Vault of Shadows
Milo Silk was trying very hard not to die, but the day was not cooperating.
It was that kind of day, in a week of days like that, and lately Milo seemed to have only those kinds of days and nothing else.
This one was a classic.
He ran through the thick foliage along the muddy banks of Bayou Sauvage, trying not to fall into the churning water, trying not to get eaten by alligators, and trying especially hard not to get shot by alien shocktroopers.
He wouldn’t have bet a fried circuit board or a fused diode on his chances.
All around him the Louisiana swamplands seemed to be filled with lurching shadows, bizarre shapes, and the clickety-click sound of insect legs. Blue pulses of phased energy burned through the air all around him. One blast was so close that it set his hair on fire and he had to slap his head to put it out. It wasn’t a big fire, but it was on his head, so it was big enough.
The stink of burned hair chased him through the swamp.
The hardest part, for Milo, was remembering that this was supposed to be an ambush.
Supposed to be.
It reminded him of an old saying his dad had said once when a bunch of things went wrong during a garage clean-out at their house: “When you’re up to your armpits in alligators, it’s easy to forget that you came here to drain the swamp.”
Yeah. Milo hated that saying.
Because there were alligators all over the place.
And they wanted to kill him too.