The end is in sight, perhaps just a chapter or two away, seeing as I wrote three chapters today for a count of 7,175 words. And even though the inner editor is supposed to be quiet, she shrieked at me all day until I did some chapter rearranging. I couldn’t go forward until I did that, so I let Inner Editor have her way, just this once.
So, yesterday’s Chapter 29, Another Undisclosed Location, is now Chapter 30; the “new” Chapter 29 is entitled The Woman Who Fights; Chapter 31 is Ghosts and Efreets; and Chapter 32 is At the Top of the World. Oh, the total word count is now 88,159.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 32:
She heard a footfall she’d come to recognize—Brian O’Keefe. He settled close enough to her she could feel the heat his body generated from climbing to her position. She shifted closer to take as much of it as she could.
“What did your recce find?” she asked him.
“The good news is we cross that valley below us and we’re with the main group of the U.S. Forces, the CIA forces, and the Northern Alliance,” he said.
“And the bad news?”
She saw his teeth flash in the darkness. “No one puts anything over on you, do they?”
“Not for a long time,” she said. And the only one who could do that was, apparently, her own husband.
“The bad news is, there’s a group of about thirty Taliban in the valley. Abdullah says if we go south around them, we encounter too many Taliban and al Qaeda. We go north, we’ll be two days behind the American’s big push,” he said.
“Do the Talibs in the valley know we’re here?”
“Unlikely. They’re sleeping. Resting up for the battle, Abdullah says. He and I have different ideas about how to handle it.”
Meaning she would have to decide, but that was her job, wasn’t it. “All right,” she said, “let’s have a team meeting.”
She led the way from the outcrop, and they gathered in the small cave they’d found to shelter in, a single, small flashlight for illumination. Mai stayed as close as she could to the entrance, to block the light and so she wouldn’t be too far inside.
“All right, Abdullah, what is your plan?” she asked.
“There are thirty of them, eight of us, but we have stealth and darkness on our side. We each take three or four. Use knives. Quietly,” he said.
Mai translated for O’Keefe and her team.
“Brian?” she said.
“We take an hour to study their position in depth, see who’s sleeping, who’s on guard. I take Hat, Adams, Salim, and Coop, and we take out the guards. The rest of you stay up here with silenced guns to pick off anyone who tries to run,” O’Keefe said.
Kolya had translated for Abdullah, who then said to Mai, “That risks someone using a radio or getting away in the dark. My way takes care of them all.”
“What did he say?” O’Keefe asked, and Mai explained.
“And my way keeps half us in reserve in case something goes wrong,” O’Keefe said.
Thirty men between her and Alexei. Thirty men who wouldn’t hesitate to kill her, after they did unspeakable things to her. She looked at Kolya and spoke in Russian.
“What do you think?” she asked him.
“Abdullah is right,” he said. “Can you, so soon after…” She held up a hand to cut him off.
So what does Mai decide to do? Hmm, I guess you’ll eventually have to read the whole book. 😉
(c)2013 by Phyllis Anne Duncan