A twinkling light passed Samuel's right eye like the reflection of a train, and he felt the air push at the side of his face.
The young man at the door; the young man who was more than likely their quarry, Silas Miller, dodged clumsily back into the doorway. The knife glanced at the edge of the young man's shoulder, tearing the coat and spraying blood into the air.
Bertram blitzed past them with a speed and ferocity Samuel had never seen before in his life. The shadow's hands seemed to conjure daggers into his hands, with another throwing knife already streaking through the air just as the first one clattered to the floor.
Samuel reached for his stick; a metal rod that hung on his belt, hidden beneath his coat. He barely got the clasp off before he heard a scream from up ahead. He looked up just as he gripped his weapon in his hand, to see Silas clutching at something that jutted from his left arm.
Samuel and Angela both ran forward, just as Silas snarled and lifted his hand.
Bright orange light erupted from that hand, and Silas vanished behind a wall of fire that devoured the hallway. The fire rushed at Bertram, who leapt aside into a doorway, holding a dagger in front of his face before he vanished behind the flames.
Another gout of flame grew larger and larger in Samuel's sight until something knocked into his right shoulder and shoved him into the nearby doorway.
Angela pushed him into the door and pressed herself against him as fire rushed through the hall. Samuel wrapped his arm around her shoulder and watched until the light died off, and he could dare to risk poking his head out into the hallway again.
When he did, moving around Angela, he saw Silas running down the hall. He threw himself into a run, stick in hand, and chased after the young man.
He was drawing close, less than a dozen steps when Silas stopped at the stairwell and wrenched open the door. Seeing Samuel, Silas pointed his hand, and a lance of flame burst out of his hand and rushed at Samuel.
Sam let his legs give out, and dropped the floor. He rolled as soon as he hit the ground, feeling the heat pressing at his back before he managed to move aside.
When he managed to look up again, the door was already shut. Samuel threw himself to his feet and grabbed at the handle, only to find it didn't budge under his hand.
He wrenched at it with both hands, but it held fast, not even making a noise.
"Spit and ash, he welded it shut!" Bertram said from beside Samuel. Bertram's finger was pointed to the doorframe, where the metal had been twisted in on itself, metal and stone merged together.
Samuel finally noticed the acidic tinge familiar to the Billows district. The smell of burnt metal.
"The elevators!" Samuel shouted. He turned and ran back. Bertram darted ahead, and Angela, closer, had already reached the nearest door.
Angela was already opening the door when there was a loud crack, and the elevator plunged out of sight.
"Simmering bile!" Angela cursed, jumping back. "He cut the burning cables!"
Samuel stared down the nearly black chasm of the now open elevator shaft. Just as he looked, he could hear the squeal of scraping metal. The screech continued for a long, single note until the elevator eventually stopped.
"That ash-bitten little shit could have killed someone with that. Could have killed us," Angela hissed harshly, her hand trembling as she clutched it against her side.
"That was too burning close," Bertram agreed.
Samuel looked over to the shadow, surprised to see his coat was missing. The left side of the shadow's shirt was in ribbons, and much of the arm beneath was bright pink.
YOU ARE READING
Bitter Cold Truth: A Tale of the Everburning CityFantasy
There is no night in the Everburning City. There can never be. Fourteen people lie dead on the platform of Billows Station, killed by fire and rage. And as the perpetrator hides within the millions of people who inhabit the City, the task of findi...