The Marenon Chronicles Collection - By Jason D. Morrow Page 0,1

too close to the slogging wheels.

The gas in the tank lasted longer than he anticipated, but after several miles of driving uphill in the wide circle it finally, and calmly, coughed to an expected end. Silas pulled the brake and the two of them bolted out.

Garland held out a hand to shush Silas before he could say a word. He tilted his head as he listened for the other truck, but no sound could be heard. When he was satisfied, he slung the shotgun strap over his shoulder, secured the two swords under his armpit and pushed past Silas. He then opened the driver's side door and unlatched the brake.

“What are you doing?” Silas asked, bewildered.

The truck began to roll down the mountain and both of them watched as it slid off the cliff, barely making a noise until its metal crumbled against the rock on the path further down. Garland scanned the terrain in front of them and wiped the sweat from the end of his nose. “We’re near the top. Let's head for the middle ground into the woods. They'll be hard pressed to find us in there.”

“We're going to get lost, Gramps.”

“Don't call me Gramps, you know I hate it.”

Silas was about to come back with something, but froze as they heard the faint growling of a diesel engine tearing up the mountainside. Like a waking giant, the sound gradually became louder.

Garland tapped Silas for his attention and handed him a sword.

“You realize they’re carrying automatic weapons,” Silas said.

“And we only have two shells left,” Garland came back. “It might be all we can use against them. Come on.”

Silas fastened the strap of the sheath around his chest so the sword hung comfortably on his back and Garland did the same. Silas followed him into the woods having no idea where they were going. He was often surprised by his grandfather's active behavior. His drive to maintain possession of this mysterious medallion was uncanny, and that feeling was multiplied considering Silas had never even seen the item before.

The air was thinner and harder to breathe as they ran though the rough, wooded terrain. It was almost dark now, but Silas figured that could be used to their advantage.

Hopefully, Silas thought. Within a few minutes, they reached a rocky summit, a mesa from which they could see for miles, including the road below them. The truck rumbled into sight and drove steadily around the mountain closer to their position.

They lay on their bellies and crawled behind a series of bushes near the edge of the stone overlook. Their breaths were shallow for several long seconds, and then Garland finally broke the silence.

“Do you see that cave over there?” He pointed to Silas' left.

He traced his grandfather’s gaze and almost said 'no' but finally caught a glimpse of the gaping hole in the side of the rock.

“Yeah, I see it.”

“That’s the hideout.”

“Then why aren’t we there?”

“We don’t have time,” Garland said. “Theron and Marcus are close. We needed to be in that cave twenty minutes ago. Running through the woods will make too much noise and they’ll surely find us before we can reach it.”

“Why wouldn't they keep looking for the truck?” Silas asked.

“If they didn't see that truck falling out of the sky, then they are less observant than I give them credit for.”

“So, what's the plan?” Silas wiped away an anxious sweat, as the rumbling of Marcus and Theron’s truck got closer. His grandfather's eyes were fixed on the cave’s entrance, unwavering.

“We take the fight to them,” Garland said. He turned to Silas and gave him a wry smile. “The hunters become the prey.”

Other mountains, with their shades of violet and orange in the setting sun, surrounded the peak where they sat. Silas knew they were somewhere in Colorado, but that was all. Although they were on the run for their lives, Garland didn’t miss the chance to say it was a good opportunity in Silas’ training. Even for an old man, Garland was unrelenting in his endeavors to instruct Silas. Confronting Marcus or Theron, the ‘prey’, and destroying one of them was his final test after years of guidance. He had trained long and hard with Garland and had become an expert swordsman and fighter. He could track beasts with the best of them and his marksmanship was unmatched, but Silas had never killed a man.

Their quarry was eccentric to say the least. When Theron and Marcus came to their doorstep, Silas could tell they were

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