Eighteen Months Later
It’s dark. Everything always seems dark nowadays. I’ve always liked wandering at night. One of the witch-hunter perks is having excellent night vision. But since the witches knocked out technology and there’s no longer artificial light, everyone else’s eyesight has sharpened up too. It seems there are benefits to living much more naturally.
The massive warehouse used to be alive, full of light and noise and activity. Now it’s only when you get to the inner rooms that you get all that.
I let myself in and let my eyes adjust to the yellow lamplight before I shake off my coat and unstrap my gun.
Chris looks up from the purloined couch and, after a brief smile, he turns back to Hazel. Yeah, seeing those two as an item is still weird, but it kinda works. As long as the three of us aren’t on a mission together. That happened once—never again.
The others must be out on patrol still or trying to catch some sleep in one of the other rooms. Most of them are kids we knew from school, plus a few others that we’ve picked up along the way. My own band of witch-hunters.
It’s a full-time job keeping New York safe from witches. Despite the fact that the witches crippled us, they never managed to take New York. There’s too much fight left in this city for them. But they still try.
Our band of fighters is small. We try to keep under the radar—not just of the witches, but the MMC too.
I mean, I don’t think they’d be as interested in this group of first generation nobodies as they would be in me, but that hardly bothers me anymore. No, I’m more worried that one day the Council will have another major fail, and all our names will be on a nice, neat register for the witches to track us down.
When the war started, the witches had their own list of every witch-hunter that had wronged them. Luckily, because of the severity of Thomas’s injuries, we were able to fake his death before they came looking.
Speaking of our ghost, he comes rolling down the ramp with that annoyed look he does so well.
“You went out alone. Again. What have I told you, Kristen?”
“We’ve been over this before—you find me someone who can keep up, and I’ll happily drag his ass all over the city.” I leaned down and gave him a quick kiss on the temple. “You need to stop stressing before you go even greyer.”
I walked toward the kitchenette before he could argue. I know it’s mean, and I know it’s just another reminder that Thomas can no longer play that role.
He was bitter and upset that he’d never regained the use of his legs. We’ve had a few very heated debates over the last couple of years. He also made me swear that I would stop thinking of him romantically and move onto someone more suitable (which led to another heated debate and a threat of broken wrists).
I did, eventually. I started seeing a guy, another rogue hunter, but quickly lost interest. And since then, there’s been no one besides Thomas that has sparked my interest or truly challenged me. I’m starting to think that guy doesn’t exist. Especially not in this mad world.
“Have you thought any more on what you’re going to do?” Thomas’s voice broke through my reverie as he rolled up next to me.
I shrugged. “Chris and Hazel both think I should stay.” We all had a duty to protect our city, the fact that I might be the only 6th gen left in New York (and potentially the whole US), made my sense of duty ring a little louder.
But the truth was, as much as I was doing my part, I was still only doing damage control and mopping up the mess. What I really needed to do was get to the epicenter of it all and see if I could flip this war on its head.
Thomas could practically read my mind, and he pulled out an envelope. “A ticket to Spain. It leaves tomorrow.”
“I’m just one person,” I argued, even though I knew that I was definitely going.
“And once you’re in Europe, you’ll be entirely on your own,” Thomas replied, handing me the envelope. “I’ll handle things here. You need to get to the UK, somehow. Make whatever’s left of the British MMC realize how important you are. I’ve never met anyone like you, Kristen. And I truly believe…that you can kill the Shadow Witch.”