It Happened One Doomsday
Author: Laurence MacNaughton
Released: July 12, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Author contact links: Website
Purchase links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Goodreads, Indiebound, iTunes
Strong arms wrapped around Dru and pulled her from the wreckage of the car.
The dying desert sunlight bathed her as Greyson gently lowered her to the rocky ground. He stripped off his motorcycle jacket and folded it, leather creaking, into a pillow for her head. He leaned over her, his glowing red eyes filled with worry. “Dru! Can you hear me?” A trickle of blood ran down the side of his face, from a gash just beneath one of his stubby horns. “Are you okay?”
She nodded. “How many fingers am I holding up?”
He frowned. “None.”
“Oh, wait.” She held up three fingers. “How about now?”
The corners of his eyes crinkled. He helped Dru to her feet, then handed her glasses to her. She wiped off the desert dust.
They had crashed at the bottom of a dry washed-out ravine, surrounded on all sides by uneven ground littered with ruddy boulders and parched scrub brush.
Oily curls of smoke drifted around them, from something ruptured in the crashed car. When Dru breathed in, a sickly sweet chemical smell coated the back of her throat and scoured it raw.
Above, the relentless desert sun dipped toward sunset, burning a gold glow into the edge of the crystalline blue sky. There was no sign of their attackers, but the echoes of throaty engines thudded all around them. It was impossible to tell where the noise was coming from. The sounds grew louder, and then faded, as if the cars were circling around the ravine like vultures.
“They’re all up there,” Rane spat, hauling herself out through the car’s shattered window, her body still transformed into living rock. She crawled through a halo of broken glass that shone like diamonds in the sun. “I want to take those things apart with my bare hands. Pretty sure I can.”
“We have to keep moving,” Dru said. “If the other demons – the other horsemen – leave their cars behind and find a way down here on foot, we’re in real trouble. I don’t know what happens when all four horsemen get together, but I’m thinking it’s not poker night.”
Greyson let out a pained grunt, then pressed his fists against his temples.
Still on all fours, Rane shot a worried look at Dru, then back at Greyson. “Hey. He doesn’t sound so good.”
“I’m fine…” Greyson’s deepening voice broke into a pained groan. He leaned against the upside-down car for support. His fingers curled into fists, and the muscles stood out on his arms, beaded with sweat. He shook his head, as if trying to clear it. His eyes glowed bright red. “Not now,” he whispered.
“That ceremonial pit, I think it did a number on you.” Dru put a calming hand on his arm. “Greyson. Look at me.”
He jerked away. “Stay back!” His skin turned ruddy before her eyes. His fingers bunched the car’s sheet metal, wrinkling it like it was nothing more than fabric. He let out a long, pained growl that didn’t sound entirely human.
Dru’s knees went wobbly. The potion that could stop his transformation was currently nothing more than a puddle soaking into the roof of the crashed car.
Rane wearily got up and planted her granite feet, hands curling into stone fists. “Dru, get behind me.”
Greyson needed the potion. But the bottle was smashed. That meant she had to get it to him some other way. But how? Maybe if she could soak it up into something.
“Wait, wait! I have an idea. Hold him.”
“Gladly.” Rane stepped up behind the groaning Greyson and expertly pinned his arms behind his back. He didn’t resist.
Dru looked around for something absorbent, but the loose rocks, sandy dirt, and scrubby plants offered nothing.
“Oh, hey, his T-shirt,” Dru realized out loud. She reached for Greyson, but he reared back, snarling. A wild look filled his glowing red eyes, and his teeth started to grow into fangs. His dark red skin swelled with muscle. Horns grew from his forehead. His lips curled back and let out an anguished growl.
Rane struggled to hold him in place. “D, whatever you’re thinking? Think faster.”
Despite her fear, Dru stepped close and put both hands on the collar of Greyson’s T-shirt.
She yanked. The collar stretched out amazingly far, but didn’t rip.
Rane peeked over Greyson’s thrashing shoulder. “The hell are you doing?”
“Jeez, it’s like Spandex or something.” Dru kept tugging on his collar, first one way, then the other. “This made more sense in my head.” With a final heave, she yanked the collar past its breaking point, and was rewarded with the welcome sound of tearing fabric. His shirt tore off in her hands, leaving him bare-chested and glistening in the last rays of the sun.
Rane peeked over Greyson’s shoulder again, one eyebrow quirked up. “Seriously?”
“Just hang on.” Dru got down on the ground and reached in through the car’s empty window frame. With some difficulty, she flopped the torn T-shirt down into the puddle of potion and let it soak in.
The whole time, Greyson snarled and fought Rane’s stone grip.
“Dru!” Rane said. “We don’t have all day!”
When the fabric had soaked up all it could hold, Dru pulled it out, dripping wet. She wadded it up and, after a little ducking and weaving, stuffed it into Greyson’s open mouth. “Okay, good! Rane, give him a head lock or something. Don’t let him spit it out.”
With a kick that was more savage than absolutely necessary, Rane brought the thrashing Greyson to his knees, then snaked a stone arm around his neck. As she held firm against his struggling, Rane lifted her gaze to give Dru a meaningful look, her killer instinct rising to the surface.
“This will work,” Dru said. It came out a whisper.
“It better.” Rane wrapped her arm tighter around Greyson’s neck. “Or else.”