The Children of Tamal [The Shayton Chronicles Book 3]
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by Karen Fainges
Description: Gathered forces from centuries of plots were focussed in one body, Tamal's, and sent into the universe to close the Circle. So what now? What of all those left through time and space? Both sides left debris behind and this may have been a mistake. The fight begins again.
eBook Publisher: Writers Exchange E-Publishing, 2008
eBookwise Release Date: June 2008
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [291 KB]
Reading time: 201-281 min.
"...a new and imaginative perspective on the vampire mythos" Writing Show.
Tension flooded the world. They were calling it the Terrorist Wars, no large battle front like the wars of the past, just continual skirmishes. These battles were much more random and much closer to home. No longer were they as close as the weeknight news, these wars came right through the living room in shards of broken glass.
Everyone seemed to be on edge, never really sure when the next bomb would go off or the next atrocity hit. Past battles, failing attempts at peace, more fighting, it was all starting to blur as the world heaved from one wave of violence and fear to the next. Many times in the past, humanity had fought each other in ways too horrible to believe, but now it seemed they fought, not only each other, but the very world they lived upon. Things were changing and the world was a more unfriendly place because of it.
Lisa strode rapidly through the streets, head down, lost in her thoughts, her coat drawn tightly around her. In that, she was no different from the dozens of others eager to find the safety of their homes after a long day. Hidden in a tightly clenched hand in her pocket as something that would have marked her as very different indeed had any of the others on the street ever known she carried it. But they didn't look twice, too caught up in their every day lives. Besides, this was not the sort of town where you met other people's eyes. You never knew what you would see.
There were times Lisa wandered through the humans and wondered just how much she could get away with now. In the far distant past, her people had walked on earth without worrying about hiding. Their actions had filled history with legends of werewolfs, vampires, mermaids, and all sorts of others. Although she could change into those forms, and she had to admit, anyone can get carried away at times, she had found the stories a little amusing and sometimes scary. Now her people hid from humans because, to be frank, they thought of far worse things to do then her people ever could. They had turned them into horrors and that was perhaps the most frightening part of being near the humans. Their monsters were worse. She was alien, two hearts, different colour blood, the ability to read minds and shapeshift but she wasn't an undead horror that spent the centuries manipulating minds to do her bidding. She smirked, to be fair though, she did know one or two of the ruling Council that fitted that description. Not undead, but definitely cold. They must have been reading too many of the human's fables.
Cutting through an alley near her destination, she smelt the danger just a little too late. Lifting her head, she saw a shadow flit past. And another. She steeled herself for an attack. One good thing about this crueller world, it was less friendly for the bad guys too. There was no one watching this alley. No one would care if there was a scream or two. She gave a slow, wicked grin.
"Look, a rich bitch. You wearing all that makeup for us sweetheart?"
Lisa cursed under her breath. In her haste to get home with her precious bundle she must have been less careful than normal. Her skin was too pale to really pass for human, she normally wore a fine layer of makeup. It must not be applied properly for them to spot it in this dim light. Or perhaps it was the perfume. It was unusual for humans to trust their sense of smell that much.
"You're right, she must be rich to go to that fag's shop all the time."
Good, she gave a satisfied nod, it was not the makeup, just the perceived money that went with the makeup. They saw the mask not the disguise. They had been watching her, or more to the point, Themah's shop. They must have followed her from there. It was not haste that had caught her but a planned attack. Alarms sounded in her head. It was strange that they would attack now of all nights. They must be after her prize. To the right people, it was worth more than diamonds or gold. But who would use mere humans? There must be more to this.
Every sense alert, she flicked her coat back, "Shall we get on with it? I have places to be with company much more desirable than you."
There were hoots as two more young men stepped from the shadows. The first voice spoke again, "Told you, watch a rich man's shop, and you get rich pickings. Get her!"
Claws sliding into place, she crouched to meet the attack. There were six of them now, all armed with various weapons. They never stood a chance. Taking the fight to them, she went for those with pistols first. Mere knives and chains would have no effect against mental shields honed to protect from the hail storms of Shayton. Slitting one throat, she hurled the body into the path of a bullet. As it danced from the muffled impact of a silenced shot, she leapt for the arm behind the pistol. One smooth cut cleaved it free. A scream sounded, silenced as her claw found its throat.
Another scream, a thud. A muffled thump and a wet sound. Someone sliding to the ground. A soft sigh of escaping breath, followed by a curse, a gunshot, shattering of bone and another scream, swiftly silenced.
Lisa strode out of the alleyway dragging one barely conscious form and licking the red blood splatter from the back of her hand. Hanging the grey faced man from a fire escape with one of the chains used to attack her, Lisa leaned close. "Tell me, why me and why tonight?" Reaching into his mind, she forced through the fear of dying, the frantic attempts to gasp for breath and stole through his mind. There, right at the back, the answer she was looking for. She found a fear of filthy gays, old terror at past attacks becoming new revenge. Too scared to attack directly, he decided on the indirect. Take out their customers and the dreaded fags would leave the area. Tonight had been his first attempt to get rid of them. He had struck because she was a woman. She could not be one of those filthy gays.
A sound caused Lisa to turn snarling towards the newcomer. Spotting the pale face, she relaxed. Themah stepped from the shadows hands open. She nodded acceptance that he could come closer and turned back to the slowly throttling man. She spoke over her shoulder to the intruder, "Following me uncle?"
"Truthfully, I smelt the blood and heard the screams. I was going to play Good Samaritan. If the area is not safe, people will not flock to buy my beautiful suits."
Lisa nodded, "Apparently, that is exactly what he had in mind."
"Not after the package?"
Lisa shook her head, "Not that I can find, though someone may have planted the idea."
Themah strode closer. Lisa felt his mind brush past hers into the mind of the throttling man. "If they did, it is hidden well."
Lisa nodded. That would mean a being of great power if they could hide their interference from both of them. Still, she had many enemies of great power. Or maybe both Themah and her were just paranoid.
Themah grinned, "Is it paranoia if they really are out to get you?" Lisa laughed and Themah took the chance to scan her quickly. Lisa let him with no more comment than a raised eyebrow. She wondered how many centuries she would have to live before her uncle would stop worrying as if she was an unnamed child.
He shrugged unrepentant. "You best be going. It took a great deal of effort to bring you that little bauble. You need to get it home. Say hello from me."
"I will." Turning on her heel, she returned to her previous fast walk towards home. Behind her, she felt Themah leave. The dangling man still hung from the fire escape as a sign to all. As the man slowly became a body, he swung like an old fashioned wooden sign. The purpling face gave a clear, carrying warning--attacking patrons of the local tailors was a real bad idea. She smiled, licking her lips as she walked, she loved clear messages.