Chapter 10

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I ran but couldn't seem to move fast enough. It was as if the air was somehow more solid than usual, and my feet struggled to find purchase on the dusty stone floor. All I had to do was reach the door, get to Jesse before the confrontation really began; take one obstacle at a time. If we could keep them out of the room, reason with Jesse then we could face the Furies united once again. Strong and powerful as a unit we could crush them without a second thought, apart we were in for a struggle, and with all of the battles we had ahead of us this was one we could do without.

Barely two feet away I reached out for the door, the black metal latch was inches from my fingers when something wrenched me from my feet and I was flying across the hallway. I surprised shriek left my lips as I found myself airborne, and quickly turned to a groan of pain as I collided with the stone wall. I hit high, close to the lofty curved ceiling and slid down to the floor with another painful thud. I might have been more powerful and more resilient than before, but I was no more immune to pain. I could only be grateful I was still in one piece, had I still be half human I'm sure there would have been some broken bones to contend with.

Thankfully, I neither shattered any bones, nor had any breath that could be driven from my lungs leaving me winded, so I was very quickly back on my feet.

They were still coalescing in the air, clouds of smoke billowing into more recognisable shapes – long thin wisps that looked like crooked legs, a pair of snatching claws, the long unfurling of a wing as it rose higher above me.

Angry and frustrated by their attack, I scowled as the creature hovered above me, flashing cruel yellow eyes through grey clouds that almost looked like a face. There was a flash of white as it gnashed its teeth, then it hurtled downwards, wispy hands outstretched. I could feel the power prickling in the tips of my fingers, and with a yell I thrust it outwards towards the Fury, and nothing happened.

The smoky form rippled slightly as my force of power flowed through it, but there was nothing substantial for it to latch onto and the Fury wasn't even slightly phased.

"Shit," I muttered, raising my hands and bracing my body into a solid stance as I waited for the impact of the Fury. It hurtled down and had its claws around my throat and I was prepared for it; it would have been pointless to run, those wings could move it faster through the air than my legs could ever push me, besides it had pissed me off and I actually wanted a fight.

To be able to keep hold of me and put any force into its attack, the Fury had to give up its smoky form and take on a solid shape, leaving itself vulnerable to retaliation. A cruel smile twisted on my face at the thought, it had interrupted me, got in my way and I was angry. It was going to pay.

The claws dug harshly into the skin at my throat, and for a moment a memory sparked in my mind. The memory of Frank tearing away that hunk of flesh, leaving me bleeding on the dirty floor, and I couldn't move. I was paralysed in that moment, caught in the flashback of my own demise, unable to stop it from happening again.

No, no this wouldn't be it, I let him do it once before, I'd had to, there had been no other choice, but I was not going out like that again. No way in hell was I letting this filthy creature get the better of me.

The smoke gathered and formed solid flesh, muddy brown in colour, rough and blemished. It began as crooked fingers, travelling fast up thin arms, down twisted legs and thorny feet. Yellow eyes leered at me between slices of lank, grey hair. She hissed through sharp white teeth, curling her dark brown lips up beneath a pointed, beak-like nose, and at her shoulders wide and ragged wings flapped, pulling the both of us back off of the ground.

The jolt in my neck pulled me back to my senses, as my feet left the floor and the Fury's grip tightened around my throat, squeezing and pressing hard against my spine. While a mercy she had no hope of choking me to death, I wouldn't put it past her crushing my windpipe so I could never speak again, or worse, breaking my spine with those sharp, strong fingers.

I kicked out, furiously trying to gain purchase on something and possibly dislodge the Fury, but it was useless. She was just out of my reach, holding me at arms length as her ragged feathered wings beat us higher into the air and my struggling only served to hurt my neck more. I had to get out, had to get away from these damn Furies, there were more important things we had to worry about.

There was no way to move my neck, I couldn't see what had happened to Lucas and Frank, and the fingers constricting my throat prevented me from shouting for help. How the hell was I supposed to get out of this?

I clawed at the Fury's forearms, my nails digging deep into its skin and gouging out ragged lines; anything to try and slacken her grip on my neck. I met her sickly yellow eyes, holding the crazed stare for too long and feeling the dark pit of rage begin to burn in my chest. She would infect me with the fury, spread it burning like molten iron through my veins until it became all I could think about. I'd forget everything, my mission, my plans, all of it, there would be nothing but anger and rage. Pure unadulterated fury, and nothing could help anything that would stand in my path.

It was hard to look away, to force my gaze from those enchanting eyes, I could almost welcome the infection, but my determination to see them defeated, to see them all defeated helped to stop the spread. The anger was there, it might be helpful even, but I couldn't let it control me. I forced my eyes shut, quelling the fire that want to build back down to a slow burn, she wouldn't take me, and they wouldn't win. When I opened my eyes again I was careful not to look her directly in the face, and from over her shoulder, in between the steady beating of her wings, I spied the orange glow of the flaming balls that illuminated the tunnels and an idea started to form.

So far I had only managed to use my new telekinetic powers to push against things; throwing it outwards with force to banish whatever stood in my way. That wouldn't help me now, but if I could work it differently, something might just be possible.

It was hard to focus. The pain at my throat was excruciating, and my head felt as if it might explode, but I had to concentrate. This had to work, it was my only option – save for hanging around waiting for one of the boys to save me, and I wasn't about to do that, I'd never hear the end of it.

Rather than feeling the power in the tips of my fingers and throwing it outwards with as much force as I could muster, I tried reaching with it. Extending the feeling in my fingers in much the same was as I would reach out to touch an aura, feeling my way around with a touch that extended beyond the physical. I stretched my power towards the light, opening my hand both physically and metaphysically. I grasped hold of the fiery ball, feeling warmth spread across my palm letting me know that I did indeed have it within my control.

With a smirk curling my lips I yanked the power back, releasing the telekinetic force as the fireball flew towards the pair of us as we hovered in the air.

It caught on her wings just as I willed it to, the oily black feathers erupting in flames that spread furiously fast. There were a few hot and horrific seconds when I thought I might burn right along with her, before the Fury realised that her wings were ablaze and that it was rapidly spreading through her hair. An unearthly shriek escaped her lips and she flailed wildly, releasing her grip upon me as she flapped uselessly against the flames.

I barely had time to register I was falling again before I met the ground for the second time with a painful thud. A pained moan escaped my lips as I rolled onto my back, taking a moment to recover and compose myself. I would not be getting back to my feet again so quickly this time.

My throat muscles worked hard, swallowing endlessly against the pain and bruised indentations that lingered in the Fury's fingerprints. It had been somewhat of a relief to hear any noise come out of my mouth, it meant that there was not too much damage, trying to eat anything was going to be a bitch though.

The Fury's screams had become harsher, more frenzied as the flames took hold of her flesh, until she was entirely aglow in angry orange and red. The feathers all burned away from her wings she fell to the ground, writhing and screaming until I could watch no longer. She would fall silent in the end, but by that time I had already dragged myself back to my feet, ready to rejoin the fray.

One down, how many more would there be to go?

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