The Second Kelly McAllister Novel
As I left the Jefferson Building my thoughts cart-wheeled. While I’d been inside rain clouds had gathered, chilling the air, darkening the light. If I’d wanted to conjure up special effects for a doomsday prophecy I couldn’t have asked for better.
The people who’d been hanging around only moments ago seemed to have disappeared, no doubt the smart ones wanting to avoid a sudden downpour. I rubbed the goose bumps tip-toeing up my arms and debated calling Vaughn with my not-so-good-news, or simply returning to the Maryland compound to share in person. On the other hand, maybe that was me seeking some reassurance in numbers. Right now I felt gobsmacked, as if I’d just received a death sentence.
I had. Not only for me but who knew for how many others.
Walking stiff-legged down the second set of granite stairs, I pulled out my phone, concentrating on hitting the speed dial button to the Agency when I felt it.
Instinct or recent experience, I had no idea what made me look up and turn, but that meant the first blow grazed my shoulder instead of landing solidly and snapping my neck.
I stumbled forward, tripping and tumbling down a few more steps until I landed on my back, the dark skies overhead blotted out by an even darker shape. A man. Wearing some kind of hooded jacket pulled over his face. Reaching for me.
He was one step above me. Close enough that I didn’t have a lot of options.
Kicking out, my shoe caught his shin. He grunted and stumbled, struggling to regain his stability as I scooted backwards, gaining my feet, before racing down the last steps, looking over my shoulder.
The man, if that’s what he was, raised his arm, revealing a tattoo on his inner forearm as he grabbed at my hair, ripping so hard I screamed as he yanked me upward.
He was still above and behind me so I didn’t fight my imbalance but sagged, letting my weight pull us both down into a tumbled mess, sprawled on the pathway beside the street.
He smelled of rotten eggs, gagging me as I jabbed right and left, using nails and elbows and knees, connecting with flesh, but he was bigger and heavier.
His hand circled my throat, choking, while slamming my head back on the gravel path again and again. My screams died. I fought now for air. Air and to live.
Pinpricks of light whirled around my vision.
Where were the Library guards? Visitors with cell phones? Any body?
This was it.