crouching behind her. The woman had simply ducked,
invisibly fast, and Tally had tripped over her like some awk-
ward littlie in a brawl.
Shaking her head and spitting the dirt out of her mouth,
Tally spotted the container just out of reach. She scrambled
toward it, but a staggering weight crashed down on her, driv-
ing her face-first into the ground. She felt her wrists pulled
back and bound, hard plastic cuffs cutting into her flesh.
She struggled, but couldn’t move.
Then the awful weight lifted, and a nudge from a boot
flipped her over effortlessly. The Special stood over her,
smiling coldly, holding the container. “Now, now, ugly,” the
cruel pretty said. “You just calm down. We don’t want to
hurt you. But we will if we have to.”
Tally started to speak, but her jaw clenched with pain.
It had plowed into the ground when she’d fallen.
“What’s so important about this?” the Special asked,
shaking the container and trying to peer through its translu-
Out of the corner of her eye, Tally saw the Boss making
his way toward the forest. His run was slow and tortured,
the duffel bag too heavy for him.
“Open it and see,” Tally spat painfully.
“I will,” she said, still smiling. “But first things first.”
She turned her attention toward the Boss, and her posture
suddenly transformed into something animal, crouched
and coiled like a cat ready to spring.