Her tone froze him with his hands splayed out in the dirt. He sensed movement near his fingers as she slowly drew her weapon.
“Roll to your right when I start, and come up firing. Targets at ten, two and three.”
Marc heard the soft pad of paws, more than one, and watched her eyes for the moment to react.
“Shit. Two more at 12 o’ clock,” Angela watched the three lanky, gray-and-white wolves, trying to judge their intentions. When a big black-and-gold animal she hadn’t seen lunged toward from the shadows, there was only time to react.
Angela fired, a bit wildly on the first few shots, and one of the rounds caught the wolf in mid-leap, slamming into its chest. It landed on the ground with a hard thud as Marc rolled and hit his feet, began to fire.
“Watch your six!” he warned, immediately sure they were pack-hunting. He put them back to back as the brittle stalks around them swayed with barely seen movement. The sky had begun to darken as they worked out, but neither had worried, used to being in the dark, but this time they had let dangerous predators get close.
Suddenly, they were under attack, moving eyes gleaming at them through the dusk-tinted rows. They fired at the same time, dropping two wolves that had jumped from opposite sides.
A dark shadow appeared at her hip, and Angela stopped herself from shooting as she recognized Dog. Her eyes narrowed on a stocky white wolf running in and out of the distant, yellow stalks. Before she could take aim on the leader, another shadow streaked past her.
“Damn it!” Again, she kept herself from firing by only a hair. “Dog just went to my right, chasing the white one.”
Marc nodded, turning them to face another duel attack meant to separate. They came in low, lunging for legs, and both shots killed, but two more hungry hunters jumped at Angela, coming fast.
“Duck!” she shouted, firing. She got the low animal in the chest as the other went sailing overhead, and she heard Marc take care of it as more and more eyes shined mercilessly in the dimness. Wolves were now streaming through the corn like rats.
Making sure they stayed tightly against each other, Marc moved them in half circles, firing and kicking at those not hungry enough to lunge, but still bold enough to snap. He could feel Angela doing the same behind him, her grunts and shots mirroring his.
Flames rose up behind them suddenly, Marc catching a tall shadow from the corner of his eye as he turned, shot a leaping wolf in the chest, turned, and killed a snapping wolf going for Angie’s leg.
More fire erupted, along with the pungent smell of gasoline as full darkness fell over them, and some of the wolves hesitated, but not those hungry frontrunners.
Angela jerked forward, stiff-arming a determined predator in the throat. Her gun was empty and she knew by the silence behind her that Marc's was too. Drooling, fur bushed up, the wolves moved closer with hungry eyes.
Angela fumbled for the speed loader on her belt, and Marc turned them again, slamming his in as two more wolves lunged. He caught one in the neck, blood spraying, and shoved them backwards in time to let the second animal go sailing by.
Reloaded, Angela shot the wolf as it hit the hard ground and fired at eyes in the air, then the flames were between her and the corn as Marc rotated them again. Shadows lunged, coming through gaps in the wall of fire, and she picked them off, assuming Brady’s silent gun meant he was reloading.
Marc stared intently at the hulking man intently, the 3/4 circle of flames discouraging many of the animals. The newcomer was gigantic, eight by five it seemed like, and yet he was light on his feet as he poured the last of the gasoline to close the gaps.
“Stay inside,” the big man instructed gruffly without turning, voice heavy under his furs and hood.
Before Marc could say anything, Angela spun around, six shots gone. She gasped in surprise at the big man, but just like Marc, her fingers didn’t stop. She had to be ready when he turned them again.
“On your right, woman!”
She slammed the clip home and fired without looking, almost able to hear the slobbering jaws about to clamp down on her ankle. A heavy body thudded to the ground.
“Dog! Guard her!” Marc shouted, firing.
The wolf appeared at her side, bloody muzzle snarling viciously at two more animals trying to sneak through a thin gap in the fire wall.