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Chapter Five

I froze and prayed that Zero would do the same. If he was just regaining
consciousness, he might not know where he was. And having a massive tree trunk laying
on top of him probably wouldn’t do much for his composure.

But if he made noise, I was certain we’d be discovered and our lives would go
from really bad to craptastic.

I hadn’t noticed the third bad guy until he spoke. That wasn’t a good move on my
part. I’d have to assume there were always more enemy than I could se or hear. It was a
rookie mistake and I’d committed it.

But I couldn’t dwell on it just then. I had to make sure I made it out of there
alive. I’d have plenty of time to berate myself later over a nice drink.

“I’m sure I heard something over here.”

Number three sounded like he was the most switched on of the bunch. That
concerned me. A lot.

I watched the boots he wore come toward the log and then stop. He bent down
and ran his hand through the leaf litter as if studying the ground in some way.

“What the hell are you doing, man? It’s hot out here. The sooner we get this
done the sooner we can get back to town.”

Number two chimed in. “He wants to impress Joobah with his attentiveness and
skill in the hunt. Pretty soon he will replace us all and only trust his most important tasks
to this one. We will be replaced.”

Number three wasn’t having it. “You are both lazy. Joobah knows this. He will
punish you when he sees fit. In the meantime, I will be alert for any signs of our enemy.”

Swell. I was still breathing very shallow, trying to make sure I made absolutely
no noise. For his part, Zero seemed motionless again. I had no way of knowing if he’d
become fully conscious or if he was just shifting wile still out cold. And I wouldn’t be
able to check him out until the three idiots got their crap in gear and left us alone.

Number one seemed upset with number three. “Young boys always think they
know how the world works. They think they always know better. But the truth is they
know very little and must be taught manners.”

Number three laughed. “And who will teach me, you? You can hardly walk
without taking a break every five minutes.”

“I may need a break, but there is still plenty of fight left in this old body.”

“Is there?”

I heard the knife sliding out of its sheath a second before the area around the log
exploded into a melee…

© 2010 by Jon F. Merz All rights re­served

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