactical glasses.

He shifted his gaze and fired another shot from his pistol, dropping another fleeing vampire that had just run into view. The monster tumbled and fell, then Jimmy Kane was on top of it, working it over with his own claws.

"Got it!" Dean Johnson yelled over the channel. His marker on the HUD indicated he was the closest to the warehouse, and he immediately set out for it.

Kenslir broke into a run, leaving a surprised Laura Olson behind. "Johnson! Wait for assist!"

"Where are we going?" Laura said, dropping into a run. Kenslir noticed she'd discarded her sandals and was running across the hot ground barefoot, her bloody dress clinging to her.

***

 

If Stone Soldiers and the hybrid überwolf glowed brightly, then what Forest saw now was like the sun. Its intensity was so great it actually made him want to look away, even though he had no eyes to be harmed, no physical body to feel pain.

It was a brilliant flash, like a bomb going off. When it blinked out, an intense white ball the size of a man's head was suspended in the air. But not for long—it almost instantly spread out, flattening and widening into a circle over six feet in diameter.

The überwolf on the upper level of the warehouse saw the glowing disk, hovering at the level of the second floor, some twenty feet away from him, and swore. "
Gruss Gott
!"

It was over empty air, well above the ground level.

The überwolf shimmered again, flickering rapidly like a candle about to go out for a moment. Then he grabbed the railing around the catwalk he was on and pulled.

Metal bent and shrieked as it was torn apart by the überwolf, still in the form of a human but now with inky-black eyes and elongated fangs. He was ripping and bending the metal out of his way so he could leap out, across the open air and through the portal. But he suddenly stopped what he was doing.

"
Was
?" he declared in German. He was now looking at Forest, his face puzzled.

The hybrid raced around the upper deck of the warehouse, covering the distance to Forest in a heartbeat. He leapt at the end of his short sprint, shooting up at the Ghost Walker as he hung in the air, just below the roof.

But Forest was faster. Much faster. In this form, he was limited only by his willpower. He streaked across the warehouse, to a position opposite where he'd been. The hybrid collided painfully with the tin roof, then tumbled down to the floor on the first level.

"Hello, my friend," he said, landing perfectly.

Forest was unable to respond and remained where he was, watching the überwolf.

"What are you?" the überwolf asked. Then he turned, glancing to the side.

"
Aufwiedersehen
!" he said, turning and taking several steps.

The side of the warehouse exploded inward, metal siding bending and shrieking as one of the stone soldiers charged in. The überwolf ignored this and took several quick steps forward, leaping up—at the portal.

The German had calculated perfectly, and flattened his body, hands held out before him, as though diving. He passed through the bright disk, vanishing from sight.

BOOK: Seven Deadly Sons
12.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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