This week the Stolen Parts serial continues with part two.
Odette and Jeremy have a lot of unresolved business between each other.
But missing pieces take priority.
Read on for part two.
Jeremy parked the car midway along a block adjacent to the morgue where Sam managed the night shift. It’s a bad part of town, but Jeremy and I were all too familiar with it. The sky turned purple in the west. Autumn air breezed around him, playing with his short curls in a way I never did. I tended to be more focused on his skin.
He took the big automatic pistol from the trunk of the car and slung the holster around his shoulder.
“Isn’t that a bit conspicuous?”
“Sam probably knows I’m on my way already.” Jeremy closed the trunk and followed the sidewalk to the corner. There was no one around to pay any attention to the gun he wore openly. His jacket swished around his shoulders with every step. I remembered right then how I fell for him at first. Sexy walk? Check. Mysterious? Check. Confident? Well he puts on a good show.
“Are you trying to distract me?” he said under his breath.
He crossed the street and turned to the morgue’s side entrance, the one we necromancers go through. That used to let Sam know we were there to buy. Jeremy marched up to the door, looked both ways to check for goons, and then stopped stock still. So far, so good, I thought. A shuffle of feet sounded deafening even with a car horn going off on the highway a few blocks beyond the morgue.
Jeremy reached for the pistol slung over his shoulder. He’s never been what I’d call a ‘good shot’, but the big guns keep living people from causing him any trouble. Both hands on the gun, he whirled and pressed his back to the wall beside the door to the morgue. A big zombie dragged one leg on the sidewalk as he approached Jeremy. The zombie wore a white tee and jeans, and his eyes glowed with green haze. This one belonged to Sam for sure, poison powered by pain; green was the color of his magic. Necromancers can have all sorts of different talents and Sam got charged up by pain he felt. Yet, somehow I used to think he was a sensitive guy. The big Z shuffled closer.
“Ready for the show to start?” I asked Jeremy.
“You know what…” Jeremy’s heart thumped in his chest. “Not yet.”
One hand flew to the door handle. He pulled the door open and darted around it. Sam’s zombie was just a few yards away, but Jeremy kept cool. He ducked into the morgue and looked both ways.
There was one silhouette moving against flicker of a fading light from a window at the end of the hallway. I couldn’t tell by the slow shift of its movements if it was a living assistant, a zombie, or something worse. Jeremy backed away from it one step and pressed his shoulder against the door. The big Z hit the other side, but the door held. The Z rebounded.
“Nows our chance!” I said. “Get going.”
Jeremy broke into a run. Feet pounded on tiled floor. He raced toward the shape at the end of the hall. The shape turned toward him, slow, dead, a zombie woman wearing a dirty nurse’s smock. He stumbled to a stop a few feet from the undead and leveled the pistol at her. He pulled the trigger before she could take a single step.
He isn’t much of a shooter, but at less than five feet and with both hands bracing the gun, he couldn’t have a better shot on a Z. Jeremy’s gun roared. The head burst and the zombie fell to the floor. The sound of the gunshot echoed, probably through the whole morgue.
“We gotta get to the freezers,” Jeremy said. His ears rang and I barely made out his words.
Can you still hear?
Not very well, he thought in my direction as he turned to the door.
He looked up from the remains of the zombie he’d just shot, then kept going down the hallway. Behind us, the door burst open from the big zombie’s hammering blows. Jeremy didn’t look back, so I didn’t see if the big Z was following us. Sharing Jeremy’s head gave me crazy nerves. I had no idea how anxious he could get.
Jeremy moved down a side corridor. This one led toward the freezer rooms at the center of the building where they kept cadavers on ice. He lowered the pistol and drew the witch dagger out of his belt loop. Witch daggers are the inverse end of blessed instruments or other magical tools. One cut will cancel all the spells on a person or object.
“You ought to be careful with that.” If it nicked his collar I’d have my one way ticket to the next world punched.
“I know what I’m doing.” He kept his voice low as he approached the doors of the freezer room. “Where are all the Zs?”
“Out walking,” said a calm voice from behind. Sam.
Jeremy whirled. The blade of his dagger rose to point between the eyes of a pale-faced man in a black coat too long for this weather. Sam didn’t have a collar around his neck and he didn’t need it to control his Zs like the rest of us did. Shadows crept all around him despite the bright electric lights overhead, moving like slender limbs. I still haven’t met another necromancer as powerful as Sam.
But even then, I knew a couple who are more canny. Me, and Jeremy.
“Honey, if you shoot him now we may have a chance,” I said.
This has got to be a trick, Jeremy answered silently. His ears still rang with the gunshot from earlier. Damn things are so inelegant.
Jeremy backed away from Sam, and toward the freezer room doors. Sam stood with his arms folded, solemn smile on his face. “I’m sorry I got Odette’s first,” he said. “I know you two had a relationship of sorts. But she was mine first and just couldn’t resist. She practically asked me to tear it out of her. But you know that. You were there.”
I did no such thing. Didn’t have time to say much before, and its hard to speak with ice cold finger literally wrapped around your heart. Sam got under my skin, but all I could do was watch. In the silence following his words watched Sam’s face, pale and devilishly handsome and wreathed in shadow. One corner of his lip curled.
The gun in Jeremy’s hand spoke, but he should have known better than to shoot it one-handed. The recoil slammed his shoulder back and the bullet went wide then punched a hole in the wall The gun made its explosive sound. Jeremy’s arm flared with pain from wrist to shoulder.
Sam’s smile vanished, replaced by a vicious grin. In a burst of shadows that flowed from him in all directions, he rushed forward and slammed into Jeremy, bowling him off his feet. Jeremy’s a strong guy. Sam’s got inches on him, but more importantly, Sam must have been invoking some sort of greater power. Jeremy sailed through the double doors to the freezer room, flinging them open in the process.
He hit the first empty gurney in the room and knocked it over. Jeremy’s back and shoulders screamed. His gun skidded away across the floor to one side of the room and came to rest by a black boot. He kept his grip on the witch dagger, and the scroll case pressed into his side. He lurched forward as he sat up. Zombies lined the walls. The scroll could be good here. It could take out all these Zs in a second.
Sam started to advance on him as the doors swung shut. He moved like a big cat, lethal and beautiful.
“Odette, he wants my heart too.” Jeremy grunted with pain and climbed to his feet. His head spun from the sudden elevation.
He could barely stand. I’m no ace at astral projection, and I’m a beginner at possession, but I know the basics.
“Hon, I’m taking over.”
I didn’t wait for permission. Jeremy’s eyes glowed my color, red, under my influence. Already being in his head, I tweaked his flares of pain with a gentle touch as they hit me. I felt them. I took them for myself. Could have screamed, but no voice at the moment. It wasn’t full on possession, but it would do for the moment to freshen him up. Zombies closed in around Jeremy. With a couple of quick thrusts of the witch dagger he disenchanted all of them.
Undead turned to regular dead. They fell.
He stood, looking around, confused by the sudden clarity. “Thanks.”
“Not done yet.” I nudged on his motor cortex. His legs carried him around the gurneys that formed a circle in the center of the room. Something dug at the back of my mind just as the cold started to make Jeremy’s skin turn to goosebumps. We’re close.
My heart was in the room. A girl can always tell.
Sam threw the doors open. He had sure taken his sweet time getting to the room. Now that he was inside, things could get a lot tougher. Jeremy turned to face Sam. The poison master towered over him.
“I think my hearts behind us,” I said.
Good to know, he replied without a sound. His breath misted before him. “Sam, I don’t know what you’re doing. But I don’t care.”
“What do you think I’m doing?” Sam stopped beside the gurney Jeremy had knocked over when Sam hit him. “I’m cleaning up the neighborhood.”
“You’re breaking the law. Killing other necromancers. Keeping hearts on ice.”
That’s my Jeremy, always got justice on his mind. “Hon, buying time won’t work without a plan.”
Think one up, then! He sure got demanding all of a sudden.
I stared through Jeremy’s eye at Sam as Jeremy back into the center of the circle of gurneys. The four remaining Zombies couldn’t easily get him in there because of the obstacle posed by the carts. Too dumb to push them out of the way, what with the wheels and all. They simply waited, eyes glowing green with Sam’s command.
A little orange sports cooler sat in the center of the circle. I could practically feel my heart in side, even with it frozen in ice.
“That’s it,” I said. “Jeremy, my heart is in that cooler.”
“You sure?” he muttered.
“Baby, it’s my own heart.”
Sam’s lip curled. Jeremy knelt, and picked up the cooler. It was light on his muscles. Good because his shooting arm still throbbed with pain.
“Talking to someone?” Sam asked. “Funny. I don’t hear any voices on the wind. But judging by your eyes earlier you have a passenger.”
“Funny,” Jeremy smirked. “But I’m just a mess in your neighborhood. So I don’t think I’ll share.”
“So. Odette isn’t gone yet.” Sam’s face darkened. “I hoped her death would be quick.”
Jeremy glared at Sam, heart hammering, pulse pounding. “You bastard. What’s your game?”
“I thought you didn’t care?” Sam motioned with one hand. His zombies closed in on either side of Jeremy and started pulling at the gurneys, trying to knock them over.
“Jeremy don’t let him get to you.”
He scowled. Intense dark eyes fixed on Sam’s green ones. “Try me.”
“Cleaning up the town is just bonus.” Sam’s eyes glimmered as they locked with Jeremy’s. “The hearts of mages are where our power comes from. They can be used to gain access to realms beyond this one.”
And here I thought I was a girl caught in the middle of two guys. I’m actually kinda disappointed.
“That’s all?” Jeremy brandished the witch dagger. “You plan to buy a condo in some other reality?”
“You lack vision, boy.”
Jeremy smirked. “I just thought the same thing.”
“Enough!” Sam snarled and leapt over the gurney circle with a furious burst of shadow power. He flew down toward Jeremy. Sam’s boot connect with Jeremy’s wrist, keeping Jeremy from stabbing with the witch dagger. Jeremy kept his grip on the weapon. I always thought Jeremy had nice hands.
Jeremy staggered and swung the plastic bulk of the cooler high. I mentally flinched as the rounded corner connected with Sam’s head and knocked him back a few paces. A trickle of blood flowed from Sam’s temple. He sank to his knees. That only lasted for a second before he surged to his feet, the blood on the side of his head sizzling on his skin. Apparently he’s not as coldblooded as I thought.
“There’s no time,” Jeremy said.
He pushed through the gurneys, passed the Zs, and carried my heart down the hall as fast as his legs could carry him. Sam followed, gliding on shadowy wisps of wings.
His roar of fury echoed down the hall. That hit to the head must have pissed him off, pain magic or not. Jeremy flew past the body of the zombie he shot on the way in. He cornered into the hallway beyond. The door stood open up ahead. Jeremy bolted toward it. Sam sailed into his path, fast as a snake. Jeremy slashed out sideways with the witch dagger. Sam caught his wrist with both hands.
“Tut tut, improper form.” Sam drove a boot into Jeremy’s stomach.
The kick knocked Jeremy to the floor.
I took Jeremy’s pain again. The shock disoriented me, but even if it hadn’t I couldn’t return the breath Jeremy had just lost. He looked up at Sam, who stood over him. Orange streetlights glowed on the windows from outside. The cooler with my heart lay at Jeremy’s side.
You’ve got to get up. Sam knelt down before Jeremy. His hand drew back, mirroring the strike that had torn out my heart hours ago. Sam wore a cold smile. His hand stabbed toward Jeremy’s chest.
I focused on Jeremy’s hand that held the witch dagger. I pinched a tendon that moved his forearm. In that instant, I think I graduated to full possession.
Jeremy’s dagger flew into position. The blade sliced a tiny gash along the edge of Sam’s hand. Sam’s shadows evaporated from that arm and his palm slapped off Jeremy’s shirt, strength gone.
Sam leapt backward, still surrounded by shadow. He looked down at his hand, frustration rather than disbelief showed on his face. Jeremy stood unsteadily, cooler in one hand, dagger in the other. He raised the blade. “I don’t care which dimension you go to, but you can’t stay here.” He rushed toward Sam, ready to strike again.
Green eyes flashed within darkness. Sam vanished into shadow. Jeremy reacted fast. He lowered his shoulder and hit the door.
“Change of plans, Odette,” he said mentally.
Jeremy burst through the morgue door and out into the night.
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