Will looked around. The magic was singing within and around him. The street thugs were still looking through the alley for him, having not located his hiding spot yet. Ironic that he could probably level most of the state of Nevada with the power of his mind, but these thugs were still unwounded after chasing him. If it weren’t for the new Techno-nets installed on the outskirts of the city, he could have used mystical bonds to imprison the thugs without harming them.
The Techno-nets were a brilliant idea, created by Caleb*. Caleb had the idea that N-waves might be an answer to the odd M-waves that appeared on recording devices after the Awakening. The effects were somewhat similar to radio interference… powerful magicians could still get ‘signal’ but their power cut in and out continuously. Will found himself waiting for the humming of the magic within to match the power singing around him, desperate for the pulse to end before the thugs found him.
Too late. At that moment, a thug with a knife scar below his left ear wearing blue jeans, a KISS t-shirt and black vest yelled, “Hey, there’s the witch! We’ll get the $5,000 from him, certain.” With a wicked grin, the Scar growled “They only said alive… they didn’t say anything else about the condition. Be careful not to kill him guys.” With a sinking feeling, Will realized the group of ‘thugs’ that had been chasing him had the look of professionals. As the first fist fell, Will began to hopelessly defend himself. Will was no small guy, nor was he unskilled in fist fighting, what having to stick up for himself being a nerd all those years. It didn’t matter how skilled he was though. Unless he was Chuck Norris, there was no way he was going to stop 5 guys from roughing him up and tagging him, especially since one was bringing a taser to bear.
As the beating continued, Shocker pushed his way forward and let the volts flow through the bleeding wizard. The fleshy smack of flesh striking flesh repeatedly filled the alley-way. If anyone saw, they quickly realized that this was a “Not My Problem” situation and quickly proceeded forgetting it ever happened. The rise and fall of fists slowed and stopped altogether when Scar yelled out “McKinnely, get over here with the detector! We need him alive, and I don’t want him coming around before we tag ‘im!” The ragged form of Will rose and fell with labored breathing as a mouse of a man stepped into the alley. He was 5’0″ if he was an inch and the little glasses he wore didn’t help the image of a rodent. He extracted a gun-like object with a long metal syringe and began traversing the alley toward the beaten mage.
Four of the thugs each grabbed an arm or leg and Scar roughly grabbed the limp form by the head and jerked back on the hair, exposing the throat. Ian McKinnely moved foward and inserted the metallic tag into the syringe gun. As McKinnely touched the needle to Will’s skin, the T-net pulse ended.
With a surge of mental effort, Will stopped playing opossum (though it wouldn’t have been hard to truly sink into the velvet embrace of unconsciousness) and created an electric shield covering his entire body. The five thugs in direct contact with Will quickly fell slack from losing consciousness. Will had had enough presence of mind to avoid a voltage high enough to force the thugs to hold on even tighter.
As the electricity coursed from his body, Will prevented it from reaching McKinnely since he didn’t want an errant convulsion to cause the syringe to pierce his skin. With his fading resolve being bombarded by the bruises and hurts caused him, Will reached out and crushed the syringe gun. There was unfortunate collateral damage, since McKinnely’s hand was still gripping the gun. With a wounded yelp, McKinnely passed out. Will quickly scrambled up and started limping his way towards the end of the alley.
Beaten, bruised, and exhausted, Will slowed and turned back where he had just come from. “I’m not the same as them. I’m not careless. Damn it, but I don’t want to do this,” Will thought to himself. After quickly dragging the thugs into a pile, Will drew a quick shield circle to keep them in. He turned to the crumpled form of Ian McKinnely and pulled magic from the diffuse power all around him, coalescing it to fit his will. With a slight glow as the power bent to his command, the bones that had been crushed by his magic began to fall back into place, whole and healthy once more.
The healing drained both the healer and the patient. Will had pulled life from himself and his patient to give new health to the injured limb. Will sagged visibly and McKinnely turned an ashen shade of grey, while remaining unconscious.
Wanting to hurry and leave before another T-pulse activated or any more government goons came chasing after him, Will fled the scene. “Fled” might have been a slight exaggeration… Will drunkenly stumbled from the scene, gathering many a questioning look at the fresh blood and bruises that covered every visible part of him. His hair was sticking up wildly from where Scar had laced his hands through it to jerk back Will’s chin. “All in all,” Will considered “it’s been a good day.”
*Caleb was Will’s best friend prior to the Awakening. Jealous of Will’s new power, Caleb stopped hanging around Will. After the mystical rampages immoral dictators let loose, Caleb honestly felt it was his duty to aid in any way he could. His actions and beliefs are pure, though the seed for them may have been planted in his initial jealousy.
I’d like any positive or negative feedback on this if you feel like it. This will be an excerpt from a later chapter in the book. The government has put out a contract on mages and Will has been put in the cross-hairs.