Seichan twisted in the opposite direction, slipping out a scarf and wrapping her head and most of her face. Kowalski bellowed behind her—sounding disturbingly happy, finally in his true element.
Now to find Gray.
She had Tucker Wayne’s call sign and last position noted on her own phone’s navigation system. That’s where Gray would be headed.
She burst out the rear door, leaving behind the clatter of pots and pans from the kitchen, and into the dark silence of the back alley.
Before she could take a step, a bright light speared her, blinding her.
A harsh voice with a thick British accent accosted her, punctuated by the cocking of a pistol. “Take another step, and I’ll put a bullet through your pretty skull.”
July 1, 9:24 P.M. East Africa Time
Standing by the fence, Tucker watched the rifle lower toward Kane. The grainy image on the phone set his heart to pounding. He’d never reach his partner in time.
Reacting instinctively, he yanked out his pistol, a black SIG Sauer, pointed it into the air, and fired two rounds. The gun blasts stung his ears and echoed across the empty construction site.
On the screen, the soldier’s aim shifted away as he dropped low, startled by the gunfire.
Tucker was already moving, heading toward Kane’s hiding place. On his phone, he pressed a green icon in the shape of a small ear and lifted the phone to his lips. He spoke two commands, transmitting them to the receiver behind Kane’s left ear.
The image on the screen blurred into chaos.
Tucker continued to sprint, staying low.
I’m coming, buddy.
Kane tastes blood, feels the crack of bone under the power of his jaws. He holds tight as a pained cry pierces the night. Then a booted blow to his ribs finally knocks him loose.
The night spins, but rights itself as he rolls his legs under him.
His prey crouches, holding his limb to his chest, wrist crushed, gun on the ground. Both hunters face each other—but only for a breath.
Kane dives low, snatching cloth at the ankle and throwing his body to the side, yanking the prey’s limb from under him. The other falls, head striking broken stone. Goggles knock away, revealing narrowed eyes. Kane smells his fear, still tastes the blood on the back of his tongue.
But the other is a hunter, too.
A flash of a blade in the other hand. It stabs down—but Kane is already gone, spinning away, running low into the night.
But not without a hard-won prize clutched in his jaws.
Gray sprinted along the barrier fencing as fresh gunfire erupted from the construction zone: the chugging coughs of automatic weapons along with the sharper blasts of smaller arms.
A moment ago, as he reached the street, he’d heard the initial pistol cracks.
They had risen from a different part of the site, well away from the current firefight.
Had to be Captain Wayne.
This was confirmed when Gray heard Tucker’s radioed command to his partner. There was no sign of the man on the street, so Gray rushed toward a gate at the next corner. He found it unguarded and pushed inside, his gun already in hand.
A bulldozed road led straight toward the fighting.
He spotted bodies on the ground.
Gray ducked to the side, into the shadows of a pile of broken concrete. A commando stepped into view and kicked one of the bodies. An arm lifted off the ground, a pleading gesture. The soldier’s pistol pointed down. A single crack, and the arm fell limply.
They were killing everyone.
As quickly as the firefight had started, it ended. The last few sputters of automatic gunfire died away.
Gray subvocalized into his throat mike. “Tucker, respond?”
The answer didn’t come from his radio.
A fresh flurry of gunfire erupted to the left, away from the pile of dead bodies. The commando in view dashed in that direction.
Biting back a curse, Gray rolled around the pile of concrete and headed that way, too. Gunplay spattered out, as Tucker played cat and mouse with the hunters.
Gray struggled through the maze, straining to track the gunfire, while keeping a watch around him. At last, he spotted Tucker. The man, pistol in hand, ran along a row of parked dump trucks at the edge of the rubble field, trying to stay out of sight.
Gray headed toward him—but before he could take more than three steps, a shadowy figure appeared a few yards ahead, his back to Gray, blocking the view. It was the same commando who had been slaughtering the last of Amur’s men. The soldier spotted Tucker and fired a flurry of rounds at his target.
Ricochets pinged off the dump truck.
Exposed, Tucker tried to twist away. But a round struck him square in the chest, knocking him against the bed of the dump truck with a loud clang. He fell hard to the ground, his pistol flying from his grip.
Gray raised his own weapon, strode two fast paces, and shot the commando through the back of the neck. The soldier collapsed to his knees, then to his face, gurgling harshly as he died.
Gray stepped past him, kicking the assault rifle away from his fingertips.
Ahead, Tucker struggled to stand up, a palm on his chest.
Damned lucky the man had been wearing a Kevlar vest.
But luck only lasted for so long.
A fresh crack of a pistol came from the right, from out of Gray’s field of view. Tucker ducked as a round buzzed his ear and struck the dump truck’s huge tire. More shots rang out, blasting sand from between Tucker’s legs and by his left hand. Tucker scrabbled away, disappearing from view.
Gray hurried forward, but the shooter was still out of sight.
Then the commando burst into the open, running low, heading toward where Tucker had vanished, pistol raised forward. His other arm was clutched to his chest, his wrist held at an impossible angle, dripping blood. Judging by the wild blasts, fury fueled this attack.
Gray struggled to fix the attacker in his sights, but the target was moving too fast and heavily armored. Gray fired anyway, emptying his weapon. But the soldier was so focused he didn’t even flinch from the rounds pinging off the truck’s side, even at a shot that glanced off his helmet.
Then his target was out of sight again, pursuing Tucker.
Gray ran forward, ejecting his spent magazine and slapping in another. In a few more steps, he spotted the gunman leaning over Tucker. His teammate, one shoulder bloodied, was sprawled on his back by the truck’s cab. The armored commando held his pistol at Tucker’s face, ready to shoot point-blank.
Gray could not stop him—then a miracle happened.