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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Brennan Allison

«The Hunt», Allison Brennan

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Predator – #2

To Dan



I don’t want to die.

Her breath came in shallow gasps, her mouth gaped open as she violently pulled air in and pushed it out. In. Out. Focus. Run, Miranda, run! But be quiet. Left foot. Right foot. Left foot. Wasn’t that a Dr. Seuss book? A hysterical giggle threatened to escape but she swallowed the sound. Quiet. Above all, breathe quietly.

Miranda grimaced at the thrashing behind her. A sob escaped from her friend. Sharon, shut up! she wanted to scream. He’ll hear you! He’ll kill us!

She ran faster even though Sharon was falling farther and farther behind. Daylight was scarce. One, two hours left at the most.

If they didn’t make it to the river, he would find them.

I don’t want to die. I’m too young. Please God, I’m only twenty-one. I won’t die! Not here, not like this.

Miranda’s sight blurred as sweat dripped into her eyes. She didn’t dare wipe her face for fear of losing her balance on the rocky terrain. Her bare feet ached with each step, but they were so cold only the sharper rocks cut through the numbness. Watch where you’re going! One wrong step and you’ll break your leg and he’ll find you...

A faint, familiar echo reached her ears. She wanted to stop and listen but didn’t dare slow her pace. She scurried another hundred feet before putting a name to the sound.

Water! Running water.

It had to be the river. What she’d promised Sharon would lead to freedom. She silently thanked Professor Austin and his tedious geology class. Without it, she wouldn’t have known where to run, wouldn’t have recognized the signs indicating a river was close. After the miles she and Sharon had already covered, surely now they would make it.

From behind, a shriek.

Miranda stopped at Sharon’s startled cry, then whipped around, her heart gripped with dread. Sprawled on the hard ground, Sharon lay half obscured by undergrowth, sobbing in pain.

“Get up!” Miranda urged, panic clawing her.

“I can’t,” Sharon sobbed, her face buried in decaying leaves.

“Please,” Miranda begged, not wanting to backtrack. She glanced over her shoulder, toward freedom. The water so close.

She looked back at Sharon and bit her lip. He was still out there. If she stopped to help her friend, he’d kill them both.

She took a step toward the river. Guilt tickled Miranda’s spine. She knew she could make it alone.

“Go,” Sharon said.

Miranda almost missed the single word. Her eyes widened at the implication. “No, not without you. Get up!”

For a moment, Miranda thought Sharon hadn’t heard her, whether by choice or distance. Then, slowly, the blonde pushed herself up on all fours. Sharon’s terrified eyes locked with Miranda’s. Please, Sharon, please, Miranda willed. Time is running out.

Sharon grabbed a small sapling and braced herself. “Okay,” she said. “Okay.”

Miranda sighed in relief as Sharon took a shaky step forward. She began to turn toward the river, toward freedom.


The shot echoed in the forest. The flutter of wings and the squawking of startled birds broke the silence. As Miranda watched, Sharon’s chest opened. Deep red, darkened by shadows of dusk, spread across the filthy white shirt. In the moment between life and death, Miranda watched Sharon’s stunned expression turn to bliss. Relief.

Death was better than suffering.

“Sharon!” She covered her mouth with her hand, tasting and smelling rotting dirt. The coppery scent of blood hung in the air. Her chest heaved with mute sobs as she watched Sharon’s body fall to the ground.


That voice. Bloodcurdling in its dry, grave monotone. The same emotionless pulse he’d used when he fed them and whipped them; when he touched them or raped them.

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