The blast door in the sleeping quarters rocked on its hinges, knocking Renner and Quinn to the ground. Quinn looked up, everything hazy and unfocused. She’d heard the detonation and immediately thought that a small bomb or a large grenade had gone off.
“The door!” somebody shouted from behind.
Quinn looked up to see that the blast door was dangling from one hinge. Quinn saw Hayden leap over her, then Milo, Hawkins, and Eli. They grabbed the upper edge of the door and put their weight against it, trying to rip it completely free.
Two hands grabbed her and she looked up to see Cody, smiling.
“This is our chance,” he said.
She nodded. “I need to find Samantha first. Then I’ll deal with the others.”
“GET BACK!” Milo shouted.
Cody pulled Quinn back as Hayden shrieked and pulled at the door. For several minutes the Marines rocked the door, eventually tearing it from its hinges. With an ear-shattering BLAM! the cement-infused door hit the floor. Renner rose, broken knife still in hand. He held it over his head at the ready, peering out through the open door, ready for anything. More sirens began wailing and smoke and motes of dust filled the air, obscuring visibility.
Still clad in her underwear, Quinn watched Renner grab the first person he saw. A female fighter with eyes as wide as hubcaps, who held a pistol in a quivering hand. Renner locked his arms around the terrified woman and flung her back at the others. Quinn stripped the pistol from the woman.
“If you want to live, shut your mouth and play along,” Quinn said.
The female resistance fighter nodded and then Quinn grabbed and turned the woman around. She maneuvered her out through the doorway and past Renner. She hid behind the woman, pistol in her hand, shoving the woman down the hallway. More resistance fighters appeared and Quinn pushed the female fighter forward into them.
They shimmied down a number of corridors for several minutes and then Quinn spotted forms toiling in the darkness up ahead. It was a pod of resistance fighters, including the long-haired fighter who’d kicked and punched her in the stomach earlier. Before they could react, Quinn had lifted the woman, her human shield, up and shoved her into the fighters.
Without hesitation, she attacked the fighters. Long-hair shouted and rushed her, throwing a haymaker. Quinn dropped low under the man’s punch. She grabbed his wrist and drove a knee up into his stomach. He folded up like a card table and Quinn pistol-whipped him for good measure. Two more fighters reached for their guns and Quinn brought her pistol around and aimed at them.
“DON’T EVEN FUCKING THINK ABOUT IT!” she screamed.
They didn’t move. Renner and Milo grabbed the weapons from the fighters. Half-naked, partially armed, and supremely pissed, the motley mishmash of Marines and their allies, the resistance fighters who had been imprisoned with them, moved as one down the hallway, picking up speed, running past pods of befuddled resistance fighters in the murkiness, headed in the direction of the explosion.
Samantha stood in the afterglow of the explosion, studying the door she’d blown apart. Sections of it lay at her feet along with Dan, who’d been knocked unconscious. Kneeling, Samantha rolled him over and pressed an ear to his chest, just to make sure he was still breathing. He was, thank God, she thought. She was sorry that he’d been injured, but she hadn’t had a choice.
She ran a finger down his cheek and looked over to see that his shotgun had been destroyed in the blast. If she was going out into the hallway, she’d have to do so without any weapons. But then she realized she was the weapon. She felt a warm current course through her, a full-body bliss, the after-effects of what she’d done. It was like some wonderful drug was pumping through her veins and she hoped that it would never go away.
In her mind she saw herself leaving the room. Marching boldly down the hallway and confronting Xan and all the others who’d orchestrated the coup and then she’d set things right. They would fall before her and beg for forgiveness and reveal the details of what had happened to her mother and the others. They would do this or she’d bring the hammer down on them. Peering down a final time, she noticed that her arms were no longer splotched red. Moreover, the string that Eli had given her, the single loop, had been ripped from her wrist. It lay on the ground at her feet. A woman screamed in the distance and Samantha startled. Then she sucked in a few mouthfuls of air, steeling herself before leaping through the open door into the hallway.
That’s when she saw her.
She was so shocked to see Xan so close to her, that for a moment she didn’t look real. Samantha thought she heard Xan hiss, “You did this, didn’t you?”
Samantha remained silent, causing Xan to hesitate … until she stepped forward, pulled back, and punched Samantha hard in the face.
Just like that.
Samantha saw stars in her eyes. She stutter-stepped and felt herself falling back as darkness devoured everything.
FROM JUSTIN >>> I know, I know, it’s been way too long since we posted a snippet of this book. Honestly? We had hoped to release it earlier, but decided quality was paramount, so we still have another 10 days before launch. Be ready! We’ll do one more snippet, the last one, in a few days.
In the meantime, I’m also working on my Samantha spinoff. I’m on chapter five and its proving to be quite fun. Want a preview of that cover? Check out our secret facebook page for the universe. You can email me for the link 🙂 JustinSloanAuthor@gmail.com.
We also have some short stories coming in from our collaborators to kick off the spinoff books with an anthology, and they’re awesome! Man, this is all so exciting – I hope you’re there with me!!!
And this week I’d like to share a promo my buddy, Christian Kallas is doing a cool promo on his series: