The Mind Keepers (The Mind Readers) (22 page)

“Going somewhere?”

“Yes,” the demon said, curling
his clawed hands. Gone was the French accent and in its place, a menacing
growl. “But apparently I’ll be waylaid for a moment.”

The demon burst forward. I
ducked, swiping my leg wide and hitting the thing in the shins. If he had
shins; I really wasn’t sure about demon body parts. Still, it worked because
the demon stumbled.

I straightened and shrugged off
my jacket, placing it upon the top of a tombstone while the demon regained its
balance. Before I turned, I pulled a small bottle from the pocket. “You do
realize I’m going to have to kill you.” I rolled the cuffs of my sleeves,
unveiling a dagger strapped to my left forearm.

The demon drew to its full
height, impressive at eight feet tall. “You can try.”

I laughed and placed my glasses
atop my jacket. “Try? My, such a big threat coming from so small a brain.”

“Say what you will, Protector,
you’ll die just as easily as they all do.”

I glanced behind me, searching
for Emma. The path lay empty. Good, but I still had to get rid of the demon
before there was a witness. “We’ll see about that.”

The fine hairs on the back of my
neck stood on end, a warning of what was to come. My only warning. In a blur of
movement the demon burst forward, faster than I’d thought possible. I spun
around, searching for the beast. Too late. The demon’s claws sliced through my
left bicep, shredding the white dress shirt. Numbness swept from the wound up
to my shoulder and down to my fingers, but I knew the symptom would only be
temporary. A hiss escaped my gritted teeth as I grasped at my injured arm.

The sound of laughter and
conversation permeated the evening air, seeping through the cemetery in
warning. Innocents were coming. The demon chuckled, strolling in a wide circle
around me, pausing behind. “More for me.”

Blood rolled down my forearm,
dripping to the ground.
Shite.
I
glanced toward the fence, seeing a small group of humans strolling down Main
Street. I needed to get rid of the demon and fast. The numbness in my arm was
giving way to a burning ache that pulsed through my veins, spreading through my
body. Pretty soon it would be useless, and for the next hour or so I wouldn’t
be able to fight, let alone move.

Breathing through clenched
teeth, I ignored the pain and waited for the demon. The water wouldn’t kill the
beast, but it would hurt him enough to slow him down and give me the time I
needed to recoup. I felt the beast’s heated breath on the back of my head,
stirring the hair, and resisted the urge to turn. He was waiting for the poison
to make me useless. Sharp claws pierced my neck, more fiery poison seeping into
my blood. My throat constricted over the burning pain.

This wasn’t going as I’d
planned, but I’d never actually fought a Bubontic Demon, merely read about
them. Grappling with the bottle, I pulled the cork loose with my teeth and
tossed the holy water backward. The demon let out a scream that sounded enough
like a cat in heat that it wouldn’t draw attention from passersby.

I snatched the dagger from the
sheath attached to my forearm. My heart slammed wildly, urging me to do the
deed. But this was the moment of truth, and I knew I couldn’t rush things.

Fortunately, every demon had a
heart, a spot where they were most vulnerable. Unfortunately, every demon’s
heart was located in a different area of his body. Fortunately, I had done my
homework while training.

I spun around and shoved the
dagger in the demon’s left side. Black liquid seeped from the wound and the
giant beast began to shudder. Unsure if I should be thrilled or disgusted, I
pulled the dagger free and wiped it clean upon the grass. The demon fell to the
ground with a thud that shook the cemetery. A nearby stone cross toppled over.
I felt the soft swoosh of the demon’s energy being sucked into the ground, back
to Mother Nature. The demon grew still. The night went quiet once more.

“Well then, that wasn’t so
difficult.” I slid the dagger back into the sheath, watching with a wary eye.
It wasn’t my first demon kill, but there was something oddly satisfying about
seeing the rotting body upon the ground. Perhaps I could protect Emma after
all.

As my chest grew numb, I
realized I had only moments to hide the demon and myself. The world spun around
me as I struggled toward the monster, my legs like leaden weights. I grasped
the demon’s arms, my fingers sinking into his rotting flesh, and dragged him
toward the closest and oldest mausoleum, a perfect place to hide a monster from
human eyes.

The rusty lock broke easily. My
entire torso was numb. Time was running out. Sweat broke out across my
forehead, my body trembled as it fought the demon poison. Using what little
strength I had left, I pulled the demon inside and closed the doors, trapping
us both. Only then did I give in to temptation and collapse to the floor.

An hour. I had an hour for the
poison to work its way through my system, and then I’d be able to control my
body again. Until then, I was forced to lie on the ground, my body frozen, the
side of my face pressed to the cold marble floor, staring into the face of a
rotting demon.

Just another typical Friday
night.

 

 

 
 

About Lori Brighton

 

Lori
has a degree in Anthropology and worked as a museum curator. Deciding the
people in her imagination were slightly more exciting than the dead things in a
museum basement, she set out to become an author. Lori writes Romance for
adults, as well as Young Adult books for teens and adults.

 

To find out more about Lori visit her at:
www.LoriBrighton.com

 
 
 
 
 
 

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