Vin drew his pistol and toed off his boots, perfectly soundless. He went into the family room. Chris was on the couch, still. Vin's heart just about leapt out of his chest before he saw the rise and fall of Larabee's ribs. Sleeping. Exhaustion had taken its toll.

Lord, he felt like he could flop down on floor and sleep just as soundly. He went into the master bedroom and found a dark thermal shirt in Larabee's dresser. He stripped off his damp T-shirt and replaced with the long-sleeved thermal. He felt instantly warmer. He borrowed one of Larabee's dark sweatshirts. He saw Chris' kevlar vest on the hook by the door and he slipped it on under his dark jacket, before he returned to the deck.

Sam was keeping a low profile, the night-vision goggle trained on the fields. He lifted a hand to Vin, signaling him down, and Vin dropped to a crouch. Sam passed over the goggles, made a familiar military motion with two fingers, indicating Vin should look where he pointed. He did, and saw a faint blur of pale green light near the barn. It could be a deer, a fox, or a man.

"I'm on it."

"Tanner!" Sam tried to grab his arm, but Vin slipped through his fingers like water.

He ran low and fast across the fields towards the barn. Suddenly, there was a flash and a low hiss of a silenced weapon. The bullet hit him above the breast, slammed him to the ground, but was foiled by the Kevlar. Hazy, in pain, but aware that it was best to be perfectly still, he lay there, scarcely breathing. There was somebody standing near, and he didn't think it was Sam.

An unsilenced shot sounded, and Vin heard a grunt, the scrabble of boots on hard stone, then nothing. He felt consciousness draining away, fought to stay aware, but failed as the darkness came over him.

"Tanner! Vin!" Sam ran over to the dark, still shape that was Vin. He went down on his knees, terribly afraid that he might find a lifeless body.


Shilohfront cover

Back to Magnificent Seven zines