Cursed By Destiny Page 24

I blinked my eyes to clear the spots as the torrent of light faded. What remained of the women, opposing vamps, and demon children were mere ashes. I caught Taran as she fell. She would no longer be able to fight. The magic she had performed had drained her completely. I cradled her in my arms. “Look, Taran,” I said as I held her up. “You did it.”

From the cages, glittering wisps of light bounded up to the sky. I prayed Saint Peter was welcoming the battered and tortured souls into heaven. Taran smiled and tears brimmed in her eyes briefly before she wiped them away and swore under her breath. I helped her to her feet and released her when Emme grasped her arm.

Misha’s vampires trailed the remaining weres, which were busting through the wooden fencing in an effort to escape. I thought to give chase and force a Tribesman to reveal the whereabouts of his master. It seemed I didn’t need to. A horrible roaring erupted from a large structure composed of a tin roof and cinder-block walls.

“Liz, Maria, get over here!” They scrambled to my side as if jolted by live wire.

Liz glanced nervously toward the building. “What, Celia?”

“Take Taran and Emme back to that hotel we spotted on our way into the village. If we’re not back within the hour, get on the plane and back to Tahoe.”

“No,” Maria protested. “De master says we are to stay by your side and keep you safe.”

“Misha is safe at home getting it on with his harem of hussies. I’m in charge, and I’m ordering you to keep my sisters safe!”

“I don’t want to leave you, Celia,” Emme said.

“Emme, Taran is vulnerable and I need you to protect her. Maria and Liz will see to your safety.” I growled at my good Catholics. “Won’t you, girls?”

Glass shattered and Hank flew past us like an irate, battered missile. Blood spurted from a deep gash on his head and onto his face. It sealed from one blink to the next. His shirt was missing and his shorts appeared to have been used as a tissue by something with a nasty cold. He leapt to his feet with a hiss and bolted back into the building. That was all the convincing Maria and Liz needed. They hauled my sisters into their arms and disappeared into the darkening forest. Night was quickly approaching. My tigress eyes could help me see in the darkness. Emme and Taran didn’t have that advantage. I needed them to be safe. And I needed to find Shayna. I chased after Hank and into the chaos that awaited.

The best way to describe what I saw was a bar brawl. Lynyrd Skynyrd even blasted from an old boom box in the corner. Fists and chairs flew harder than at last call at a biker bar. I ducked as a bottle of Victoria beer flew over my head and smashed into the crumbling cinder block wall.

Misha’s vampires held their own against the remaining Tribesmen. Agnes and Edith stumbled to my side, half naked, but that was nothing new. “Let’s finish this,” I told them.

They launched into the foray, shrieking like a band of angry streetwalkers in serious need of penicillin. Since blood already coated my skin, I had no problem attracting attention. A flock of skinny, winged newborns flew toward me, their tongue slithering like leeches through their fangs. As a sick joke, some idiot had tied baby bonnets on them. I decapitated two and crushed a third just as a witch set her sights on Tim. He hollered when a dark cloud of green swallowed him whole. I seized a demon child leaping toward the ceiling, snapped off his head, and nailed the witch in her face with it. She released Tim from her spell and veered toward me. “Celia,” she said, blood oozing from her nose.

Witches were funny. Not in a ha-ha kind of way, more like insanely twisted. They lacked in strength and speed, but compensated with spell work and personality. She spat at me from a distance. “Puta sucia. Te mato, puta—te mato!”

I didn’t like being threatened, or insulted. “You’re the dirty bitch!” I growled. Hoo-rah! Take that.

She’d started it, but she didn’t seem to appreciate the name-calling. Her magic assembled in a nauseating bouquet of molding herbs and rotting leaves. With every step, she barraged me with fireballs swirling with green and black smoke. But she was too slow and no match for my speed. I swiped demon children from the air and pitched them into her fireballs, using them to shield me from her flames. They exploded like mini fireworks stuffed with guts. Well, shit, didn’t that make her mad?

“Hija de la gran chingada!”

I didn’t catch what that meant. But I knew it wasn’t a good sign when her eyes rolled behind her head and disappeared into her skull. A giant swamp-colored ball rolled out of her mouth and spun toward me. It wasn’t anything I thought I could or should fight. Nor did I want it anywhere near me. I lifted what remained of a large table and fanned it back at her. I wasn’t sure it had worked since I was batting the table like the dickens, but I snuck a peek at the sound of her screeches.

Bile rose to my throat. She wasn’t a cute girl to start with, but even the most beautiful of starlets could not have pulled off her new look. Snakes spun free from her eye sockets—and every other orifice in her body—like pulled Slinkies. The serpents coiled around her limbs and torso, feasting on her flesh as they twirled and squeezed. My stomach roiled with disgust and terror. Her fate was meant for me. I needed to find Shayna, and we needed to finish this mission—now.

The harsh clinking of metal signaled her arrival. With Jedi grace and speed, she beheaded four machete-wielding vampires. I fought my way to her, killing every Tribesmen in my way. “Shayna!”

I ducked when she flung knives over my head. Her reflexes and skill were startling. She hit a were in the throat and a vamp through the eye, allowing Misha’s vampires to kill them with ease.

Shayna grunted and whirled until the fighting around us gradually ceased. Her eyes darted wildly, seeking more targets. I approached her slowly, pulling my tigress back and speaking softly. “It’s okay, Shayna. They’re dead. Take a breath, babe.”

The floor was littered with the remains of dead Tribesmen. I had to step over several limbs to reach my sister. Our group stood triumphantly. Hank pointed to the decapitated torso on the floor. “Yeahhh! Take that, f**kers!”

I lifted the edge of my tank to wipe the blood trickling from my chin. “It’s not over yet, Hank. We need to find the Tribemaster.”

You’d have thought I’d sent the villainous bastard an Evite. The scent of pure evil filled the room, sharp and sour all at once, announcing the Tribemaster’s arrival. I swore when my tigress fixed on the rear entrance. The good news was, there wasn’t a Tribemaster. The really bad news was, there were two.

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