As promised, here’s the sneak peek for Chapter 26 of “Hunter – Eye in the Storm”. The 70,000 word mark is an exciting one, so you get a little extra to read this time. Enjoy!
Hunter – Eye in the Storm
Stepping into a Pocket is always a risky business. Even if you land on a safe spot, like grass or a beach, you’ve still got to deal with the side effects. Pockets give you the same shock they give insects; you’re just big enough to survive it. The smaller the Pocket the less it hurts, but even the most diminutive Pocket will give you headache. Big ones will do a lot worse, if you believe the rumors.
At the moment, I believe them. That would normally make me happy, because it would mean my theory about the size of the Shipyards Pockets is right. Problem is, feeling happy about anything is tough when my head has been dismantled by chipmunks and reassembled by three and a half drunken monkeys. Throwing up would probably help the nausea, but something hit me in the stomach, causing my diaphragm take a leave-of-absence.
Lying on the ground enjoying my misery isn’t an option; the Jeep is rolling away. I put it in drive so it would roll mt the Pocket on its own. That means it kept rolling after it crossed the border. Getting to it before it meanders it’s way in a ditch is my top priority. Stumbling to my feet is the least pleasant thing I’ve done in a very long time, but it has to be done. We need that Jeep.
Any and all pain from scrambling upright is immediately superseded by the pain of being slammed into by a flying Hunter. Ow. I stare up at the sky for the second time. My chest feels like someone detonated a grenade in the breast pocket of my trench-coat. Sitting upright hurts enough to make me gasp softly, which hurts worse. I’m going to have to have a word with Lady Luck about her management of trajectories and timing.
The person that hit me is rocking back and forth, moaning. I get up again and examine him. It’s the Hunter Keenan called Rincon, the one who didn’t know any German. His shoulder looks decidedly awkward.
“Looks like you dislocated something.”
“Guess so. You weren’t kiddin’ about Pockets tearing you up.”
“No. I don’t kid.”
“What are we going to do about it?”
“We? Not we. Me. With a bad arm you’re a liability and I can’t have that. With a good arm, you’re useful and I need all of that I can get. Wait here.”
I sprint after the Jeep, catching up with it twenty yards away from where I landed. Hopping in and braking it to a stop is child’s play, assuming you’re the kind of kid that likes to play chicken on the rail-road tracks. Once I’ve backed up enough that I think the Jeep should be out of the way of anyone else that might get dumped in the same place as me and Rincon, I head back to the injured Hunter.
“This is going to hurt, a lot.”
“Thanks for the reassurance, ya je…”
Any possibility that he was going to end that comment with an insult is wiped out by an agonized yell. Snapping a dislocated joint back into place really interrupts a conversation.
“That ought to do. Can you move it?”
In answer, he yanks a knife from his boots and twirls it handily. He’s a little stiff and guarded with the motions, but they’re deft and efficient.
“I’ll be fine.”
With a brief nod, I turn away and start scanning the area for the others. From the size of this Pocket and what ever variations in momentum there are, we could be scattered over a hundred square miles of Storm-warped south Texas. Most of the northern horizon is uninteresting, at the moment, that as. I’m looking for people not boats. After a good bit of scrutiny, I catch sight of Keenan.
She’s peeling herself off the ground and even from a distance, it’s not hard to tell she’s even sicker than me. Before I can head over, Rincon’s voice breaks the silence.
“Putting my shoulder back where it belongs. You didn’t have to do that. One of the others would have done it, seeing how we’re all co-workers. With me out of the game, they’d have to pick up the slack, but I’d still get paid. They’d have put me back together so I could haul my weight.”
“I just needed someone to watch the Jeep.”
“You’re a stinkin’ good liar, Hunter, but I know better.”
“Just stay with the gear.”
Did you enjoy this sneak peek? If so, please tell me so in the comments! If you didn’t, go ahead and tell me that, too! If you’d like to read some more of my work while you wait for the next sneak peek, check out the Library for some short stories.
Have g’day and whatever you do, don’t pet the needle-hair rhinoceros in the backyard. Trust me on that one.