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Authors: Megan J. Parker

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BOOK: Scarlet Dawn
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O
h god… oh god… OH GO—Why did I let you talk me into letting YOU drive again?” Zoey cried out as Serena downshifted into a squealing drift that carried the green convertible across two lanes of oncoming traffic. Halfway through the turn, Serena threw the clutch and floored the gas pedal, sending them rocketing forward between an eighteen-wheeler and a honking Jeep before she jerked the wheel and returned the car to the right side of the road. “Dear Jesus! Blessed Buddha! Humble Shiva! Sweet Satan… SOMEBODY—ANYBODY—SAVE ME!!”

“Because you KNOW you actually have fun with me driving! Come on, Zoey! Let loose for once!” Serena laughed as she quickly moved to the right land and swerved across two lanes onto their exit.

“C-can’t you slow down just a litt—AH SHIT!” Zoey cried, grabbing hold of edge of the windshield and whimpering, “Why did you have to get a convertible?”

Serena smirked, “Because it’s fun to see you flail without an ‘oh shit’ handle to grab hold of! Too bad Isaac’s not here; I hear he’s got quite an ‘oh shit’ ha—”

Zoey’s eyes widened, “KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD!”

Serena swerved around the oncoming car and slipped back into her lane without taking her eyes off her friend, “You’re too tense, you know that, right?”

Making it into the more populated area of the city, Serena slowed the car and began to look around the streets.

“You said they’d be in this area, Zoey. Where do I turn now?” She scanned the sleepy business district, the towering buildings—dark and vacant—providing no sign of
any
sort of activity; mythos or otherwise. Sighing, Serena turned onto another street.

“Wait! Did you hear that?” Zoey frowned.

Focusing her superhuman ears, Serena picked up on the squeal of an alarm in the distance and she smirked, “Good ear, Zoe!”

Zoey bit her lip, “Does this mean…?”

“Oh you
know
it, sister!” Serena howled excitedly as she hit the gas and spun in the direction of the sound.

Zoey cried out as Serena weaved in and out of the lighter traffic filled areas. Zoey screamed as they sailed through two red lights and nearly collided with a pickup truck.

“What a rush!” Serena smirked, turning the wheel as they made it to the source and she slammed the brakes. The convertible’s tires shrieked louder than the alarm as it came to an abrupt stop and Serena threw it in park before vaulting over the door and turning to wait on her friend.

Zoey, still dizzy and disoriented from the ride, slowly opened her side and stepped out of the car on shaky legs. “Go get ‘
em, Serena,” she waved her friend on as she began to catch her breath, leaning on the car for support, “I’m… uh, I’m right behind ya… oh god, I think I’m gonna puke.”

Serena smirked and nodded, sprinting through the open door and into the dark interior of the building. Seeing no immediate cause of the alarms, she cast out her aura and began to scan the rooms for any sign of the intruders.

“Looking for someone, toots?” A voice called from behind and the sound of heavy footsteps followed.

“Yea, some friends of mine were worried about a stray dog that’s been wandering about,” Serena turned and glared, recognizing Axle Travers from the photo in his file. As far as dirty rogues went, he
was
surprisingly handsome; a definite step-up from the eyesore mythos lawbreakers Serena usually had to deal with. With a pair of gleeful, animalistic green eyes that gazed out from under a mat of shaggy, dirty-blond hair all atop a face that was deliciously boyish-yet-chiseled, he certainly was in a league of his own. He wore nothing but a greasy tank-top that might have passed for white at one time and a baggy pair of even more greasy jeans. She frowned, realizing she was staring for a moment and—extending a half-hearted appreciation for Zoey’s accusation of her sex-starved mind—forced herself to look away from his features and down at his hand.

“So what’s in the bag?” Serena frowned, “More greasy laundry? On your way to the
laundromat?”

“We were,” Axle smirked and shrugged, “but then we remembered that we’d left our quarters at home and we didn’t have any bills to break. So… well, you know how it is.”

Serena sneered, “Stealing money? Really? What would you need money for anyway?”

Axle pouted, “You don’t believe my laundry story?”

“Did you really expect me to?” Serena pursed her lips.

“Hmm… I guess not,” he shrugged. “Fair enough, I suppose.” He paused to take her in, his eyes lighting
up as he made no effort to hide his ogling, “Though I might be persuaded to be a little more… umm, cooperative…” He stepped forward giving her a teasing wink.

“How’s this for persuasion?” Serena jumped forward, slamming her booted foot into his stomach.

He growled and stumbled back before catching himself and narrowing his eyes. “You broke my smolder!” He grinned slightly, however his eyes still held the pain he was in from her kick.

“Yea, I guess this is
kinda an off-day for you. Now, I’m going to relieve you of that heavy burden, and then I’m gonna bring you in for The Council to deal with,” she grinned, stepping forward and going to reach for the bag of money.

Axle frowned, “The Council?” He sneered, stepping back, “
You’re
a clan warrior?”

“Don’t sound so surprised, ass-hat!” Serena glared, “And I’ll have you know I’m a clan
leader
!”

“Oh…” He sized her up again, “Slim
pickins for your kin, I see. My condolences.”

As Serena lunged for the bag, he yanked it away and swiped his leg out, taking her legs out from under her and sending her flat on her ass, glaring up at him.

“I think I’m going to like this city a lot more than I thought,” Axle smirked and turned away, starting towards five hooded figures who appeared behind him; each one toting their own bag of stolen loot.

“You are going to pay for that!” Serena called out after him, jumping back to her feet.

“I’ve got the cops driving in circles two blocks east of here, boss,” one of the hooded figures—an auric from what Serena could see—called out to him, handing him his bags. As the others also forfeited their cargo to their leader, they all looked back towards Serena, “You want us to deal with that?”

Axle shook his head, “No. I think I’d like to see her again in a future adventure.” Glancing back, the therion winked at her, “Until then, doll.”

“Doll?” Serena started towards them, “You little—” An auric blast caught her off guard and sent her sprawling back. By the time her head stopped spinning and her eyes regained focus, she saw the last of the rogues jumping out the window. “God dammit!”

Sprinting after them, Serena launched herself through the window and, still airborne, caught sight of Axle and his gang driving through the streets towards the highway. Below her, Zoey was already pulling the car around.

“At’ta girl, Zoey!” Serena smiled and threw out her purple aura, securing a hold on the car and pulling herself into the driver’s seat right as Zoey slipped back into the passenger side. “You feeling better?”

Zoey rolled her eyes, “Does it make a difference? Just get after them!”

“Don’t gotta tell my ass twice!” Serena pushed in the clutch and slammed her foot on the gas as she threw the car into gear. The sound of gears violently meeting echoed into the night and the sudden lurch caused Zoey to let out a breathy squeal as they peeled off after the rogues’ car. “Couple of pussies in a pussy-ass Jag ain’t getting’ away from me!” She grinned as she sped after them.

Zoey frowned, “Isn’t this a Jaguar too? What’s the difference?”

Serena rolled her eyes, “Theirs is
red
! Don’t you know
anything
about cars?”

“Not entirely confident that you do…” Zoey bit her lip.

“It’s really quite simple,” Serena started. “You see—motherfuckers!”

As they began to catch up, Axle made a sharp left onto a side street, forcing Serena to interrupt her speech and quickly jerk the wheel to keep on them, their car fishtailing and nearly spinning them out into the sidewalk.

“Serena! You’re going to get us killed!” Zoey cried out as she hunched forward, looking sick to her stomach.

“Asshole’s grandmother must’ve taught him how to drive!” Serena growled as she righted the car and began to chase them down once more. The chase worked its way from Main Street onto a highway onramp, where the two wove around several slower moving cars.

As the two cars roared down the nearly-empty interstate, Serena began to close in on them. She watched as Axle, motioning to one of his gang members, sacrificed the driver’s seat and jumped onto the trunk of his car.

Zoey frowned, “What is he…?”

As the two watched, the hand Axle was using to stabilize himself shifted and transformed into a muscular and clawed therion hand. Digging his fingertips into the car and securing himself, Axle smirked and used his free hand to casually wave at Serena.

“HEY, DOLL! WASN’T EXPECTING TO SEE YOU SO SOON!”

“That pretentious… the fucking nerve!” Serena growled as she shifted gears and floored the accelerator, bringing the chase to over 100mph.

“Serena! You’re going to overheat the engine!” Zoey cried out.

“He is not getting away, Zoey!” Serena smirked, wrapping her bright purple aura around the car and the car began to lift off of the street.

Noticing this, Axle called back to his gang. A moment later, an orange aura surrounded their car as well.

“You cheap bastard,” Serena shook her head. “Zoey! I need you to slow them down!”

Zoey nodded and Serena watched as a bright blue auric tendril reached out from her chest and began to strike at the orange aura that was carrying the gang’s car.

“That’s it, Zoey! We’ve got him now!” Serena smirked.

In a clash of blue and orange, Zoey’s jabs at the orange aura caused it to lower the car to the street so that it could lash back at her attacks. Unable to see auras and, therefore, oblivious of the scene around him, Axle glanced back at his crew as his car began to slow down. Serena grinned at Axle’s confused look as she pushed with her own aura to move
their own car closer.

“That’s right, you son of a bitch! We’ve got
two
aurics, and you’ve only got—oh, come on!” Before she could finish, Serena spotted a green bolt extend from one of the other members of Axle’s gang and snake its way back, joining his comrade in fighting off Zoey’s efforts.

“Serena! I don’t know how much longer I can hold them off!! Their auras combined are too much!” Zoey cried out.

“Shit! I know, Zoey! Just hold on a little bit longer! We’ve almost made it up to them!!” Serena called out as she forced the car to gain even more speed with her auric hold.

“SERENA!”

Zoey’s warning came too late as Axle hurled himself from the trunk of his car, his body exploding into his full therion form before landing on the hood of their own. Though he’d transformed in his more bestial form, Axle had retained the soft-yet-muscular features and dirty-blond hair.

“I thought they shot
Ol’ Yeller,” Serena growled between clenched teeth, using her aura to rock the car in an attempt to shake their unwanted company.

Axle stumbled, but once again used his metal-piercing claws to secure himself to the car’s siding and went to work ripping a hole in the hood.

Zoey whimpered, trying to keep her strength as she pushed back another attack. “Serena, I can’t keep this up much—”

“I know!” Serena growled, trying to see past the hulking beast to the car ahead of them, “Just a bit longer, Zoe! Please, you can do this!”

Axle drove his clawed hand into the depths of the car and Serena heard the engine begin to sputter as he began ripping the guts from under the hood.

“What are you doing to my baby, you fucker?” Serena glared, wishing she could strike out with her aura but knowing she’d be dropping their car onto the unforgiving street at over 200mph if she released a portion of her hold on it.

Tossing a few of his prizes over the side of the car, Axle began to transform back into his human form. “It’s nothing personal, toots,” he offered when his face and vocal cords were back to normal, “but you
are
cramping my style. Call me sometime, though.”

BOOK: Scarlet Dawn
11.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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