An Ounce of Prevention (Chapter 7, page 1 of 9)

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When Carmen regained consciousness, Alex was kneeling over her, his face pale and his eyes wide.

"Are you alright?" he asked in a voice tight with emotion.

Behind him, the man holding the gun looked surprised. Seeing that she was conscious, he jabbed Alex in the ribs with the gun. "Get her on her feet and let's get moving before I decide to leave you both here permanently."

Alex helped her to her feet. "Can you walk?"

She nodded. "I think so."

Alex kept an arm around her until he was sure she could walk on her own. After that he let her walk ahead of him, putting his body between her and the gunman.

They were directed off the main trail and down a steep trail that crossed the valley and circled the base of the other butte. The two vans were gone and when he led them to an old shack, there was no vehicle there. A grulla horse nickered to them from a rickety corral.

The man prodded Alex with his gun and nodded at the shack. "In there."

Carmen followed Alex into the shack. Was this where they would be killed? She looked at Alex, but he was studying the inside of the shack.

The man grabbed a rope from the wall and tossed it to Carmen. "Tie his hands behind his back."

Carmen hesitated and Alex looked at her.

"Do it, Carmen." He turned his back to her and put his hands behind his back.

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