Zoe Martinique is getting used to the strange turn her life has taken since she discovered her ability to travel outside her body. Now beings from another astral plane are being hunted by her old enemy, the Phantasm, and it's up to her to save them and preserve the cosmic balance.
Zoë Martinique, Tome 4 : Revenant
Superman makes this shit look easy.
Flying, I mean. Just points his beefy hand out with a mighty fist and away he goes. Up, up, up. I do the same and crash into-through-and past a building. I guess this is a good thing since I don't actually break anything in the process. No bones or concrete.
Though that last condo I blasted through had some seriously questionable stuff hapening in that middle unit-was that a cat-o'-nine-tails I saw? I tumbled out and put the brakes on, backped-aling in midair as I concentrated on the darkened world, looking for the telltale signs of the Fetch I'd been chasing.
What's a Fetch? Hell if I knew. The only intel I'd been given was that if I could catch them easily, I would graduate from grasshopper to padawan. Yes. I know. Mixing media here. It's good practice, going after the small baddies. Gets me in shape for the big baddies, right?
What I did know about Fetches was what I'd read in the Dioscuri notes the Society of Ishmael had let me read. Was still reading.
Nasty little sucjers. Really nothing more than a stray bit of Abysmal essence discarded by its creator. They were a lot like Daemons, brought into existence to spy or do icky things. Some were used as assassins. They weren't given forms like me or you-but left naked in a way so they could blend into their environment. This one'd been made out of office supplies-like an Office Depot transformer. And every time it'd gone through a wall, its accouterments had been ripped off, and then it'd pulled whatever else was nearby to itself, giving it form again. Last time I checked- this one asmade of toilet paper-two-ply.
Oh-let me explain. My name's Zoë-and you'd think I'd get tired of reintroducing myself. But see-I never know where people join the adventure. Or tragedy. Depends on how you look at it.
Martinique. Last name.
I'm a twentysomething former retail salesgirl turned Wraith.
Wraith. That's what I am. All because-and let me make sure I got this straight in my own head-I was born an Irin, the child of an angel, and was touched by the Abysmal plane.
Got that? Good, 'cause I ain't repeating it.
"Hey-lover-" came a deep voice to my left. A voice that rightfully belonged to a detective I knew but was being used by my companion at the moment. I was hovering as I got my bearings, my arms crossed over my chest, and turned my head to take a look at my enemy, my nemesis, and the reason all this shit had happened to me.
Let me introduce you to that part of the Abysmal plane I was touched by.
The Archer. TC to me and my buddies. Trench Coat.
That would be the bald guy with sunglasses hovering to my left. Not that he knew what would happen back then-or I. But apparently we're irrevocably linked together in all sorts of oogy ways. Before he touched me, I could go out of body, or OOB as I called it. Astral projection. But then things changed-I changed when he marked me. I glanced at the light red hennalike tattoo of his handprint in my left wrist, could only imagine the streak of white in my otherwise-dark Latina hair.
My being was now a miasma of both planes-existing as one.
This bastard next to me had kidnapped my mother's soul. And then I lost my ability to OOB because of a spell my mom did when I was a child. Because of this, my dual soul split down the middle. And the evil half of me possessed the man I loved.
Detective Daniel Frasier.
My...darker half drove him to do things against his nature. To kill. And enjoy it. The consequence of that was madness-and an undying passion to kill me.
He tried, but killed his captain instead. Kenneth Cooper.
That's when I started seeing the skulls. Death masks. I'd seen them before-on people-when they were about to die. Now I saw them on everyone. I didn't go out much anymore. Not in day-light. I didn't want to see them. Not anymore.
A week later, I learned I no longer needed to go OOB to go Wraith. And Archer was there. Waiting on me.
Daniel was insane and commited to an asylum. Out of state. Away from me.
That's my life experience. Getting one's heart ripped out and stomped on a few times. Oh yeah -and condemning one's soul.
Oh-but we haven't confirmed that one yet. That whole condemnation thing. Seems to be one of those vague provisos in small print. In a language nobody speaks anymore. Except for Rhonda. And a guy named Dags.
No, no, no...not going there. That boy is gone. Out of the city. Out of my life. No thoughts to him. Nope. No, sireeee.
I moved a good one hundred feet or so above the reconstruction of the Bank of America Building. I sort of blew it up a month or so ago when I rejoined with my darker half. The Abysmal part of me. The media said it was a tornado.
Man...my life's so screwed up. Most women when they have a bad day throw clothes over the floor. Me? I screw with construction. Can't say it wasn't my fault. Because it was.
TC moved closer to me, dressed in a long black trench coat, driver's gloves, and dark glasses, hovering eye lever with me. Vin Diesel-with a smirk. "I lost it."
His smirk deepened. "Because you're not looking." He pointed past me to my right. "There."
I turned my entire bodu, my wings working independently to keep me afloat in the air. I saw it, an iridescent paper-covered blob moving below us, back into the boolding. I drove down after it, man-aged to go incorporeal long enough to move through the building's walls, then through the offices, right on its tail.
Stay with it, TC said in my head. That was getting annoying. One of these little new things that kept cropping up since rejoining with my Horror self. Oh...might need to explain that too, huh?
Maniacal laughter echoed through the halls.
Uh, hold that thought.
Wasn't sure if the laughter belonged to the Fetch-or something else. This little fucker blasted past me and through a door at the ned of a long hall. I willed myself foward, imaginig myself as a bullet, and sieved easily through the door. Wood. Easier. Though...I always felt like I needed to pick splinters out of my teeth afterward.
I stopped abruptly. The thing wasn't moving-just hovening in the center of some schmuck's office. A piece of toilet paper fell from its body and drifted to the floor. In the darkness, the Fetch glowed a soft aqua green through the paper. Usually, whatever it attached to itself forms into some sort of face-and this one was no exception. The paper looked as if it'd been moistened and molded into some old bald guy with a look of surprise. Made me think of a sand sculpture on the beach.
A beat later, I realized the face wasn't looking at me, but up at a point above my head. It looked as if it wanted to scream, to bolt out of there-but it was frozen in place.
Every Wraithy hair on my back and arms shot up as I was over-come with freaky factor-
There was something behind me. Above me. Something this Fetch was so scared of it coudn't move.
Get out of there! came his reply in my head-his response so loud I felt it reverberate against my skull.
I turned just as something struck the side of my head, the force sending me to the right of the Fetch and into the wall-oops-O'd forgotten to go incorporeal. But then-I was a little preoccupied with whatever it was that'd just knocked the shit out of me.
I landed on top of the office-desk bureau, doing some serious damage to the wood, then bounced forward onto the wheeled chair, which popped out from under me. I settled on the floor with a cracking thud.
Laughter filled the awkward silence after my ten-scoring nose-dive, closely followed by the scream of the Fetch. How did I know it was the Fetch screaming? I'd popped off a few of them. There is nothing more disarming than their cry of pain. Imagine taking a million nails and pulling them down a chalkboard.
Your hair standing on end now?
That's what I heard as I moaned and righted myself, feeling my wings pull in and vanish. I could tell from the dark charcoal color of my taloned hands I was still Wraith-sans flight apparatus. Twisting my neck to the left and right, I started to push myself up from behind the desk.
"Stay down!" TC yelled, and the mental force of his warning yanked me back into a crouch.
I sensed that the Archer was in the same room-and peered up over the side of the desk as I heard the sound of scuffling. For me, seeing at night was the same as seeing in the day-only with the added shadows and wispiness. I could see TC wrestling in midair with-
My eyes bugged out.
What the hell is that?
From what I could see, he was doing an alligator death roll in midair with-raid hair?
Standing up to my full height-which is nothing to sneeze at-I moved closer, waiting for the opportunity to wail on the big red hair ball. Seriously-it looked like the comic character Dawn's red hair had walked off her head and was attacking Vin Diesel, wrapping itself around his neck, his body, his arms and hands.
But he wasn't exactly losing though. He was yelling at the top of his lungs, yanking the hair out of its roots. Of course when he let go of it as if to throw it away , it just got right back up and rewrapped around him.
I blinked. "What?"
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