Lunging forward, he snagged the bag of chicken out of Sky’s hands, ripping a gasp from his lover. “Get ready with the spell. I’ll toss them the chicken.”
“Just do it!” he shouted, stopping any further arguments. “I’ll try to keep them between Mad and Red. Moon’s protecting me.” He didn’t even glance over his shoulder to make sure the blood witch was still with him. His eyes were on the dogs that were watching him. Nolan thought to shake the bag to keep their attention, but there was no need. His hands were trembling and the dandy dogs were laser-focused on him.
He stepped free of the brush and moved on to the shorter, neater grass. It took his fingers two tries to catch the plastic zipper on the bag and open it. The scent of raw meat must have hit the air, because all three of the dogs chuffed and barked. Their tails were wagging so intensely, their entire bodies were rocking while adding a whiplike crack to the air.
“Sky? Tell me you’re ready!” Nolan shouted.
“Almost! Couple of seconds more!”
Yeah, he was pretty sure he didn’t have a couple of seconds. The dogs were inching closer and were now nearly on top of him.
Reaching inside the bag, Nolan grabbed a chicken thigh. He forced his brain to ignore the lukewarm squish of flesh as he chucked it as far and high as he could.
And of course, the dogs could jump.
Really fucking high.
All three went up, but the lead snapped the thigh between its massive jaws. It crunched through meat and bone in two chomps. Nolan picked another and tried to throw it even higher and farther, but the dogs were too big and too quick. They were amazing to see, but Nolan’s brain was also screaming,What happens when I run out of chicken?
It was not something he wanted to face.
He reached in for another, his fingers scraping the bottom of the bag this time.Fuck! Almost out. Only a few more left.
“Sky,” he prodded as he pulled out the thigh.
Nolan chucked the piece of chicken. They all went up for it, but when one of them came down, it kept falling into a portal that went straight to the underworld.
Unfortunately, the portal wasn’t big enough to catch all three of them.
The jig was up, and the remaining two dogs were not happy to have their snack interrupted.
But instead of trying to run away, the dogs did the opposite. They charged straight ahead.
Without a thought, Nolan threw the remaining thigh and the bag at the dogs and turned to run into the woods. He collided with Moon, who was also attempting to retreat. All the witches were cursing and shouting.
The world exploded.
Something crashed into Nolan from behind, throwing him forward into a gigantic tree. The night burst into white light and pain. The thunder in his ears muffled all the shouts.
His heart. His heart was beating too fast.
Everything fucking hurt.
This…this might have been a mistake.
Adog slammed into Nolan, sending him flying until a tree stopped him. He hit the ground and didn’t move.
And for several heartbeats, Sky couldn’t move either. Everything inside of him was shattered or in denial. His heart was screaming, but a sound didn’t leave him as the air remained locked in his lungs.
Was he dead?