Iced - Page 64/120

“I’m just trying to get my sword. He got in the way.”

“I said I’ll get it for you.”

“I want to get it myself!” I want to look Jayne in the eyes when I take it from him. He left me to die like a dog in the street. No mercy. Not one drop.

Lor dumps me and shoves me up against a wall. “Fade, Kasteo, get over here and keep her out of my fucking hair.”

Then I’ve got two of his dudes on me, one on each arm, and I freeze-frame or try to but they weigh so much I end up buzzing around in drunken circles like a bug dying on its back because I can’t get all four of their feet off the ground at the same time. One or the other keeps digging a heel in. We slam into the wall then stumble all over each other and the whole time I’m trying to watch what’s going on with Jayne and the sword. “Let go of me!”

They don’t. In fact, they don’t even acknowledge that I’m speaking, much less breathing. They hang on my arms like deadweights and eventually I wise up enough to stop trying. Exercises in futility aren’t me. They could hold me till I run my gas tank out and there I’d be. A noodle, and somebody would no doubt fecking toss me over his shoulder again and tote me around rather than give me a candy bar.

After a few minutes I end up standing there, pissed as all get-out, just watching.

And that’s how I have a front row seat when the real circus begins.

The two original Unseelie princes keep sifting in, trying to get close to Jayne. Each time they do, Lor or one of his men is there, blocking their way.

Christian keeps trying to get to Jayne, too, and I realize he can’t sift yet. He’s moving at just under full sift mode. Still, he’s faster than me. Fecker. Lately, seems everybody is.

Jayne is spinning in a circle with my sword out in front of him, trying to keep everyone from taking it.

The Guardians are spinning in circles, pointing their guns, trying to get a fix on something. Good luck with that. They can’t even see anything that’s happening, just feel the wind of everyone freeze-framing past them.

The hundreds of caged Unseelie are grunting and howling, stomping and rattling bars and making a deafening noise, and there’s some kind of Unseelie in there that starts making a sound I’ve never heard before. It’s enormous and dissonant and it sets my teeth on edge, crawls under my skin and makes me want to crawl right out of it. I’m not the only one it bothers.

“What the hell is making that noise?” Fade snarls.

“I know, right?” I want to cover my ears but they’ve got my arms so I clench my teeth and begin to hum real loud instead.

An Unseelie prince materializes in the middle of the whole shebang, Lor pops in directly in front of him, they smash into each other and careen off, then go slamming into a half-dozen Guardians who slam into Jayne, and all the sudden everyone is stumbling off the edge of the dock.

When Jayne falls, my sword goes flying straight up in the air, end over end, an alabaster column of light. I close my fingers like I’m catching it.

It’s there, right there for the taking! I can almost feel the perfect weight of it slapping into my palm.

“Let go of me!” I nearly yank my arms out of my sockets but they don’t let go. I’m forced to stand there and watch as the princes, Lor, a dozen Guardians, and the latest intended Unseelie victim all try to position themselves to catch my sword when it comes down. One of the princes tries to spread his wings but the quarters are too close and he can’t lift off. The other sifts into the air, and Lor lunges in a totally inhuman way and they collide in midair with my sword still going up.

Like I said, a total circus.

And that’s when the freak show part of it begins.

I’m standing, wrists manacled by Kasteo and Fade, not going anywhere without somebody losing an arm, and since I don’t have anything to cut theirs off with, I’m stuck like a fly in superglue, when all the sudden the air in front of the dock starts to shimmer, and I get this feeling I’ve never had before in my life. I’ve been worried on occasion. A time or two, like when the Gray Woman got me, I was actually a smidge scared. She was sucking the life out of me and I could feel it. Nothing wrong with admitting when you know you’re in a scary place, so long as you don’t let it mess with your head. I stayed cool, even tried to talk Mac out of not making any deals with the fecker, because most of the time deals made under duress come back and bite you in the butt with saber-toothed tiger teeth.

But this is different. I’m feeling panic with a capital P. Crazy, dumb, blind panic. All the sudden, for no reason I can figure, I’m ducking like a rabbit in the middle of a huge, open field with no cover for miles and the sky just went dark with hawks, flying wingtip to wingtip. Death seems that certain. One swoop, a rustle of wings, and I’m gone. All because of some weird spot in the air. What the feck? I’m panicking because of a shimmer in the air? Dude, what’s it going to do to me? Give me a Twilight moment, make me all shimmery, too?

I’m torn between fighting to run and staying put so I can see what’s happening because I can’t conceive of anything that could panic me so bad and I need to see it! I’m tired of these eyeballs missing all the exciting stuff lately!

I realize I’m not the only one freaking out. Everybody that was trying to get my sword is suddenly scrambling away from the dock like they’re running for their lives, which I take it to mean we’re all in agreement about not liking unexplained shimmery spots in the air. I see my blade is still flying up, but it’s moving slow like it’s about to come back down. If I could just get Fade and Kasteo off my fecking arms, I’d rush in and catch it … well, maybe I would. I’m not real sure about that because my feet aren’t obeying a thing I’m telling them about moving forward. Much to my annoyance, they’re inching me backward.

The princes vanish.

Jayne and the Guardians are rushing straight for us.

Christian, Lor, and his men freeze-frame out, then Lor’s replaced the other two dudes and has my arm, and he’s dragging me away from the dock.

Then we’re all retreating and I grin when I realize we’re backing together, shoulder-to-shoulder, in tight formation. Jayne’s next to Kasteo, who’s next to Christian, who’s next to a Guardian, and way down at the end are the full-blood princes, which totally freaks me because I can’t figure anything they’d back away from. There are more balls in twenty feet of street here than there are in all of Dublin, and I’m proud to be swaying in the nut sack. We might fight each other, but in times of danger, we’ll fight together. Dude!