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datatime: 2022-12-08 06:44:02 Author:ESscoTMb

Celeste gunned the engine just as the metal doors blew open with such force that one of them was ripped free of its hinges. She pressed herself back into the seat as she banged the gears into reverse and, with a squeal of tires, launched the truck out of the loading bay, swinging it round, a whoosh behind them which Celeste, rigid in her seat, refused to look at.

Watching him hot-wire the truck. Celeste felt her stomach rebelling. It was eerie seeing the face of the Mes-sulethe, knowing because she was linked with it that Nicholas's mind lay beneath it. Still, she had thought she would pass out the first time she saw his eyes staring at her from out of that face she had learned to fear above all others.

Crack like a bolt of thunder and she whimpered, the percussion shaking the floor, and then Nicholas was dragging her to her feet and, as she was pulled past a section of wall, she stared wide-eyed at the ovoid indentation in it, as if it had been struck by a gigantic fist.

He threw himself headlong across the enervated form, ripped the key from the Messulethe's belt and, leaping at the doorway, unlocked it.

But the blow never landed. The heel of his hand stopped perhaps a centimeter from its objective, hanging in the air. Then the muscles of his wrist and forearm began to spasm as if he had plunged them into a bed of live coals.

The engine barked to life and Nicholas slumped back in the seat, near exhaustion.

The Messulethe moved with astonishing speed, twisting his torso into the attack so as to negate the unnatural position of his arm. At the same time, he delivered a vicious kite meant for Nicholas's kidneys.

The Messulethe moved with astonishing speed, twisting his torso into the attack so as to negate the unnatural position of his arm. At the same time, he delivered a vicious kite meant for Nicholas's kidneys.

"Celeste, you'll have to drive."

They found themselves in a wide service entrance, and they ran as best they could up the long ramp, through another set of metal doors, onto a loading platform, deserted save for a heavy-duty truck.

Down! The voice in her head confused her. Get down!

He hauled her round the end of the wall, and the light dimmed. They were in a corridor and, up ahead, she could see a set of stainless-steel doors, which he hit full tilt, using his shoulder and his momentum to slam them open.

This time Nicholas had lowered himself far enough so that one knee was on the ground. Very fast now, he intercepted the blow with the callused edge of his left hand and, rising up, swept the Messulethe's extended arm out and away in an unnatural arc intended to break bones.

A fusillade of needles scourged his mind as the Messulethe, recovering with appalling rapidity, lashed out with his psyche, trying to keep Nicholas from leaving the cage. Nicholas stumbled, fell to one knee, almost in Celeste's Up. She wrapped her arm around his waist, and together they loped awkwardly away from the cage. Celeste looked back, terrified, but the Messulethe was still lying on the ground. Had Nicholas killed him? She hurried them on.

Crack like a bolt of thunder and she whimpered, the percussion shaking the floor, and then Nicholas was dragging her to her feet and, as she was pulled past a section of wall, she stared wide-eyed at the ovoid indentation in it, as if it had been struck by a gigantic fist.

He hauled her round the end of the wall, and the light dimmed. They were in a corridor and, up ahead, she could see a set of stainless-steel doors, which he hit full tilt, using his shoulder and his momentum to slam them open.

Down! The voice in her head confused her. Get down!

"Celeste, you'll have to drive."

Watching him hot-wire the truck. Celeste felt her stomach rebelling. It was eerie seeing the face of the Mes-sulethe, knowing because she was linked with it that Nicholas's mind lay beneath it. Still, she had thought she would pass out the first time she saw his eyes staring at her from out of that face she had learned to fear above all others.

But the blow never landed. The heel of his hand stopped perhaps a centimeter from its objective, hanging in the air. Then the muscles of his wrist and forearm began to spasm as if he had plunged them into a bed of live coals.

"Nicholas!" She shook him and he groaned, his forehead coming up off the steering wheel, his fingers resuming their work on the wiring.

Once, Nicholas fell heavily, bringing them both down, and Celeste cried out, blood on her palms as she skidded, feeling the creeping along her nerves of not only what had been done to him, but what was coming after them, the heat through the vivid electric discharges, billowing along the reinforced concrete floor, a low mist with form and substance, the lethal rhythms of the Messulethe reaching out for them.

"Celeste, you'll have to drive."

"Celeste, you'll have to drive."

Nicholas, in the right-angle horse position, directed a snap-kick to the Messulethe's groin. Both blows struck almost simultaneously, and both men went down. But Nicholas rolled and, angling his knuckles down, struck the Messulethe, delivered a short twan ch'uan to the Messu-lethe's forehead.

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