Rebel Heart (Chapter Nine, page 2 of 8)

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They looked at her, and she suspected they were silently cursing the defenseless civilian.

"Stay here. They're calling in a strike. Elise and I will take out the rest," Dan said.

Lana nodded, afraid to ask what happened if the plan didn't work. He patted her arm then moved to crouch beside Elise, waiting.

The screech of incoming missiles was audible long before they hit, but the laser strikes were silent. She plugged her ears, watching as the missiles distracted the men into one direction while the laser strike knocked them dead. The ground shook beneath them as the weapons hit the ground. The scent of burnt metal and flesh soon followed, then chaos as Elise and Dan moved away from her, each going in the opposite direction under the cover of smoke.

Lana stretched onto her stomach, watching them from the safety of the tree. The strikes were enough to disarray, if not kill, most of the men. More laser fire lit the area where Elise had gone.

She sucked in a breath, heart racing. Another man dropped, this time from Dan's direction. She couldn't tell how many there were, not with the smoke and darkness. She heard the sounds of a physical scuffle and another shot from Dan's direction. The adversaries were regrouping, with one barking orders to those remaining. She watched dark shapes mill and drop as the smoke cleared until they wised up and took refuge in the forest.

One charged her hiding place, and she scrambled back, pressing herself against the tree. She held her breath, listening as he prepped his weapon. Another shot pierced the tense darkness, then there was a flurry of movement. The man inches from her fired into the melee, along with the laser guns of several more. She couldn't tell what was happening, but it seemed like there were a lot more guns in the fight than there had been a minute ago.

The gunman rested back on his heels to load a new laser charge pack. The gunfight gave another burst of life before winding down. She froze, willing the man not to look left, or he'd see her.

She heard Elise's whistle. She couldn't respond without drawing the man's attention. Elise whistled again. More gunfire sounded. The man beside Lana rocked back suddenly, pounding his gun on the ground as it jammed. He looked up.

Their eyes met. Lana's heart stopped, and she opened her mouth to shout for Elise. He slapped his hand over her mouth and wrenched her up, the laser gun at her head. He wrapped a thick arm around her throat and dragged her from the forest. Dark corpses littered the small clearing.

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