"Into The Woods" - Part Twelve

Ten minutes later, we spotted the halted convoy ahead of us. Four Humvees, four dark SUVs, and three heavy-duty pickups, one of which had a manned .50-caliber machinegun mounted in the truckbed, sat on the shoulder of the road.

Mouse had kept up a neverending stream of invective on the walkie talkie directed at Dylan and it seemed to have worked at derailing them.

"They're about twenty meters from the turnoff," Kyle said.

"Block 'em," I said.

We roared past the line of cars, crossed the double-yellow, and slid to a squealing stop at an angle across the intersection of Highway 299 and Iron Mountain Road.

Mouse stopped talking on the walkie and Mac's voice screeched from the speaker: "--I find you, I will cut your fucking head off!"

She turned it off, gave a cruel little chuckle, and handed the unit back to Kyle.

Kyle had a broad grin on his face and Cutter was gasping and wiping his eyes.

I grinned at Mouse. "Nice play," I said.

Mouse flashed me a grin then gestured toward the front of the Humvee.

I turned.

The convoy vehicles were disgorging their passengers.

I counted at least thirty, all of them looking at our Humvee, confusion on their faces.

Looked at Kyle. "Stay here," I said. "Wait for my signal."

He gave me a puzzled look, but nodded.

"Let's go, Mouse," I said.

"Right behind you," said Mouse.

"Me, too," said Cutter.

I opened my door, stepped out, and stood next to the front of the Humvee.

Heard the two other doors open and close.

Out of the corner of both eyes, spotted Cutter to my left, Mouse to my right.

The passenger's side door of the lead Humvee flew open and Mac jumped out and marched toward me, a scowl on her face. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Dylan's sold you out," I said.

Mac skidded to a stop. "That was you on the radio."

"Was me," said Mouse. "And it's true."

"Bullshit," said Mac.

"He sold you out to Capital," I said. "You're walking into an ambush."

Mac drew the pistol from her leg holster and pointed it at me. "You lie," she said.

"Now," I said.

Our Humvee's door opened.

Mac swung her pistol toward the sound.

Then gasped and stepped back.

Kyle walked forward and stopped in front of our Humvee, his AK-47 held muzzle-down at his side. "No lie, Mac," he said.

Surprised cries rippled across the other Claw members.

Mac lowered her pistol, her brow creased. "What're you doing here? You're supposed to be--"

"Gone ahead?" said Kyle. "To recon the site?"

"Disobeying an order," said Dylan.


Saw Dylan standing next to the lead Humvee's driver side door, pistol trained on Kyle.

Kyle raised his AK at him.

Dylan fired.

Kyle fell back against the Humvee's front grill, clutching his left shoulder, the AK dropping to the ground beside him.

Heard Mouse shuffle right.

Mac whirled on Dylan, pistol swinging up toward him, her eyes wide. "Stand down and drop the weapon!"

Dylan kept the pistol pointed at Kyle. "I told you Kyle was bad news, Mac. But you didn't listen."

"Drop the goddamn weapon, Dylan!" said Mac.

"Too late for that," said Dylan and swung the pistol toward Mac.


And the world slid into slo-mo.

The Twins leaped into my hands from their shoulder rig and roared twice, spitting fire and thunder. Both rounds slammed into Dylan, high, near the shoulder, bounced him off the driver's side door, and pitched him face-first onto the asphalt. His pistol clattered away.

Then Dylan pushed himself up from the ground, looked toward me, lips twisted in a snarl.

And twenty centimeters of sharpened steel popped out of the back of his right hand.

Implant blade.

Damn. Should've checked.

Dylan got one leg under him, rose to a half-crouch.

Metal whistled past me.

And three throwing knives erupted from Dylan's left upper arm.

He howled, clutching at his arm, and staggered back against the Humvee's door.

The Twins barked again, twice each.

Dylan's chest cratered and he folded.

And stopped moving.

(to be continued...)

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