Blood covered the walls of the library. Books were in pieces. Red-splattered paper fluttered down. Xavier sprawled in the far corner of the room. He had blood on his clothes. On his face. The bodies of three people who tried to kill him were still leaking it.
He couldn’t stop shaking. “Oh God… oh God…”
Kristi ran into the room with her gun drawn. Xavier screamed as she put one bullet into the head of each of the assassins. Their heads exploded. Cybernetic implants sizzled and caught fire, puffing clouds of smoke that smelled like burned rubber. Xavier covered his eyes. He pressed his head against the wall and kept screaming. His mind plunged into the black abyss he used for his deepest psychic tuning.
“Easy, hon. Come on.” Kristi put away her gun, put him on her shoulder like a sack of grain, then drew her gun again as she walked out. Xavier held on. His eyes felt like thin metal plates that took in nothing. The carnage behind them might as well have been the stucco ceiling of his bedroom.
Half of the patrons of the library had run screaming for the exits when Xavier had blown hit squad’s heads off. Those who were left ran for cover when they saw Kristi’s gun.
Xavier’s mind cleared. He blinked. “There’s another psychic at the front of the building. He’s telling people that the hit squad is dead.”
“Block him!” Xavier shook. “Honey, do what you can. Can you be brave for me?”
He nodded. A picture of the other psychic snapped into Xavier’s mind: a bald man, younger than his father, with black rectangular—
“Left side!” he screamed.
Kristi put two shots into a man with black rectangular glasses who had been pressing his left hand to his temple, with his right hand reaching inside his jacket. A shoulder holster fell into view as he crumpled. The psychic’s light flickered out of Xavier’s mind.
Xavier screamed as Kristi fired through the library window. The crack of bullets zipped near them, close to Kristi’s face, as she turned Xavier away from the window. The shooter, a woman, twisted into a heap on the ground. Xavier thought it was awful to be sitting like that for eternity.
They made it outside to the parking lot. They walked past two dead police officers.
Finally, they reached Kristi’s car. She belted him in, then peeled out of the parking lot. “We need to get somewhere safe. Then to a phone. My implants are fried, X. The next time someone sends a hit squad, let me kill them. You fried my implants, too.”
“I’m sorry,” Xavier said. He sniffed. He realized he had snot running down his upper lip. He wiped it on his arm even thought he knew he wasn’t supposed to. “I’m sorry.”
“Relax, buddy. Plenty of time for that.”