Wolves…the conclusion to Chapter One…unedited, incomplete…

I shoved gear into my bugout bag when I heard a shot and the sound of a body crashing to the floor of my front porch. “Jade is no more,” I muttered. There was no point in me completing my tasks.

The obnoxiously loud engine informed me to the goon squad’s location. I walked out and sat in my rocker at the end of my porch. Jade’s lifeless eyes stared at me from where I had shoved her out. Blood pooled from the wound, already dry in this wicked heat.

Brander got out of the vehicle and stretched. His eyes wandered to Jade’s corpse, then over to where I was seated.

“Dang, that girl has some skill,” he remarked, as he climbed onto my porch and looked at Jade’s new hole in her forehead.

“You believe she was a mile away? Had the sun in her eyes, and pow, bullet right through the gourd.”

I nodded in agreement. He walked over to where I was and motioned at a rocker not far from mine.

“Do you mind?”

“Not at all, Colonel. Please, have a seat.”

He leaned back into the seat and a small smile crept across his face. “This is a great rocker.”

“Yes, it is.”

“Sorry about the corpse on your porch. She was upsetting some powerful people, and they wanted her gone.”

I feigned a smile and nodded. Jade was my neighbor, but her loss didn’t cause me any discomfort. I didn’t know her.

Brander smiled at me and wagged his finger at me playfully. He cleared his throat and said, “you cost me some money, high speed.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah. I made a bet with my sniper that as soon as she snuffed that dissident, you’d rush out of your house. Then, she’d bag two instead of one.”

“Hmm.”

“The fact you didn’t respond naturally tells me you’ve had training. We pulled up your records. You don’t mind, do you?”

“I don’t mind, no. Besides, you’ve already checked.”

“True enough, but you didn’t mention that you’re a retired assassin.”

“It’s not a great conversation starter, Colonel.”

Brander laughed. He smiled, his teeth so white they seemed fake, and his laughed sounded like the dying gurgle of a man with his throat cut.

“I don’t suppose it is. Still, you should have told me.”

“Hmm. Okay. I’ll make a note of it.”

“My superiors want to see you,” he said coldly. His blue eyes suddenly cold and hard, his smile a hard line that gave the impression that he’d book no disagreement. 

The military had chosen well. Colonel Jason Brander was a man of high conviction, and he’d do whatever was necessary to get the result they wanted.

Even if he had to slay an entire village of innocent people to accomplish it.

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