Afterglow (Wildefire)

Afterglow (Wildefire) by Karsten Knight Page B

Book: Afterglow (Wildefire) by Karsten Knight Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karsten Knight
    Unfortunately, Ash discovered when she turned back to the room, the spot on the floor where Proteus had supposedly been unconscious was no longer occupied by the shape-shifter. The coward had fled, leaving his supernatural lover to fend for herself.
    He was probably also making his way back to Colt to warn him that the ruse was up. Ash just prayed that Modo hadn’t finished the ax yet.
    The front door to the room flapped open, revealing two men in Boston Fire Department gear. “What the hell are you doin’?” the firefighter in front yelled at Ash. “Head to the staircase and get outta here.”
    “Yessir,” Ash said with a salute.
    “Anyone else in the room with you?” the second firefighter asked as she started to pass him.
    Ash smiled darkly. “Just me and my lonesome.”
    Then she headed for the stairwell, taking the steps two at a time all the way down to the lobby. There was no time to waste.
    After all, she had a laboratory to infiltrate.

    RazorWire Laboratories was an intimidating tower of glass and steel that looked more like a massive modern sculpture than the headquarters for a technology company. It sat squarely in the middle of a series of liberal-arts college campuses, not too far from Fenway Park. The reflective glass windows blazed a blinding orange under the setting sun.
    With the regular work day over there was only one security guard manning the check-in station, his legs up on his desk and a magazine open in his lap. Ash tried to exude an “I work here” confidence as she strode past the desk, but the guard was shrewder than she thought. “Miss,” he called out, and was already starting across the lobby for her.
    Ash was prepared. She telegraphed a point of heat to the magazine the guard had left on his desk. “Fire!” she cried, pointing behind him before he could get to her.
    Sure enough, when he turned, his issue of Maxim had gone up in flames. He sprinted back to his station. Ash tried not to giggle as the fan behind the desk blew some of the burning pages from the magazine, scattering them across the lobby floor.
    While the guard was busy trying to stamp out all the burning debris before a fire alarm went off, Ash darted for the elevators and slipped into one just as an employee was exiting.
    It only took the high-speed lift a few seconds to rocket her to the top floor of the laboratory, and another coupleof minutes before Ash found a door marked R & D - NANO-TECHNOLOGY that she could hear voices behind.
    She threw open the unlocked door.
    Everyone in the laboratory froze as soon as they saw her. For a second, with the harsh setting sun backlighting the occupants of the room and gleaming off the high-tech machinery, it was hard to sort out who was who. Gradually, however, Ash saw that Modo was presenting a six-foot-tall ax to Colt. Proteus and Eve stood to either side like sentries, their eyes fixed on Ash to see what she planned to do next.
    “Don’t give it to him, Modo,” Ash yelled. “This whole thing was a setup.”
    Modo paused. Even though the silvery ax was as tall as Modo, he held its leather grips in his massive, callused palms as though it weighed nothing at all. The blade, Ash noted, looked sharp and refined enough to slice through stone like it was jelly. “But Jenna—” Modo started to say finally.
    “Is a double-crossing, goddess bitch who’s been working for these guys all along,” Ash said. “She conned you, Modo.”
    It was like someone had attached weights to the bottom of Modo’s face, his sagging jowls nearly falling to the floor. His head started trembling as he turned to regard Colt. Then he cranked on the machine behind him. The fans inside began to whir rapidly, and a red beam—a laser—materialized between the two diodes.
    Modo spun around, pushing the blade of the ax toward the open laser.
    But Colt was too fast for him. In a blur the trickster god ripped the cumbersome ax out of Modo’s fingers. With his other hand he grabbed Modo by his

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