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  • C.A. Lightfoot

Excerpt from (Faithless)Guardian

Happy reading!


When she kicked her way into the house, Dover recoiled with a muttered curse, covering her mouth with one leather-gloved hand.

As always, the scent reached her before the sounds of banging doors, shattering glass, and a screeching teakettle. The stench she knew well, a tinge of urine mingled with the heavy, acrid flavor of body odor. Dover hissed out a breath, reminding herself to breathe as shallowly as possible so the putrid scent would not disarm her completely.

She often thought that demons chose to smell so unbelievably awful because they wanted to put their prey off their guard. Dover shook her head as she entered the apartment, ignoring how the door slammed behind her, close enough that it briefly caught on her gun belt before it banged closed.

The sound of the deadbolt sliding into place shouldn’t have been audible over the immense noise of the apartment, but she heard it all the same. That meant the creatures here wanted her to know she was locked in with them. They weren’t afraid.

That made her just a little more nervous than she had been on arrival.

“Liam?”

Her voice was lost to the cacophony in the living room, her Charge not in the immediate area. She slid one Sig into her right hand, the left brandishing a Blessed silver knife. Though she could not see the creatures causing havoc, that did not mean a bullet or blade would not cause damage if aimed properly.

Dover narrowly dodged a heavy ceramic plate to the head, ducking aside in time for it to whiz by, crashing into the wall beside a window with its vertical blinds rippling as though someone were walking beneath them.

Theatrics.

“Liam?” The Guardian called out again, searching the living room for signs of a struggle, or bodily harm to her Charge. The kitchen appliances suddenly roared to life, the high pitch whine of a can-opener competing with the unholy amount of noise a food processor filled with glass could make. Dover rolled her eyes as framed posters and photographs yanked themselves off of the walls, crashing to the carpeting in a pile of splintered wood and cracked glass.

“Liam!” Dover yelled again, this time in full voice. To hell if the demons located her. The television flared to life as she walked past, the volume rising to full blast inside of a few seconds. Because Liam Childs was a 24-year-old man, he had a ‘kick-ass’ sound system. Dover was relatively sure she felt blood seeping from both of her ears.

Out of the corner of her eye, Dover caught a shapeless form sliding from the television to the couch. A beat later, something sharp ripped the cushions open, pulling the stuffing out and tossing it merrily around the room. In the doorway of the kitchen, Dover spied another undefinable bubble of movement crossing to the dining room table. Seconds later, the cheap chandelier fell to the messy wooden surface, crashing in a mass of broken metal and burnt out bulbs.

Chaos minions.

Dover grinned, closing one eye to aim her weapon at the semi-invisible blob still ripping into couch cushions. She squeezed the trigger once, rewarded at the preternatural screech that said her aim had been true. Black ichor bubbled up from the wound, forcing the creature to reveal its short, lanky little figure tearing up her Charge’s apartment.

“Hello, handsome.” Dover grinned at the creature, her internal alarms now blaring with warning as the demon turned toward her.

Chaos minions could often be blamed for tales of hauntings all over the world, since they preferred to be incognito. Most demons were too vain to hide behind invisibility the way Chaos did, but not these little suckers.

The minion stood at just four feet tall, with elongated limbs ending in spindly fingers sharp as razors. Their legs were muscular, though the knees folded backward, the way a doe’s might. These demons had no animal grace, however, and lumbered on their mismatched limbs as though uncomfortable in their own bodies.

Their skin carried with it a sheen, almost a glisten of sweat over a blue-gray complexion that was simply unwholesome to look at. They had no faces, only the slight indentations where a nose, mouth, and eyes might be.

Dover stared at the thing as it gripped the wounded shoulder, ichor spurting over that sickly flesh and onto the rental’s carpeting.

Angel.

The thing spoke without a mouth, its voice slipping into Dover’s mind without an invitation. She shook off that sweet singsong tone, raising her Sig to aim at the creature in the doorway to the kitchen, but she could no longer distinguish the bubble-like refraction that betrayed its location.

“Shit.”

---

Have a great day!

-C.A.

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