My Throwback Thursday is from my scifi romance, Strays.
The man looked around. He squinted up into the twilight sky and twisted on his heels, first left, then right. The man’s movements were casual, yet, Kyle couldn’t shake the feeling he was who this man was looking for. Even though he didn’t wear the uniform of government agents, he carried himself like one and acted like one. Kyle had seen enough of those people at the university and in the research facility where he’d worked to recognize them even without their uniforms.
A cramp shot through his leg and he hissed in a breath, shifting, then wincing. The man turned and looked right at Kyle’s hiding place. Taking a few steps closer, the man leaned down, cocked his head to one side, and stood straight again. The backpack he carried was dropped from his shoulder and gripped loosely in one hand.
Putting hands on hips, backpack dangling from his crooked fingers, he ordered, “Out, now.”
Not knowing what to do, Kyle stood on shaky legs, but didn’t move away from his hiding spot.
The man moved closer, reaching out, and brushed his fingers against the blood stain on Kyle’s jacket. “You’re hurt.” He reached for Kyle’s good arm. “Come with me.”
Skirting carefully around him, Kyle saw a pistol sticking out of the man’s waistband. Using his good arm, he darted in and made a grab for it. When the guy twisted away, Kyle kicked at his legs, grabbed the backpack, and took off.
“Crap. Kid, don’t run!” the man yelled. “Why do they always run?” The man had shouted loud enough that Kyle heard him despite running away.
Kyle didn’t look back. He gripped the stolen pack—there had to be something useful or sellable in it—and ran. Pulling air into his nose and blowing it out his mouth in huge puffs that turned frosty in front of him, Kyle used the panic from the sound of footsteps closing in behind him to create more speed. Swinging wide around a corner, he splashed through semi-frozen puddles, soaking his boots and socks, and headed in a direction he hoped would take him to somewhere deserted and with hiding places.
Cutting down an alley, Kyle swore under his breath. Fencing loomed up at the end of the narrow street. With his wounded shoulder, he doubted he could climb very well unless he got good height from a jump. Judging the distance, he stretched out his stride and leapt at the fence.
His fingers reached for the chain link, but they never connected. Something hit him across the back, hard. Kyle dropped to the ground, forced flat on his chest.
“Christ, you run like a freaking jack rabbit,” the man growled out, grabbing Kyle’s arms and yanking them behind his back, making him gasp out a groan. “Well, if you hadn’t grabbed my stuff and run, you wouldn’t be more hurt right than you already were.”
Once his hands were tied, the weight lifted off his back and Kyle was hauled to his feet. He turned around, looked into the face of his captor, then dropped his gaze to the ground and away from the anger in those mesmerizing eyes. “I-I’m sorry,” Kyle whispered. “I’m…I thought you might have food or water in your bag.”
The man eyed him up and down. “Are you lost?”
“How long have you been out here?”
Shrugging, Kyle licked his lips and tried to think. “Couple of days.”
“How old are you?”
The guy drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Not really old enough to know better.” He rubbed one hand over his face, then across the back of his neck. “You got a name?”
“Kyle.” When the man waved at him with a what else motion, Kyle gave him a small smile. “Anderson.”
“I’m Daniel.” He turned Kyle far enough to see his bound wrists. Taking out a knife, he sliced through the bindings. “And if you run from me again, I will shoot you. Got it?”
“Yes, sir.” Kyle rubbed his wrists.
“Call me sir again and I’ll shoot you twice.”
“Did you get the part where I’m armed?” Daniel reclaimed his pack and stepped away from him.
Despite being pretty much scared out of his mind, Kyle grinned. Daniel looked him over again, face softening. Some of the fear and tension bled out of Kyle and he relaxed a small amount.
“Now let’s try this again. Come with me, I’ll get your wound cared for and get you something to eat. It’s almost completely dark, and we shouldn’t be out here. Especially you!”
Strays is available in eBook and through Kindle Unlimited.
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