Kitty’s lungs seared with pain as she ran. The cold night air made her chest ache and her nose numb.
“Why oh why did I think it was a good idea to run?” she gasped, clutching at the front of her jacket. “I feel sort of stupid now.”
She came to a halt on the wide bridge spanning the Hudson River. Throwing her arms over the frosted metal railing Kitty stared at the dark, icy, water. It rushed under the bridge, foaming white where it struck the supports.
“Is that her?”
Kitty turned her head and noticed a rather large group of men standing in the shadows not far away. She edged along the rail trying to put some distance between herself and the men who were so obviously talking about her.
“Yes, yes, it has to be her. He wouldn’t have sent us out here if it wasn’t her.”
They seemed to reach an agreement and approached the young woman while she eyed them warily. The tallest of them stepped forward to address her, “Are you, Kitty?”
The hair stood up on the back of Kitty’s neck and she inexplicably found herself wishing for the man she’d run away from not more than twenty minutes earlier, “Why?”
“Are you, Kitty?” he repeated with a voice as flat and lifeless as a paper doll.
“No,” she took a step backwards. “My name is, Lisa.”
“Lies,” the man grinned but his tone never changed.
Kitty looked around and saw she had quickly become surrounded, “Look, I don’t know who you guys are but I need to get home.”
The group just laughed and their leader showed a little more personality, “I’m sure.”
“No really, I have someone waiting and he’ll be-” Kitty broke off as Seth appeared in the center of the ring with her.
“-royally pissed off,” he finished in a voice like death.
The leader hissed, twisting until he barely resembled a human at all, “What are you doing here?”
“The girl is under my protection, or didn’t you know that?” Seth cocked his head, the moon reflecting off his cold silver eyes. “Huh, you must be expendable then.”
Kitty jumped. One second he was standing still and the next he’d exploded into action, taking out several demons, including the leader. A few black feathers drifted past her and suddenly the pieces clicked into place, “It was you.”
One of the demons twisted her arms behind her back and she cried out in pain. Sudden tears clouded her vision but she was aware of a large shape moving on her left. The pain in her arms let up, coinciding with the ugly sound of snapping bones.
Kitty fell forward on her hands and knees in the snow. She glanced behind and saw Seth hovering over a body, its neck twisted at an odd angle.
“Seth?” she whispered, biting her lip. “What’s going on?”
“Gabriel, get her out of here,” he growled, pulling off his jacket and shirt.
“Who are you talking to? I’m not going anywhere and what are those things?” she asked, her voice trembling slightly.
“I mean it! She needs to go now!” yelled Seth, grunting as another demon jumped on his back. It was rapidly thrown off when he untucked his wings.
Kitty struggled as something unseen pinned her arms, “Let go! Seth!”
She sucked in her breath for a loud scream of protest, letting it out in a squeak of fear as the world vanished. It reappeared a moment later but Seth, the bridge, and the demons were gone.
Kitty was sitting in the snow directly across from St. Mark’s. The church was almost a mile from where she had been but she’d crossed the distance in less then a second. She startled when she heard a voice say, “I need to go back and help Seth now. Go see Sister Blakely. You’ll be quite safe with her.”
She looked around for the owner of the voice, but there was none. There was, however, a distinct calm presence of which she wasn’t aware until it had gone.
Kitty started to sob as the adrenaline wore off. She struggled to her feet and began to run, slipping so much she lost track of the times she fell. The ice had beaten her black and blue by the time she reached Anita’s small house.
The young girl stumbled up the front steps, her crying subsiding into hiccupping sniffles. She banged on the door, praying nothing would try to snatch her while she waited.
A light switched on in the hall making the glass panes in the front door glow. The yellow tinted light flooded the steps and made Kitty feel just that much more secure. After all, nothing can sneak up on you in the dark if there isn’t any dark.
“Who is it?” called Anita. The sound of a yawn was muffled by the wood and glass.
“Sister Anita, it’s me, Kitty Sontag…Seth’s friend,” she replied, her voice cracking and breaking throughout the short introduction.
“Kitty? What on earth…” The rest of the nun’s question died on her lips as she opened the door and took in the twenty year old’s face.
“What-is-he?” Kitty choked out, chest heaving. “We were attacked and he changed into…I don’t know. And then something took me here and told me to come find you.”
Anita put her head out of the door and looked to the left and the right. After making sure the coast was clear she nodded, “I think you’d better come inside.”
“Thank you,” she sniffed, wiping her eyes and stepping into the house.
A pair of silver eyes stared out of the darkness at the house. When the door closed the eyes disappeared and a few black feathers were left to dance on the cold wind.