HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 294

“Now, this spell requires a few ingredients,” she said. “I have most of them, but I’m missing one piece. Angela, could you turn around?”

Angela hesitated a moment, then turned away from Carmen. She felt cold fingers at the nape of her neck, and the image of the window cleaner she saw last year popped into her head. Large insect wings sprouted from her back, tearing through her shirt.

Angela glanced back.

“How the hell did you—”

“Hold still, please,” Carmen replied, gripping Angela’s shoulder.

Angela felt a sharp pinch as Carmen snapped off the tip of one of the wings. The witch placed the tip in a small porcelain mortar along with a small bone, a vial of what looked like blood, and several dried herbs. Angela focused on her wings until they dissolved to dust.

“A little warning might’ve been nice,” she said.

“That would have taken too long,” Carmen said, and started grinding the ingredients with a stone pestle. “You know, fairy wings are hard to come by on this world. You could make a killing on the underground reagent market.”

“I’ll keep that in mind if I ever get desperate enough to start selling body parts,” Angela said. “I didn’t even know they were fairy wings.”

“Did you think they belonged to a giant bug?” Carmen asked, then held up a hand. “Don’t answer that. I bet there are a lot of things you don’t know about your abilities. With the right guidance, you’d be even more dangerous than I am.”

“Not interested,” Angela said. “I’d rather focus on helping people.”

Carmen scoffed.


When she finished grinding the ingredients into a thick paste, she opened Eric’s shirt and applied the mixture to his mark. She smeared the rest on the dead man’s chest. She placed a hand on both men and started reciting words in an archaic language.