Deadly justice, p.34
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       Deadly Justice, p.34

           Darrell Case

  Running through woods bordering the cornfield, Allison almost fell through the rotted boards. She felt them give under her feet. Kneeling down, she peeked through the cracks. Sunlight filtered into the depths. Here was her salvation.

  At one time this well supplied homesteading pioneers with clear, clean water. Now the house, barn and outbuildings were gone, leaving only this hole in the ground as evidence of their existence. Briars masked the well’s opening. If Allison hadn’t stepped on the boards she would have missed it. She could hear the commotion on the far side of the woods and the chop-chop beat of the helicopter in the distance.

  Upon closer exclamation, she saw that the well was only a few feet deep, six at most. Someone had filled the hole almost to the top with dirt or the dirt may have sifted down into it over the years. She wondered how many snakes were slithering around in the bottom. She hated them.

  She had no choice; they would be on her in seconds. After moving the boards to one side, she held onto the edge of the hole and lowered herself vertically into it. A briar thorn scraped painfully across on the back on her neck, digging out a long furrow. Instant tears blurred her vision. She jerked loose, leaving the jagged hook in her flesh. She braced for the drop.

  With a jarring thud, she fell on to the hard earth. A black snake raised its head and hissed at her. She lay still, knowing it was harmless but wanting to kill it anyway. To her relief, the snake retreated and slithered into a cavity between the bricks.

  Standing on tiptoe, Allison carefully replaced the boards. Backing up, she hugged the wall. The pulsing sound of the chopper’s rotor beat against her ears. It flew overhead, circled and came back to hover over the well. Dust swirled in its wake, wiping her hand and footprints from the dirt. It seemed to Allison like an hour before it moved on, but in reality it was only seconds.

  Allison heard voices coming closer. Two men in uniform stood over the boards, blocking out the sun.

  She huddled in the shadows praying they wouldn't look down. Her prayer was unanswered. The boards creaked. A deputy dropped to his knees and peered through the crack.

  “Can't see a thing,” he said to the other officer standing beside him. Alison curled herself into a ball trying to hide all flesh.

  The trooper took the Maglite off his belt, and shined it into the hole. For a split-second, the light flashed on Allison's back. He waved it around the hole, examining every nook. He got to his feet. “There ain’t nothing down there.”

  “I'll bet she stole a car off some old farmer,” the other one said.

  “Yeah, we're just wastin' our time chasin' around these woods.”

  Allison crouch in the darkness listening as their footsteps and voices grow fainter.

  For the next hour and a half, Allison laid low in the well as the search above continued. She held her breath as footsteps came and went. As the sunlight faded so did the sounds of the search teams.

  Hungry, thirsty and ready to drop Alison carefully hoisted herself up out of the hole. She lay on the cool earth listening but hearing only crickets and the calling of bird.

  A breeze puffed her cheek. There was a splat. She rolled. The next bullet struck the spot she had occupied a second before. How could he know she was there? Had someone from law enforcement called him?

  She jumped to her feet and took off like a jackrabbit, zig zagging through the thorny undergrowth. She expected a bullet toend her life at any time. She wanted to scream at God, if he even existed. Why was He tormenting her? A torrent of bullets ricocheted off the trees and ground all around her. She was so scaredher mind shut down, clicked off like a light bulb. The only thing driving her was primal instinct. A bolt from the blue snapped it back on: night vision. He was wearing night vision goggles. No way could she escape this killer. She sure was going to try.

  She came to a barbed wire fence, dropped and rolled under it. She scrambled to her feet, sprinted around a huge hulking bull. It snorted pawed the ground, lowered its horns and charged her as she leaped to get out of its way. Suddenly the bull dropped to his knees, and rolled on its side. Blood pumped from a hole in its neck. The bull jerked a few times and was still.

  Praying he couldn’t see her and that she’d blend with it, Allison threw herself behind the bull’s carcass.

  Three quick slugs hit the bull's belly, and then there was silence. A cow ambled over and sniffed the dead bull. Another followed. Within seconds 18 dark shapes were milling around Allison.

  Using the cover of the herd, she crawled through the dew soaked grass. He was coming, she could feel him. Her hand smashed a cow pie. She grimaced, wiped it on the grass, and kept crawling. She’s rather be kicked by a cow than murdered by an animal.

  He had her in his sights. He was a good shot with his left hand, not as good with his right. He rested the rifle on his right hand. The pain was fierce. Each time he fired it shot up his arm like a flaming ramrod. It made him furious. His impulse was to howl like a demon. He gritted his teeth to squelch it.

  Now he would hunt her down for pleasure. Money no longer mattered. When he got her she would die a slow, ugly death suffering in ways she could never imagine. By the time he finished she would be begging for him to kill her.

  He began slaughtering the cattle. Soon there would be no place she could hide.

  A cow fell, its head striking Allison between the shoulders like a bowling ball. She rolled out from under the animal. Another collapsed at her feet. Running for it might spell her end might mean her end but if she stayed here, she’d be inviting him to kill her.

  Staying low to the ground, she bolted. Her heart hammered. A dark shape loomed before her. A steel sided barn. Darting around it, she vanished from his sight. Seconds later, she reappeared above the roofline, racing toward the ridgeline.

  He cursed. The rifle clicked. Reaching around to his right side, he grabbed for another magazine. In his haste he dropped it. He shifted the gun to his right hand and winced. Sweeping the ground with his left, he scooped up the magazine and jammed it in. she was almost to the ridge. He let her run. Let her think freedom was in her grasp.

  Allison's legs pumped, her feet pounding the ground. Nothing beyond eluding him mattered. Cold sweat dampened her skin. Mentally she felt the bullet pierce her back and tear out her heart.

  He took his time aligning the sight with her bouncing back. The scope allowed him to come within five feet of her. He squeezed the trigger. Nothing could save her now. She was his.

  A huge shape materialized in front of him. It filled his field of vision, blocking his view. He fired reflexively but missed the bullet. The bullet whizzed by within inches of Allison’s head.

  A second bull rammed him in the mid section. He went down hard on his rear, the rifle flying out of his hands and landing butt-first several feet away. The next thing he saw was a freight train of a bull that was almost on top of him. Its bellow split the night.

  He rolled, grunting heavily as his injured hand was crushed under his weight. The bull charged past and spun around. It faced him, blowing, its nostrils flaring like a bellows. It pawed the ground, preparing for another run. He dove for the rifle and rolled out of the way as it charged him again. Grasping the gun, he brought it up pistol style like in his left hand.

  The slug hit the bull between the horns. It dropped without a sound.

  He turned his attention back to his quarry. He lined up the crosshairs to the back of Allison's head. Too late. She dropped over the crest.



  Chapter 24

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