Mon 22 Sep 2014
You can be certain if my characters start a scene by sitting down in Bryant Park on a beautiful morning, it won’t end that way.
The sunlight was in Montoya’s eyes. No doubt that was why Richard saw the red dot appear on the soldier’s chest before Montoya did.
Richard tackled Montoya and grabbed Marian’s waist. The three of them went down in a heap behind the carousel. A bullet dinged off the sidewalk, raising small puffs of concrete dust. Richard rolled free from their pile, moaned and grabbed the side of his chest. His fingers came up bloody.
God’s eyes, he’d been so focused on the person stalking him that he hadn’t considered someone else could be after Montoya.
“What’s going on?” Marian scrambled to her feet.
He snatched her hand and pulled her back to the ground.
“Who’s shooting at us?”
“Unknown sniper, after Montoya. Stay down, please, Angel.”
Richard sat up, his back to the fence. Montoya was in a crouch, staring at the hotel windows, likely trying to locate the sniper.
“That bullet was aimed at me, Genet,” he said.
“I know. You’re welcome,” Richard said.
“I’m going to get us out of here,” Montoya said. “Be right back with transpo. Stay put.”
“Isn’t it dangerous to run out from cover?” Marian’s eyes were wide. But her voice was firm.
“Staying here and getting shot at is more dangerous. I can handle this. Stay down, miss. Besides, if he’s after me, you’ll be safer if I go.”
Richard liked Montoya a little already for trying to save Marian. He liked him evenmore now for protecting her. Edward might have misjudged these Phoenix Institute people. Which meant his brother had probably died needlessly. He wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry about that. But he could do neither. Every breath he took was like a knife in his gut.
Marian, face white as a ghost, nodded at Montoya. “Okay.”
Montoya scrambled away, keeping structures in front of him as much as possible. No shots rang out. The sniper might have left already. Not that they could take that chance.Marian turned to him and noticed the blood soaking through his T-shirt and into the gray hoodie.
“Oh my God, you’ve been shot! I’ll call 911.”
“No. Would you like to spend the next few hours in a police station? Very boring, and then we’ll have the questions as to why my bullet wound healed so quickly.” He inhaled, holding back a moan. He needed to use shorter words. The stabbing pain crested. He exhaled and felt his whole side turn to fire. That was his body, healing itself, and driving down some of the pain.
“You’re losing a lot of blood,” she said.
Yes. He wouldn’t fully heal if the bullet remained inside him, as he suspected it was. It would have to come out. Soon. He had an idea how. But not here.
“Slide off my sweatshirt and press it against the wound. It’ll slow the bleeding.”
She did as he asked, and he wished pain didn’t prevent him from enjoying the touch of her fingers. He pressed his hand against the sweatshirt to keep it tight against him. “Don’t look so worried. It’s all right. Just stay put. I want you safe.”
“I’m safer than you are.” She curled her hand around his forearm. “I’m going to lookaround and see if someone is sneaking up on us.”
“No one can shoot a phantom. Bullets go right through me.”
“How would you know that?”
“I’ve been shot at before.”
He wanted to ask where and when and, if she had, why did she look so pale now, but it hurt to speak again. His head lolled down against his chest. Blood loss. Dammit. She straightened, and by the time she stood upright, she was immaterial. Again.Sunlight streamed through her. Again. Angel.
“I can’t see anyone or anything that looks dangerous.” Her voice was a low whisper, almost as immaterial as the rest of her, the sound of a ghost. She turned, and he lost sight of her in the sun. “Nothing.”
“Did you look at the windows of all the buildings?”
“Yes, but I don’t see anyone.” “Then come back here and return to normal, because there will be people at BryantPark who might convince themselves they’ve seen a ghost.” She must not suffer any fallout from this attack. “I need you to help with the blood loss.”
He took a deep breath. A sharp pain jabbed through his side once more, centered near the back. His healing fire couldn’t touch it. That must be where the bullet was lodged.Tires squealed around the corner. A black van sped toward them on the narrow street.
Ally or enemy?