Destroyer(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 5)(43) by Connie Suttle
"I can see you." Ashe's eyes were turning red.
"Well, well, well. Our target finally shows up," Curtis chuckled. "Get out of this, if you can." Six criminals fired their guns at Ashe.
* * *
"We only have one target, now? I thought there were two," the lead pilot sounded confused.
"I only show one target—that new addition in Star Cove. The rest of the community has been evacuated."
"This is so confusing," the pilot replied.
"One target. Bomb the hell out of it." The command came.
* * *
"We can't get through whatever is around him," Curtis snapped, after telling his thugs to stand down. A shield lay about their target, who continued to stare at all of them angrily, his eyes completely strange, the air about him vibrating dangerously.
"You won't get through to me, either," Ashe rumbled. The ground shook beneath Curtis' feet; Ashe's voice had gone as deep as any ocean.
"What's going on?" The lead gunman struggled to keep his feet when the ground shook harder.
"You're hopeless," Ashe roared. "All of you. Do you think you're going to get away with this? I can destroy everything!" He flung out his hands while lightning crackled and flew from his fingers.
"Those bombers are coming," one of the gunmen shouted, pointing eastward. "I can see them. We need to get out of here. Now!"
"You're not going anywhere. Go ahead and try," Ashe's words had become soft and deadly.
"I can't move," one of the gunmen wailed. His feet were stuck to the pavement beneath him.
"What are you doing?" Curtis only then thought to be afraid. He couldn't move his feet or legs, and the bombers were almost upon them. Star Cove was about to be obliterated, and him with it.
"Trying to decide how to torture you, so you'll suffer the most," Ashe growled. "I can keep you alive forever. Torture you forever," he added. "Is that what you wanted, when you did this?" Ashe swept an arm out, encompassing all of Star Cove's dead. "But before I do that," Ashe continued, "the Earth will fly apart. It will give me a great deal of pleasure to kill the planet that spawned you."
* * *
Winkler couldn't help himself; he stared at the television screen. News crews couldn't get close to Star Cove, but they stood behind barriers while tanks, armored vehicles and military personnel crowded the distance. What frightened him the most, however, was that the ground was shaking and thunder rumbled overhead. The sky outside the beach house was turning purple.
"Trajan, I'm so sorry," Winkler muttered, as bombs dropped on Star Cove in the distance.
"I can't help you if you go rogue," her voice came. "Get yourself in hand and get rid of that trash quick, so I can do this."
Ashe turned and stared. The power he'd expended had been drawn back inside his body and his thoughts cleared, whereas only moments before, his anger had taken over and he'd been prepared to destroy everything. Now, he was blinking in shock as the realization came that he'd almost destroyed something that wasn't meant to be destroyed. The shining woman had given him respite and clarity, before he could take a step that could never be reversed. The woman—the one who'd stood at a gate in his past—was standing at his side and shining brighter than he remembered.
"Who are you?" he stammered, suddenly feeling sixteen again. He hadn't been sixteen for a very long while.
"Somebody from the future. Put a shield over this place and get with it. All seven of these need to die."
"Yeah. They need to die, all right." Ashe turned back to Curtis Roberts, who was quaking where he stood. Ashe lifted his hands and all seven turned to sparks, beginning with Curtis Roberts.
* * *
"The bombs aren't hitting the streets. Something is stopping them," a microphone-wielding journalist reported as the ground shook beneath his feet. "Unfortunately, the repercussions of this seem to be affecting everything else around the target."
"What the hell?" Winkler stood and stared. The television camera showed bombs bursting in mid-air—as if a huge, transparent dome had been placed over that section of Star Cove.
* * *
"What now?" Ashe stared at the woman, who continued to shine brightly, preventing him from seeing her features.
"Now, I Change What Was." Ashe held an arm over his eyes as a sun seemed to burst around him.
* * *
Sali sat on the concrete floor of the Evans' garage, staring at the Cadillac. "Ashe, you were supposed to drive me down the highway in this," Sali wiped tears away. "We were supposed to be together, dude."
"Sal, get up." Ashe deposited Aedan's sleeping body on the back seat of the Cadillac. "I have to get Nathan and Casimir, and then we'll get out of here."
"What the?" Sali stared at Ashe. Ashe was older, that was easy enough to see. The short sleeve of Ashe's shirt pulled back, revealing a gold crown resting over the gold medallions circling his left arm. "Dude, what the hell is happening?"
"It was the only way, Sal." Ashe placed his father in an upright position as he spoke. "I had to take the crowns and send the Elemaiya away. I closed the gate in Kansas City against them. They'll never be able to come back here. If they don't have these, they can't do this shit again." Ashe pulled back his right sleeve, showing Sali the second crown. "As long as my body is between the crowns, they can't destroy anything."
Sali lifted himself off the garage floor as Ashe disappeared and the first bombs hit.
* * *
Trajan, followed by Trace, Ace and Marco, rushed inside the school auditorium and stopped in front of the stage. The tall werewolf was about to inform the school Principal that the community was under attack when the first bombs could be heard hitting the gulf water on the community's eastern edge.
"Star Cove is under attack," Ashe appeared beside Trajan and patted Trajan's shoulder affectionately. "Mr. Wright, I'm offering a way to escape and a safe place to live, but it means that nobody who goes with me can come back to Earth."
"What?" Bear breathed as more bombs exploded overhead.
"I have Star Cove shielded, but the shield goes when I go. Anybody left behind will die." Ashe's eyes had darkened.
"Son, somebody has to carry the message to the other shifters across the globe—that the shapeshifters need to unite and form their own council." Kerry Slater's voice held wonder as he stared at Ashe's eyes. Somehow, he wanted to trust that. To believe in it.
"I will allow one to go through my shield," Ashe's voice had turned deeper, his eyes darker while stars filled their depths.
"I'll go. Tell me how to get out." Bear nodded to Kerry and squared his shoulders.
"No." Opal touched Bear's hand with her own. "I can get past the others. My last name means wind, remember." She offered a trembling smile to Bear.
"Opal," Bear breathed a troubled sigh.
"I will go," Opal turned to Ashe.
"Ashe?" Cori had come to stand beside Marco, who'd gripped her hand and squeezed it. The bombing increased overhead, and the strafing of bullets joined the muted noise, making the crowd of shapeshifters gasp and stand in alarm.
"Cori, I'm taking the vampires, since they're asleep and can't make a decision for themselves," Ashe nodded at Cori's unspoken question. "I have a safe place for all of you, if you'll trust me and go to the street."
"Son, what are you planning?" Bear asked.
"I'll open a gate," Ashe replied softly. "Opal Tadewi, are you ready?" he turned to Opal.
"I will set you down outside my shield. Once you are on firm ground, run."
"I will," Opal promised.
Ashe's body glowed with power and Opal disappeared.
Go to the street and pass through the gate when it opens, Ashe spoke into every mind.
* * *
"Mom, Dad, we love you," Trace wiped tears away as he spoke to his parents on his cell. At least the call had gone through—the signal hadn't been lost.
"You think I'd forget your parents?" Ashe appeared and lifted the cell from Trace's hand. Trajan stood beside his brother—he'd heard his mother weeping when Trace made the call. "Mrs. Gibson, Mr. Gibson, come." An undeniable command lay in Ashe's voice, and Titus and Patricia Gibson appeared beside their sons.
"Mom," Trace embraced his weeping mother while Trajan hugged his father.
"Trajan, I'll need a Second where we're going," Ashe said softly. "And a Third. I want you and Trace to do that for me, if you're willing."
"Kid, for this, I'll do anything you want." Trajan let his father go and nodded to Ashe.
"It won't be a hardship, man," Ashe grinned.
* * *
"I guess you can fit three vampires in the back seat of a Cadillac," Sali muttered as Casimir's sleeping body was placed between Aedan and Nathan's. "Dang, how many bombs do they have?" More muted bomb blasts sounded overhead, making Sali duck instinctively. Ashe had appeared again, just as suddenly as he'd disappeared earlier, only this time he'd brought Casimir with him.
"Sal, get in the passenger seat. I told Mom to meet us out front."
"Where are we going, dude?"
"A long way from here." Ashe gripped the steering wheel, blew out the garage door with power and backed out quickly.
* * *
"Randy, this may be the last conversation we have," Sara said over her cell. "I get the idea we're going somewhere. Too bad you didn't pick up." Sara ended the call. She and every shapeshifter and werewolf in Star Cove stood in the streets as bombs hit an invisible shield over their heads and rocked the ground beneath their feet. Many gasped and cried out as the bombing increased. A few screamed in terror as the end of the world seemed imminent.
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