THE MEDUSA FILES: CASE 11

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CASE #11
Fallen Stone

On the brink of death and on the run…

Morgan doesn’t know how everything went so wrong. Once she was a United States Marshal; now she’s a fugitive wanted by the Kin’s High Council. She doesn’t want to get her human friend involved, but Kate is more likely to know a place to hide that doesn’t have a Kin connection, making it harder for the council to find her. Except everything she’s learned about not getting caught while hunting fugitives never took magic into account.

CHAPTER 1

Pain and fire roared through Morgan. An agony from the gaping, bleeding gashes in her body and the raging burn of trying to keep her powers at bay. Gage was gone. Ander was gone. Everything was gone except an inferno burning her face, her whole body. It made her vision waver and painted both the high rise’s roof and the cloudy night sky red.

Her mind whirled, stuttering on Gage breaking the magical bond restraining his power, searing a healing glyph onto her chest, and being hauled off to purgatory by screeching valkyries.

Ander had tried to kill her. She hadn’t released her powers and given him what he wanted, and he’d stabbed her. Everywhere.

Her mind wrenched from the memory of the sharp impaling spikes driving through her. She didn’t know what had happened, couldn’t focus long enough to figure it out. She was hot and cold, numb and scorched at the same time.

Loric scrambled past Rafael’s body. “No no no.”

He lifted her from the altar and cradled her against his massive chest. His pulse raced, pounding through his skin and shirt into her cheek, and his already pale complexion had gone ghostly, drained of even a hint of color. “Lachlin, move the car to the side door. Far side of the building. Rika, we need medical and some place safe.”

His grip tightened around her, and he rushed off the High Council’s roof to the elevator. The doors opened as if someone controlled them—it wouldn’t surprise Morgan if it was Rika doing the controlling—and Loric stepped inside.

Blood splattered the white elevator floor. Her blood from her fight with Rafael—Master of the House of the Hunt, who’d made a deal with Ander to use Caalin to infect and turn Kin human. Cull the weak, he’d said. All so he could rule the Kin’s High Council. Rafael, who Ander had killed now that he was no longer useful.

“I’ll explain when we’re safe,” Loric said. He had to be talking to Rika and Lachlin over the com. Morgan had lost hers in the fight. But it didn’t matter. She wouldn’t be able to concentrate past the agony screaming through her to listen to anything.

It had all happened so fast. The truth that Rafael was behind the Caalin, and then Ander trying to fully awaken her gorgon powers, and Gage—

Fire and ice surged through Morgan. Hot and cold. Shuddering, slicing torture. Ander had tried to kill her, and Gage was the only reason she was still—barely—alive.

She brushed her fingers over the whirling healing glyph Gage had magically scored into her chest. It was the only thing keeping her alive.

“Just hold on,” Loric said, his voice a harsh whisper.

The numbers above the elevator door changed with excruciating slowness. They’d been on the roof and needed to get to the ground floor. They could only pray no one stumbled across them and stopped them.

The fire of her gorgon sight stuttered in her eyes, and she squeezed them closed. She couldn’t afford to lose control, and she was holding on to her powers and her consciousness by mental fingernails. God, so much had happened. So much she wasn’t sure she understood.

“Just hold on.” Loric’s grip tightened. “Just hold on.”

Darkness swept around her. The white and chrome elevator dimmed then burst back into clarity with a bolt of pain. Her powers snapped, and a chunk of the wall the size of a football turned to granite and exploded. Stone shards bit her skin, but they were pinpricks compared to everything else.

Loric jerked back. “Shit. Rika, we need power suppression, too. A lot of it.”

Through the hole, the elevator shaft swept past and dimmed, consumed by darkness. She fought against it. She didn’t know why.

Gage was— She had no idea what Gage was. Back to being an ally? Except he’d murdered her mother and was in league with Ander—

No. He’d fought Ander, broke the bonds holding his power, and saved her.

But even if he wasn’t working with Ander, that didn’t mean his agenda was best for Morgan… Except…

White tiled floor and blood snapped into focus. So much blood.

Her blood. She must have lost consciousness and dropped her head. It pooled around two open suppression cuffs that had fallen from her wrists and Loric’s feet. Thick, dark, her life dripping from the wounds ripped in her body. She should be dead. No one could survive this much blood loss, not even with healing magic scarred into her skin. Nothing could be that powerful. Gage’s spell had to just be prolonging the torture, slowing her death, keeping her conscious and aware of her unbearable end.

“No. Everything you can grab from the clinic,” Loric said.

Fire crackled over her face. She squeezed her eyes shut and pulled her head up. Better to take out the wall than the floor of the elevator. God, why wouldn’t it just end? Just stop the pain, the fire, the danger to others. Why couldn’t she stay unconscious?

The elevator doors slid open, revealing a plain utilitarian service hall with gray cinderblock walls and a concrete floor instead of the gleaming white and chrome of the public halls above.

“Shit.” Loric rushed out and ran down the hall. “Rika, if there’s an interrogator in the house, lay low and get out as soon as you can.”

Darkness shuddered over Morgan’s vision. For a second she thought she might finally pass out, but the fire in her body snapped, jerking her fully awake, and blasted a chunk out of the wall.

Loric turned down an identical hall with a steel security door at the end. The EXIT sign glowed red, throbbing in time with Morgan’s racing heart. Her thoughts tripped again and somehow they were at the end of the hall. He shoved the bar with his hip, opening the door, and strode into an empty dark alley. Clouds rushed across the sliver of night sky revealed between the towering high rises on either side. It had felt like a lifetime in the elevator and yet it was still night, only minutes after everything had fallen apart.

“Where the hell are you, Lachlin?”

A white sedan squealed around the corner into the alley, raced toward them, and jerked to a stop. Lachlin clutched the steering wheel, panting, his complexion gray. His attention landed on Morgan and his eyes widened. He scrambled from the driver’s seat.

“What happened?” A shudder swept through him, and he grabbed the side of the car to keep standing.

“Ander. Gage. I have no idea.” Loric threw open the passenger door, shoved Morgan inside, and pressed his palms to her gut. “We need— God, I don’t even know what we need. We can’t go to a hospital. Rika’s trapped in Gage’s mansion. We—”

Lachlin opened the passenger door opposite Morgan and slid in. His gaze jumped over her blood-soaked sweatshirt as if he didn’t know what to do.

A burst of power snapped over her face and slammed into the window beside Loric. The glass exploded into a shower of granite dust.

Loric jerked back. “Shit.”

“Whatever we’re going to do, we need to do it now. Rika can only keep us off surveillance for so long. Get us the hell out of here,” Lachlin said.

More power swelled in her eyes. She wasn’t going to be able to hold it back. “I can’t—” God, she was going to kill them all. “My powers—”

Loric scrambled into the driver’s seat, and the car jerked into drive.

“Lachlin, please,” she gasped. The power burned. Fire filled her face. Numbness swept and ebbed through her. Ice froze her feet and hands. Logically she knew this was blood loss, her racing heart pumping her life over the white upholstery in Loric’s car, but she couldn’t focus on that.

“I can’t charm you.” Lachlin pulled off his shirt and pressed it to her chest. “Drive faster.”

Fiery tears raced over her cheeks, exploding chunks from the car floor. “Hit me.”

“I’m not hitting you,” Lachlin said.

Another burst of power. It hit the roof. “I’m going to kill you. Knock me out.”

“Morgan—”

The car squealed around a corner, yanking Lachlin against Morgan and sliding her into the door. Another snap. The power swept past Lachlin’s cheek, and the window behind him exploded.

Lachlin wrenched back, his eyes wide, then slammed his fist into her face.

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