Rocked by Love (Gargoyles Series)(4)By: Christine Warren
It sounded a little like the lab assistant character from The Muppets.
Come to think of it, she felt kind of like the victim of some weird experiment as her vision narrowed down to black. It almost appeared as if a vacuum had switched on, sucking her peripheral vision away, then pulling the central field in after it. She was left with nothing but blackness for a split second before the fireworks began, little sparks snapping and popping in the darkness.
Huh, hadn’t she read about that happening in cases of severe oxygen deprivation? Too bad. Dying was so not on her to-do list for tonight, or really any night for the next eighty years.
Her lungs burned, every muscle in her chest straining for air. Still blinded, she could only feel her surroundings. Even her hearing had been compromised by the rushing of blood in her skull. Hard hands gripped her arms and jerked her from the ground. Unprepared for the movement, her head snapped backward, and her neck muscles screamed a protest. Funny how her attackers didn’t seem to hear.
“… her out of … wants to see … someone … fast.”
Snippets of voices, male and menacing, sliced through the static in her senses. Fingers dug into her flesh and jerked, trying to propel her forward. Her legs buckled, sending her back to her knees, and curses rained down on her head.
“… go! Now!”
Shouts and chaos took over then, an impression of movement and confusion. Kylie felt an actual drop of rain ping off her shoulder. No, wait; that felt more like hail, solid and hard and stinging even through her wool jacket.
The next shriek came wordlessly but pulsed with fear and panic. Oddly enough, it didn’t come from her, even though her own chest had finally begun to ease, allowing her to gulp down a much-needed lungful of oxygen. No, girly though it had seemed, something told her the sound had come from at least one of her attackers.
What the heck?
It took a minute for her to realize that the roaring in her head had become an actual roaring, the kind that echoed through the night air and attracted attention from neighbors and passersby. Kylie had about two seconds to wonder where it came from before a different set of hands closed around her, and this time she didn’t fall.
* * *
Dag burst forth from his sleeping prison, bits of stone dropping in his wake like explosive shrapnel. What woke him he could not say, but instinct drove him straight from slumber to battle. His senses screamed at him to defeat, to destroy, to defend. Nothing in his surroundings registered but for a small female figure kneeling on the cold, hard ground while two human males attempted to drag her off into the darkness.
He would not have it.
His wings pumped the air, the huge, membranous spans catching the currents and sending the last remnants of sleep scurrying into the night. Already he felt strength and power heating his muscles, stretching his features into a fanged snarl and snapping his claws together in a definite threat. Not that the warning would do his enemies any good. Dag was a warrior too long denied a purpose.
Tonight, none would escape his wrath.
A battle roar shattered the hush of darkness. He took one long moment to savor the thrill of the fight, stretching into the sky before plummeting like an eagle onto his prey.
The humans screamed in terror, and Dag relished the sound. His talons dug into one man’s shoulder, tearing through flesh and bringing hot, red blood pumping to the surface. One whiff was all it took for Dag to catch the taint. His enemy was not a simple human; his blood carried the insidious rot of the Darkness. Nocturni.
Knowing he faced his ancestral foe brought a fresh surge of rage and satisfaction. Perhaps this was why he had woken, perhaps he now faced the opening salvo of the war all of his kind knew to be inevitable. If that were the case, Dag intended to bring about a swift and brutal victory.
Using his rear claws, he shifted his grip on the demon’s minion and gave one sharp jerk, breaking its neck with careless ease. His hands caught the second man before he could drag the female more than an inch from his fallen cohort. One talon, long and sharp as a dagger, pierced the vulnerable human flesh, stopping its black heart. When the second nocturni dropped to the ground, the female let out a cry, swaying on her knees as if about to fall.