The Prologue of the NaNoWriMo novel:
She had to stop running to throw up, which she found ridiculous considering that the man chasing her was so close she could hear his footsteps in the sand.
Her body was going to fail her, Alex thought. It was going to fail her and she was going to get killed. All because she had to vomit.
Somewhere back there was Cyrus Ranger. He wasn’t chasing her. He was dead. That knowledge alone made her want to surrender. The only thing that kept her going was the knowledge that he had died making sure that she wouldn’t.
How things had come to this she didn’t quite understand. One minute they were getting ready to go back home, the next they were crawling out of wreckage in the middle of nowhere with an assortment of firearms trained on them.
And Ranger... He would never be taken alive to be tortured and killed over a live stream on the internet for Al Jazeera. There was no way.
He had broken three noses and a shoulder before she had even realized what was going on. The men surrounding them had rushed in. Perceiving the threat, Ranger had acted without thought. That was what they were trained to do. Kick asses and break necks. Leave the mess for someone else to clean up, the questions for someone else to ask. That was just how it went.
The person chasing her started to fall back. She could no longer hear him so close. Alex resisted the urge to look back.
Ranger was dead, she was positive.
He had told her to run without using any words. They had worked together for so long that she could read his body language. A great skill, normally. This time it had gotten him killed.
Alex pushed her breath through her nose and unclenched her fists, positioning herself to keep up a marathon pace without burning herself out. In the desert heat and the loose sand it was faster than she should have been going to begin.
The bile was still pushing itself up her esophagus, making it harder for her to run as though her life depended on it.
She felt like she must have been running for eternity and forever just stretched out before her.
Goddamn body, she thought, altering her direction. Hers would never do what she wanted it to do. It was perpetually on strike and pissing her off.
She hazarded a look back. The guy was a dot – obviously running only fast enough to keep a visual on her. She could see the wreckage on the horizon, a smaller dot. A stream of black smoke was drifting towards the heavens. Bringing Cyrus with it, she prayed.
The desert stretched out before her. Miles and miles of sand and heat and it dawned on her: she was going to die. She had no water. If she kept running she would sweat out faster. If she stopped running she would die slower or get shot by an enemy marksman. Either way she was as good as dead.
She kept running anyway, adding a zig here and a zag there; anything to make her pursuers life more difficult. She also knew the randomness of her run was supposed to make it harder to get blown to smithereens, although with the technology available on the black market, Misters Zig and Zag didn’t have a chance against Misters RPG and Grenade.
Mister AK-47 read her mind. She dove into the ground as the rounds tore into the sand around her.
Cover, Alex thought, belatedly. She needed to find or create cover. Pulling herself up from a side roll she began to run again, driving each foot into the sand toes first; her zig zags getting quicker but less defined, sometimes taking on the shape of demented parabolas.
“Ramirez!” a voice called. She heard more gun fire and then the sound of a motor.
There was no justification for stopping in the middle of the desert.
“Alex Ramirez!” the voice was very familiar.
Alex stopped and turned. One of her fire squad was closing in; the body of her pursuer was sprawled out on the desert sand.She felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up and a cold ripple crept up her spine.