The first one thousand words of The Mother Earth Insurgency

I’ve been thrilled with the response to my novelette, The Mother Earth Insurgency. It’s already got a 4.6 rating on Amazon! If you’re curious about the story, here’s the first one thousand words. If you like it, please consider purchasing the ebook for your Kindle. Thank you!

The rubber slug glanced off Nick Sorrows’ cheekbone, gashing the skin deep enough to make a scar certain. It stung, but he welcomed the laceration. The blood infiltrating the stubble on his jaw hid his intent and reduced the chance he might hesitate.

He stumbled forward, eyes on his quarry, a single individual ahead of him in the angry crowd. A surge carried him toward the police cordon, each officers’ truncheon at the ready. He pressed his right hand to his bleeding check and his left hand on the backs and shoulders of other demonstrators to maintain his balance.

He was part of the seething mass, but not with it. He chanted the protest slogans, but he didn’t sing them as a true believer.

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He was part of the seething mass, but not with it. He chanted the protest slogans, but he didn’t sing them as a true believer. Nick was like the nano-bots that stalked free-floating cancer cells in the bloodstream. His target was Jon Janicks. Could he stop Janicks before his insurgents assassinated another green energy investor? Maybe Janicks was after a Great Basin solar farm, or one of the Santa Barbara tidal energy converters. Nick had to know.

Debris sailed over his head from the protesters behind him. Cops launched tear gas canisters in response. Nick kept his one eye not obscured by swelling skin and sticky mucus on the man with a 10-centimeter, hairless scar on his scalp. Janicks was a predator, like a tiger or a snake, invisible in his hideouts, staying quiet until he struck. Nick had caught up to him after weeks of following his trail, but doubts dogged the undercover agent. The protest was perfect cover, but would he recognize the time to act? Would he have the nerve?

Like a seawall, the triple line of cops protected the entrance to the hotel where the Consortium CEOs were meeting. The officers’ faces were determined but fearful behind their masks. Raindrops glittered like jewels on their helmets. The sergeant droned at the marchers about clearing the area. On either end of the cordon, anchoring it like buttresses, stood the security bots, their ostrich-like bodies sharpening the atmosphere of incipient violence.

Nick was about to grab a handful of Janicks’ vinyl jacket when the terrorist reached for the semi-automatic pistol in the jacket’s pocket. His hand centimeters from the weapon, Janicks was seconds from taking out a cop or a demonstrator and transforming the raucous protest into a full-blown riot. It didn’t make sense, though. Janicks was smarter than that. Nick weighed his options: let the gun go off and keep his cover, or stop Janicks there and then. He’d resist the latter choice until the last second, but he’d waited too long once before, and it had cost lives.

Janicks removed the pistol from his jacket and lifted it.

A concussion grenade detonated at Janicks’ feet. Nick’s Army training kept him focused, but acrid smoke and orange sparks enveloped Nick and Janicks and a half-dozen other demonstrators. A security bot emerged from the cloud, its spike-like staser deployed, the hiss-hiss of its actuators as terrifying as the deadly energy weapon. Nick’s ears rang like a church bell as he spun around looking for Janicks, finding him sprawled on the asphalt.

The cops charged, changing the equation. Nick fell forward, feigning injury and crawling toward Janicks. The prone man waved to ward off the truncheons that swung like swords. Nick raised an arm over Janicks protectively, and a club landed on the back of his hand. Pain shot through his arm and into his ribs, but his eyes were on Janicks’ gun hand, which was empty. Another cloud of tear gas floated over them and Nick snagged Janicks’ jacket with his bloody fingers.

A second line of police rushed forward. Two pounced on Nick and Janicks, screaming GETDOWNGETDOWN, pushing both men’s faces into the wet pavement. The laceration on Nick’s cheek screamed painful orders to run and hide from the helmeted demons, but he locked his arm around Janicks’, because his mission mattered more than a few cuts and bruises.

The officers patted down every inch of their prizes and turned out every pocket. Nick had no weapons and neither did Janicks. The gun was lost after the grenade knocked everyone senseless. Cuffs went on the men’s wrists and they were hauled to their feet.

For the first time, Nick met Janicks face to face. “You okay, brother?”

Janicks’ ice-like blue eyes regarded Nick. “What’s it to you?”

“I saw you go down. Solidarity, my friend.”

The cops told the arrested perps to shut up and pushed them toward the curb. A dozen other arrested protesters sat with knees to their chest or legs splayed in front. All were cuffed at the elbows and wrists. A medic tended to scrapes and cuts; Nick’s looked worse than it was. The agent kept his attention on Janicks as the target studied his surroundings. Dossiers give you a lot of facts about targets, but they don’t say anything about their souls. Accustomed to making snap judgments, Nick pegged Janicks as everything he expected: ruthless, murderous, and utterly without fear or feeling.

He set out to become Janicks’ next volunteer.

Are you hooked? Check out The Mother Earth Insurgency on Amazon!

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