THE BULLET MEANT FOR HER HEAD ricocheted off a stair. The thunderous ping of metal against metal rang in Madison’s ears, reassuring her, along with the shooting pain in her legs, that she was still alive. But alive for how long was the question.
When the guns had fired, she dropped to the ground, slamming her knees onto the concrete.
She willed her eyes to open, despite the searing agony that made it easier to keep them closed, and she was forced to face reality.
Her bullet had found purchase in Sergey’s side, and he sat on one of the steps, a hand to his wound, staring at her blankly. His eyes were glazed over and distant.
She surmised he was experiencing the same euphoric feelings as she. Her heart beat adrenaline through her system, its pulse drumming in her ears.
She was alive, but was she shot?
She looked down at her body and couldn’t see any blood.
Having faced a fifty/fifty chance of survival, she had come out the other end.
Anatolli pulled up on her short hair, his fingers digging into her scalp. “Get up!” He pressed the barrel of a gun to her face with enough force it skewed her jaw and her teeth bit the inside of her cheek.
A warm metallic flavoring coated her tongue and she spit out blood, the pressure of the gun was unrelenting.
“Get up! Or you die!”
Her legs were unsteady and her head spun. She couldn’t go out like this. She had fought too hard for her life to halt to an end.
“Go to hell, you son of a bitch!” She slammed the heel of her shoe into his instep and moved to the side.
Anatolli yelped out in pain but she heard him cock the hammer on the gun.
A revolver. Six bullets. Six opportunities to die.
The barrel was pushed against her skull.
She pinched her eyes shut and images of her life played out, interspersed with meaningless thoughts. How would Sergeant Winston spin this to the media? Would he miss her beyond their regular confrontations, for which she knew he thrived on, or would he be able to move on quickly?
Her grandmother entered her vision and spoke from beyond the grave, telling her it wasn’t her time yet.
Anatolli applied more force behind the weapon. “You are going to die.”
“Stop!” Sergey eased himself off the step he had been perched on.
Swallowing hard, she knew the delay in killing her meant only one thing—they would make her suffer until a bullet to the head seemed like a welcome escape.
The haze cleared. Where was her gun? She had pulled the trigger and ducked out of the way to avoid the one aimed at her head. If she could find her weapon, she’d have a chance…
© 2014 Carolyn Arnold
JUST CAUSE is available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo. Its official release date is October 16, 2014.
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