Salem released me.

On the ground, I gained use of my muscles and flopped over in the sand to get a full view of Zach just as his body went up in flames.

The other three soul-sucking bastards slipped into the sand and out of sight as Noah, Nick, and Luke rushed Zach. They tossed him to the ground.

Screaming, Zach rolled in the sand to distinguish the flames.

As soon as the icy stone fully released my muscles from a painful spasm of paralysis, I dashed to my brother and touched his charred temple. The screams ceased as he fell into a deep sleep. I’d found the primary somatosensory cortex where the brain most normally processes pain and stopped the signal, and I’d sent him into the third stages of REM sleep where he’d remain till our healing process corrected his skin lesions and righted his appearance.

Thank God for that mind hoodoo stuff,” Luke said falling on his backside to relax. He rested his forehead in his hands.

Nick stood, staring at his burned friend.

Zach’s hair was gone, and his skin no longer looked human, but bubbly and blistered. He breathed deep, rhythmic breaths, hopefully feeling nothing.

What the hell were those guys?” Nick asked without expecting a real answer.

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