Red Angel

Red Angel by Helen Harper

Book: Red Angel by Helen Harper Read Free Book Online
Authors: Helen Harper
With a burst of uncontrollable energy, it flings me forward. I feel O’Shea grab the back of my dress to restrain me but it’s too late. My feet kick up the gravel that surrounds the building as I try to regain my balance. The only thing I can do is crouch into a ball but even then the bloody thing still pulls me forward. I’m wondering what Isaac Newton would have made of a Trace when I realise the soldiers have stopped and are turning in our direction.
    ‘Shit,’ O’Shea breathes.
    My instinct is to run but if we try that we’ll be spotted for sure. The soldier nearest to us starts to walk over in our direction. ‘Is anyone there?’ he calls out, peering towards us.
    Our only saving grace is that we’re enveloped in darkness and invisible from the road. My mind races through our options. We could rush the soldiers and escape but then we’d have no hope of getting near the orbs we need. I’m still wearing the dress; I could use O’Shea’s story about the lance corporal and wander out to chat to them, making it seem like I have permission to be here. It would buy us about five seconds before they discovered the truth. And what the hell do I do with the damned Trace? If I stand up, it’ll start yanking me again with such power that I’ll either drop it and allow the soldiers to pinpoint our presence, or it’ll fling me directly in their path. Bugger, bugger, bugger. This was such a stupid idea.
    There’s a crackle from the second soldier’s radio. He unclips it from his belt and holds it up to his face. He nods briskly. ‘We’ve got to go.’
    ‘It’s probably a damn cat. You might want to get on Arbuckle’s bad side but I’m not in the mood for another bawling out.’
    ‘That was Colonel Arbuckle?’ Even in the darkness, I can see his face pale. ‘But…’
    ‘We’re wanted in the Situation Room. Now.’
    The soldier’s Adam’s apple bob as he swallows nervously and turns away. My eyes track them as their heavy boots clump away. I stay where I am, hunched over the Trace as it continues to try and move me, until I’m certain they’ve gone.
    O’Shea peels himself away from the wall. ‘That was too freaking close.’
    ‘Did you hear his radio? Do you know what was said?’
    He shakes his head. ‘Just a word or two. I guess this Arbuckle fellow is kind of scary.’
    I gnaw on my lip. ‘Yeah,’ I say slowly, ‘I guess so.’ I imagine another identikit crew-cut but accompanied by a thicker neck and harder eyes.
    ‘Can you stand up?’
    I grimace. ‘I have the feeling that as soon as I do, I’ll fly through the air at a velocity that defies the laws of physics. No wonder these sodding Traces aren’t used very often.’
    ‘It’s following your orders.’
    ‘To find the orbs.’
    ‘Well in that case, let’s find them and get the hell out of here. We don’t need any more close encounters like that.’
    I uncurl carefully. The momentum has been building in the Trace so as soon as I’m half upright, I’m hurled forward like a cork popping out of a champagne bottle. My arms are outstretched and my feet drag behind me as I’m shoved straight onto the road. If we’d not managed to hide in time, I’d have run smack-bang into the soldiers.
    ‘Can’t you control that thing?’
    ‘You’re welcome to try,’ I say to O’Shea as I’m rapidly propelled along the tarmac before being swung to my right and thrown flat against the wall of another building.
    ‘No, thanks,’ he says, catching up.
    I step back, only to be thrust against the wall again. It’s pebble-dashed, and sharp little stones dig uncomfortably into my skin. I turn my face to the side but I’m still being squashed thanks to the Trace.
    ‘Do you think it wants us to go inside?’ I ask, my voice muffled against the stone.
    ‘Pardon?’ O’Shea leans towards me. I think he’s enjoying this.
    I drop the Trace and feel as if a great burden has been lifted from me. It looks pretty innocuous now

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