Cursed(The Thrice Cursed Mage Book 1)

By: J.A. Cipriano

Something reptilian and angry lifted itself up from the recesses of my mind as I took a step forward, my hands clenched as my eyes zeroed in on the woman’s raven-colored hair still clutched in the thug’s meaty fist. The beginning of a bruise in the shape of a handprint was evident on her left cheek and blood dribbled from her swollen lips and down her chin. Blood was spattered all across the cheap tile floor of the laundromat.

The thug holding her raised his other hand like he was going to slap the taste out of her mouth even though I was standing right there. I guess he didn’t care about witnesses. Well, I’d make him regret that. I took another step forward as a red film of rage filled my vision.

“What have we here?” his compatriot, a tattooed white gorilla with a face like a bulldog and a military buzz cut said. He raised one dark eyebrow as he watched me cross the room. “Some kind of hero?” He cracked his massive neck before sniffing at the air hard enough for his industrial-sized nostrils to flare. “Trust me, she’s not worth it, pal. Best hurry on your way.”

“I’m not a hero,” I said as a glimpse into my past zipped across my mind. The girl was different, and the guy beating her had been her boyfriend, but the circumstances had been otherwise the same. I’d done something to the guy. I stopped mid-step and reached for the memory, grasping for it with mental hands, but it slipped through my ethereal fingers and disappeared into the winds, leaving me with a faded picture of me covered in the guy’s blood.

“Good to know. If you’re smart, you won’t be here long,” said the dark one in a bored tone. Then, like I wasn’t there at all, he smacked the tiny brunette hard enough for the sound of it to reverberate through the room before tossing her across the cheap linoleum floor.

She bounced once and slid to a stop at the booted feet of the man’s partner. Her trip left a crimson snail trail in her wake. They’d really have to have done a number on her for that to happen. That realization made me want to tear them in half, to show them what it felt like to be beaten to a bloody pulp. It was one thing to ignore me, but it was quite another to beat the crap out of a woman who probably weighed less than a hundred pounds soaking wet.

My eyes snapped from the brunette on the laundromat’s floor to the bulldog-faced thug coming toward me. His arms were covered in tattoos of babies being skewered on spikes and other evil shit, and while something told me I should be scared, I just wasn’t. Not even a little. I wanted him to attack me, to give me an excuse to end him.

Instinctively, my right hand tightened into a fist, and I could have sworn I smelled the faintest hint of rotten eggs and swamp gas. Not only that, the temperature seemed to creep up a couple degrees as I took my own step forward to meet the bruiser’s charge.

“The fuck you think you’re gonna do here, pal?” The bulldog’s mouth curled into a snarl as he reached out one hand to stop me. I walked brazenly into it so his palm was pressed against my chest. The man’s eyes narrowed as he glanced from his hand to my face. “Newsflash son, you don’t want to save this girl. She’s not worth it.”

My vision went red with rage as everything inside me screamed for me to tear him apart. A snarl tore from my lips, and without thinking, I grabbed his wrist with my right hand and twisted while stepping in closer so I could throw my entire bodyweight into the movement. His wrist snapped in my grip as he came crashing down to the floor. He slammed into the linoleum, and his forehead bounced off the ground with a wet smack. I gave him a kick in the face just to make sure he wouldn’t be getting up. It felt so good, I did it again. What can I say? If it feels good, I do it.

“You should just go away now, unless you want to cuddle up next to your friend.” My voice was way more confident than I had expected as I smiled congenially at the other guy.

He stared back at me in a mixture of rage and horror, and the sight of it made me get all warm and fuzzy inside. I’m not sure why seeing his shock made me feel better, probably because he’d been beating on the girl. At least I hoped that was why. If not, I was probably not a very good person, and I was really hoping that wasn’t the case. If I wound up being some kind of dick bag, maybe I was better off forgetting my past.

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