Staying low, I backed away.
Three more figures came into view. Eight in total – heading straight for the house.
I moved a little quicker.
Then came the itch in the back of my head – someone was watching me. There were more people out in the woods.
Leaves rustled behind me.
I wheeled around.
A running figure flew at me – and knocked me flat.
I landed on my back on cold, wet ground. Stars fizzed in my eyes. My head span.
Two figures stood over me. One of them leaned in a little closer.
“Is this him? Is he wearing…”
There was no time to think. I took my chance. I rolled, pulled the gun from the back of my jeans. I aimed and squeezed the trigger one, two, three, four times. Both figures collapsed to the ground. I didn’t check to see if they were still alive. I didn’t want to. The gun belonging to one of them lay on the grass. I scrambled to my feet, grabbed it and ran.
The itch in my head told me the others had seen me and were pounding through the woods after me. I veered left and right, weaving through the trees, avoiding running in a straight line in case they tried shooting at me.
Suddenly the trees and everything around me were swallowed by darkness. A blanket of pitch black filled my night vision goggles. I tore off the goggles. I could see it happening around me – the night was disappearing in a blackness that swallowed up the trees and everything else.
Multiple footsteps thundered over the ground after me.
A volley of suppressed automatic shots reeled off close by.
I hit the ground.
They were close. But there was no way they could see me. Their best chance of finding me was tripping over me.
Then the darkness started to clear.
Eight dark figures materialised among the trees, just metres away. One of them turned in my direction and pointed right at me.
Eight assault rifles trained on me.
Eight bright red laser sights threaded through the darkness and beamed onto my chest.