Home > Witching Hour (Blood Magic #3)

Witching Hour (Blood Magic #3)
Author: L.H. Cosway



The fighting sprang out of nowhere.

One minute I was walking down the street minding my own business, and the next I was standing in the middle of a riot.

Turning the corner onto Campion Row, one of the main shopping districts in Tribane, my eyes were assaulted by a fist making contact with somebody’s face. Then, when I had the chance to scan the area, I realised it wasn’t just one fist and one face. Hundreds of people were fighting each other. Just going at it like they were taking part in a giant MMA tournament.

What fresh hell was this?

A thin brunette who looked like she wouldn’t normally harm a fly yanked on the hair of a blonde woman, spouting angry profanities into her face, spittle flying from her mouth.

Was there some sort of controversial protest happening today that’d gotten out of hand? It was the only logical explanation that came to mind as I took a step back, edging away from the chaos. But when I turned back to go the way I came, the riot had spread.

Had the entire city taken crazy pills?

This was too bloody weird.

Only a moment ago shoppers were wandering casually about the street, and now they were kicking the living crap out of each other.

A group of teenagers banded together, throwing bricks and smashing the windows of an electronics store. Several employees came rushing out to try and stop them, which only created more fighting. The teenagers kicked and punched at the polo shirt wearing employees.

At first, the polo shirts tried to stop the teenagers from doing any more damage, but it was like a flip switched in them and violence took over as they fought back. I stepped away, backing myself up against the concrete wall of the building behind me. Two men fell to the ground a foot or two away from me. The man on top pummelled the other man’s face, bloodying his nose.

“Hey, stop that!” I shouted.

The aggressor paused his pummelling, and my heart pounded when he turned and glared at me. There was a rampant, crazed look in his eyes. Not good, not good at all. He wore a wool coat, corduroy trousers, sensible brown shoes, and his balding dark hair had speckles of grey in it. He looked as straight-laced as they came, like an accountant or a financial advisor doing some shopping on his day off. Not some mental case who would randomly beat on a passing stranger. He let go of the man he’d been punching and advanced on me.

“You little tramp,” he seethed. “What did you just call me?”

The anger and hate in his words were odd, since I didn’t actually call him anything. I only told him to stop what he’d been doing. The fighting and looting were still going on around me, but all I could focus on was this man’s bloodshot eyes and the saliva that began to drip from his mouth, like a rabid dog.

I pressed my entire body even harder against the concrete wall as he came towards me.

“I didn’t call you anything,” I said in an even tone.

“I heard what you said, you fucking bitch! You’re going to pay for that,” he spat.

“Seriously? Are you deranged?”

Okay, that probably wasn’t the smartest thing to say, but I tended to get rude when I was frightened. If this man were a supernatural being, like a vampire or a dhampir, I’d have no hesitation using my magic to fight him. But he was only a human, so I didn’t know if my sparks would simply incapacitate him or kill him. I couldn’t saddle the death of a stranger on my poor, abused conscience. I already had enough to be feeling guilty about.

“I’ll show you deranged,” the man retorted, his hand fisted as he brought it down on me, punching me right in the face. Fuck that hurt! Sorcerers and ancient vampires might be psychos, but humans could be violent dickheads when the mood took them.

“Stop! You’re hurting me!” I begged as he lifted his leg and landed several kicks to my shin and one in the ankle. Right, well I’d been trying to save my conscience the addition of murder, but this prick had it coming. Without much effort, I summoned my magic. Sparks tickled my palm, which I raised and smacked directly into his forehead.

Immediately, he cried out, a look of pure, undiluted rage marring his features. He called me a see you next Tuesday before backing away several yards.

“Well, that’s not very nice,” I muttered as I glanced at the electronics store just as the teenagers fled. They were laden down with looted items. One of the employees grabbed a fleeing looter by his collar and pulled him to the ground, punching him hard in the ribs.

Someone stepped in front of me, blocking my view. The man who attacked me was back, his bloodshot, crazed eyes informing me he was ready for round two. Was he nuts? I’d just burned his forehead with my hand, and he’d decided to come back for more?

Something seriously wasn’t right here.

He advanced on me, and I dodged out of the way, dropping the shopping bag I’d been carrying. I turned on my heel and dashed through the mêlée of combating shoppers. The man gave chase. I could hear him grunting behind me, so I ran faster, my lungs burning.

I ran for at least ten minutes and the bastard was still chasing me. This was getting ridiculous. I abruptly stopped and turned around to face him.

“Back the fuck off,” I warned, voice hard. My tone seemed to shock him out of his anger.

He blinked and shook his head, as though trying to rid himself of a daydream. He peered at me, at my face that was likely sporting a bruise thanks to his fist, and his expression clouded with confusion.

“I—I’m so sorry,” he mumbled. “I don’t understand ...” Then he trailed off, shaking his head and running his hands over his face.

“Sorry for what? For beating on a woman you don’t even know, or for the man back there who you almost killed?” My indignation consumed me as I took a step forward to confront him.

“I don’t know why I did that, why I hit you … I just felt so … angry.”

Something definitely wasn’t right about all this. Something was rotten in the state of Tribane, and I’d be hard pushed to believe it didn’t have something to do with the Sorcerer Theodore being back on the scene.

“You’re lucky I haven’t decided to call the police. Go home and say a prayer for the man you beat up. Oh, and perhaps call an ambulance for him while you’re at it.”

As I spoke, I could already hear sirens approaching in the distance.

The man continued staring at me, bug-eyed. I shook my head, turned, and limped away. He’d kicked me in the skin and ankle, and I was hurt, but I could get Rita to whip up one of her healing remedies.

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