With matted hair as black as night, facial features twisted in an evil grin, eyes glowing red, a demon reached out a claw, poking the invisible force field with a jagged fingertip, causing a crackling sound to permeate the air.
“How long do you think this will hold?” he rasped before breaking out in maniacal laughter.
Kayla snorted in derision. Shadow, or the darkness that resided in all human beings, was full of clichés—night battles that fed into the fears of the human mind, ugly demons laughing like crazed maniacs.
“Long enough for me to kill you,” she quipped, wondering why she’d be faced with the likes of him since she’d been told tonight would be special. She’d battled worse during training. What’s the deal here?
He cocked his head to the side. “They send a little girl to fight me, and she hides behind magic.”
“Kiss my—” Wait a minute. There had been two pops which meant two demons. Where is he? Her intuition sensed someone behind her. Whirling on the spot, she sent out an extra energy burst to strengthen her shield.
Her heart pounded in her chest. “You!” She blinked in disbelief, her power wavering, shield faltering. It can’t be!
“Yes,” he growled. “Damn it . . . Hold your shield!”
Surprised by his command, Kayla sent another burst of energy from her hands. Taking in his bald head, smooth visage, and average height, her glance flicked over his black, fitted T-shirt, black jeans, and combat boots. She gulped, heart beating in an erratic rhythm. She stared into his eyes; eyes she’d seen in her dreams since she was a child. Kaleb.
“Better,” he muttered. “I thought you were prepared for this.”
His grumpy attitude got her back up. “I am prepared for him,” she retorted. “I wasn’t prepared for you. What are you doing…?” The energy bubble faltered along with her voice.
“Can we talk about this later?” he snapped, gesturing toward the demon still in front of her. “You’ve got a job to do!”
“You can’t save her!” the demon barked.
Kaleb peered around Kayla to address the demon. “It’s not my job to save her.”
The less than thrilled tone of his voice irritated Kayla. My hero. She stared at him again. I don’t believe it. In her visions, she and Kaleb had trained together. They’d had many conversations about anything and everything. She remembered other lifetimes with him where they were warriors, or children, or lovers. What was he doing here? She sent a plea to the Lord and Lady he wasn’t a demon and she had to kill him.
“I’m not a demon,” he stated, his mouth set in a grim line.
“Later.” He waved a hand in front of her. “Aren’t you supposed to be a little too busy right now to talk?”
In an attempt to ignore him, she turned away from him, and focused her attention on the demon. He’s right. No time to figure this out now. She’d meditate on it later.
With a swift, practiced movement, Kayla plucked a blade from the waist band of her skirt and flicked the knife at him, hitting him square between the eyes.
The demon screamed, stumbling back, clutching at the weapon embedded in his forehead. With a roar, he ripped the blade out of his flesh, a sickening squelch accompanying the motion.
Kayla swallowed hard. Mortal weapons couldn’t defeat a supernatural being of his nature. They were only meant to slow down the demon until she could use her power on him. Stay calm. You can do this. However, Kaleb’s presence had her questioning her ability to handle the situation. Is this a test? She straightened her spine. Test or no test, she had a job to do.
Tossing the blade to the side, the monster swiped at her with elongated claws. A zing resounded in the still night air as he penetrated the shield in front of her.
“Stay strong!” Kaleb ordered.
Grimacing, Kayla arched back, reaching for a dagger hidden inside her right boot. Brandishing the weapon, she ducked under the paw swipe of the demon, then drove the blade into his abdomen.
A screech rent the air as she withdrew the blade, and sliced open his thigh. The demon dropped to one knee, clutching at his wounds.
“Are you done slicing and dicing?” Kaleb growled from behind her.