Hunt Through Napoleon's Web

Free Hunt Through Napoleon's Web by Gabriel Hunt

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Authors: Gabriel Hunt
rope, struggling to apply pressure with her index finger.
    Then her nail broke.
    Sammi cursed aloud but kept sawing. It hurt like hell—but maybe the ragged edge of the broken nail would get through the rope that much quicker.
    The van made a sharp left turn that threw her against the inside wall, then it continued on over a rocky, bumpy road. She tried to maintain her concentration.
    Pretend it’s an underwater trunk escape. You’re being buffeted by the current, you’ve got ninety seconds of air, you’ve got to get out
.
    Now
.
    With an excruciating effort, she slipped two fingers beneath the rope and strained to squeeze through the narrow opening she’d managed to create. The sweaton her palms provided some lubrication, but—was it enough?
    Just a little more. She could feel it. She was almost there.
    Which was a good thing, since the van was slowing further.
    Finally the rope slipped. She pulled her fingers through and felt the rope slide free onto the floor of the van. The next thing was the burlap bag. With trembling fingers, she untied the cord securing it around her neck and stripped it off. She drew in a deep breath—the air in the back of a filthy van had never tasted so fresh. She took a moment to get her bearings.
    A metal partition separated the van’s cab from the back. There was nothing else back here with her.
    Now what
?
    She didn’t have a plan. She didn’t have a weapon. She had only one advantage—she wasn’t tied up anymore, and they didn’t know it.
    Moments later the van pulled to a stop. She crawled over to the back doors as she heard the men get out of the cab. Then footsteps on gravel, moving to the rear.
    Keys rattled in the lock. They were about to open the doors.
    Sammi positioned herself on her back, her feet against the doors.
    They started to swing open.
    Sammi kicked out, hard, hitting both men, one heavy metal door in each kidnapper’s face. She lurched to her feet and jumped out of the van. One of the men, a short, stocky Egyptian in khakis and hiking boots, was on his side on the ground, groping at a shoulder holster. The other, a taller man with hair the color of cold ash and cheeks pocked with acne scars, was still on his feet. Shekneed him in the groin as hard as she could. The man howled and bent double. She gave him another knee, this time to the jaw, and he went down.
    The other man, meanwhile, had managed to get his gun out. Sammi fell face-first in the dirt and heard a bullet speed by overhead, ricocheting off the side of the van. She reached over to the unconscious man beside her and, with a heave, dragged his body between her and the shooter. He fired again, but high, trying not to hit his fallen comrade.
    The comrade had a holster as well, on his hip, and Sammi wasted no time in snatching the pistol out of it. She was no expert with guns, but she knew enough to take the safety off and aim it in the right direction.
    The man across from her leveled his gun right back at her. He called something to her in Arabic, the tone condescending.
Put down the gun
, she imagined, or maybe,
You’re not going to pull that trigger, are you, little lady?
    She pulled the trigger.
    The look of surprise that blossomed on the man’s face was matched only by the sudden spread of a red bloom across the front of his shirt, like a time-lapse movie of a rose opening.
    He fell backward, blood pooling beneath him.
    Sammi scrambled to her feet and glanced around. It was a desolate patch of land, home to what looked like an abandoned rock quarry or possibly a one-time archaeological dig. A deep, narrow trench had been dug in the ground.
    They had planned to kill her and bury her here
.
    She thought briefly about filling the grave with the body of the man she’d shot, but there was no telling how soon the other one would come to. She could have shot him as well—she considered this briefly—but shedecided that one shooting in a day, and that in self-defense, was her limit. She was not a

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