Conspiracy Game(2)

By: Christine Feehan

Jack tasted the rage in his mouth. With infinite slowness, he eased his hands to the seam of his camouflage pants, fingertips seeking the minute end of the thin wire sewn there. He began to draw it out with a smooth, practiced motion, his brain working all the while with icy precision, calculating distances to weapons, planning each step to get him into the foliage of the jungle. Once there, he was certain of his ability to elude his captors, but he first had to cover bare ground and get through a dozen trained soldiers. The one and only thing he knew, without a shadow of a doubt, was that Major Keon Biyoya was a walking dead man.

Two soldiers tramped through the camp toward him. Jack felt the coil inside of him winding tighter and tighter. It was now or never. His hands were tied in front of him, but his captors had been careless, leaving his feet free after the last torture session, believing him incapacitated. Biyoya had smashed the butt of a rifle into the wound on his leg several times, angry that Jack had given no response. Jack had learned at a very young age never to make a sound, to go somewhere far away in his head and separate mind from body, but men like Biyoya couldn’t conceive of that possibility. Some men didn’t, couldn’t break, even with drugs in their system and pain wracking their bodies.

A hand bunched in Jack’s hair and yanked hard to bring his head up. Ice-cold water splashed in his face, ran down his chest into the wounds. The second soldier rubbed a paste of salt and burning leaves into the wounds as both laughed.

“Major wants his name to show up nice and pretty,” one said tauntingly in his native tongue. He leaned down to peer into Jack’s eyes.

He must have seen death there—the cold rage and icy determination. He gasped, but was a heartbeat too slow in trying to jerk away. Jack moved fast, a speeding blur of his hands as he looped thin wire around the rebel’s neck, dragging him backward off balance, using him as a shield as the other soldier jerked up his gun and fired. The bullet slammed into the first rebel and drove Jack back.

Chaos erupted in the camp, men scattering for cover and firing toward the jungle, confused as to where the shooting was coming from. Jack had only seconds to make his way to cover. Pulling a knife from the waistband of the rebel, he stabbed the dying soldier in the lung and turned the blade to the ropes binding him, still holding the soldier as a shield. Jack threw the knife with deadly accuracy, drilling the rebel with the gun through the throat. Dropping the dead body, Jack ran.

He zigzagged his way across the open ground, kicking logs out of the fire pit, sending them scattering in all directions, deliberately running through the soldiers so that anyone firing at him would chance hitting one of their own. He ran at one soldier, slamming his fist into the man’s throat with one hand and relieving him of his weapon with the other. He leapt over the body and kept running, ducking into a group of five men scrambling to their feet. Jack kicked one in the knee, dropping him hard, wrenching the machete from his hand and delivering a killing blow before whirling through the other four, slicing with an expertise born of long experience and sheer desperation.

Shouts and bullets rang through the jungle so that birds rose from the treetops, screeching into the air. Screams of the wounded mingled with the desperate sounds of angry leaders shouting to establish order. A soldier rose up in front of Jack, sweeping the area with an assault rifle. Jack hit the ground and somersaulted, lashing out with his foot, taking the man to the ground, ripping the rifle out of his hands, and using his enhanced strength, delivering a killing blow with the butt of the gun. He slung the weapons around his neck to leave his hands free and snagged a long knife and another rifle as he raced toward the cover of the jungle. The soldier had inadvertently provided him with covering fire, shooting several of his fellow rebels.

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