The snuffling of a nearby creature pushed through the pain and pulled Quint to consciousness. His breathing stayed slow and steady and his eyes didn’t so much as flicker. He had no idea what had happened or where he was, but he clearly wasn’t where he should be. It was safer to pretend unconsciousness to any surrounding enemies.
From the leaves, dirt and twigs poking his limbs and dusting his face, he knew he wasn’t safe with the Guard. Actually, that could be perfectly normal if the Third or Jason were pulling practical jokes again. It was the various aches and pains in conjunction with his surroundings that were the clincher. He hurt all over, in ways that he hadn’t been hurt in decades. His left arm and hand in particular were a mass of agony and the searing pain in his right thigh screamed bullet wound.
His jaw was sore, as were both cheekbones, but a quick inspection with his tongue assured that all his teeth were still solidly in place. That was good – it was tough enough keeping centuries old teeth healthy without having people knock them loose.
He laid there for what seemed like hours, but was probably about twenty minutes, just listening to the sounds around him - animals, bugs, but didn’t seem like any people. The wildlife was just doing its thing while he laid there and decided that he wasn’t dying, nor was he bleeding out - plus and plus. Now to figure out what in Hades had happened to him.
The last thing he remembered was setting down in a clearing near his mission target – a potential slave trafficking holding area.
No, no, there was another memory, but it was fuzzy, just a snapshot really of a rank room with about a dozen thin, grimy people crammed inside. Then nothing. Just this. He struggled into a sitting position and started cataloging his injuries.
Gunshot wound in and out through the outer thigh. Check. Two swollen, probably black, eyes and a banged up chin. Check. Knot on the head. Check times two. Cracked rib. Check. That hurt like a mother, and not the nice kind who makes cookies for the whole class either. Masses of bruising on the left arm and hand where it looked like someone went after him with a maul. Check. What the devil were they trying to do? It probably would have been simpler to steamroll the stupid thing. Two-inch long strip of flesh missing. Check. What the fuck was up with that? Finally, he had a broken pinky finger. Wonderful.
His watch with its GPS tracker had fallen victim to the arm battering. The face was crushed, the clasp mangled and the entire thing crusted in blood from where his scalp bled all over pretty much everything.
Even more concerning was that he didn’t have a single defensive wound. So what? He’d been unconscious and someone had simply shot and then beaten the hell out of him? Then what? How did he end up here, half buried under tree debris?
He splinted his pinky and strapped it to the finger next to it. A strip of his shirt got torn in two and folded into pads, one for either side of the bullet wound. Then he tore another strip and wrapped it around the pads and his thigh to hold the makeshift bandage in place and keep dirt out. His cracked rib complained the whole time.
Finally, he gained his feet, hand on a tree to steady himself. A few tentative steps made it clear that walking was doable but painful. He looked around, view narrowed from eyes almost swollen shut, but still had no idea of where he was. The sky was overcast, but he judged the time to be mid-morning, somewhere kind of forested. He guessed that he was not near his mission destination. The local flora was different, and the climate just a bit off. Of course, it could simply be a change in the weather from whenever he’d set out. He had no idea how much time had passed either.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Quint Book 2 Snippet
Okay, finally, here is something from book 2, Quint's book. Some of you (Penny) have been nagging me to throw something involving Quint up here. I had a hard time finding something that didn't include spoilers from book 1. The following piece is something that not even my critique group has seen yet, so don't be surprised if it could be seriously re-vamped and improved. Thanks to my father-in-law and T at Barnes & Noble for proofing some of this for me since I know NOTHING about surviving out in the wilderness (except for the research I've been doing recently). Enjoy.