Read Bladed Wings Online

Authors: Jarod Davis

Bladed Wings

Bladed Wings

Jarod Davis

Publisher’s Note:
This is a work of fiction. Sort of. All characters, places, businesses, and incidents are from the author’s "imagination", right? Any resemblance to actual places, people, or events is purely coincidental. Any trademarks mentioned herein are not authorized by the trademark owners and do not in any way mean the work is sponsored by or associated with the trademark owners. Any trademarks used are specifically in a descriptive capacity. All characters should be assumed to be over the age of 18. The cover model is also over the age of 18.

 

Warning:
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover. This text is copyrighted. Your purchase allows you to one legal copy of this work for your own personal use. You do not have resell or distribution rights without the prior written permission of both the publisher and copyright owner of this book. This book cannot be copied in any format, sold, or otherwise transferred from your computer to another through upload for free or for a fee.

 

 

First Edition

©2015

 

Cover courtesy of Shutterstock.

 

Guardians.

 

Noble.

 

They are the defenders.

 

Their blades are just.

 

Their weapons are blessed.

 

They cannot be stopped.

 

But they face the darkness of temptation.

Angels in Disguise

Written by Jarod Davis

 

One

Timothy half hoped she would pull up, so he could see her again. His weight against the balcony railing, he stared down at the parking lot three floors below and chuckled, knowing this was dumb. Completely idiotic.

This shouldn’t have happened. These kinds of feelings and this kind of stupid were supposed to be confined to predictable movies and top-forties songs. Timothy laughed at himself for watching the parking lot, hoping to see some sign of her.

But he couldn’t leave. He couldn’t saunter off and go read a book or watch TV or see a movie or do homework for those general education classes that were almost interesting.

From his balcony, Timothy watched different cars park, pull in, or drive away. He watched the different guys smoke something that probably wasn’t legal. Laughing, they slapped each other and stumbled around in something that could’ve either been a game of tag or a fight to the death. Timothy couldn’t really tell. It didn’t really matter since his thoughts weren’t on them or the cars.

His focus drifted to the floor beneath him. Their apartment building had the shape of a step pyramid so everyone at the top could look down at all of the floors below. The architecture was part of the college student chic the owner of The Verge used to attract those students who got sick of living in the campus dorms. The furniture might’ve been worn and torn, and the windows leaked, but it felt good to be away from the resident advisors and noxiously painful dorm food.

With a free computer lab, shuttles to Sacramento State University, volleyball courts, a pool, and a game room, The Verge belonged to teenagers about to break into their twenties. Everyone here went to Sac State, including her.

              Jenny lived in the apartment one floor down. Jenny was the girl he thought about every day, the girl he saw and couldn’t talk to because she wiped away all coherent thought. Timothy thought back to junior high and high school. He couldn’t remember who did this to him. If he felt like a hopeless romantic, he’d say it was true love, love at first sight. But then he’d remember those are clichés to sell movies and diamonds.

              “I’m a cliché,” he whispered, half-heartedly banging his head against the metal railing. Scrunching his eyes shut, he knew it. He was a cliché. He wasn’t original. Lots of guys from across time had to have gone through this. “A cliché,” he said again, shook his head, and almost laughed again because he’d always been independent until he met her.

              Before this girl, he never wanted a girlfriend. Timothy could hang out with friends and laugh and not go insane when couples swirled around him. He didn’t need to be jealous or worry about the non-existence of something he never had anyway.

              Then he and Jeremiah moved from Sac State’s dorms into The Verge at the end of their freshman year. Now something close to twenty-five weeks had passed, and he still hadn’t spoken with her, and he still thought about her every day.

              An infatuation or a crush. It had to be. A psych major would have called it a chemical imbalance.

              But crushes passed. They faded away. That’s part of what made a crush a crush.

              Half fun, half torture, he remembered the times they talked, moments when she passed him in the halls and said hi. He introduced himself once, hunting the courage to talk to her when a blond guy with big shoulders asked if she was ready to go.

              Of course she had a boyfriend.

              The cliché wouldn’t be complete otherwise. Timothy tapped his forehead back against the metal railing. He couldn’t be completely pathetic if she didn’t have a boyfriend, someone taller and prettier than him. When Timothy wanted to be rational, he remembered that Blond Boyfriend was probably a nice guy who really liked Jenny. He made her happy. And she deserved someone big, bright and shiny. In high school he must have been the quarterback or pre-med who helped puppies, and that should’ve been good enough. And sometimes his little chant worked for a few seconds before Timothy wanted to hit his head against something again.

              These feelings weren’t supposed to be this intense.

              Every day he woke up and thought about her. There weren’t any other thoughts. There’d be the dark of sleep, and before he even felt his pillow or rolled over to check his clock, he’d see her face. He’d remember seeing her in the hall, the time he said hi. He’d think about the first time he saw her the day he moved in. Each morning he felt light and happy with those perfect images until he remembered they weren’t together, she had a boyfriend, and he wasn’t going to win this.

              Jeremiah suggested it was frustration. Timothy simply had to find another girl, have a good time, and then Jenny wouldn’t look so important. But Timothy knew it wasn’t sex. This wasn’t about sex. It was something else: curiosity and a hunger to know her, to be with her, hear her laugh, and make her happy.

              But Jenny already had a boyfriend to do that.

              And they weren’t even friends.

              “I am a cliché,” Timothy said again without knowing what emotion should go with that. So he shrugged and went to bed.

 

              At 9:15 Timothy stood at the edge of his class, a circle of students listening to their teacher lecture on the relationship between architecture and propaganda in Medieval Europe. Arms over his chest, Timothy and his classmates pretended to admire the building. Several people yawned, but at least they looked interested.

A big rectangle of gray brick, its official name was St. Philip the Apostle Byzantine Catholic Church. Their teacher was a mousy woman with curly brown-gray hair. Timothy didn’t expect a field trip when he registered for Philosophy 152: Introduction to Atheism. This subject  wasn’t really one of Timothy’s interests, but the class filled a general education requirement. After his professor finished her lecture, the priest started talking about different ceremonies, practices Timothy vaguely remembered from childhood.

              They strolled the length of the pews, up to the altar, and the massive crucifix mounted at the far end of the church.

              “How much of this do you think we’re going to be tested on?” asked Amy. One of his classmates, she had her weight on one leg, her arms over her chest too. Definitely bored. On the first day, Timothy didn’t know why she’d been in their class. Most of the students majored in philosophy. Atheists tired of being alone in a Christian country, they loved this class. Irony made them happy to stand in a church, listening to the priest.

With wavy black hair, pale cheeks, and a couple freckles for innocence, Amy could have passed for sixteen. She hung toward the back of their class because she didn’t enjoy the lectures, the trips, or the discussions.

His classmates were polite, but Timothy guessed some of them would break off at the end of his lecture and gang up on the priest. They waited like bloodhounds ready to pounce. After spending their lives surrounded by people who said they were wrong, their frustration would burst out into semi-reasonable arguments. But the priest looked old, so Timothy figured he could take it.

              “Not much,” Timothy guessed.

              “Nogales could test us on anything,” Amy sounded more annoyed than nervous.

              “She’ll probably stay with the textbook. Besides, I don’t know if she really wants us to remember this stuff.” They whispered, and they were at the back, so it didn’t look like anyone could hear them.

              This time Amy shook her head, “She’s crazy. Completely.”

              “Nogales?”

              They had only been in class for a couple weeks, but Nogales already proved she had a supernatural ability to suck all fascination and interest from the room. After class, she left nothing but the dried remains of philosophy majors who used to care. As someone who stood in front of the class and read out PowerPoint slides, Nogales didn’t seem crazy.

Amy smiled, “Completely insane. She’s the philosophy teacher none of the other philosophy teachers talk to. There’s something wrong with her.” Timothy didn’t have an answer. “Eat-your-face wrong,” Amy said with a grin of big white teeth.

              “Right.” Timothy resisted the urge to check his watch. An exact time would make the seconds feel even slower. Shifting his weight from one foot to the other, he glanced over at the doors and wished he could run for freedom.

              “Okay now,” Professor Nogales said to her class. The other whispered conversations didn’t stop when she spoke. “Okay now,” she said again. Then a third time, “Okay now.”

Amy had to shush them before everyone went quiet again. Timothy shook his head, half-annoyed everyone wouldn’t shut up. Maybe if their teacher finished the lecture, they would get to leave early.

“We’re going to have a few minutes to look around. If a door’s locked, stay out. Other than that, you have free access. And remember to be respectful.” Several of the students were seniors tired of school and brimmed with thoughts about how much they knew. They smirked at one another, eager to wander off and dissect the paintings and statues.

Timothy’s classmates started to scatter through the church when Nogales reminded them, “Feel free to discuss what you see with one another.” It was a good idea, where students got to talk and discuss important ideas. But then he knew it would be a lot more fun to talk about anything except the seminar.

              The class fractured as several people wandered outside to admire the architecture. Others headed for the altar. Timothy had to do something academic, so he followed them. Mostly thinking about the anthropology quiz he might have after Atheism, Timothy wandered past the pews into the other parts of the church. He repeated names and dates, anthropologists and discoveries that mattered for some reason. Trying to remember the name of Darwin’s boat, he realized everyone else had left. He’d gone down a hall when everyone else took the stairs to the second floor.

So there he stood in a stone hall that led beneath the street, probably to storage rooms or something just as unimportant. The other students’ voices carried from different parts of the church. Some of them discussed Christianity. A couple of them chatted about cheating and whether or not it required touching. They sounded like very dirty lawyers.

              Semi-bored, Timothy decided to open one of the doors. The wood was old and thick, and aside from the apparently random phone on one wall, this room could have come from the Dark Ages. Inside he saw a big tub filled with water. He guessed it was holy, and he remembered something about baptismal fonts.

              He stepped inside, curious if the water would be warm. All alone, a nap could have been a good idea, too.

              Crash. A boom snapped up Timothy’s attention. He stuck his head out the door. The sound came from the back of the church, one of the emergency exits.

              There was a shout and another explosion that reminded him of  grenades blasting from TV speakers. It wasn’t loud, but it definitely something blown apart. These sound effects would have been good for a video game until a door burst open with the slammed crash of someone ramming the push bar. Timothy stuck his head into the hall just in time to see someone run down the hall, straight for him.

              A man sprinted at Timothy. Swinging his arms in tight arcs, the man sped down the hall like he fled for his life. This guy was on fire and had yellow eyes.

              Timothy couldn’t register that, not at first. He saw this man, bald, dressed in faded jeans and a white t-shirt running down the hall and outlined by flames. The only sounds he made were his footsteps as he kicked the floor in an all out sprint, right for Timothy. Despite the flames, he didn’t scream, shout, or beg for help.

Someone else moved past the corner. “You’re dead Cipher!” shouted the newcomer. He stared down the hall with set features, angry maybe. He had thick brows, his lips bent in a snarl. This second guy flicked his wrist, and something appeared between his fingers. At first, Timothy thought it looked like a knife. Sharp and dangerous, it was shaped like a spike, clear and blue. Maybe ice?

              That second man at the end of the hall pulled back and threw. His spike spun across the air and ripped into the wood a few inches from Timothy’s head. He had no idea what was happening, so he ducked down and dodged a second spike.

              Another ice shard cut into the door as Cipher bent down, calm despite the fires that clung to his skin. Adrenaline maybe? Timothy glanced down the hall in the other direction, wondering why there weren’t a bunch of atheists hadn’t come to investigate the crashes, the shouts.

              Crouched down, Timothy watched the first guy—Cipher—still coated in flames as he dropped down right in front of the door to the baptismal font. In one motion, he jumped, spun mid air, and landed, knees bent, his hands balled together.

The flames poured down his body and gathered in his hands. A sphere of heat formed. Cipher shoved it out and launched the fireball. It struck the spike chucker. A spike in hand, it dropped when the blast of flame slammed into him. He exploded, nothing left. Timothy couldn’t tell if it was perfect disintegration. There might have been burn marks or something else. Remembering the fire, remembering this man needed help, Timothy glanced around for a fire extinguisher, a hose, anything.

Other books

The Signal by Ron Carlson
Second Chance Cafe by Brandy Bruce
I Can't Believe He Shaved Me! (Kari's Lessons) by Zara, Cassandra, Lane, Lucinda
The Scrapbook by Carly Holmes
Coyote Destiny by Steele, Allen
Maggie MacKeever by The Misses Millikin
Maxed Out by Kim Ross
Missing Person by Mary Jane Staples