Writer's Corner
Short Fiction for February 2001:

Hunting Prey,
Part 1
by Gary Reed

Used by express permission of the author, to whom all ownership rights remain reserved.  No portion of this work may be reproduced without written consent of Gary Reed

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The Hunting Prey
Copyright 2000, by Gary Reed

Part 1:

Adam Gillette couldn’t see.  He felt that his hands and feet were tied, but even that didn’t bother him.  He was more worried about the fact that he was blind.  A few minutes before, he hadn’t worried about his blindness because he had been unconscious.

Fighting panic, he began to try to use his other senses to figure out where he was.  He could hear the sound of a whining roar, along with the background noise of what seemed to be a fast-paced pounding.  He could also smell the fumes of hydraulic fluid and burning fuel.  Also, judging by the motion and instability of the platform on which he lay, he deduced that he was being transported in a helicopter.

As the panic began to pass, he realized that there was a dark rag tied around his head, covering his eyes.  He was blindfolded.

To maintain an illusion that he was still unconscious, he didn’t move.  He tried to experience everything he could to try to figure out why he had been abducted.  The only things he could experience though, were the noise of the helicopter and the motion of the craft in flight.

Why had he been abducted?  He was a nobody English teacher.  He didn’t see a crime committed or anything  like that, not as far as he knew anyway.  He didn’t know anyone rich enough to pay a ransom.  The answer was as clear to him as much as he could see while blindfolded.  His brain seemed to scream, “What the Hell is going on?!”

Resisting the urge to scream those same words aloud, Adam remained silent.    A few minutes later, Adam felt the helicopter bump to a landing.  The turbine roar and whine began to wind down as the pilot shut down the engines.

Adam heard a cargo door growl on rollers, then slam into a locked-open position  He felt his arms roughly grabbed by at least two people.  The unseen men dragged Adam across the helicopter’s deck and out the door.  As his legs reached the edge of the deck, two more hands grabbed his ankles and lifted them.  They obviously thought he remained unconscious.

Adam could have walked, but he saw no point in making “their” life easier.  He chuckled to himself.  Instead, he remained limp, content with the thought that his six-foot-three-inch, two-hundred eighty-five pound bulk was quite a handful for the three men. They kidnapped me, they can carry me.

Moments later, he was deposited in a straight-backed chair.  The hands released him and seemed to wait to see if his “unconscious” body would slump off the chair.  Seeming content that Adam would not fall off, the men left the room, the closing and locking of a door signaling their exit.

Since his hands were tied in front of him, Adam could reach up and pull the blindfold from his eyes.  He saw, after the rag was removed, that he was in a small, untidy windowless room.  He and the chair were the only objects in the room.  Light was supplied by a single, dim bulb hanging from a socket suspended from the ceiling.

As he looked around the bare room, Adam’s anger began to rise.

“What the hell is going on!” He shouted at the closed door in front of him.

To his surprise, the door opened.  A tall, thin man stepped through the door, followed by another man, roughly the same size as Adam.  Both men wore military BDU’s (Battle Dress Uniforms) with the black, brown and dark green, horizontal striped camouflage pattern known as Tiger Stripe.  Both men also wore ski masks to cover their faces.

 “An excellent question Mr. Gillette,” the thin man said in a voice as thin as himself.

Adam wasn’t about to give them the satisfaction of a movie-like “How did you  know my name?”.  He figured, and felt that they had taken his wallet.  Instead, he fell back on his sarcastic wit.

“Well, well, it’s the nineteen-sixty-eight Da Nang downhill ski team.  I’ve been wondering what happened to you guys.”

“Very funny.  Due to your seeming ignorance of the situation and the fact that you have been treated as you have, I will disregard your caustic sarcasm, Mr. Gillette.” The man said, stressing Adam’s name.

“If you think that knowing my name impresses me, you’re wrong, Pal.  Any idiot can lift a wallet and read the drivers’ license.  Look, yes, I’m pissed off.  Wouldn’t you be?  What’s going on?”

The thin man nodded to the bulky man, who then turned and left the room.  He returned a moment later with two chairs.  He waited for the thin man to sit before  sitting in the second chair.

“You see Adam;  May I call you Adam?” the thin man began.

 Adam shrugged.  “Don’t have much of a choice now do I?”

“As odd as it may seem to you Adam, we want you to be comfortable here.”

Adam responded with a snort.

“Not a conversationalist now are we?  Frankly, I’m surprised.”

“Look, this isn’t a character evaluation.  Get to your point.  I mean that by telling me why I’m here and not at home on my way to work,” Adam said, his voice rising with impatience.

“Don’t get testy, Adam.”

“What a stupid fucking thing to say,” Adam growled partly to himself.

“You want to know why you were brought here.   If you truly don’t know, then we don’t want you to know.  We are currently running an operation that is crucial to our organization.  You stumbled upon an exchange of information concerning this operation.  Whether you know anything or not, we needed to prevent you from taking any information to the authorities.  Now, I will ask you.  Do you know anything about our operation?”

Adam replied with an incredulous look.

The thin man seemed to be waiting for a verbal answer.

Adam gave him one.  “I don’t know jack shit.”

Adam wasn’t normally the type of person to swear.  Being an English teacher for Junior High school kids forced him to watch his language.  Under duress though, his language became like that of the construction worker he had been before becoming a teacher.

“We believe you Adam, but we feel that you should remain here until the operation is over.

The thin man, finishing his speech, stood up.  The large man stood as well and took hold of the two now-empty chairs.

“Hey!  What about my questions?” Adam demanded.

“What questions do you have, Adam?” the thin man asked in a patronizing tone.

“Just who the hell are you?”

“Curious at last?” The man seemed to smirk beneath the mask.

“Not really.  I just want to know who to point the finger at when I get back to the world.”

“The world will know who we are.” The thin man said in an arrogant tone.  He turned and left the room, his companion following.

As the door closed, Adam muttered in a mocking tone, “The world will know who we are.”  He shook his head.  “Give me a break.”

How had he “stumbled” upon an exchange of information?  Adam searched his memory for any incident that may have placed him within that type of situation.  He could not remember.   All he  remembered was stepping out of the diner where he got coffee every morning before he went to school.  As he was unlocking his car, two men grabbed him from behind and held a rag soaked with a foul-smelling substance.  After inhaling some of the fumes, he blacked out.  His memory was a blank until he regained consciousness in the helicopter.  A glance at his watch showed that the time was 11:30am, five hours after his abduction.

Anyway, why he was there was not important to him at the moment.  What was important was the fact that he was there.  What was he going to do about it?  Escape  was the answer.  A thought struck him.  His belt buckle!  His bound hands quickly reached to the buckle of his belt.  He grinned as he realized that his abductors hadn’t realized what it was.  Placing his left thumb on the upper left corner of the buckle, Adam applied downward pressure.  The protruding front of the buckle turned downward, unlocking the knife contained within.  By swiveling the unlocked portion 180 degrees, Adam now held the handle of the knife in his right hand.  Finally, he pulled the blade from its place in the buckle.

Carefully, Adam began running the razor-sharp blade across the bonds on his wrists.  Suddenly, he heard the bolts thrown on the door.  His hands still bound, he returned the knife to his buckle and checked to see if the cuts were obvious.  They weren’t.  The door swung open and the two men strode through once more.

“Adam,  we’re going to have to leave you now.  Jack here will be staying  here if you need anything.  Of course, Jack is not his real name, so you can’t use it against us.  I hope, for your sake, you didn’t tell anyone our plans.”

Adam was through arguing the fact that he knew nothing.  He remained silent.  Outside, he heard the helicopter engines start. So, Skinny was  leaving.

“Can we do anything to make you more comfortable?” Skinny asked.

“Yeah, take me home on that helluvawopper and leave me alone.”

Skinny shook his head in a patronizing way.  “Anything but that, Adam.”

“Well, then...Go fuck yourself,” Adam said in the mockingly cheerful tone.

 “That’s not the attitude to have, Adam,” Skinny said as if admonishing a child.

“Well, Mr. Congeniality,” Adam began in the same cheerful tone, then shouted, “WHAT THE HELL KIND OF ATTITUDE SHOULD I HAVE, GODDAMMIT?”

“Losing your temper, now Adam?” Skinny crooned, a smirk showing through his mask.

“Not really.  I just thought that you asked me a stupid question.” Adam replied in the same mock-cheerful tone.

“I came in to ask you one more time.  What do you know about our operation and did you tell anyone?”

“Look, Pal, I’ll close caption it for the hearing impaired.  I DON’T KNOW JACK SHIT!”

“Well, in that case, I guess I’ll be leaving.  Jack will get you anything you need.  Just yell for him, he’ll come.”

“Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out,” Adam said.

Skinny and the man who was to be called Jack turned and walked through the door.  Again, he heard it close and lock.  After waiting several minutes to make sure they would not return, Adam flipped the knife from his buckle again.  He heard the helicopter take off.  Good.  Skinny and his annoying voice were gone.  Once again, he sawed at the bonds on his wrists.  In seconds, they parted.  He bent down and began cutting the rope that tied his ankles.  He cut behind his ankles to hide the cut strands if Jack returned.  He cut the ropes until only a few strands were holding them together.  Adam could break them by merely spreading his legs apart with a sharp jerk.

After loosely wrapping the cut ropes back around his wrists, Adam began to put the plan he had been forming into action.  He gave them one last look to make sure that his hands looked like they were bound.

“JACK!  Hey, Jack!” he called at the closed door.

The latches clicked and the door opened.  The big man stood in the doorway, filling it.  “What?” he growled.

My God.  It speaks.  “Hey Jack, can you let me go to the bathroom?  My bladder’s killing me.  I stopped wetting my pants in the first grade.”

The big man mumbled something unintelligible.   He stepped into the room, still muttering.  Adam waited until  the man got closer.  He made sure that his eyes or poise did not reflect what he was about to do.  Keeping his hands together, he fought the urge to clench his fists.  Jack moved closer and began bending down to untie Adam’s wrists.  While he was still bending down, Adam made his move.

In one swift motion, Adam clenched his right hand into a fist and drove it upward into the man’s face.  The blow lacked the full force possible from Adam’s massive body, but surprise and Jack’s downward momentum added to the force of the blow.  Along with the sound of Adam’s fist striking Jack’s face, there was a sudden crunch.  Adam felt Jack’s nose bones separate under his fist.  He stood up, adding to the force of the uppercut.  Jack’s head snapped back from the punch, his entire body following.  The massive body seemed to teeter a moment,defying gravity.  After a second, it crashed down.

Snapping the few strands holding the ropes on his legs, Adam pounced upon Jack, intending to finish him with the knife in his left hand.  It wasn’t necessary. Jack’s eyes had turned up into their sockets, showing only white.  His mouth hung open and slack.  His nose looked as if it had been struck with a hammer.  Adam knew without looking that the man he knew as Jack was a corpse.  He had driven Jack’s nose bone up into the man’s brain.   Son of a bitch.  That Stephen Segal shit  really works.

He quickly stripped Jack’s uniform from the body and donned it himself.  He was surprised that even the boots fit.   With the Tiger Stripe camouflage, he could hide in deep woods and brush.  He was familiar with the pattern because it was his choice of pattern for bowhunting the elusive white-tailed deer.   Adam put on the ski mask and opened the door.  Stepping through, he found himself in a deserted, adjoining room.  A desk and chair sat in a corner.  An open paperback laid face-down on top of the desk next to a black beret bearing a crest of a shield bearing a skull pierced by a snake-wrapped dagger. Cute.

A jumbled pile of gear laid in a heap next to the desk.  An AR-15 rifle stood propped against the wall next to the gear.    Smiling, Adam stepped over and picked up the gear.  It was a military web belt and suspender system.  Various pouches and items hung on the belt and suspender straps.  Adam identified the items at a glance:  USMC survival knife, two canteens filled with water, Beretta 9mm pistol in its flapped holster, three hand grenades and a canister-like smoke grenade.  The pouches he opened to check their contents.  In two of the pouches he found six extra magazines for the AR-15, each holding thirty rounds.  In another one, he found two magazines for the pistol, each holding fifteen.  Other pouches contained a compass, wound dressings, a disposable lighter and a silencer for the pistol.  The last, he laid on the desk next to the paperback.

After making a quick inventory of the gear, Adam shrugged the harness over his shoulders.  He snapped the belt buckle at his waist.  He was now ready to fight his way clear if he needed to.  He hoped he didn’t need all the hardware that hung off his body but decided that he would be better off to have it than not.  The weapons were fine, but he needed supplies in order to survive if he got clear of the compound.  In short, he needed food and shelter.

Picking up the rifle, Adam drew the bolt back partway.  The gleam of brass in the receiver showed that a round was chambered.  He let the bolt slide back.  Twenty-nine in the mag, one up the spout.  Cocked, locked and ready to rock.  After slinging the rifle barrel-down over his left shoulder, Adam unflapped the holster and slid the pistol out.  He checked the chamber of the pistol to find a round in its chamber.  He took the silencer from the desk and screwed it onto the threaded barrel of the pistol.  There, no one will hear me when I let loose like gangbusters.  He looked himself over with amusement.  I’m a walking Goddamn arsenal.

Adam had never served in the military.  He wasn’t a Special Forces Green Beret, Navy SEAL, or Army Ranger.  He was an English teacher.   After growing up around and respecting firearms and enjoying hunting and shooting as hobbies, Adam knew and fully understood the power of the weapons he now had in his possession.  Years spent as a member of a few gun clubs made him familiar with a large variety of firearms.  As it happened, his familiarity with the AR-15  and Beretta was quite high.  Though he had never fired the AR-15  in its automatic mode, he had fired semi-automatic, civilian versions.

Adam knew that they were going to kill him if he stayed.  That line “we don’t want to hurt you” was a crock of shit.  At least he had a chance if he escaped.  He just needed to get out.  He also needed supplies.  If they were far out enough to use a helicopter, he would need supplies to survive.  He hoped and suspected that they were in the woods or mountains.  He hoped it was so because woods were cover for him to hide.  He suspected it was so because a compound in a clearing or grasslands would attract attention .

He looked down on the desk and glanced at the open paperback.  The cover featured a bare-chested man passionately holding and fondling a scantily clad woman, who seemed to be moaning in pleasure.  In flourishing letters, the title proclaimed, Rebellious Desire.  A crooked grin showing on his face, Adam picked up the book and looked to where it was opened.  Several lines were underlined.

...She could feel the heat of her desire burning within herself.  The heat rose from her middle and stretched throughout her body.  She heard herself moan as he touched her again, this time pulling more of her clothing from her body.  She begged him to touch her more and finally he was on top of her, his heat spreading into her.  She cried out and pulled him closer, begging for him not to stop...” He read silently.  Jack, you dirty-minded boy.  Adam laid the book back down on the desk and slid the beret into his pocket.

Keeping the Beretta ready, Adam walked through the other door in the room.  It opened into a hallway with a door opposite the one in which he stood and another at the end of the hallway.    Watching the door at the end of the hallway, Adam placed his ear against the door he faced.  Hearing nothing, he turned the knob and opened the door.  He did so at a natural pace because he felt he would draw more attention if he opened it slowly and peeked through.   As Adam stepped through the door, he smiled.  The room was devoid of all “enemies”.  The room was full of supplies though.  He quickly entered and shut the door.

Crates and boxes filled the large room.  Other miscellaneous items lay in piles.  A quick glance showed Adam that almost all the boxes and gear were military.  Friggin’  I. Goldberg warehouse!   Adam grabbed a rucksack from a shelf and began rummaging.  A second uniform in his size, a matching field jacket, a rain poncho with liner, a mess kit, a length of camouflage parachute cord, a spool of fine monofilament line, binoculars, a hatchet, a pair of gloves, and other small items were stuffed into the pack.  Adam then found two treasures.

One was a case marked MRE, Meals, Ready to Eat.  FOOD!  He quickly opened the case and stuffed the plastic packages into the pack.  In a moment, the pack was stuffed full.   The other treasure was a uniform that seemed to have been overgrown with moss and mildew.  It was a “Ghillie Suit”, a uniform developed by English game wardens for stalking poachers and later used by the U.S. Marines for camouflage for their snipers.  It was a jacket-pants combination made of burlap and moss-like fabric.  Worn over a uniform, it broke up a man’s outline and hid him.  In their words, it makes him look like a walking bush.  There was even a slip-cover for the AR-15  made of the same fabric.  Adam rolled the suit into a bundle and strapped it to the top of the pack.

Now, he had to have a goal.  Where was he going to go?  He could escape, hide in the woods and get away, but still die in the wilderness.  Skinny would still win.  He would find a way.  I have to.  Shouldering the pack, and buckling it around his waist, Adam felt the weight of all the gear that hung from him.  He hoped that he wouldn’t have to run, but suspected that he would. Keeping the rifle slung, he took the silenced pistol in his hand and stepped through the door and into the hall.  He was relieved to find it still empty.

He walked down the hallway toward the door at the end.  He saw another doorway to his left.  This door was slightly ajar.  He pushed his way through it, into the room beyond.  It was an operations room.  Maps and charts lay on a large table in the center of the room.  A man, his back to Adam, sat typing at a computer.

“You should be in the other room guarding the prisoner,” The man reprimanded without turning.

Adam crossed the room in two strides and dragged the man from his chair.  As the man began to yell, Adam plunged the pistol’s muzzle into the man’s mouth.

“Think it through.  If you even peep, I’ll scramble your brain into Hamburger Helper and send it all over the wall.  Got it?”  Adam hissed.

His eyes wide with fright, the man nodded.

“Okay, I’m going to take it out of your mouth now.  It won’t be far away.  Get up.”

The man struggled weakly to get to his feet.  Adam noticed with satisfaction the wet spot on the man’s uniform pants and on the floor.  The guy was scared out of his mind. Good, his loyalty to Skinny was under stress.  Adam drug the man over to the table.  He pointed to a map that had a section circled.

“Is this where we are?  Does this circle represent this compound?”

The man hesitated.  Adam moved the muzzle of the pistol so it touched the man’s throat.

“Do you want a nine-millimeter tracheotomy?” Adam growled.  “Don’t fuck with me.  I’m a high school teacher.”

The man nodded.  “That’s where we are.” he croaked.

Adam scooped up the map, glanced at it and stuffed it into the large pocket of his fatigues.  “What is your plan?” he asked.

The man’s eyes looked questioningly at Adam.

“What are you training for?”

The man hesitated.  Adam’s thumb slid up the back or the pistol, looped over the knurled hammer, and pulled it back.  A loud click signaled that the pistol was now cocked.

“The governor,” the man said quickly, “We’re going to hit him and his cabinet at his vacation home.”




“Next week.  Thursday.”


“So that we can hold him for the release of our incarcerated brothers who are prisoners of the oppression.”

“They’re criminals.  They belong there.” Adam growled.

“They’re freedom fighters.”

“That’s a question of semantics.  Get on the floor.  I’m tired of arguing with you.”

The man laid face-down on the floor.  Adam grabbed a roll of electrical tape from a tool box on the desk and bound the man’s wrists behind him.  He rolled the man onto his back and stuffed a rag into the man’s mouth.  This he held in place by a couple of wraps of tape around the man’s head.  To make sure the man didn’t roll over and suffocate, Adam dragged the man over and propped him against the wall.  A thousand and two uses for electrical tape.  He slid the roll into a cargo pocket of his fatigues.

Adam removed the silencer from the barrel of the pistol and slid it into one of the many pouches on his gear.  The pistol, he slid into the holster, closing the flap over it.

Adam left the bound man behind and stepped from the room.  He turned to the door at the end of the hallway.  Opening it, he stepped through, into the daylight of the outside.  Since he kept the ski mask on, he felt that anyone seeing him at a distance would think he was Jack.  No one was in view.  A quick glance at his compass and map showed Adam where he wanted to go.   He slid the AR-15  from his shoulder, needing the longer range and faster rate of fire in case he was seen in the open.  Taking a quick breath, he ran forward toward the woods ahead of him, 150 yards away.

As he lumbered across the compound, he waited for the reports of weapons, the ricochet of bullets, the sounds of alarms, or any other sounds of discovery that he had escaped.  All he heard was the stomping of his boots on the ground, the swishing of his fatigue legs together, the gear on his body clanking and his breath rushing through his clenched teeth.   After running for what seemed to be an  hour, Adam crashed through the underbrush of the treeline.  He saw a fallen tree and quickly dove behind it.  Squinting down the sights of his rifle, he swept its muzzle across the compound.  His finger tightened on the trigger of the rifle, his thumb tensed on the fire-selection lever, switching it from “SAFE” to “SA,” Semi-Automatic.  He watched a man turn the corner of the building he had just fled and enter the door.

“FUCK!” Adam cursed under his breath.

Seconds later, he saw the man run out of the building and look around.  Adam then heard the PA speaker blare, “ALERT!  ALERT!  PRISONER ESCAPE!”

Adam felt waves of panic break over him.  He fought off the urge to sprint into the forest behind him.  Nevertheless, he kept his wits.  A mad dash would only get him lost.  He needed a moment to get his bearings.  He also wanted to see how many would come searching.   Two other men joined the first man.  They carried what appeared to be Uzi’s.  At this distance, Adam held the advantage. Good.  The first man began moving towards Adam’s position.  The others were going in opposite directions, to Adam’s right and left.  They were splitting up.

Since he didn’t want the men to flank his escape, Adam would have to knock out at least two.  Since he felt he was going to head out to his right, he figured he better take out the one headed that way first.  He laid the sights on the man’s upper body.  A shot from this range would be easy for the high-velocity .223 caliber round.  He breathed in and let out the breath.  During the short pause between breaths, Adam squeezed the trigger.  The rifle spoke with a whining crack that echoed off the mountains that surrounded them.  Adam heard the action work in the plastic, telescoping stock below his ear.  There was almost no recoil.  The ejected shell flickered and clinked into the dirt to his right.  He released the trigger to let it return to its ready position.

The man, struck high in the right shoulder, twisted to his left, crying out.  As the man spun  his back to him, Adam squeezed the trigger again, sending another bullet through the man’s back.  The man lurched forward to lay face-downward in the grass.   Adam swung the rifle around to the other two men.  Both had dropped to the ground.  The closer one was firing a pistol in his direction.  The other was crawling toward Adam’s position.   Adam could tell that the two men did not know exactly where Adam’s position was.  They did not see the flash from his muzzle.  They were both firing now, spraying his area without any conscious aiming.  Adam hunkered behind the fallen log, feeling it shake as several bullets hammered it.  He held his fire, hoping they would think him dead or running away.

Suddenly, the men ceased their firing.  Adam slowly brought the rifle over the log and found the closer man in his sights.  Fifty yards away, the man was still prone, but raising his head up to see.  He was also aware of the other man quickly crawling toward him.  Adam was watching the first man over the sights hoping the man would give him a better target.  In a moment, their eyes locked.  In that instant, Adam knew he had been seen.  He saw the man’s mouth open to shout his position and saw the pistol coming to bear on him.

Adam had no memory of squeezing the trigger.  He only remembered the black spot suddenly appearing on the man’s forehead and the red spray from the back of the man’s head glistening in the sunlight.  The man’s head snapped back, then forward into the grass, the back of it a torn and bloody mess.   Adam felt a pounding on the log and saw the other man charging his position, the Uzi in his hands winking fire with a sustained “Buuuuuurp”.  He rolled to his right, somehow managing over his pack.  Finding himself on one knee, he raised the rifle and snapped off three quick shots at the charging man. The first two rounds flew wide.  The third struck the man in the thigh, causing him to stumble.  The man hit the ground and rolled forward in a somersault.  When he completed the roll, he was on his feet again, still running toward Adam.  He raised the Uzi but it failed to fire, so he threw it at Adam who was lining up his sights.  The man whipped out a huge knife and brandished it, yelling in rage and still charging Adam.

Adam’s thumb found the fire section switch and slid it into the “AUTO” position.  He pulled the trigger and held it for a moment before releasing it.  The rifle bucked as it fired a five-round burst.   The man shuddered as the rounds thudded into his chest.  Still he charged on.  Adam held the trigger longer this time, hammering the man with a longer burst.  The man staggered, then slid to his knees.  On his knees, he continued to advance.  The look of agony and hatred distorted the man’s face to where it was no longer human.  To Adam, the man seemed possessed.

“I’m gonna kill you motherfucker,” the man seemed to chant through his pain-clenched teeth.

The man was only ten feet away, still coming on his knees, clutching the knife in front of him.  Adam aimed the rifle at the man’s forehead.

“I don’t think so.  You brought a knife to a gunfight.” Adam said with a slight grin.  He fanned the trigger, firing a five-round burst.

The man’s head exploded with a shower of red and gray.  He fell back, his face caved in where the bullets hit. Adam quickly scanned the compound to see if any more men were coming after him.  A bullet whip-cracked through the brush to his left.  He caught the flash of rifle fire from the doorway as more bullets reached into the woods to strike at him.  Adam aimed at the flashes in the doorway and squeezed the trigger.  Four rounds cracked from the muzzle then the rifle was silent.  Adam dove behind the log and pressed the magazine release button with his left hand and pulled a fresh magazine from one of the pouches on his gear with his right.  The empty magazine dropped from the rifle and Adam slid the new one in place.

As he rose behind the log, he pulled back and released the charging handle, chambering a round.  His eyes fell immediately onto the sights and aimed at the doorway.  To Adam’s surprise, there was no return fire.  He saw the dark body laying slumped in the doorway.  He had hit the man with his last four rounds. Shit Hot.  Adam ran another glance over the compound to make sure no one else followed him.  Seeing no one, he stood up.  Since no gunfire raked his position, Adam relaxed.  He glanced at the carnage he created and shook his head.  He removed the ski mask, which was soaked with sweat and pulled the beret onto his head, with the crest over his left eye and the slouch down almost to his right ear.  A quick compass and map check told him where he wanted to go.  Stuffing the compass into the pouch on his left shoulder harness and the map and ski mask into his fatigue pocket, Adam checked his watch.  It read 12:45pm.  Holding the rifle at the ready, Adam disappeared into the woods in the direction he chose.  Watson, the game is afoot.

Adam’s thoughts were on escape and survival.  He knew that the terrorists would soon be on his trail.  In time, he knew they would overtake or outflank him.  When they would and how many would was what he wanted to change.  He wanted to delay his pursuers and possibly dwindle the numbers without getting into a full-fledged firefight.  I’ve become a goddamn Contra.  Ollie North and Ronnie Reagan help me.  He had figured that Skinny and his goons would expect him to run for the nearest town.  In fact, he was headed in that direction.  He would change direction later.  He wanted to leave them a trail that seemed to confirm their suspicions.  He would end up heading for another, more distant town.  He didn’t expect his pursuers to be completely fooled, but possibly the diversion would delay them for a time.

To dwindle their numbers, he would use tactics he learned while he did research for a hobby of his, the Vietnam War.  From many books and manuals, he remembered the mechanics and use of guerrilla tactics and booby traps.  What I wouldn’t do for at least a half-dozen claymore mines.  Claymore mines, named after the two-handed broadswords carried by Scottish Highlanders, were a type of antipersonnel mine.  They were actually a slightly convex layer of C4, the US Army's pet plastic explosive, covered in front by a layer of steel ball bearings.  When detonated, the balls would fly out in a fan-shaped pattern, shredding flesh, bone, and anything else in their pattern.  None of these deadly weapons were in the warehouse, so Adam didn’t have any with him.  He would have to make do with what he had.

He wanted to plant the traps early in the chase because the pursuers would slow to keep an eye out for any more he might set.  And there would be more.  He didn’t want to plant them too early in the chase though, because he wanted his pursuers to think he was ignorant in the cunning art of escape and evasion.  He didn’t want to show all his capabilities too early in the campaign.   Adam knew they would follow him quickly and relentlessly.  He had killed some of their brothers.  They would follow.  He just wanted to put some distance between them and him.

He kept moving at a fast pace.  He stopped occasionally to catch his breath.  He checked his compass and map to make sure he kept on his intended path, toward the nearest town which was forty miles away.  The town was not his real destination though.  Adam wasn’t fooled into thinking he could escape this militant band too easily.  These were men that could find him after he went home.  If he escaped them now, he would only have to constantly keep an eye out for them in the future.  These were men that kidnapped him in front of a diner.  They were capable of almost anything.  He would have to eradicate the problem that would exist in the future.  He would have to fight them.

Suddenly, he heard the helicopter fly overhead toward the compound.  A glance at his watch showed him that it was 2:00 pm.  Well, an hour and a quarter head start was better than none.  He hitched his pack up on his back and resumed his quick pace.  Now the fun begins.

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