Home > Writing > So who wanted a free sample of Wanted…

So who wanted a free sample of Wanted…

A sample from my best seller: Wanted. Hopefully this sample makes you want to know more – the and the answer to those questions lies at the links below. Pretty sneaky, huh?

 

***

 

Breathing harder than he should have, Carl paused after crossing over a once paved road that had fallen into disuse. He considered it part of his land now, even though he seldom went that far. His house was another 30 minutes by foot, but given how much his leg was throbbing and burning, he expected he might need more time. He sat down on a rock and loosened his tourniquet. It scared him to do so, but he knew leaving it tied tightly for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time would do more damage than good. He was already pushing it waiting that long.

Less than a minute later he wrenched the belt tight again and lurched to his feet. His foot was now on fire from the poison and tingling with renewed circulation. He reopened the bite every time and tried to squeeze out the tainted blood, but he knew what he’d be saying if he had to perform the battlefield triage on anyone else. Fortunately for him, there was nobody else around to point that out.

He started across the barren landscape again, dodging around the more dangerous looking obstacles and using the more benign natural decorations to help him make his way. Sweat ran down his face and his heart was racing, all signs of bad things happening to his body. Better that it was racing, he figured, then slowing down. Still, racing meant the poison moved faster through his body. Now he felt like he was racing against his own heart.

He stumbled and paused a few minutes later when he heard a distant thump. Trying to stifle his noisy breathing he listened, ear cocked to the west. He heard another explosive whump and he knew what was happening. His minefield. His home was being invaded. Carl snarled out a curse and moved forward, forgetting his concerns about the snake bite and its effects. Instead he focused only on how irritated he was at how the injury slowed him.

Dizzy, short of breath, and drenched in his own sweat, Carl moved through the parking spot where he had hidden Jessie’s car a few days ago. He had his M4 in hand, relying on his instincts to save him in case his other faculties failed. He had heard a short burst of automatic fire at one point, but aside from that there was nothing amiss to be heard for several minutes. He moved up a narrow ravine littered with loose rocks, slipping in places he knew he would never have stepped under normal circumstances. He stopped only when he came to the spot where he had carefully concealed his bolt hole.

Wasting no time, he cleared away the dirt and rocks concealing it, then lifted off the metal door . It was heavier than he remembered it being, making him wonder if that was due to exhaustion or poisoning. He pushed the thought aside and slid into the passage, crawling along it into the darkness. After what seemed an eternity, he emerged into a room that was pitch black aside from the faint light that spilled in from the crawlspace.

Carl stood up and felt along the wall until he found a switch. He flicked it and blinked at the sudden light that filled the small, subterranean room. Along one wall were shelves lined with banks of batteries. Cables ran from them up to the ceiling and into conduit, where they either ran to provide power or to obtain power from wind turbines and solar cells. He leaned his M24 up against a cabinet and moved to a reinforced steel door. He listened at it carefully, then killed the lights in the room before opening it.

More light spilled into the opening, this time from above. It was a ladder set against the rock, with steel supports hammered into the rock to hold it in place. Carl froze, knowing that if there was light above, it had been discovered. Sure enough as he looked up he saw a man descending the staircase towards him. He still had a dozen feet to go, and had not looked down to see the suddenly open door.

Wasting only a few seconds to stare upwards, Carl confirmed a second man was descending above the first. While he could not make out details, they looked to be wearing similar clothing to the Maelstrom rent-a-cops he had taken out the other day. He wondered if they were stupid enough to send another squad of four men or if they had learned and this time an entire regiment was waiting for him.

He slipped back into the room, shutting the door silently behind him. He waited beside the door, setting his rifle against the wall and drawing his knife. In the near dark he waited, hearing his pulse in his ears and sensing that his breathing was too loud. He felt shivers run up and down his back and fought to contain himself.

The door pushed open, at last, longer than it should have taken the first man to reach the ground. Carl swung around, hammering his knife into the man’s chest and ripping through ribs and neck. He pushed back as well, throwing the man into the soldier behind him and knocking them both off balance and into the ground.

“What the fuh!”

The second soldier’s cry of surprise was cut short as the point man fell on him. The hot spray of blood coated his face and smelled of coppery death. He scrambled to push his dying comrade away and raise his gun, but Carl landed on top of him and slashed across with his knife repeatedly. What Carl’s strikes lacked in finesse they made up for in sheer brutality. The man lay dead a few moments later, ribbons of skin hanging from his face, throat, hands, and shoulder.

Carl looked up again, breathing hard. He wiped his knife clean and sheathed it, then grabbed his M4 and proceeded to climb. Every other step up the ladder was agony to him. His foot was numb but his leg was on fire. He wondered if it was too late, if he had already done enough damage to lose the limb forever. He snarled at the thought and pushed on, determined to not let it end in a dark tunnel.

The top of the ladder opened into his shed. It was more of a garage or pole-barn than a shed, and housed multiple tables with fruits and vegetables growing under rigged up lights. A few had broken over the years and remained to be replaced, but by and large it was his private oasis. A large drum in the back served as his water reservoir, giving him a gravity feed when the power was down and he could not run his pump.

Carl glanced around, seeing that it was empty, and scowled when he saw some of his fruits and vegetables had been picked. The men he had just killed had apparently died with treats in their bellies. “Fuckers deserved to die,” he muttered, moving toward the door to his shed and slowing as he approached it.

He saw that the wires on the door had been cut. It had been rigged to explode, but apparently he was dealing with professionals this time, not rookies who were more used to hunting than fighting. Carl paused, making sure he was out of the line of sight of the back door to his house, and then turned to the refrigerator where he kept medical supplies. With an eye on the door at all times, he looked through it until he found the bottle of anti-venom he had traded for a few years back.

Reluctantly, Carl set his rifle down and worked quickly, grabbing a syringe and filling it full of the anti-venom. He had no idea what a proper dose was, nor did he have time to hunt through the books he had in a crate to figure it out. He stripped off his gilly suit and shirt, and made a fist to try and help find a vein in his arm. Being unfamiliar and out of practice, it took Carl a few burning pokes to find his target. Once it was empty, he clamped a hand over it, expecting heavy bleeding given his lack of expertise.

Carl knew he was on borrowed time. With or without the snake bite, somebody would come looking for the men he had killed. He loosened the strap around his leg and shrugged his shirt back on. In seconds the numbness in his foot was replaced with a searing agony of awakened nerve cells. He pushed on, forcing it to work even though it caused him to limp more than ever.

A quick check outside showed it was still clear. Rifle in hand, he scrambled in an awkward lurch to the back of his house, then waited outside the open back door. He could hear people inside moving about and talking. “Who is this guy?” he heard one of the assholes say.

“Waters,” another asshole said. “That’s the name on a lot of these ACUs. Looks like he was a staff sergeant in the Army.”

“No sign of Corporal Garcia or his men?” asked a third asshole.

“These were some of their weapons,” asshole number 1 said.

“Where are the rest?”

“No idea, Sir.”

“Jerkins and Liebold back yet?” Carl figured the man he had dubbed asshole number three was the leader.

“No word yet.”

Carl’s eyes narrowed when he heard the quieter voice of the leader of the men in his house talking on what had to be a radio. He missed the majority of it, but caught enough to hear the information he had learned being passed on to somebody else. He ground his teeth in silent fury and stood up. His foot was feeling good enough to bear his weight, even if it was hot and swollen with the snake’s venom.

Carl swung into the doorway, gun held in the rock and roll position. A man stopped, staring at him with eyes wide in surprise. To his credit, he was reacting quickly and trying to raise his gun as well as jump out of the way when Carl’s burst of 5.56 millimeter slugs turned his chest, neck, and chin into bloody hamburger. The others in the room dropped whatever they were doing instantly and took cover.

Carl noted the leader, a man near the front door. Another had ducked into the closet Jessie had used as a bedroom. The third man was raising his rifle from where he had been kneeling next to the trunk of clothes Carl kept near his bed, less than a dozen feet from the doorway Carl now stood in.

The soldier’s gun spat out a single round, which ricocheted off the smooth concrete floor and passed next to Carl’s wounded leg on its way out the door. Carl’s gun painted the Maelstrom commando with three rounds into his face and helmet, blasting his lifeless corpse into the trunk. Carl dropped down to his good knee then just in time to avoid a controlled burst from the man leaning out of the closet.

He threw himself forward before the guy in the kitchen could catch him in a crossfire. He rolled in front of his couch, taking a brief moment’s respite, and heard the leader calling for fire support into his radio. Carl kicked out with his good leg, sending a makeshift table skidding around the end of the couch, and then leaped up to fire at the man in the closet.

The commando in the closet was not as green as Carl had hoped. He ducked back as soon as he saw the table, rather than firing at it, and saw Carl expose himself. He ducked back further and aimed through the sheet metal wall, hoping to hit him or at least put Carl on the defensive. Before he fired a round, Carl’s bullets punched through the same sheet metal, striking him repeatedly and making him try to dance away from the burning and stinging impacts. There were too many, and once again volume made up for accuracy. Carl saw him fall to the floor and try to crawl out of the closet, but the strength fled from him faster than it was summoned. He lay still, struggling to breathe, and passed out as the blood drained from his body.

“I’ve got men down!” Carl heard the Maelstrom leader hiss into his radio.
“How many more are there?” Carl demanded, standing up and pointing his rifle at the remaining intruder. He had made his way over to the very same spot Jessie had eaten breakfast at many times, sitting at the L-shaped counter that framed his kitchen off from the rest of the open floor plan.

Carl would have laughed at the surprised look on strike team leader’s face had he been in any other mood or in anyone else’s home. He started to raise his gun instinctively at Carl, but Carl put an end to that with a single bullet that chewed through the threaded Kevlar armor and into the commando’s lower arm.

The gun fell to the ground and, with a strangled grasp, the invader grabbed his arm with his other hand. “You broke my arm!”

“Next time I’ll aim better,” Carl spat at him. “How many?”

“This is it,” he said through gritted teeth. “The rest are at the crash.”

“The rest?” Carl asked, glancing at his window.

“My CO, his pilot, and his team,” the man said, looking at him fearfully. His eyes darted around, searching for something, some advantage he could use. Carl saw the look and knew what he was doing.

“Who are you?” the man asked him.

Carl looked at him, eyes narrowing. He felt nauseous and light headed, but forced it aside. Now was not the time to show weakness. “What those kids do to you?”

“Fuck you, old man,” the commando said to him. “They know where I am. You kill me and you’re dead.”

Carl lowered his M4 slightly, then pulled the trigger again. The commando jerked and screamed once more. “You piece of shit!” he howled, his good hand now going to his leg. He could not reach the latest injury. It was just below his knee and was clearly a bone shattering wound.

“Do I look worried?” Carl snarled at him. “Why you after those kids?”

“They’re Jiri Kurkova’s kids!” he told him, a frantic edge in his voice from the wounds Carl had given him. “We work for him.”

“You’re hunting. This ain’t a search and rescue,” Carl accused.

The commando just stared at him, his expression switching from fear to surprise that Carl could be so stupid. “Mr. Kurkova needs bodies to satisfy the insurance claim.”

Carl’s eyes widened and his gun lowered slightly in surprise. “Insurance? What kind of sick fuck-”

The commando lurched, rolling to his side and reaching for his pistol. Carl snarled and fired again, striking him just below the sternum. The wounded intruder doubled over, the pistol dropping from his off hand. He gasped, unable to draw in his breath.

“My name’s Carl,” Carl told him, walking around the counter and coming through the opening into the kitchen. He stared down at the man and raised his gun to finish him. “That’s all you need to know.”

A gust of wind blew in through the open front door, distracting Carl and sparing the commando’s life for another few seconds. The wind continued, blowing dust and sand in. Something about it seemed wrong to Carl, something he couldn’t put his finger on. He kicked the pistol away from the commando and then his assault rifle as well, then turned to investigate the door. Something about the sound that accompanied it was familiar to him. It was rhythmic, as though it has a repeating pattern. It almost sounded like…

Carl’s eyes widened. He turned and ran, heading for the back door. The sound of rolling thunder lit his house behind him. Spears of daylight stabbed into the room, allowed in by the penetrating 30 millimeter rounds. They shattered the house, turning the fallen commando into something that barely resembled road kill. Shrapnel shot past Carl as he ran, his injury forgotten in the adrenaline spike that drove him forward. He cleared the back door and ran up the short path to his shed even as a pair of 70 millimeter rockets crashed into his home and sent him flying through the shed door.

Carl picked himself up, his ears ringing, and glanced over his shoulder. It was a helicopter, as he had realized. A model he didn’t recognize, though it resembled the Apache AH-64′s he’d seen in the Middle East. Unlike typical gunships, this one was silenced. He pulled himself forward, knowing he had no time to waste. The gunship was already lifting, flashes from the chain gun tracing a path through the wreckage and up the short path behind him. Carl made it to the trapdoor with seconds to spare, hearing the destruction of his indoor garden taking place behind him.

Carl landed roughly, having slid down the ladder rather than climbing it, and was thankful for the bodies that served as a cushion for him. Explosions overhead signaled with finality the end of his life of solitude. He rolled away, dodging falling rocks and debris, and made it into the room just as a deluge of water from his burst storage tank flooded into the room. Exhaustion, pain, and a stinging in his side left him stunned and breathing hard, trying to make sense of what had just happened to him. He lay on the cool floor, wanting the pounding to stop for just a few moments.

Amazon / Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0053KJ2QU
Novel Concept Publishing: http://www.novelconceptpublishing.com
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/61275
Createspace (Print): https://www.createspace.com/3407980
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wanted-jason-halstead/1019445610?ean=9781449578732&itm=1&usri=jason%2bhalstead%2bwanted
Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Wanted/book-8e1dVLOj3EeebGNKoU4FUQ/page1.html
Sony: http://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/jason-halstead/wanted/_/R-400000000000000411918
Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/1636055-wanted

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