Keep us advised of your twenty. He was definitely freaking—a strength or speed potion, probably. I tucked that away for the moment and focused on keeping up. The perp loped through the maze of dark alleys and streets as if he knew the Cauldron well. But no one knew it better than I did, and I planned to be right behind him when he finally made a mistake.
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As I ran, my lead cuffs clanked heavily against the wood of my nightstick. The rhythm matched the thumping beats of my heart and the air rasping from my lungs. The best way to incapacitate a hexhead was to use a little of the old sodium chloride. A loud snarling grunt echoed back over his shoulder. No, he was headed someplace specific.
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I looked around to get my bearings. He veered right on Mercury Street. Be advised you are required to wait for backup before entering the tunnels. The system had been abandoned fifty years earlier, before the project was anywhere close to completion. Now the tunnels served as a rabbit warren for potion addicts wanting to chase the black dragon in the rat-infested, shit-stench darkness.
Under those words was the logo for Volos Real Estate Development, which did nothing to improve my mood. The tunnels would swallow him in one gulp. Wait for backup. But I knew better than to enter the tunnels alone. The captain had laid down that policy after a rookie ended up as rat food five years earlier. Buy some time for backup to arrive. A bite from one of those puppies was rarely lethal, but it was enough to dilute the effects of most potions, as well as cause enough pain to convince perps to lie down and play dead.
The only catch was, you had to be within twenty feet for the salt to interrupt the magic. The closer, the better if you wanted the bonus of severe skin abrasions.
Down and Dirty (novel)
The runner was maybe fifteen feet from me and a mere ten from the gate that represented his freedom. Time to make the move. I stopped running and took aim. Rock salt exploded from the gun in a starburst. Small red pockmarks covered the dirty bare skin not covered with tufts of dark hair. Instead, he leaped up the gate and his hands grasped the top edge. A narrow opening between the gate and the upper concrete stood between him and freedom. My only choice was to take him down. Speedy already had his head and an arm through the opening at the top of the gate.
I surged up and grabbed his ankles. Lifted my feet to help gravity do its job. We slammed to the ground and rolled all asses and elbows through the dirt and grass and broken potion vials. The impact momentarily stunned us both.
My arm stung where the glass shards had done their worst, but the pain barely registered through the heady rush of adrenaline. Speedy exploded off the ground with a growl. I jumped after him, my grip tight on the salt flare. I still had one shell left, not that I expected it to do much good after seeing the first one had barely fazed him. The beast barely looked human. The lower half of his face was covered in a shaggy beard. The pale skin around his yellow eyes and mouth was red and raw. His teeth were crooked and sharp. Too large for his mouth to corral.
Hairy shoulders almost touched his ears like a dog with his hackles up.
DIRTY MAGIC by Jaye Wells | Orbit Books
That intense yellow gaze focused on my right forearm where a large gash oozed blood. His too-red lips curled back into a snarl.
I aimed the canister of salt-and-pepper spray. The burning mixture of saline and capsicum hit him between the eyes. He blinked, sneezed. Wiped a casual hand across his face. No screaming. No red, watery eyes or swollen mucus glands. His nostrils flared and he lowered his face to sniff the air closer to me. His yellow eyes stayed focused on my wound. An eager red tongue caressed those sharp teeth in anticipation. For the first time, actual fear crept like ice tendrils up the back of my neck.
One second the world was still except for the pounding of my heart and the cold fear clawing my gut. The next, his wrecking-ball weight punched my body to the ground. And I am alone. Can I deliver it to him in time or will I be too late? Sit by the fire and hear my story. Kindle Chosen for Sight by Delia Stewart: A teenaged girl discovers she can communicate with ghosts and is inducted into a secret school for kids with special talents that lie beneath the streets of NYC.
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