Shadows Have Gone, the third book in the End of All Things series, will be released on March 26. I'm doing a countdown during the two weeks leading up to its release with a new excerpt every day. Stop back tomorrow for something new!
She stood and stepped out onto the crumbling blacktop, Sam beside her. He gazed at the man curiously, his head tilted to the side. Carly took a few cautious steps forward, her hand on the scissors in her pocket.
“Hey!” the man called as soon as he spotted her. “Hey, lady! Help me, please!”
He was a young fellow, barely out of his teens by her estimation, with some wispy stubble above his lip that was trying to be a mustache. A bottle of water with a straw in it sat helpfully on a box within reach of his outstretched neck. Carly smiled at the sight, because she could think of only one person who would do something like that.
“What happened to you?” she asked.
He rubbed his sweaty cheek against his shoulder. “Lady, it’s been a hell of a night, so if you could just untie me, I’d appreciate it.”
“Maybe. Depends on your story.”
“First, I get carjacked by this dude in black. Came out of nowhere as I was slowing down to make a turn. Yanked the door open and pulled me out. Before I knew it, I was face down on the pavement and he had me tied up. He took all my stuff out of the jeep and piled it up here, beside me.”
“What did the guy look like?”
“I didn’t see too much of him, really. Black eyes, dark hair.”
“Did he have a gold ring with a strange symbol?”
“I’m sorry, but I didn’t see. Can you please . . .” The young man wriggled a little and looked up at Carly with pleading eyes. “My arms are cramping, and my ass is numb.”
Carly bent over and cut his bonds. She had to saw at them a bit with the scissors because the blades were getting dull from her tree-cutting, but she finally worked through the cable.
The man stood up, rubbing his wrists. He spotted Sam, lurking in the weeds beside the road. “Oh shit!”
Carly glanced over at Sam. “It’s okay. He’s with me.”
“Is that a—”
“A wolf, yeah.”
He shook his head. “I’m going to have to leave this part out when I tell the story. It’s already too unbelievable.”
Carly brushed past him to the piles of gear. Two rifles lay on the ground with a pair of holstered pistols. A bag lay nearby, and when she opened the flap, she saw boxes of ammo. Carly picked up everything but one of the pistols. “Sorry to rob you, but I really need these.”
“I was sort of expecting someone would come along and take it anyway. And maybe not untie me.” He nodded toward the pistol still lying on the ground. “Can I pick that up?”
“Are you going to point it at me?”
He gave a mirthless laugh. “As I said, lady, it’s been a hell of a night.”
He did, checking the load before he holstered it. “Thanks.”
Carly pointed south. “If you follow this road, then turn east, you’ll come upon a walled town. Tell them Carly said to help you out.”
“Thanks, but I’m heading back to my base.”
“I wouldn’t.” Carly picked up a ration kit she spotted under a knot of weeds and handed it to him.
“Because it’s probably not going to be there anymore.”
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