Deadly Game(5)

By: Christine Feehan

Kadan gained the porch, moving past the swaying carcasses to enter the cabin. He spoke briefly to Violet and they both hurried into the room with the senator, pushing him back toward the kitchen where the "safe room" was. The fireproof room was beneath the main floor.

The macabrely swinging carcasses drew Ken's attention again. Blood dripped. The odor carried on the night breeze. He swallowed bile, wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead, and put his eye to the scope again. Something about the deer nagged at him—just wouldn't let him go. A shadow seemed to grow out of the deer on the far side, emerging from the top near the meat hook.

Ken squeezed the trigger and the shadow fell with a heavy thud, one arm stretched out as if in entreaty. Even as Ken took the shot, Jack's gun went off, and a second body fell simultaneously, that one from the far side of the roof.

A third shot rang out as Jack scooted back into the bushes for cover, the bullet hitting where his head had been. Ken was already targeting the brief flash. Taking his time, he tightened his finger on the trigger just as his quarry shifted position. The bullet slammed home, driving the sniper backward, the rifle still in his hands. Ken followed with a second round, but his target was dropping through tree branches. He knew that neither bullet had killed his target, a rare occurrence. Eye to the scope, he followed the path of the sniper as he tumbled down the slope, crashing through trees and brush.

Instant awareness rippled through Ken's mind, as if all members of the Ghost Walkers and the assassination squad were connected in some way to the sniper.

Stand down. Ken! Kadan issued the command. They're backing off to protect that man. Get to him first. Whoever he is—he's more important than the primary target. Secure the sniper immediately. We'll hold his team here while you make a run for it.

I've got his back. Jack said unnecessarily. Every member of the GhostWalker team knew that where Ken went, so did Jack, and vice versa.

There was an instant of stillness, and then an electrical current sizzled through the air, snapping and crackling, so real that the edges of the clouds lit up with answering current. Power surged. There was no mistaking the sudden anxiety in the environment. It shimmered on the night breeze, a sudden alarm the other members in the sniper's unit couldn't control.

Ken shouldered his rifle and double-timed it. He knew the location of the body, and judging by the way the sniper had free-fallen, he'd been unconscious going down. That didn't mean he'd stay unconscious. Just like the others, he was a supersoldier, enhanced physically as well as psychically. And that meant containing him as quickly as possible.

Ken planned every move as he ran, trusting Jack to keep the enemy off of him. Two gunshots rang out almost simultaneously. A bullet zinged off to Ken's right, shaving the bark from a tree close to where he veered. The shooter had anticipated him leaping over a fallen trunk and on to another one to gain the far hill. Jack had no doubt been more successful with his bullet, because no one else shot at Ken despite the itch between his shoulder blades.

We've got them pinned down. Kadan's voice was ultra-calm. I'm keeping them from communicating, but I can't hold them forever. Take the sniper, get out of here, and for God's sake, keep him alive so we can extract information. The rest of us will take the senator and his wife out of here. I've called for a second helicopter. We'll take the secondary escape route. You rendezvous with Nico and get to a safe house.

Copy that, Jack sent back. They'd be on their own once they determined a location to hold the prisoner, at least until Kadan and the rest of the team made certain the senator was safe.

Ken scrambled through loose dirt and leaves, uncaring of leaving a trail. Speed was of the essence. Jack fired twice more.

They're taking chances, Ken. They don't want you to get ahold of that man. I'm right behind you, so don't shoot me. Jack reloaded as he ran, keeping to the heavier foliage as he swept the region for any sign of the enemy, protecting Ken as he zigzagged his way through the heavy timber and brush to reach the fallen enemy.

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