" Speaking personally, you can have my gun, but you'll take my book when you pry my cold, dead fingers off of the binding." ~ Stephen King
Jack stared longingly at the back of Doctor Coldwater's neck.
She didn't notice as she remained crouched over Devin Schinhold's quickly stiffening corpse, gingerly turning the dead man's head from side to side, examining him.
He cringed as she pried open the man's mouth, his jaw easing open like a pair of freight elevator doors, revealing an overbite of smoke-yellowed teeth.
If that didn't turn one off to smoking, Jack didn't know what wow. . .
Leaving his mouth, V.C. picked up one of his meaty paws, peering at the discolored fingertips.
Jack had no idea what she was doing but Devin didn't protest.
Not that he was in the position to in his current state. . .
But back to the situation at hand: Commander Rhodes' current obsession with V.C.
More specifically, the tangle of hair which curled around the back of her neck in a delicate embrace.
With her hair pinned up high, her face was left clear to scourge the crime scene for clues.
Which was all good in terms of the investigation.
What was unfortunate was that she had stolen Jack's one and only pen to do so.
He blew out a long breath, laden with frustration, and leaned against the brick wall.
If he had a pen, he would be taking statements from the loiterers edging their way along the yellow tape.
Yet, he didn't, he thought sharply. Ducking around the agents scourging up evidence along the ground, the Commander stepped closer towards the dumpster. Dents appeared on the green metal container as Jack ran his fingers over the surface.
With his pocket knife, he dug out one of the inch-long slugs buried in the surface. Heaving it in his hand, Jack stared at the small piece of metal.
At 5.5 millimeters long, the bullet had definitely come from a military assault rifle.
There were only two options.
Either the shooter had bought the weapon off the black market or. . .
Someone in the United States Military was trying to kill them.
Jack glanced at the bullet entry points scattered around the scene. He stared at the couplet of holes in the brick wall.
Right where V.C. had been standing.
He sucked in a breath.
If Jack had been one second slower, he would have needed two body bags instead of just one. He didn't want to think about it. But he couldn't push the terror aside.
Okay, so, maybe he wasn't actually annoyed at the stolen pen. Maybe he was angrier that someone had tried to kill both him and V.C.
But it was easier to pretend that it was the whole pen situation was causing his foul mood. She really needed to start carrying around hair elastics. . .
Jack vowed right then and there that he was going to find the person responsible for nearing killing V.C.
And himself, of course.
There was no way he would be wasting government resources just to feel better about V.C's safety.
In front of him, V.C. snapped her fingers absentmindedly, still staring at the deceased Schinhold. She seemed to be caught up in her own thoughts as she fumbled with a small black kit next to the body.
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Eridanus Flooding (WATTY 2018 WINNER)Mystery / Thriller
Commander Jack Rhodes is a retired Navy Seal. Well. Retired isn't what he would call it. More like fired. Yes. Fired would be the correct choice of word. No one retires at the age of 32. When a mission went wrong, leaving Jack as the only survivor...