chapter eight

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08 x turn left for trouble

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"I don't know how to shop, Wanda," I said as she pulled me through the clothes. Literally everything I saw was clothes - and too much of it was frilly. Or weird patterns. Or half the fabric I expected . . .

"It's fine, Meg," she assured me. Soon enough I could see where she was leading me; a place where the clothes were band t-shirts, dark jeans, and things that seemed much more familiar to me. "It's a big store. You will be fine."

"I don't feel fine," I mumbled under my breath.

That was the last time we talked - the rest of the shopping was a blur. I can honestly say I don't remember half of it, except I do remember Wanda procuring a card (I wasn't sure where she got it from) and paying for all of it.

Our shopping expedition was cut short, though. The moment we stepped out of the store, things went bad.

Fast.

"Megan-!" Wanda shouted in warning.

I turned just in time to see what her panicked face was about, and was almost too late. I hadn't heard the chatter of the machine gun over the normal sounds of city traffic, but I certainly saw the bullets flying toward me. Instinctively, my body flipped to indestructible, and the bullets smashed harmlessly into me.

"Random shooting?" I asked, though my voice was dark with annoyance as I searched the rushing crowds in the direction the shots had come from.

"No," Wanda disagreed, her accent thick, "was entirely intentional. I found him. Them."

"How many?" I asked, flexing my hands in preparation.

"Four," she answered. Her irises were bright red when I looked to her. "They're not . . . normal."

I scoffed, setting my bags on the sidewalk beside the store we'd walked out of. "Neither are we. Up for a scuffle?"

"Is that the appropriate word?" she asked amusedly, a sly smile on her lips.

"No, but it sounds nicer than butt-kicking," I said honestly.

Wanda laughed. "There are two to your left, coming down the sidewalk fast. Both armed, both . . . have abilities."

"I can do that. You got the other two?" I asked, already turning toward the men who were running at me.

"Absolutely," was the last thing I heard, before there were more shots, this time loud enough to catch my attention.

And that was their purpose. They were firing aimlessly into the crowds, one of them with a wicked leer on their face, the other with emotionless determination. There was nothing to be done about the shots already fired, but when it came to preventing further damage, I tore the guns out of their hands with a sharp thought, sending them careening off behind them.

"Hope you've got better tricks up your sleeves than that," I called in loud determination, "because I eat gunmen for breakfast."

"Silly little girl," the leering one snarled, his face twisted in a manner that reminded me of a pit bull. "You should not befriend heroes. Heroes don't last."

Before I could retort, he lifted his hands, and suddenly a car tore itself from the street and was hurled at me. I slammed up one arm, a telekinetic field stopping the car before it could hit me. "You keep thinking that," I muttered, my fists already beginning to glow dully with light.

More metallic objects began to fly toward me then, and this time, instead of bothering with a shield, I remained indestructible and let the poor man frustrate himself. So he was a metal manipulator; I wasn't exactly impressed. Especially because he seemed to get easily frustrated, and his friend-

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