The following is an excerpt of Norton’s Ghost, from Part 3, Chapter 13. Stay tuned next Sunday for a sample of my up-and-coming book codenamed “Morocco“.
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The officer hit the ground butt-first and tumbled back against the building. His feet and legs came up off the ground like a two year old rolling onto his or her back. My brain had a split-second to toss out a thought
(wow, his shoes are shiny)
before I saw the remaining civilian’s arm raise in a smooth arc.
Extended from it was cold, blue steel that looked black under what little light fell into the alley. As the officer scrambled to get up, the conscious part of me hit the manual override switch and I lurched forward, willing myself to get there fast enough, without knowing what I was going to do when I got there.
The man squeezed the trigger as I ran. I knew this because the gun jumped and the briefest flash-tongue of flame slipped from the barrel, followed by the sound, a deafening explosion that bounced off the surrounding walls and made my ears ring. I had time for one last thought—oh my god I’m too late he actually SHOT him—before I crashed into the shooter with my full weight and gathered momentum.
I swung, elbowed and kicked as we both went down, intent on doing as much damage as possible.
I felt something grab my shoulder and it dawned on me that I’d forgotten about the second man, the man who now had me outnumbered and prone and I knew a moment of true fear before I realized it was my backpack strap, still hanging onto my arm. The other strap broke during the struggle, and I had a death grip not on the assailant, but on my own backpack.
I looked up to see both men running away, the first only the briefest white flicker as the heel of his hind sneaker turned the corner. I shrugged myself out of my pack and scrambled on all fours over to the officer.
His eyes were closed when I knelt down beside him. I nudged him with my hand—it touched something warm and wet. My mind flashed back to a day long before when I followed Gareth one night and witnessed the stabbing of a homeless man. Once again, I fought the urge to vomit.
And I would help this time, if I could.
At my touch, the officer’s eyes opened. He was much younger than I first thought. Early thirties at most.
“Are you okay?” I asked. Stupid question, I knew, considering I saw him get shot and had his blood on my hand.
“Mmmnnn,” he mumbled. I couldn’t understand what he was trying to say. His eyes focused on mine for a second and then went wholly white as they rolled up into the back of his head.
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