Wildest Dreams
one way out.
    I gripped the K-bar and stepped into the hallway.
    Both pistols were aimed in my face. The deputies stood shoulder to shoulder. The one on the left yelled, “Drop it!”
    His partner didn’t waste that much time. He pulled the trigger. The bullet sang past my ear like a steel fly as I moved in on him, slicing the inside of his right forearm to the bone. He dropped his pistol and before it hit the carpet the K-bar had pierced his Kevlar vest and his rib cage, gouging a trench in his heart.
    He dropped the same way his gun had. His partner watched him fall, but that was a mistake. He should have been watching me because I had not stopped moving. My arm came up and the pommel of the knife caught his square jaw and I followed through with my elbow. There was a wicked crack as his jaw splintered and then he was off-balance and I waded in, tumbling him over the railing.
    His brown eyes stared up at me in shock as he slammed against the hardwood floor below.
    “Sweet Jesus,” he moaned, slurring the words through his shattered jaw. He tried to get up, still muttering like he was down on his knees in church, but his brain tripped a circuit and cut him off soon enough.
    My heart thundered in my chest. Adrenaline was burning me down. Flies buzzed around my head. I stared down at the deputy I’d stabbed. He was dead. Not even bleeding anymore. But he’d spilled more than enough blood. Or I had spilled it for him.
    Soon the flies would find him.
    I took the dead cop’s pistol. I wanted out.
    I hurried down the wrought iron staircase, rolled the wounded deputy, and took his gun belt and two spare clips of ammunition. I buckled on the belt. Then I peeled off the cop’s shit-brown jacket and put that on too. I didn’t think I was going to fool anyone. Not really. But the jacket might buy me a second’s worth of hesitation, and that was all I wanted.
    In the adjoining room—the dining room where I’d eaten the night before—a window shattered and broken glass sprayed across the floor.
    I remembered the configuration of the room. A wall of glass doors that opened onto the pool area.
    Someone was coming in the back way.
    So I’d go out the front. I jammed the K-bar under the gun belt and grabbed the second pistol. The front door stood open. I elbowed through it, an automatic in each hand.
    No one stood in my way. I eyed the treeline to the north. Nothing, but that followed expectations. This was local yokel law enforcement. No SWAT teams. No snipers.
    And no prowl car parked under the porte-cochere. The deputies had probably walked down the long driveway from the main gate. I figured there were four or five cars parked up there. Probably the whole fucking force was down on me.
    Why…I could certainly guess that after seeing the corpse upstairs.
    But who had set me up…that was another story. Right now I didn’t have time for it.
    The property was surrounded by a security fence. Any way I went, I’d have to climb it. The question was which way to go. A bare rocky wasteland separated the house from the ragged cliffs that dropped to the ocean. To the north was forest, but too much open space separated me from the treeline.
    I started moving in the opposite direction, following a rustic porch that ran south along the front of the house.
    I didn’t see anyone until I turned the corner.
    Another deputy. His back was turned, and he was taking little Indian steps, his gun held out before him.
    I aimed both pistols at his back.
    If he turned around, he’d be dead before he ever saw me.
    Someone yelled from the pool area behind the house. The deputy hurried toward the noise without a backward glance.
    I lowered my pistols. On the south side of the house, the trees grew close. I squinted into the dark forest. Nothing. It was clear. Had to be. If anyone was waiting in ambush, they would have brought me down by now.
    A voice behind me: “Freeze, asshole.”
    The guns were in my hands, but I knew I couldn’t make the turn

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