Winter Rain, part 24



I launch into motion. Brennan dives at me, but too late. No! he orders from behind, but in a straight out run, he can’t catch me, and he knows it.

I leap the gate into the back school yard and race toward the old industrial park on the other side. I haven’t a clue what I’m going to do when I get there.

Except rip her fucking throat out. That sounds like a good start.

Fuck, this is nuts! Why am I running right into a trap?

Because, asshole: you have no choice. Now shut up and run.

A vision of Tara hangs before me. She’s lying on the ground, blood spilling out. And somebody’s lining up another shot.

I drive my feet harder into the ground with every pace.

And if it’s Faolan . . . then Rian’s already killed us. Cormac trying to take over . . . Sheridan, Brennan . . . fuck, me even . . . it’ll be a war, and we’ll all lose. Then Rian can just waltz in. All he’d have left to do is clean up the blood.

No! It’s not going to happen! No, fucking, way!

The back fence looms ahead. It’s twelve feet high if it’s an inch. I scan the bottom edge for a gap, and find one. It’s too small, but I don’t have time to dig. The metal tears at my already torn back as I scramble through. But there’ll be plenty of time later for the pain. For now, it just makes me clearer. Or something.

I need a plan.

Yeah. Note to self, right?

But the picture’s becoming clearer. And more difficult. I can smell five of them. Five! All human. Gun oil and burnt powder, too. Fucking snipers. The closest one is above me, I’m pretty sure. On the roof of the nearest building. And there’s no way up.

In this form, anyway.

There’s an electrical conduit attached to the wall, about seven feet up, and it extends vertically to several feet above the flat roof. Probably live wires at the top, but I should be able to get under them.

I leap at the wall and change mid-air. I miss with one hand, but manage to grab the bottom of the conduit with the other. Fortunately, bare feet against a brick wall, I haven’t made much noise.

I haul myself up and peek over the top of the wall. He’s there, lying on the far side of the roof, a rifle aimed down the street. Right about where Faolan’s call came from.

I have no idea how far Tara got.

I can’t be certain with these eyes, but I think there’s another guy on the roof of the building opposite.

It’s a fucking shooting gallery. And somebody I need is the target.

The roof between me and the near one is covered in gravel. The second I step out, he’ll hear me. Fuck! It’s 30 feet, easy. Even with a jumping start, it’s still a couple of seconds to cross the distance. Plenty of time for him to turn.

Though maybe not enough time for him to aim.

Too bad. It can’t be helped. If he’s still here, he’s hoping for another shot at whoever he’s got pinned down. And I just can’t let him do that.

Never did like long decisions. And I’m out of options.

I pull myself up and onto the top of the wall, my heart in my mouth. He doesn’t turn.

Maybe I could get closer to him if I climb along the wall. But if he notices me while I’m doing it, it will be me with the late start.

Just do it, you fucking coward!

I shake the noise out of my head and fix my eyes on his back.

Just stay low. On three.

One . . . 

Two . . .