“The gold spider,” Andres said in a resonant Spanish accent. “Her power will belong to me.”
The crisp mountain air washed over Ash like a torrent of cold water. It whispered across waves of tan grass, carrying the scent of old pines, making him feel alive again.
The porch boards creaked as the gunmen crowded in on either side of Ash. Behind, Andres’s leather shoes stepped onto the wooden threshold of the abandoned farmhouse. Then everything went quiet.
“Show me,” Andres said, his voice husky. “The gold spider. Where is she?”
Ash’s mouth went dry. He had no idea.
He’d been bluffing, trying to buy time, hoping his memory would return and explain the mystery of why he was here, on this mountain.
But there was no room left to stall. Now he had to improvise.
Ash tapped his boot-heel on the hollow floorboard and looked down, drawing their attention to his feet. Then he tensed and launched himself at the corner of the porch. He hit the rotted corner post with his full weight.
The post broke against his shoulder, black decayed wood exploding from its center. Ash let his momentum carry him off the porch. The roof collapsed behind him, deafening.
Down into the knee-high mountain grass. He stumbled and fought for his balance. The driveway’s loose sand slipped beneath his smooth soles as he sprinted for the shed.
He risked a glance back over his shoulder. The porch roof was an avalanche of shingles and rotted wood. It folded in on itself, tearing off siding from the second story. A wall of dust rushed outward, blotting out the front of the house.
Ash pumped his arms as he ran, breath burning in his chest, and skidded into the shed. The sudden transition from sunlight to darkness left him blind for a moment. Moolah barked and plowed into him, the dog all happy paws and wet nose.
“Come on, buddy, let’s go.” Ash blinked, trying to get his eyes to adjust. Stripes of sunlight fell where the afternoon sun shone through the wall. Nearby, a cobwebbed pitchfork hung from rusted nails. He reached for it.
Bullets cracked through the walls of the shed, punching a line of holes through the wood. He ducked under a rain of splinters. Fingers of sunlight reached through the bullet holes . . .
Find out what happens next!
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