Excerpt--Aisling, Book Two: Dream
“Good shot,” Dallin said, only it came out
fuzzy and slurred, his vision pulsing between light and dark in
time to the pain radiating up from his back, engulfing the whole
left side of his body. He reached back, fingers blundering into
the hilt of a knife jutting from low in his back. Exquisite,
blinding pain vibrated from his touch, sent hot bile to the back
of his throat and sparkled at the edges of his perception.
“Shit,” he muttered, swayed a little. “This is… this is bad.”
Not fatal—everything important was higher and on the other
Two more shots rang his ears. Dallin
blinked. His right arm shouldn’t feel like it weighed twenty
stone, but just raising his gun, pointing it into the blurred
mass of moving bodies, made his vision go dark.
He blinked again, shook his head, but
couldn’t clear it. A vague shape that resolved itself into Wil
was coming toward him. Face fierce and determined, lit from
within and as close to actual feral beauty as Dallin had ever
seen. Like some kind of avenging spirit. Wil was saying
something, shouting, but Dallin couldn’t hear it. He peered up,
wondered why Wil was suddenly so much taller than him, and
realized he’d gone down to his knees, oddly disturbed that he
couldn’t remember when.
“Hey!” Wil shouted, fear and real
concern all over his hard-set face. “C’mon, we have to go.” He
reached out, took hold of Dallin’s shoulder. “We have to go!”
“Don’t shake me,” Dallin mumbled, or hoped
he did. Shaking would be bad. Shaking would bloody hurt.
“Can’t go,” he told Wil, shook his head, but everything was
still too bright about the edges, muddled. “Just… give me a
He just needed to catch his breath, that
was all. Catch his breath and clear the tangle of pain that was
clouding every thought, turning him slow and stupid, sucking him
down into that quick-mud everyone kept chastising him about.
“What’s wrong?” Wil wanted to know, hand
gripping tighter now. “Are you shot? Did they get you? I don’t
see anything—is it your head?”
Going a little bit shocky now, Dallin
blinked up into Wil’s face. Then up into the face of the man
looming behind him. Noted the beaded braids in the gold-gray
hair… the rough, notched the scar.
Just how corrupt does an Old One have
to be, he wondered dazedly, before the others slice your
Marks from off your face?
“The Watcher is watched,” Dallin wheezed.
Vertigo closed him in a hard fist. He
dragged his eyes back to Wil’s, reached out, gun dropping from
his hand as it latched on to Wil’s sleeve.
Leaned in, whispered, “Run.”