Storm Page 31

Chris could see the dark figure, but he couldn\ make out features. The swell of power from that direction was unmistakable.

Gabriel punched the brakes and Chris stumbled and grabbed for something to keep him upright. But he\d been half kneeling in the space between the seats, and he crashed into the center console, killing the radio and almost throwing the car out of gear.

Nick caught his shoulder and kept his face from meeting the center vents.

Then Chris heard a crash ahead, and he shoved himself upright.

One of those new jeeps was creaming a tiny hatchback, plowing the smaller car across the road and into the side of the bridge.

Both vehicles missed them by inches.

’’Holy shit,’’ breathed Gabriel. His knuckles were white on the steering wheel.

’’Nice driving, bro,’’ said Nick.

Gabriel shifted in the seat and began to turn the wheel to get them around the crash. ’’I\ll get us home. Just keep it together.’’

Then Chris saw the curl of flame race along the edge of the jeep\s hood.

Gabriel hit the brakes.

’’Drive,’’ said Chris. He knew he sounded panicked and he didn\ care. ’’Drive, Gabriel.’’

Nick punched his twin in the shoulder. ’’Go!’’

The fire grew despite the rain. Gabriel\s nostrils flared as if he could smell the smoke, even with the windows and the vents closed. ’’He\s going to blow up the cars.’’

Nick punched him again. ’’Then get us the f**k off the bridge.’’

Horns started blaring. They were only half a mile from school students sat in the cars around them. People would die.

They would die, if they didn\ move.

Then Chris heard the second crash.

They all watched. A car up ahead skidded along the guardrail and stalled on the bridge.

Tires screamed into the storm. Becca\s car crashed right into it.

And caught on fire.

CHAPTER 24

Becca couldn\ breathe around the crushing pain in her chest. She wanted to cough, but she couldn\ seem to get enough air for that, either.

Or maybe that was the smoke.

Red glowed through her windshield. Was there a fire out there?

She couldn\ seem to find her seat belt. First she needed to find her hands.

Her head hurt.

Everything hurt.

The rocks on her wrist felt warm, twisted around to fall against the pad of her thumb. She wondered if they were keeping her calm.

Good thing Quinn had stayed at school. Becca probably should have taken the bus, too.

Phone. Where was her phone?

Something pounded against the car. She wished it would stop. Didn\ they know how tired she was?

Oh, good. The steering wheel was right here. She\d just put her head down.

For a second.

Chris didn\ remember bolting from the car. He was just suddenly aware of the rain pouring down the neck of his shirt, soaking through his hair to welcome him into the storm. He ran through standing water, splashing hard with each step.

Why wasn\ she getting out?

Fire licked through the gap around the hood of Becca\s Honda. Billowing smoke ignored the rain and made paths to the sky.

From five feet away, he couldn\ see through her windows. The car was full of smoke.

Chris stretched an arm out to grab her door handle, ready to yank her free.

The door wouldn\ open.

He fought with the steel, swearing when the door wouldn\ give.

’’Unlock it!’’ he yelled, pounding on the glass. ’’Becca! You have to ’’

’’Chris.’’ Nick caught his arm. ’’We have to run. He\s stronger. He\ll kill us.’’

Gabriel was beside him, his eyes trained on the fire. ’’Now, Chris. The car\s on fire.’’

’’She\s trapped.’’ Chris could feel the heat coming from the hood now. The strength in the storm soaked into his skin with every drop.

He could seize this power. Use it.

Chris looked over the roof of her car. There, by the edge of the woods, the Guide remained.

Chris wanted to freeze the rain, to turn each drop into a tiny dagger, to attack this man and let him feel what true power could do. He\d never felt this clarity before, this surety in his own ability.

’’Get her out.’’ Gabriel swiped a hand across the narrow gap along her hood, pulling the fire into his fist, then shaking it loose to hiss and die in the rain.

More fire immediately replaced it.

Gabriel swiped it clean again. ’’But hurry.’’

Chris pounded on the window again. ’’Becca! Open the door!’’ Wind sent the rain sheeting sideways, stinging his cheeks and promising revenge if he\d just respond.

The water fed his strength without his even asking. Chris slammed the side of his fist into the window. A crack formed. Nick slammed a fist right beside his. The crack widened.

Sirens sang somewhere in the distance.

Water rushed over his feet. He punched her window again. Another crack. Damned safety glass.

More fire shot from around her hood, but Chris didn\ spare a thought for whether Gabriel could control it all. People were starting to get out of their cars, jackets hunched over their heads.

’’You kids get away!’’ some lady shouted from far back. ’’That car\s on fire!’’

Fist. Glass. Crack.

’’Becca!’’ Jesus Christ, why wouldn\ she open the door?

The ground shook. Hard. Chris caught at the side mirror to keep his footing.

Nick caught his arm to keep from falling. ’’He\s flooding the bridge.’’

’’No,’’ Gabriel yelled. ’’He\s taking out the bridge.’’

The ground shook again. Cars were sliding, shifting along the concrete surface. The water was halfway up Chris\s calves now. People were screaming, running for solid ground.

If the bridge collapsed, they\d go down with at least six cars.

For the first time in a long while, Chris wished Michael was with them.

He punched the window again. His knuckles split and left a wash of blood across the glass, gone in an instant from the downpour.

But the instant the water got inside his skin, Chris couldn\ refuse the element. This time his fist went right through the glass.

Smoke poured through the hole, blasting around his arm and almost forcing him out. He felt the wind whip around him. Nick was forcing clean air into the car.

’’Chris,’’ said Nick, his voice low, yet carrying over the storm. ’’She\s not breathing.’’

Chris ignored him and fumbled to find the door lock. Blood streaked down his arm, but he didn\ care.

The bridge dropped a few inches. Nick grabbed his arm and kept Chris on his feet. Becca\s car started to slide. They were going into the water in a second.

Gabriel jumped on the hood. ’’Chris, get her out!’’

Glass ground into Chris\s skin, feeling like it might take his arm off.

There. He found the latch and jerked. The door gave.

Her body weighed nothing. Chris dragged her out of the car and into his arms. Blood was everywhere, in her hair, on her clothes, down the side of her face. His own joined it, soaking into her sweater.

Rain poured down her cheeks, taking the blood with it.

’’Breathe,’’ he whispered.

She didn\ .

’’Nick!’’ Was his voice shaking? ’’Nick! Make her breathe. Please ’’

’’I can\ .’’ Nick pressed a hand to her cheek. ’’Chris, I can\ .’’

’’Chris!’’ Gabriel was still on the hood of her car. The flames were huge, lighting his eyes. ’’We have to get off the bridge!’’

The concrete fell another few inches. Chris almost dropped her.

She\d saved his life, and now she was losing her own.

Because of him.

The rain was in his blood. In hers.

Save her, he thought.

The bridge groaned and dropped again. Metal shrieked as cars slid and collided.

Save her.

Rain poured down on her cheeks, into her mouth, over her eyes. Chris watched it streak down her skin.

He\d never done this before, fed power into someone else. He didn\ even know if it would work. The water swirled around his legs, begging for direction for his direction, not the man\s on the hill.

’’Save her,’’ he said.

’’Holy crap.’’ Nick\s voice was breathy. ’’Do you feel that?’’

’’What are you guys doing?’’ Gabriel called.

Then Chris could feel it, through the rain. Gabriel\s wonder, that the fire suddenly belonged to him. Nick\s awe in the air, that he\d harnessed the wind, that it bowed to his will.

Chris pressed his bleeding hand to the side of her face. Blood to blood. Save her, he thought.

Becca opened her eyes.

And inhaled.

Chris gave a choked sob. ’’Becca.’’

’’Chris ’’ Her voice was raw. ’’Wait there\s an accident ’’

The bridge dropped again. She screamed and clutched at him.

Nick grabbed his arm, hauling him back. They dodged between two cars and made it to the walkway of the bridge. Water was pouring over the side.

’’Is it the Guides?’’ Becca said.

’’Yeah.’’ Her voice was steady, and the rain was rinsing the blood from her face. He saw no injuries had the power healed her? ’’Just one.’’

’’Just one?’’

’’I told you they don\ f**k around.’’ Chris glanced back. Gabriel was still on the hood of her car, surrounded by flames.

’’Come on!’’ Nick yelled to his twin.

’’Run!’’ called Gabriel. ’’I\ll hold off the fire ’’

Lightning hit her car. The front end exploded.

The force knocked them back. Chris saw nothing but sky and fire for a moment. He couldn\ breathe.

Then he could.

Gabriel. Chris couldn\ see him. He couldn\ feel him. Nick lay beside him, his presence a cool breeze inside his mind, like always. Water rushed over his legs. He sent power across the bridge, seeking his brother, seeking information.

Nothing.

Chris couldn\ think. Becca shook against him. ’’Where did he go?’’ she whispered. ’’Is he ’’

’’No,’’ Chris said. But he\d seen that explosion.

Nick was white, his eyes wide. ’’Chris,’’ he said. ’’I can\ I don\ he\s not ’’

’’I can\ , either.’’ He sent another surge of power into the water, begging, praying.

Nothing. He punched a fist into the water. ’’Damn it, where is he?’’

Wind whipped across the bridge, blowing water and stinging Chris\s eyes.

Nick found his knees, supporting himself against the crumpled guardrail of the bridge. His eyes were dark, his jaw set. Wind blew faster, harder. Large trees in the distance started to bend.

Smaller trees started to snap.

’’What\s happening?’’ said Becca. ’’Chris, is the Guide doing this ’’

’’I am,’’ said Nick. ’’I\m going to kill him.’’

Chris felt his brother\s fury. His own responded, sending the rain on a path of destruction he\d never attempted before. He didn\ care if he lost control;he didn\ care if his power brought every Guide to their door.

Wind spun, dragging the rain and the clouds into a spiral. Roof tiles began to tear loose and fly.

’’Oh my god,’’ said Becca. ’’You\ e making a tornado.’’

He was. They were. He\d never felt this strength, but it was all funneled in one direction.

Lightning struck the bridge, ten feet in front of them. They jerked back.

Chris poured more power into the rain. He urged every drop to find the Guide, to destroy. Becca\s hand was clenched on his.

Their enemy was having trouble keeping his feet. Chris could see it.

’’More,’’ he called to Nick. ’’Stronger.’’

’’Can you control it?’’ said Becca. ’’You told me ’’


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