Sidorov sagged against the tree’s thick trunk. Blood poured from his
arm, running to the frozen ground.
he muttered. “Much more of this and a wet-behind-the-ears kid will
be able to track me.”
into the medpack he carried velcroed to his uniform, Dane grabbed
some bandages and a suture kit. Gritting his teeth, he sewed up the
wound, tied it off before biting through the string, and wrapping it
with the gauze. Tugging down his shirt sleeve, he shoved his arm
back into his white parka. Sure, he didn’t need to do it this
way, but…well, it better...safer.
bitter cold of the air told him he still lived, even if he didn’t
really feel that way. His ears picked up on incoming choppers. Four
of them. No doubt filled with men who’d kill him without hesitation.
Dane didn’t fault them for that. It was their job.
like it’s mine to keep that very thing from happening.
Where are you?” The question rang in his ear.
the pain in his arm, which actually was more of an annoyance than
anything, he smiled at Demon’s voice. “Fell down a rabbit hole. Have
to follow my nose.”
at his injured arm, Dane replied, “I’m good. Will meet at the
reigned, and he scanned the night sky again. Closer. They are
much closer now. The choppers had grown louder. Skimming his
tongue over his teeth, he began to run. Each step he took put more
distance between him and the enemy. The urge to stay and finish what
they’d started swamped him, and for a few seconds, he stopped and
hesitated, staring back in the direction he’d come. Until duty
overtook personal longings. With a sigh, Dane moved out. He
progressed slower and more cautiously, closer to the extraction
point. The hair on the back of his neck prickled with warning. He
dropped to the ground, all senses straining to find the danger.
he said, getting in contact with the head of the unit.
“Chopper’s here. We leave in two. Where are you?”
shook his head. “It’s not right. Get out of there.” He slithered on
his belly toward the helo holding his friends. His unit.
coming, Crypt. We have to get going. Get your ass here now! That’s
out!” Dane lunged to his feet and began to run toward the
helicopter, uncaring of the fact he totally exposed himself. “Get
out of there!”
powering up. Either you’re here or we’re gonna have to meet you at
the second rendezvous.”
whine of the chopper’s engine reached him. Dane pushed himself
faster, calling on more speed. He burst from the tree line and
headed for the bird. In the splinters of light he could make out the
tense face of Doc.
Slim? He should be by the door.
Dane couldn’t pick out his silhouette in the interior of the helo,
and he could see pretty well. Two more steps were all he took before
a fiery blast engulfed the helicopter, lifted him off his feet, and
knocked him back into the trees. He hit hard, the sturdiness of the
old tree not giving an inch to his body.
Fragments of the helicopter rushed by him, cutting through his parka
and digging into his flesh. Dane didn’t have time to yell before
darkness overtook him.
reached him, stirring him further from the hold unconsciousness had
know. He should be here. He was almost to the chopper when it blew.
Hell, for all I know his body may have been incinerated as well.”
the rest of the wreckage.”
voice rang familiar. Anger stirred and rose up within Dane. He could
smell the gun oil and made out eleven separate heartbeats. Instinct
took over, and Dane lay in wait, blending in with nature, his gaze
fixed on one man of the group. A man he had trusted with his life.
He snarled silently, his razor-sharp fangs thirsty for blood. The
“Wreckage is gathered, sir. No bodies. Only some blood and prints.”
“Prints?” the man asked. “Boot?”
Animal. Tiger. And it looks like a big one.”
roar pierced the frozen night. Eleven heartbeats sped up. The scent
of their fear permeated the cold air. A smell which served to feed
his desire to kill. Kill them all.
the tiger wants us out of his area.”
we shoot it? Always wanted to bag me a tiger.”
They’re very protective of the few remaining. It’s probably tagged,
and there would be a big investigation were it to be found dead or
All that care of a dumb animal. And the people?”
a Black Op. Never happened. Let’s go.”
chopper lifted off, another roar sliced the air. One of anger, hate,
and the promise of retribution and revenge. Tawny-green-gold eyes
followed the path the helicopter flew, and when it could no longer
be seen, they closed, and the darkness came again.