Opening Salvo – Blood Sacrifice
They brought the girl to the temple at the stroke of midnight.
Even in the gloom, it was clear she was little more than a child. Only in her pubescent breasts was there any hint of the first buds of a womanhood waiting to flower. She seemed completely oblivious of her surroundings, as if the world around her had ceased to make sense, making no effort to shield her nakedness from the watchers assembled in the temple. Like a helpless marionette, her arms dangled at different angles because of the height difference of the two men holding her by the shoulders—one a veritable giant, almost seven feet tall, the other squat and bull-necked, like a gorilla. She whimpered as they dragged her across the courtyard, her rubbery feet leaving smears of blood on the rough-hewn stone.
Attack – First Blood
Jason catapulted up and over the desk, pivoting sideways on his planted left hand, like a gymnast on a pommel horse, into a side-on vault. He lashed his legs into a two-footed leaping side-kick that struck the Sikh in the throat, and hit the Gurkha under his nose with the knuckle of the middle finger protruding from his clenched right fist.
Powered by two hundred pounds of airborne momentum, the twin strikes were devastating. His steel-capped boots smashed into the Sikh’s throat and jaw, lifting the giant off his feet and hurling him backwards. The ippon-ken fist-strike, delivered with a corkscrew twist, shattered the Gurkha’s facial bones, and he went down, arms flung outwards like a rag doll.
Defend – Blood Shed
Oblivious of the bullets hitting the car just inches away, she turned Pammie over, saw blood pumping from a bullet wound in her neck, and clamped her hand down like a vice on the carotid artery in the girl’s neck, compressing it against the vertebral column to stop the blood flow.
More bullets continued to thud into the car. Alexis heard a man cry out. The words were unintelligible, but the triumph in his voice was unmistakable.
A searing rage swept through Alexis. The rate of fire meant the killer was a professional. So…why didn’t he get out of the car to finish the job? She was defenseless against the Uzi.
Then she remembered Jason.
Duel – Blood Lust
Alexis seemed oblivious of the deadly danger she now faced. Her clenched right fist flashed back, telegraphing her intent to launch into an oi-zuki lunging front punch.
The giant reacted almost lazily—as if flicking off a mosquito coming at him. He raised his left forearm to deflect her strike and pulled his clenched right fist back to his hip as she closed in.
Jason saw Alexis plant her left foot to lunge, but she had miscalculated how far she was from the Sikh. Her punch would fall short of her target!
Song of Death – Bloodbath
Alexis heard the Uzi sing its murderous song in counterpoint to the metallic clink of spent shells on concrete. After an eternity, the deadly symphony of death played its last note and there was nothing left except the ringing in her ears.
Still she could not move.
She lay on the ground, her cheek hugging the rough stone. She was alive!