Welcome to 2018! it’s a new year and a new opportunity to make things happen. So, let’s start off the year of the dog right with a new flash fiction. Love the photo below. So pretty. Though, I’m over the snow. We usually don’t get too much, but we have several inches and I’m done, already, lol. It needs to just stay on the mountain where it belongs.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the story. It’s a bit of insight into a side character in my upcoming release Midnight Ranger. Russel will be getting his own story… soon. Not sure when, but… And it’s short. No, seriously. Short. Really short. I know, I’m surprised, too.
Snow. Christ, how long had it been since he’d driven in snow?
Russel “Ice” Foster stared at the expanse of white powder covering the lonely road, wondering if he’d ever seen anything so pristine. So pure. Growing up in the Deep South, he hadn’t encountered snow until his PJ training. Oh yeah, he’d learned about the fucking cold pretty damn quickly. Nothing like a week in the Arctic to make those neurons fire—create permanent pathways that went on high alert whenever the temperature dropped below freezing. He couldn’t walk into an ice rink without having a few flashbacks of that training session.
Not that he’d been in an ice rink recently. Been anywhere other than where his next mission had taken him. And for the past decade, it had been the desert. The Sandbox, as it had been affectionally termed then on to Afghanistan. Heat. Sand. Dust that caked every damn inch for years on end. He’d had the occasional mountain rescue. Donned the odd parka and gloves. But nothing compared to the endless fields of snow he’d been driving through for the past few hours.
He scrubbed a hand down his face, shifted his truck into four-wheel drive, then started down the road. He hadn’t seen another vehicle since he’d pulled off the main interstate and onto some shit backroad in the middle of nowhere. Montana. Not exactly nowhere, but it felt like it. Endless miles with nothing but the odd ranch opening up the forest on either side. He’d checked the map a dozen times, even inputted the address into his GPS. He was definitely on the right road, even if he felt lost.
Russel cursed the thought. He’d never imagined he’d ever feel that way, not after making a living out finding people. A life dedicated to the military. A lifetime’s worth of blood, sweat and determination to make it through Combat Rescue training. He’d been in the one percent of candidates that had actually reached the finish line. Had been on more covert rescue missions than he could count—dragging men back from places no one ever heard of. Missions that wouldn’t make the evening news. He was the guy who went in when special ops went down. Their only chance at a getting back alive. Sometimes with a team. Often, alone. Armed and ready to kill in order to bring his comrades back alive. He could navigate by the stars, some moss on the side of a tree. Hell, he’d once made his own sundial to get his bearings when a mission had gone sideways. And here he was, in the middle of Montana feeling lost.
He’d never considered a life beyond the service. Never imagined he’d have to learn how to integrate back into civilian life. He’d planned on rescuing guys until he either got old enough to retire, or got himself killed. Either was fine by him. He’d never been afraid of dying. Had made peace with it right from the start. And now he was faced with a life so foreign to him, he didn’t know where to start. How to fit in. All it took was one fucked up mission, and here he was. Out.
He glanced at the GPS, again. Just another ten miles and he’d reach Eagle Rock. A blip on the map. A town he’d miss if he closed his eyes for longer than a couple of seconds. And yet, it might be his only chance at salvation. A Hail Mary in a lifetime of rolling sevens.
He laughed. Out loud to the empty cabin. He’d been lucky he hadn’t landed up in jail. His ass rotting in some military prison for the next twenty years, so getting ousted—yeah, it had been the best option in a list full of ugly alternatives. Not that it had been justified. It hadn’t. And given the same situation, he’d do it all over, again. Exactly the same. He didn’t pull punches and he didn’t let his teammates down. Period. If saving that soldier’s life meant Russel had to make a new one for himself, it had been worth it. He had enough blood on his conscience. He didn’t need anymore.
The voice on his GPS broke the silence, calling out the next turn. He was nearly there. His last chance. One he needed to make count.
And that’s it for me, folks. Please hop on over and visit the other wonderful ladies.