Yup, yup, yup! T’day is the day. I passed the 80,000 word mark on “Hunter – Eye in the Storm” last week and finally got around to putting it into the Word document. (for those of you who don’t know, I do my 1st draft on an ’87 Royal Safari III typewriter, so I have to scan the pages into the computer)
I’m sure you’d rather hear from Hunter than listen to me ramble on some more, so here’s the 80K sneak peek!
Hunter – Eye in the Storm
“What about this guy?”
“It’s a rough game, isn’t it?”
I head for the Jeep, leaving Rincon staring down at the body. Sliding into the vehicle, I shove Merrick out of the way. He’s still watching the clump of bushes nervously.
“Merrick, you’d better un-stick your mental gears and get moving. What scares you more; me or whatever is in those weeds?”
Before I can answer, or whack him to clear his head, there’s another dull thump and the Jeep rocks on its springs. When my head slams into the roll-bar, I come to the conclusion that that Merrick’s fear might be justified. Probably not, but I’ll giving him the benefit of the doubt. When the Jeep stops rocking, I peer into the bushes. One-tenth of a second later, any unkind thoughts I may have had about Merrick vanish in a flash of teeth.
Black and yellow cross my line of sight and I twitch in shock as jaws snap shut an inch from my face. Specifically, an inch away and three inches up. More specifically, right at the space where the brim of my fedora sits. I’ve just enough time to snatch the hat away from the beastie, then it lets out a savage hiss and vanishes back into the bushes.
“Snake! In the bushes!”
At my shout, Merrick launches himself from the Jeep in a mad scramble. A split second later, there’s a hail of bullets as everyone begins ventilating the bushes. Once my hat is safely back on my head, I join in, emptying both barrels of my shotgun into the shrubbery. Branches,leaves, twigs, and flowers disintegrate under a hail of lead. As I reload, I study the bushes, watching for the yellow and black pattern to re-emerge. Just as the napalm shells slide home and the breech clicks shut under my fingers, I catch sight of the beastie.
It’s slithering at top speed, right for the Jeep. Every now and again, it twitches as a bullet finds a target, but it’s one determined snake; keeps right on moving. My shotgun is swinging into line when the animal comes out of the bushes, propelling itself into the air like a lethal yellow spring. The boom of my shotgun echoes for an instant, then it’s drowned by the roar of the flames. The jellied gasoline splashes over the reptile’s open jaws and ignites.
Somewhere, deep in my subconscious, I must have known that firing the napalm round into something that close was a mistake. Unfortunately, the startled conscious side of me panicked and pulled the trigger. As my subconscious sarcastically points out as I fly backward, it told me so. When gasoline and sparks combine, the resulting shock-wave is nothing to fool around with.
Since the snake’s nose was only three feet from my chest when the round went off, the blast knocks me out of the Jeep. I manage to catch myself, mostly, and end up sitting on the ground, staring at the side of the vehicle. The flames are still dancing, but there’s a funny wailing sound amid the roar and crackle of the gas fire. After a moment of careful listening, I realize it must be the snake. Taking a hit like that to the jawline had to have ruined his smile. His dentist is going to have a fit.
Did you enjoy the new sneak peek? If so, please, say so in the comments! Any Tweets, Mentions, and Likes are very much appreciated . If you’d like to read some more stories while you wait for the next sneak peek, check out my Library for some short stories.