SHE SLEEPS by R.B. Russell

Sneak Peek Extract:

As I ran headlong into the wood there was another gunshot and a blow to my shoulder that spun me around. It was as though a bolt of lightning had hit me and the pain was unbelievable. Splinters of wood flew all about my head. I should have been thrown to the ground but the brunt of the discharge had been taken by a tree. The blast had forced the breath out of me, disorientated me, but somehow I stayed on my feet. My legs were insisting that I continue to run.

When the next shot came, twigs and leaves rushed past along with stray pellets, but this time my pursuer had missed his target. The gun­man would have to stop and reload, and I had the advantage of my momentum-even if I didn’t know in which direction I was now head­ing. As long as I was running away, nothing else mattered.

I tore madly between the trees, over fallen trunks and through brambles. I dashed down the bank of a stream that had cut a deep path through the sandy soil. When I reached the bottom I splashed along the course of the water for several yards before running up the opposite bank.

At that moment my heart was singing with my love for the trees. They had given me cover and had allowed me to escape. The sun was slanting through the branches like one of the blurred photographs on the sleeve of the album that had given me so much trouble.

And then I tripped and hit the ground hard, landing on my wounded shoulder.

Again the lightning…

I knew that I had been out cold for only a few seconds, during which time my unconscious mind had been going through my old archive, looking at the photographs and letters, leaflets and diaries. I could still smell the dust and the mustiness of old paper…. But then I realised that my face was in the dirt and decomposing leaves of the woodland floor. I knew exactly where I was, and the danger I was still in.

‘Please don’t let these be my last thoughts!’ I pleaded, and forced myself up on to my feet. My shoulder gave me more pain than I imagined I could ever stand. My right arm was heavy and would not move. Blood was running down the inside of my sleeve, over my useless hand, and was pouring from my fingers.

I didn’t know if I could hear my pursuer or not, but I started to run again….

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