THE DEMON MAELSTROM -- EXCERPT
Adam watched the craft rise up in a kind of hypnotized silence, only rousing himself when it had ascended to half the height of the Central Admin building and begun to turn towards Georgetown. His mouth bent into a macabre grimace as he laid the sniper rifle on the side of the Phalanx's turret mount, powering on the scope and hunching behind the weapon. He closed his left eye and peered through the scope, noting the flickering digital numbers underneath the cross hairs that accounted for wind speed and direction. A diamond-shaped tracking pip appeared on the scope and locked onto the helicopter's slowly retreating shape, following it doggedly as Adam slowly shifted position and locked the gun's chamber shut.
He froze as the window of the helicopter turned towards him and the head of a woman appeared in his target reticle. He could clearly make out Anna in the co-pilot's seat, bent over her tablet working on something, her long hair draped around her like a heavy concealing curtain. She reached up with the hand closest to him and swept her hair behind her ear, and Adam swallowed as he stared at her pale face. She was beautiful, a graceful creature, a dead lookalike for her mother.
A hot tear not caused by the wind trickled down his cheek, followed by another one from the other eye. His whole body became rigid, shivering more from some undefinable emotion than from the cold. He swallowed again, blinked to clear his targeting eye, and put his face back to the scope. The helicopter had turned farther and Anna's figure was no longer easily visible. The craft's engines made an easy target, however, and Adam's cross hairs drifted towards the right hand engine as his finger moved towards the trigger.
His body relaxed again, a necessary prerequisite for a decent shot. He breathed slowly several times, compensating the reticle in response to the changing numbers inside the scope as he did so, zoning in mentally. His thumb drifted over and dropped the safety switch to the Fire position, and his index finger wrapped around the trigger.
Breathe. Recheck the numbers. Breathe again.
At the last moment his lips parted, his eyes clouding over for a split second as a memory rampaged through his mind and left his features contorted with suppressed feeling. He drew in a long breath, let it out halfway, and squeezed the trigger all the way to the trigger guard.