Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Extraction Point! Ch 1 part 3

Extraction Point!
by Travis S. Taylor & Stephanie Osborn

Ray turned the corner and nearly slammed face first into a brick wall, stopping just in time to scratch his right elbow up a little more on the rough brick as he caught himself against the wall. Ow. Really needed THAT. Quickly he scanned around for an exit. There was only one--a primer-coated metal staircase up the side of the building--and the man had a full story and a half head start on him. It was almost as if the man knew the route he was going and had known the staircase would be there.

Shoving his way through the pain and exhaustion, Ray threw himself up the staircase, keeping his pace steady and the man in sight. Twice he saw the man slip on the wet metal steps, and each time Ray made a slight gain on him, his treaded boots proving a better grip on the metal than the man's street shoes. Pushing harder than he thought he could, Ray closed the gap to only half a story behind the man as he went out of sight over the rooftop of the ten story building.

Ray crested the rooftop cautiously and there was the man, sitting on the edge of the rooftop barely a couple of meters away, looking over the edge at the street below and then at his watch–or one of them; for some reason, he was wearing two. Different ones, at that. His pale blond thatch, cut short enough to stand in upright spikes but not short enough to qualify as a buzz cut, wilted a bit in the rain.

"You… you are rather good," the man offered, wiped blood from his aquiline--though now slightly misshapen--nose, gasped for breath, and looked at his watch again with bright blue eyes.

"Listen, I've got backup right behind me. There is no way down and I can keep you busy long enough for 'em to catch you. What d' you say we just sit down, take a breather, and wait on 'em?" Ray panted and smiled at the same time, hoping to stall long enough that he wouldn't have to fight the guy any more before backup arrived.

"I've got a better idea." The man looked at his watch one last time and then leapt over the side of the rooftop, pushing off with his hands as he slipped gracefully from the lip of the ledge. There was a brief flash of white light--Ray assumed it was lightning--that caused him to flinch and cover his eyes for a moment. And the man was gone.

"NO!" Ray rushed to the edge of the building, peered over, and… saw… nothing. "What the hell!?" No blood on the street below, no screaming passersby, no squished and maimed body–nothing.

"Ray! You all right?" a voice from behind him gasped.

Ray stood there, confused--no, flabbergasted--peering over the edge of the building, visually searching every nook, cranny, alley, and pavement all the way down. Nothing. The man had simply vanished like a ghost. No body, no visible escape route, no sign.

The rain continued to wash the red blood from Ray's broken nose and swelling lip down the front of his already stained and ripped shirt and he could still hear the music off in the distance somewhere. He stood in a contemplative calmness, surveying the volume of space off the side of the building, and gasping for air as his heartbeat slowed. How in the. Bloody. Damn. HELL did he get away? This time, is it… nah, can't be.

"Your pistol, Ray." A young man in his late twenties with a blond military haircut and an athlete's build scanned the rooftop as he offered Ray his weapon.

"Huh? Oh, thanks, Jay." Ray took his favorite handgun, checked the magazine and safety, and slipped it in the clip holster on his waistband at his back. When he did, cold water squished from the holster, down his back and into his already soaked underwear, giving him a severe chill. He shivered violently for a second. He was still more than a bit dazed by what had happened moments ago--and the beating he'd taken--oh yeah, and the running.

"Uh, Dr. Brady?"

"What? I know, he got away." Ray panted, still having a hard time talking between breaths.

"Uh, no sir, uh, Ray, you've been shot." Major Sampson pointed to the bloody mess on his left shoulder. The young Army major said it nonchalantly as if he had seen the same situation before.

"Oh, that. It's just a flesh wound," Ray waved his hand in dismissal–right before he collapsed backwards onto the rooftop.

"Man down! Medic!" Sampson called over the radio.


Extraction Point! is available for purchase through Barnes-Noble and Amazon, as well as Twilight Times Books.

See other books by Stephanie Osborn at

Monday, August 1, 2011

Extraction Point! Ch 1 part 2

Extraction Point!
By Travis S. Taylor & Stephanie Osborn

Just as the thought occurred to him, the man regained his poise and his vision, and rushed at him wildly–at least it seemed wild, at first. So Ray sidestepped and attempted to Judo throw him. But the man countered the move with an Aikido circular motion that flung Ray around a full three hundred and sixty degrees and then downward and forward, sliding belly first and hydroplaning in the several inch deep rainwater. His belly slide splashed a double rooster tail of water out behind him. Ray tucked his right arm under his body--ignoring the pain caused from the street pavement peeling skin from his forearm--and used his momentum in a Judo roll to bring him back up to his feet just in time to be tackled from behind mid-back. I'm not doing too well with this guy, he thought, rueful. Jesus, this son of a bitch is fast.

Ray twisted and squirmed free, tossing the man backward, and barely missed him with a spinning back kick. In a flurry of elbows, backward head butts, punches, and blocks, the two men ended back in the exact same spot they had been a few moments before. Ray was face down in the same pothole struggling for his breath as his would-be assailant ground knees into his lower back and pummeled him from behind. But this time, to Ray's surprise, the man's grip let go sooner–much sooner.

As Ray forced his head up above the water again, he understood why. He could hear the semiautomatic weapon's fire splattering off the alleyway wall in front of them. The rain of bullets was obviously fired overhead as a warning, spraying yellow sparks and shards of brick ubiquitously, but it still startled the man and the break was all Ray needed to throw him forward. At first Ray covered, afraid of friendly fire, but the man he'd already chased for two solid freakin' miles into this alley entrance had bear-crawled his way to the turn in the alley and was getting away.

"Hold your fire," Ray heard someone call over the music and the rain and his pounding chest. With that, he lunged to his feet with all the strength he had left and headed forward in pursuit of the man, lungs burning, dredging endurance he didn't expect from some unknown, heretofore untapped place inside.

"You are NOT going to get away from me, dammit!" He sprinted around the corner in time to see the man climbing a chain link fence crossing the alley. "Shit!"

Over the fence, Ray said determinedly to himself. Ignoring various protesting bodily parts, he scrambled up to the top of the rusty fence and leaned over it, grabbing the other side of the fence with his hands, and then let his body weight flip him feet over head. He splashed down on the other side, already in a full sprint. Come on! Push it!

Ray was gaining on the larger man, but his heart was pounding at least two hundred beats per minute and felt as if it would explode at any instant. If only I hadn't dropped my damn pistol, I'd have him now!

Extraction Point! is available for purchase through Barnes-Noble and Amazon, as well as Twilight Times Books.

See other books by Stephanie Osborn at