“Aves repello!” I hear Adrian shout.
That sounds like a good idea, I think, but only for a second. If I thought the Push was bad, the buffeting blow that whips off Adrian as he casts his spell makes it look like nothing. I am punched skyward, along with all the Mockers. The rooftop of the shack and the yard around it are cleared of bird life, out to a spherical perimeter marked at ground level by the tombstone fence. This means the chickens, too, and I almost laugh to see them hurled out like blown dandelion spores. They’re so little, they keep sailing out past the fence and into the forest, and some of them get stuck in the Spanish Moss.
The Mockers and I flap our wings and shriek in protest.
I can more or less watch the action unfold, forty feet directly below me. Adrian struggles at the window. He’s holding up his candle and the Eye, and trying to get off a spell, but he keeps catching himself against the side of the building. He’s falling asleep.
Eddie steps into the shack, firing a blast off with his boomer at each step. Buzzard Betsy shrieks and flings aside the child in her hands, a girl in a nightdress. Mike fires several bolts with his shooter and then he rushes in, running to grab the girl.
The other two children scream in the cage. I can’t see the doll.
I flap my wings but achieve nothing.
Adrian drags himself fully erect against the side of the house and gets off another spell. I don’t hear the words over the shrieking of the Mockers and the gunfire, but I see the cage spring open. The children come spilling out.
Mike grabs the girl at the side of the room and practically throws her out the window. Then he sees something and stops.
Betsy swoops down on Mike, jaws gaping. Eddie’s boomer flashes fire into her side, but she ignores it, grabs Mike Bass and clamps her vast mouth down around him.
Mike screams. It’s a very high-pitched sound, considering how big Mike is.
Eddie lets his boomer drop to his side and pulls out his smaller weapon, a shooter like Mike’s, only it can shoot very, very fast. He raises it, but Betsy snaps her head forward like a whip, spitting a projectile of Mike in Eddie Guitar’s direction. Mike and Eddie collapse in a tangle of rock and roll musician and lie still.
The thought of the impact makes me nervous, but I show horse—