Excerpt: The Incarnates – Old Flames

Bethany wanted to be alone. No, that wasn’t true. She didn’t want to be around Caine. The revelation about how she had lost her memories was painful. It was even more painful when those memories started to come back to her. She thought a long walk would clear her head.

Helen was a friend to her and Caine. Bethany had always been close to her. When they fought, it felt like she was trying to murder her best friend or a younger sister. It didn’t feel right but there was no other choice. Something had changed Helen. She was no longer the embodiment of justice. Even Justin, her polar opposite, feared what she had become.

The two didn’t have the same relationship that she and Caine had. There were a lot of checks and balances that governed how the two interacted. So many factors and other concepts influenced them including law, order, freedom and chaos. They could never work together, but for there to be justice there had to be some wrong to right while injustice needed it’s opposite to define it.

Even though she didn’t like Justin, she wondered how he was doing. It seemed that injustice had flourished in Helen’s absence. The world was a darker place. It made her wonder if she and Caine had been used. It was possible. If that was the plan, they had played into it. Not only was justice gone, but so was chaos. She wondered how her injuries impacted concepts such as freedom.

She and Caine had to get to the bottom of this. She didn’t like being used. She also feared whoever or whatever could plan something like this. It didn’t bode well for her or any of the others if they could be manipulated and corrupted so easily.

Bethany was so lost in her thoughts that she had lost track of time. The glass and steel of the New England Aquarium glowed as it caught the rays of the setting sun. She had walked a lot further than she intended. Luckily, she could take the train back home or catch a cab. Just as she made up her mind, she felt her pocketbook leaving her shoulder. Someone had snatched it.

Without thinking, she gave chase – yelling for someone to stop the thief. No one interfered. They got out of the young man’s way. It was stupid to follow him, but she was an Incarnate. Bethany wasn’t afraid of the purse snatcher. When she caught him, she would teach the man a lesson about fear. He wouldn’t try a stunt like this again. When he ducked into an alley, she didn’t hesitate. Bethany followed him inside.

It was a dead end, a perfect place for a confrontation. The purse snatcher had nowhere else to go. Bethany wasn’t concerned about the danger or what could go wrong. Her powers gave her an advantage. More importantly, she needed to release the feelings that had been building up over the last few hours. She wanted to hit someone and this thief would do nicely.

As she took a step closer, the man dropped her pocket book and smiled. Maybe, he thought she was easy prey. A week ago, that might have been the case. No, it was something else. This was a trap. It was a suspicion that was confirmed by the sound behind her. She didn’t turn in time to see who was attacking her. Someone had grabbed her from behind while another person tried to shove a wet cloth over her mouth and nostrils.

One whiff of the stuff made her head spin, but not enough to cloud her mind or stop Bethany from acting. She elbowed the man holding her once, then a second time. The first blow produced a sharp snapping sound and a cry of pain. The second elbow freed her from the man behind her. She then turned to face the man who tried to smoother and drug her.

Bethany slapped away the cloth as she grabbed him by his shirt. Despite his struggles, he could break her hold as she pulled him close and kneed him in the groin. Contemptuously, she pushed the man away. More men entered the alley. It didn’t matter. She was angry at herself as much as she was at her attackers. She had walked into this. She would walk out of it.

Instinctively, Bethany used her power as she met another man. This one lunged forward with a pipe thinking to brain her. She blocked the blow, though a painful tremor ran down her arm. It was better than the alternative. As her powers took hold, whatever plan her attackers had became a list of things that could go wrong.

She could see their confusion. They outnumbered her. They probably thought they could overpower her. Their trap had failed, whatever backup plan or strategy they had was coming apart. They started to panic, as more of them fell before her, while Bethany’s confidence soared to new heights.

That’s when she came crashing down to Earth. The purse snatcher who had lured her into this mess leaped forward. She didn’t see what he had in his hands, but she felt something cold and metallic touch her chest. There was a loud popping noise and the crack of electricity, followed by mind numbing pain. She couldn’t move or think. Her limbs did their own thing as she flopped to the pavement.

Bethany tried to do something, anything to stop the man but nothing worked. She heard someone scream the word “Bitch!” before she got some more juice. She didn’t pass out but she wasn’t quite conscious either. She could only watch and make incoherent protests as some of her attackers recovered from the beating she had given them.

This close, she could see the purse snatcher’s pock-marked face. His smile was that of a predator about to toy with its prey. Bethany hoped the next jolt from the taser would knock her unconscious. She got her wish.

Commentary: This from the second part of my Incarnates series. I settled on an action scene with Bethany for this little excerpt. The first four parts will be released in a collected edition in the next week or two. I just need to get it edited. It’s the next project on my list after The Hunger is completed.

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