Megan's Mark(5)

By: Lora Leigh

ammunition damage. The smell of death surrounded the area, the heat and carnage inside the vehicle twisted her gut as she surveyed the scene.

"Definitely two dead," she reported as she stepped back. "God, Lance, their mothers couldn't identify them." The bullets had tom through their upper bodies, ripping away much of their facial features.

"Megan, get back to the Raider now!" Lance ordered, his voice edged with steel.

She could feel the hairs along her nape standing on end as her spine began to tingle. Turning slowly, her gaze narrowed on the high gully walls as adrenaline rushed through her system and her senses began to riot. Someone was watching her.

"Infrared showed no signs of life_" she mused out loud. Somehow, something had interfered with the system's readings, because she knew someone, something, was out there.

She could feel the eyes watching her, malevolence following her.

Her finger tightened on the trigger of her weapon as she felt the danger intensify. Where? Where was it coming from? She could feel it watching her, tracking every move she made, yet the sensors in the vehicle showed no signs of life.

"I'm heading back," she agreed. "Something's messed up on the Raider, Lance. Check it out. It showed no life signs_"

Lance was cursing, screaming at Lenny to find the copters, to get his unit ready to roll. Backup. Yeah, she needed backup now.

Megan could feel the eyes trained on her. Even worse, she could feel the weapons.

She backed up, her eyes scanning the gully as her heart raced in her chest. Her mouth felt dry, her body tense with the need to turn and run.

She was halfway to the Range Raider when she felt the first shots being taken. She could actually feel the malicious energy pouring over her a second before she threw herself across the gully toward one of the small caverns that had been cut into the wall.

Violence exploded through the air. Bullets tore into the sandy ground, moving like lightning across the gully and taking chunks from the rock wall of the entrance of the cavern she had thrown herself into.

"Megan. Megan, report." Lance was yelling in her ear as she plastered herself against the dubious safety of a small indentation the water had cut into the side of the wall, keeping her body well away from the entrance.

"At least two," she snapped into the mic, keeping her eyes trained on the entrance and the sliver of outside she could see from her position. "How faraway did you say the copters werc?"

"I said they were too fucking far away." Lance snarled furiously.

"Dammit, Megan, we're too far away from you."

Yeah. She remembered now. Damn. That sucked.

Holding her weapon ready, she moved carefully to peer around the protection of the groove in the wall to get a sense of the movement outside the cavern. She ducked back just in time to save her head as the bullets ripped around her once again.

"Give me an idea of what's going on. We're heading out there but we're at least an hour away."

She could hear the force of his breath behind his words, proof that he was running from the control center and heading to his vehicle.

An hour.

Boy, she was so screwed.

"I'm holed up in a small cavern. I have at least one assailant in clear

view of the entrance keeping me hemmed in. I can't tell what's going on outside though." She swallowed tightly. "Lance, I'm not going to make it an hour."

Chills raced over her flesh, a premonition of increasing danger as the air thickened around her, growing heavier, hotter. Time seemed to stand still, to creep by at a turtle's pace. So much could happen in an hour.

Over the receiver, voices raged in the background, the sound of tires screaming as vehicles roared.

"Stay put!" She winced at the fury in Lance's voice. "Keep your weapon aimed at the entrance and fucking stay the hell where you are."

"Yeah, that was my intention," she answered as she breathed in roughly.

"What the hell is going on out here, Lance? Why stick around after the killing?'

It didn't make sense. Whoever killed that couple should have been long gone, not waiting around to see who found the bodies.

And why hadn't she sensed the killers? She should have felt them, even if the sensors hadn't picked them up.

"Well, why don't you just ask them, Miss Nosy?' Lance snarled through

the mic. "Dammit, I told you to turn back. Didn't I tell you to turn back?'

Cousins. They were always : saying "I told you so."

"Yeah, well, you tell me to go to sit tight and look pretty too. Since when did I start listening to you?' Sweat rolled down her back as the need to move tightened her muscles. Bullets tore through the entrance again as she flattened herself further against the wall and tried to become one with the stone. Damrnit, all she needed was a little bit more room.

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