Above the flames the fla.., p.5
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       Above The Flames (The Flames Trilogy #1), p.5

           Cassandra Fear
 

  “Listen, my girl is going to free you guys. Just stay still,” Beau said.

  That’s my cue.

  Jasmine reached inside to the place her power resided, the place she hadn’t dared touch in so long, but her power didn’t care about that. It answered instantly and spilled over the box she kept it in, slinking through her veins until it covered every inch of her body. Her eyes widened and she almost giggled, but had the good sense to stop herself in time. It was hard though, her power made her feel alive in a way she’d never felt before. She wanted to run through the trees, to never stop running.

  Instead, she moved to the first rope, hovered her hand over it, and brought her power forth. Her hand lit up neon blue and the rope started smoking, but she needed more power. She asked, and her power gave. The rope was coarse as she grabbed it, but it didn’t hurt, even as the smell of burnt hair reached her nose. After only several seconds, the rope broke apart, and she didn’t linger, but moved on to the next.

  After each rope was burned apart, she bounced in front of the trees, a wide grin spreading across her face. The demon with the red eyes was slumped in a heap on the ground, and the men and woman stood in front of her, staring with wide eyes.

  There was a shorter man on the end with small black wings. He stepped forward first, his spiked blue-black hair bouncing with every step. Piercing baby blue eyes gazed at her as he angled his head and smiled. “Thanks for the help.”

  The woman stayed back, but asked, “How did you do that?”

  “Very carefully,” Jasmine said, not comfortable spilling all her secrets just yet.

  The man on the other end laughed. He looked kind when he smiled. “I told you we’d get free, didn’t I?”

  The tallest of the group came close, and Beau wrapped an arm around Jasmine. She had an urge to step away from Beau’s grasp, and wasn’t sure where it came from.

  The man looked like he just stepped from the front page of a GQ magazine, the theme survival of the fittest. Through the scraps left of his shirt, she could clearly see the defined muscles of his chest and abdomen. His blond hair was long for a man, resting just above his shoulders. A bit of scruff lined his jaw and above his lip. His light brown eyes seemed as if they could see right through her with the intensity of his gaze.

  “Tell me, how did you free us?” he asked.

  Jasmine shivered at the gravelly voice, which was just what a man should sound like. “How about you tell me your name first.” Her voice came out a bit breathless.

  The man smirked, but quickly masked it with a frown. “My name is Amon.”

  “I’m Jasmine.” She flicked her head to the side. “And this is Beau.”

  “I think you owe me an explanation now that your demands have been met,” Amon said, and it sounded as if he was laughing, even though he wasn’t.

  “I have power, and it is based on heat, so I burned through your ropes.”

  The silence was so thick you could hear a blade of grass fall to the ground. Four open mouths stared back at her, until the one with the spiky hair came forward. “Amon, do you know what this means? We’ve found an Angel Blessed.”

  Amon pursed his lips. “I doubt this girl is an Angel Blessed, Azzy.”

  So spiky hair’s name is Azzy. Mental note made.

  “Ah, but she is an Angel Blessed, Amon. I’ve seen her before. I could never forget that long brown hair,” the man without the wings said, and when he came closer she could see he had the darkest black hair she’d seen, straight on the sides but raised at the top. His eyes were dark brown, almost black.

  Jasmine raised her hands in the air. “Okay, for one, I’m right here, so you guys can stop talking about me like I’m not standing in front of you. Also, it would be very helpful if you threw everyone’s name out there. I know Azzy, and I know Amon, but who are the rest of you?”

  “I’m Caim, and the woman is Lamia,” Caim said.

  “Thank you.” Jasmine turned to Amon. “Now, why were you tied up?”

  “Because they’ve been very naughty!” a high-pitched voice boomed from beside them. Jasmine jumped, turning as if in slow motion.

  “Run! Get out of here!” Amon screamed. “It’s Bael!”

  Jasmine didn’t think, just did as he said; although she wasn’t sure what made her trust him. But she did, so she grabbed Beau’s hand and took off in the opposite direction of the voice. Her heart pounded in her ears, and her footsteps thumped heavily against the dry ground. The smell of sulfur came to her, and grew stronger with every step she took, but she kept going, even though everything inside her screamed to turn back.

  A body tackled her from behind, and she slammed into the ground. Her face drug across the grass, and when she stopped her cheek burned, but the body was no longer on her. She scrambled with her hands and pushed to her feet, but not in time. She was thrown down again, but this time the man, because with that kind of strength it had to be a man, stayed on her. He wrapped his arm around her front and yanked her up. With her back slamming against his chest, and his grip so fierce, she couldn’t squirm free, as much as she tried.

  Oh God! Where’s Beau?

  Jasmine had lost his hand sometime in the hard run for freedom, and she didn’t see him now. Not that she could really move her head much. A slimy hand grabbed under her chin, and held her in place. She jerked her neck to the side, but the man’s hand dug in further, his nails sinking into her skin.

  “Let me go! I didn’t do anything to you.”

  Cruel laughter wrapped around her and a shiver shot down her spine, but that was the only response she got. She hadn’t expected anything different, but deep inside she’d hoped.

  All of a sudden, someone slammed into the man holding her, and his hands dropped from her. She reacted instantly, her feet moving before her brain even registered what happened.

  “Go, Jazzy. Get out of here,” Beau yelled.

  That’s what made her hesitate. Beau trying to be the hero, to sacrifice himself to free her. When Beau had nothing to defend himself with. She couldn’t, wouldn’t leave him behind. She stopped running and turned back, only to see a red-eyed demon on top of Beau, slapping his face with an open palm with such force Beau’s head flung to the side. When his gaze landed on the demon again, there was a line of blood trickling from the corner of his mouth.

  The only thing she could see then was the demon. She dug her feet in the ground and pushed with every ounce of force she could muster, trampling the grass as she ran full force into the demon, launching him off of Beau. They hit the ground, rolling on top and below each other for what seemed like forever.

  Amon came barreling from behind some trees.

  “Get Beau out of here!” she yelled, hoping he could hear her.

  She reached inside and stroked her power, and when it responded, she pushed it all into her hand. The demon’s red eyes glowed brighter, and she froze for a moment, but snapped herself out of the terror of the moment by grabbing the demon’s forearm with a glowing blue hand.

  The demon’s body convulsed on top of her as if he was touching an electric fence. His red eyes went in and out, turning black, then red, then black again. Over and over. Jasmine wanted to laugh as his skin sizzled underneath her fingers. What that said about her, she didn’t know, but even as the smell of burning flesh overtook her with nausea, bubbling giggles spilled from her mouth.

  The demon collapsed in a heap to her side, and she got up in time to see Bael cutting Amon and Beau off. She launched her power from both hands, streams of blue arcing between Bael and Amon. She pulled from deeper within, and the stream turned into a wall, almost transparent. It looked like a sheer pastel blue curtain, and she thanked her lucky stars that her ability was working the way she wanted it to. It didn’t always. She stretched the wall, wrapping it around the demon so he was completely trapped.

  Amon turned to look at her, and she hoped the look she gave him told him what she needed it to. When he ran through the woods at his side, she knew it had. Now she w
as left alone with Bael, and she had a feeling he was a lot more powerful than the demons she was used to. His eyes didn’t glow, and that had to mean something.

  His eyes sparkled with interest when he met her stare. “Well, well, well. What have we here?”

  “You are going to let me leave here, in one piece,” Jasmine said, her voice strong and clear.

  “Of course I will. Lower this wall and I’ll show you just that.”

  Jasmine risked a couple of steps, trying to keep her concentration on the wall, but it fizzled with her second step, so she stopped and the wall remained as strong as before. So, I can’t move and hold this thing. Just fan-fricking-tastic.

  She’d figured it out, even before her arms were seized by two different demons, that there was only one way out of this, and that was as a prisoner. Her blue fire shot back inside of her and she gasped at the sensation.

  Bael ambled toward her, and her knees buckled, but the demons kept her upright, even though she wanted to melt into the ground and hide.

  When Bael stood in front of her, she did her best to keep her eyes down, but he jerked her chin with his thumb and index finger. “You have given us quite a surprise. We will use you, I think.” He smiled, showing sharp yellow teeth. His breath made her want to gag, so she opened her mouth and breathed through it.

  “I think you could use a shower,” Jasmine spat.

  “Ah, a smart mouth too. You will fit right in.” He turned to the demon on her left. “Take her to the house. And make sure the fallen angels don’t see you.”

  Something hard hit the back of her head. Pain lanced her skull, and even though it was the worst pain she’d ever felt, she knew it wouldn’t kill her. Her vision darkened from the outside in, until all she saw was darkness.

  Chapter 5

  Chains

  Jasmine awoke with a start, placing her palms against a cold, hard floor which was painted gray. Heavy chains jangled with the movement, and she followed their length to the wall behind her, where they attached to a copper-colored hinge. Where the hell am I?

  She grabbed the chain, yanking with everything she had, but it didn’t budge. She tugged again and again. How many times she tried, she wasn’t sure, but by the end the skin on her palms was red and raw.

  The air was thick, and moist, as she took a deep breath. It was so hot sweat soaked her red dress and it stuck to her skin as if she’d soaked in a layer of flypaper. I’ve got to get out of here!

  Jasmine mustered her strength, and then jerked against the chains again with everything she had. I'm not strong enough! She blew a strand of hair from her face, which came right back down. She brought her hands up and the smell of metal assaulted her, reaching the back of her throat and settling there. She coughed, but the taste lingered.

  Jasmine slammed her heel against the floor and slumped back against the wall. Then she scanned the dimly lit room, taking note of a giant column in the middle, which blocked her view of the opposite wall. There was no furniture, only more hinges with chains connected on the other walls. Guess this is some torture chamber. Why wouldn’t it be when demons are involved?

  Lights flickered through the only window in the room. It was small, high, near the ceiling. Like a basement window. The light flashed again and she caught a reflection to her right. There were two tables, side by side against the wall. The dim light pulsed again. Where had she seen tables like that? Metal tables. Oh my God! In an operating room!

  With a racing heart, she stood, the chains long enough to allow the movement. She moved as far as she could, and behind the column there was a black shoe. “Is someone there?”

  The shoe jolted, and chains rattled. “Yeah, who are you?” a man’s voice said. He came into view, and he looked a lot younger than his voice sounded. He had messy brown hair, and a thin face with a very prominent, pointed chin. His eyes were too far away to see with this light, but she knew they were dark, and not the best feature on his face.

  “Pretty sure I asked you first,” Jasmine said, knowing her response wasn’t the best way to make friends.

  The man narrowed his eyes, but they widened as he smiled. “I’m a gentleman, so ladies first.”

  She wanted to argue, to act like a child and throw a fit. The guy was being obtuse, and it made her want to scream, but there wasn’t time for any of those reactions. If she wanted to get out of here, she had to be smart, and what could telling the man her name hurt?

  “It’s Jasmine. My name is Jasmine.”

  He laughed.

  “Why are you laughing?” Her voice was clipped, but it did nothing to stop his giggles.

  Once he gained control over himself, he said, “My name is Cole.”

  Jasmine bit the inside of her cheek before frowning. “Okay, and what about my name made you laugh hysterically?”

  “Nothing. I promise. Your name isn’t funny, just the circumstances,” Cole said.

  “I see. You think it’s hilarious when people are kidnapped and chained to walls. That’s just fan-fricking-tastic. So glad I got stuck in here with you.” The words flowed from Jasmine’s mouth like water from a sink, and even though she didn’t really want to speak this way, she couldn’t stop herself.

  Cole raised his eyebrows as the corners of his lips tilted downward. “No, that isn’t what I mean at all. It’s just, I have a gift…”

  “Don’t we all.” Outwardly, she spoke calmly, even though inside she felt like her stomach was flopping around. Are there really other people like me?

  “No, we don’t. But some of us do, just not sure why. There has to be a reason.”

  “Sure does, but unfortunately, whoever cursed us with these gifts forgot to leave the manual,” Jasmine said.

  Cole grinned. “Listen, the reason I laughed when I heard your name is because it was ironic to me. You are the person I saw in one of my visions, yet I didn’t recognize you. I was laughing at myself, and my visions for not being clear enough.”

  Jasmine thought his words over. Should she believe him? Or was he lying to save himself? She had a feeling she could trust him, and she wasn’t sure where it came from, but it was there nonetheless. Her instincts never failed her, as long as she listened to them. Perhaps she should start now.

  “All right, Cole. It’s nice to meet you. Now, how do we get out of here?”

  Cole shrugged. “If I knew that, I would have already left.”

  “Aren’t you just the embodiment of helpful?” Jasmine asked.

  “Listen, I don’t think there’s a way out unless they let us out, and I’m sure they won’t do that.”

  “No, they won’t be doing that,” a high-pitched voice said, coming through the open doorway. “Especially since I’ve ordered them not to.”

  It was Bael, his gray skin looking darker under the dim basement light. Two people followed him, a short, round woman with graying hair and a large man with bulging muscles and a tiny head. They both wore white lab coats.

  “What do you want with us?” Jasmine gritted her teeth. “We can’t help you.”

  Bael ambled closer, moving slowly but with purpose. His gaze went back and forth between Jasmine and Cole, and when he stopped directly in front of Jasmine, he stared at Cole. “That is where you are wrong. You can, and you will help me. Your powers will make this takeover a lot smoother, and I have every intention of using you.”

  “You may have every intention of using us, but we have every intention of not helping you. So, I guess there’s a bit of conflict there. Hope it can be resolved before go time.” Jasmine knew it was a bad idea to say the words, but they vomited from her mouth anyway.

  Bael’s black eyes turned to her, and he smirked. He walked a circle around her, his finger grazing her stomach. Her hips. Tracing along her back. Cold shivers ran down her body as she tensed, afraid to move a muscle.

  He stopped in front of her again, but left his finger resting against her stomach. “I do like your spunk, but this isn’t the time for it.” His hand went up, and before Jasmine coul
d register his plan, he slapped her across her face with his open palm.

  She closed her eyes as tingles spread across her cheek. The metallic taste of blood hit her. Weakness wasn’t her thing, so she opened her eyes and faced her kidnapper, but this time she kept her lips pressed tightly together. No words could escape that way.

  Pleased, Bael backed up and spread his arms wide. “I want you to meet your new friends. Doc here will be taking some blood, running some routine tests. And Tony is here to make sure you two behave. Any questions?”

  “Yeah. Why do you want to take our blood?” Cole asked.

  That’s all you got, Cole? Really?

  “Because, I do,” Bael said as Doc wheeled a cart in to the room.

  And that’s what you get for asking that question.

  Doc moved in front of Cole, and Jasmine froze as she brought forth a long needle. She tied a rubber band around Cole’s upper arm, then wiped a small cloth over his arm. When that was done, she pushed the needle through his skin, attached a vial to the back, and red liquid poured into it. After she filled four of the vials, she pulled the needle out and released the rubber band. She finished by placing a bandage over the spot where she had the needle.

  The cart’s wheels scraped as Doc pushed it toward Jasmine.

  Jasmine panted to catch her breath, even lifted the thick material of her dress away from her chest. There’s not enough air in here.

  “Yeah, I don’t think this is going to happen. I’m afraid of needles.”

  The big man, Tony, came over. He didn’t look like a Tony, though. Jasmine decided she would call him Grizzles.

  He stepped behind her, holding her still by grabbing her shoulders. Her hands shook as the cart stopped in front of her, and she got a good look at the needle.

  “Listen, really, you don’t need my blood. It’s just blood, type AB, pretty standard really.”

  “I will have that blood of yours and I will find out why you are so powerful. I’ve never seen anyone, not even the angels, do what you did last night. And I want to know why,” Bael said.

 
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