November 17, 2010

The storm had been going strong for hours. Amitiel would know. He’d been out in it most of the night. The coat made it less unpleasant, but the bandages on his hands were still soaked and chaffing against the burns. He registered the discomfort, but just as an annoying background sensation. Now the kick from his .38 as he put a slug in the man at the door, that stung. The gun hissed softly in the rain as he lowered the weapon and walked up to the man, kicking aside the other man’s semi-automatic and crouching down in front of him.
The man he shot was big. Scary looking. The kind of guy you put at your door to keep people from even wanting to ask questions. Of course, clutching at his stomach as blood mixed with rain probably ruined the effect.
Amitiel caught his chin, “Focus now. Next few moments will make all the difference in the world to you.” Amitiel pulled the man’s sunglasses off with his other hand and tossed them into the gutter to wash away. Idiot might actually have seen him coming if he hadn’t been trying so hard to look cool. “How many are inside?”
“You’re a dead man…” said the guard, reaching for a knife at his hip.
“I’ve heard that more often then you might think. If you pull that knife, I’m going to have to make this unpleasant. Just answer the question,” said Amitiel.
“Fuck you,” said the man, pulling the knife and making a weak swipe at Amitiel with it.
Amitiel caught the man’s hand easily and slammed it back into the building hard enough to crack bone and send the blade flying. Amitiel considered the man another long moment, watching his gaze become slowly less focused. Finally he sighed and shoved the man to one side. “You might want to tell them to send more then one ambulance when you call. Maybe you won’t be the only one to get lucky tonight.”
Amitiel took a moment to pick up the other man’s gun and tucked it into his coat. No sense getting shot in the back now. Plenty of bullets in front of him. He checked the door the man had been guarding and sure enough, the bruiser was supposed to be enough. It whispered open and Amitiel had a few steps to think maybe this would turn out not so bad.
Then he heard the girl scream. The kind of scream that even if your body survives, pieces of you don’t.
Amitiel came around the corner with his gun in hand. He put two rounds in the head of the man standing over the girl before all hell broke loose. He tracked right, firing at two more men as he threw himself into the guard left of the door, catching the guard’s arm as he pulled his weapon and sending him flying.
By this point, the men were shouting orders and curses as they opened fire an Amitiel. Normally, he would have tried to make at least a few of them miss. Normally, he wouldn’t let trash like this see the ash colored wings. He didn’t even notice the burning this time. It haunted him even worse when he took on his aspect, but this time his attention was on the men.
Amitiel took eight rounds as he systematically began shooting down the other men, drawing the automatic in his off-hand to finish the job as the .38 ran dry. The last bullet went in the man he had knocked down on his way in. His coat was tattered and bloodied. Some of it his own. He dropped the spare weapon as he crossed to the girl.
Somehow, he’d managed not to screw it up worse. She wasn’t shot. Of course, that was about the only thing going for her at that point. Amitiel cursed to himself as he crouched next to the blooded girl, untying her as quick as his shaking hands could manage.
She lifted her head slightly to try and look at him through swollen eyes, “What are you?”
Amitiel shuddered softly at the question, letting his aspect fade. Pain flooded in and he embraced it, accepted it as penance. “I’m sorry. I should have been here sooner,” he said. He tossed aside the last of the rope. “I’ll help you to the hall and get an ambulance called.”
The girl leaned heavily on him. “Thank you.”
Amitiel was quiet as he brought her into the hall, then carefully helped her sit down against the wall. She looked up at him as best she could. “Who are you?”
“Just a guy looking for answers,” said Amitiel as he stepped to the door and pushed it open. Sirens coming through the rain. The place was sound-proofed up pretty well. Figured. He glanced at the guard, laying still in the rain now, cell phone still in hand. “You should tell the cops everything.”
“So someone else can finish what these guys started?” said the girl.
“You never know. Sometimes the truth can save you,” Amitiel said, smirking faintly to himself. He drug the guard over to prop the door open. “Paramedics will be here soon. They should find you easily enough.” Amitiel stepped into the rain.
“Wait,” said the girl.
“Sorry, already running late tonight. Terrible habit to get into. Take care of yourself,” said Amitiel as he vanished into the rain.

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