One Grave at a Time

Page 68

"Why do you fight?" he demanded. "Though you and the others live now, you cannot run from me forever, and you will never trick me into one of your cunning traps."

I looked up at the sky behind him and smiled, feeling a familiar swell of unadulterated power wash over me.

"You're right. I'm in no shape to fly you 250 miles to where our new trap is." Kramer's victorious smile ebbed when I added, "But I bet my husband's up for the job."

Kramer turned around just in time to have a dark form blast into him with enough force to dig a deep furrow into the ground.

"And they say I can't land without making a mess," I commented to no one in particular.

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Bones took one look at my condition and began beating the dark, foul-tasting substance out of Kramer. I'd done a fair job against him myself, but Bones was a lot stronger and hadn't used up most of his energy healing himself from being burned to kingdom come, let alone been overwhelmed by unexpected voices. I would have loved to keep watching, but I still had things to take care of.

"I need to make sure Francine's out of the fields," I said, speaking up to be heard over Kramer's groans of pain. "She's covered in gasoline; if she runs into the wrong section of field, it could kill her."

That wasn't a concern for me anymore. I was pretty sure any part of my skin that formerly had gasoline on it had been burned off.

"Go," Bones said, his arm so tight around the Inquisitor's throat that it would kill him if he weren't already dead. "I've got him."

I didn't waste my time running through the fields but mustered up my sagging energy and flew, making sure to keep low enough to see. With the glow from the fire and some of my skin peeking out from under the soot, it was possible anyone looking in my direction might spot me, but hopefully they would think it was a trick of the flames.

With my new vantage point, it didn't take long at all to spot the trench carving itself into the cornfield that was caused by someone running. I swooped over, not aiming for Francine when I descended because I knew better. Sure enough, I bounced around in a landing that made her scream from fear and run in the other direction, but I got up and grabbed her before she went out of sight again.

"Francine, it's Cat!" I said, hearing from her thoughts that she didn't recognize me. After a few good shakes of her shoulders, she lost that terrified blankness in her gaze.

"Cat?" Her face crumpled, and I picked up words like "hideous" and "zombie" as she tried to absorb my appearance now with what I looked like before. "What did he do to you?"

"Burned me like a hamburger on the Fourth of July," I supplied, glad there weren't any full-length mirrors nearby. "It looks worse than it is, but we need to get you out of here."

I propelled myself into the air high enough to see which direction the road was, then dropped back down, wincing because I hadn't slowed my descent enough to make that painless.

"All right," I gritted out, cursing whatever I'd done to my ankles. "Let's go."

I carried her as I ran through the field toward the road. She could walk, but this was much faster. Once she was safely on the road, crying with relief when she saw Lisa a ways up, I headed back to Bones. This time, I didn't need to hover above the fields to pinpoint where I wanted to go. I could feel his power reaching out to me, drawing me nearer like a beacon.

When I reached him, I saw with relief that he still had Kramer in a viselike grip. While I didn't think the ghost was strong enough to wrestle himself away, I was worried about his poofing away, if he could transform himself back to vapor at will. But then I saw what was in Bones's hand and I laughed out loud at the stunned look on the Inquisitor's face.

"How do you like the Taser? That was Tyler's idea after seeing you zapped into flesh when you were f**king with our electricity."

"I don't think he fancies it much at all, do you?" Bones asked, pressing its prongs into Kramer's side. The ghost jerked, eyes bugging in a way that confirmed it hurt.

Well, then it was an effective and fun tool.

Bones tore the Inquisitor's black robes from him, revealing wrinkled, pasty flesh that I wished was covered back up. Kramer unleashed a torrent of curses at this, but both of us ignored him.

"Do you want to put this on?" he asked, holding the robe out to me.

I looked at it with loathing. "I'd rather stay naked."

The barest smile touched Bones's mouth. "Of course. Hold him for a moment."

I kept a solid grip on the ghost while Bones took off his shirt. Kramer kept up with his threats against me, my family, my friends, my ancestors, and anyone else the Inquisitor could think up. With his shirt off, I saw that Bones had more Tasers strapped to his upper arms. We should have enough voltage to keep Kramer from attempting to dematerialize, if he even had that ability before the sun rose.

I'd passed Kramer off to Bones and slipped his shirt over my head when two other large objects came beaming toward us from the sky. Ian and Spade, I noted, the latter carrying Tyler. No wonder the medium looked even less pleased about flying than usual.

They landed with a smooth grace that made me jealous. Unlike Bones, who now only had on a pair of pants and boots, all three men wore long trench coats. Spade took one look at me, and his was off before he'd gone another step.

"Thanks," I said, putting it on more because I was cold than any concerns about flashing my butt if Bones's shirt rode up.

Ian, ever tactful, had another form of hello.

"Christ, Reaper, with your bald head and all that soot, you look like a mannequin someone attacked with a blowtorch."

"Ian, if I weren't holding this sod, you'd be on the ground right now," Bones gritted out.

"I'm not holding anyone," Spade said, and whacked Ian hard enough to make him stagger.

I ran my hand over my head and winced when all I felt was smooth skin. Well, what did I expect? That my hair had been fireproof?

"Please tell me there's a neat vampire trick that can help me grow this back quicker?"

"There is, and you're lovely with or without hair," Bones said, actually making it sound sincere.

Tyler held open his coat in flasher style, grinning when Kramer let out a fresh spurt of curses at him.

"Look what I brought for you, ghostfriend!"

I no longer had any worries about our having enough Tasers for the long trip. Tyler's coat was stuffed with them, as were his pants pockets and the holster straps around his shirt. "That's why they brought me," he went on. "Didn't want to be packing as many themselves in case they had to fight, but I'm weighted down with them. Now that it looks like you've got things under control, let's pass these puppies out."

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