The Compass by Cindy Charity


She was on fire, she had to be; her blood felt like it was boiling. Ali tried to let go of Finn, tried to step back, but she couldn’t move. Her muscles seized, causing sharp, jabbing pains. Something in her shifted, it was dark and menacing. She didn’t like it, it made her feel sick. Her vision went in and out of focus; she saw Finn’s face, it was set in hard lines of pain. For some reason that bothered her more, she didn’t want to see him in pain. Her throat felt swollen and it was so dry, it would be agonizing to speak. But he was the only one who could give her an answer. “What’s happening to me?”

All her ire was gone, replaced by vulnerability. As much as he wanted to—needed to, Finn couldn’t answer her. His body was dealing with the force of her touch. The leather of his jacket could not protect his skin, it burned where her fingers clutched. It was like thousands of tiny living barbs were digging their way into his flesh, anchoring themselves there. And while they were digging, pulses of energy shot into his system. In his mind he saw bright lights in various colors. They pulsated and flashed with frenzy.


Cian’s voice, filled with panic, reached him. He sounded like he was millions miles away. Through the torment Finn responded. Her touch, it scorches. I cannot stop it—the lights, there’s something in the lights but I cannot see what it is. He felt Cian’s attempt to interfere, but all it did was strengthen the connection, and pain unlike he had ever known cleaved a bellow from him. To put it in mortal terms, it was like sticking a fork into a light socket. He knew he had to remove Ali’s fingers, but his brain wasn’t listening to his commands. It was though they were fusing together, her energy and his.

Her eyes began to drift close. Ali fought against it. She still hadn’t told Finn what she thought of him. He needed to hear it; he was too bossy, and way too sexy. She rarely lost her temper so completely, but she sure had now—the gorgeous oaf. She moved her mouth, tried to form the words. Frustration had her growling. Then, just as suddenly as it had happened, everything stopped, like a switch being flicked off. Her hand slipped off of his arm and fell limply to her side. She was so dizzy. Why was she so dizzy?

Finn doubled over and struggled to get air into his lungs. His body was racked with spasms. Raising his head, he saw Ali. She weaved a bit. Her eyes were cloudy. He immediately dismissed his own condition and focused on her. “Ali, lass, look at me, concentrate on me, on my voice.” He saw her try, and for a brief second, he believed she gained clarity.

“I’m so going to kick your ass when I wake up.” She crumbled to the ground, her bones like liquid. Finn was on her in a flash. He gathered her limp body into his arms, ignoring the stench that wafted off of her. He bent his head to her chest and breathed a sigh of relief. She lived.

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