City Burning

Alex Bastian can see the future.

She uses her ability the one conceivable way— to help people. Along her way she’s made many enemies. And now one of them wants her dead.


1. before





The name Alex Bastian meant a lot of things 

For some, it invoked something pleasant. For most, it meant inconvenience. 

Inconvenience was the case for Micheal Hurst. He was a criminal at best who made his money through scams and swindles and various other low-grade crimes. Alex had a reputation for interfering in businesses like his, and he’d made a wordless vow to put an end to the problem. Many had tried before him. Somehow, she always knew they were coming. 

He would be different, he was good at keeping things secret. After all, lies were how he’d made his fortune. He would make sure there was no way Alex saw him coming.

He had big plans. His heart hungered for conquest. There was a yearning rooted deeply in his gut, a desire so fierce he ached and trembled from it. It was a longing for vengeance, the insatiable craving to see the biggest, baddest, most formidable bosses of the Westridge underworld bowing to him. 

It had been his dream for a while. He was certain that he could make it a reality. 

He was seated in a large, vacant room, his elbows on the table as he idly watched security footage on his laptop. The room smelled of vanilla and old carpet. It was a familiar smell. He found himself relaxing, sinking deeper into his chair, his eyes half-shut and his thoughts taking on the soft, hazy-edged lull of sleep. He couldn’t remembered the last time he’d rested. There was no time for rest. His rage and his hunger fuelled him, and fuelled him well.

Micheal Hurst had a grudge against Alex Bastian. It went deeper than the sixteen-year-old standing between him and his goal. No, it was personal. 

With deft, careful fingers he pried open the box that was his memory and sorted through the ones she had left him with. He’d long since learned to be gentle when handling the events of that night; being rough only ended with him hurt— or him hurting others, and he didn’t have the time to be making messes. Blood was impossible to get out of carpet.

Alex Bastian was the reason his closest, oldest friend was rotting in jail. She had taken from him a man who he’d known since childhood, who was his brother in every purpose but blood. He had seen the look on her face when the police had interviewed her. He had seen her smug pride and something inside him snapped, unleashing a fury and hatred that was as primal as it was destructive. 

It was what Alex did. She tore lives to shreds and left ruins in her wake, yet the city of Westridge was quick to make the girl with the knack for solving crimes their idol. 

He tapped a couple keys on his laptop and watched as the screen changed. A small smile tightened at the corners of his lips. All the sleep had cleared from his mind, and even though there were cobwebs left around the edges, he saw the picture of what his future would hold with crystal clarity.

He would put an end to Alex Bastian. He would do it in her signature style, quickly and mercilessly, with no regard for anything else. He would do that and he would rise to power, and the world would bow to him, and he could set it afire if it was what he wanted, and it would be glorious. His future was a city that burned at his feet, that he could crush in his fist. It was a town whose criminals had a king. It was a velvet-line thrown and a crown heavy with jewels. 

His future was blood and money and fire. 

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