Black Harvest (The PROJECT)

Black Harvest (The PROJECT) by Alex Lukeman

Book: Black Harvest (The PROJECT) by Alex Lukeman Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alex Lukeman
were bad people."
    "But they were people. We killed 'em."
    "They would have killed us."
    "Darwin. Su'vival of the fisstest. Fittest."
    Her face turned white. She clapped a hand over her mouth, jumped up and ran for the bathroom. He heard her vomit into the toilet.
    Nick waited. The sounds of retching stopped. He heard water running. In a few moments she came to the door.
    "Come on, bed time." He helped her into the bedroom and out of her robe. She crawled under the covers.
    "Sorry," she mumbled. Then she was out.
    Nick went back into the living area and turned out the lights. Sofia sparkled in chains of light along the valley floor. For no reason at all he thought of the closing scene in Gone With The Wind.
    Tomorrow was another day.
    He used the bathroom, brushed his teeth, went into the bedroom, undressed. He got into bed. Selena snored.
    He stared at the ceiling, thinking. She'd been drunk, but the words stung, even though he knew they were untrue. She'd chosen her new life. Not him. He thought of Megan.
    What he'd felt for Megan and what he felt for Selena were two different things. Love was too simple a word. The word itself confused him. Megan had been so different. Megan had been at ease with herself and with him. She'd lived in a world far removed from the desolate places where death shaped his days and nights. If she hadn't died, Megan's world could have been his world. He would have left the Corps, become a normal civilian. Never made his appointment with a child and a grenade in Afghanistan. Never met Harker or Selena.
    Megan's world had been peaceful. No one would call the world he shared with Selena peaceful. The strain was beginning to show. Selena was becoming more volatile. She wasn't sleeping well. Sometimes he'd see her gazing off at nothing in particular. She was getting the look. He knew she was headed for a moment of truth. Sooner or later, everyone who made violent death part of their job came to that moment. He didn't know how she'd handle it. Maybe he'd talk with Harker about it.
    He closed his eyes. It was a long time before he slept. He dreamed.
    He's back in the dust of the Afghan street, again. He's in the market, like always. The AKs begin, like they always do. He ducks into a doorway, as he always does. The child runs toward him with the grenade, again. He raises his rifle.
    This time, the dream is different. This time, someone is standing off to the side. It's a woman. A naked woman, dark, as if she were standing in deep shade. She looks at him. Her eyes aren't human, they're like deep pools of black with stars in them. The child throws the grenade. He feels the rifle kick back against his shoulder and the child's face changes into Selena's. Everything goes white.
    Nick sat up in bed, gasping. Sweat covered him. The sheet under him was soaked. Next to him, Selena had fallen into a deep sleep.
    The dream had changed. It had never changed before. It was always the same, playing out the day in Afghanistan when he almost died. It had twisted his nights for years. For a while, it had come less often. Now it was back. Now it had changed.
    Who was the woman? No woman stood naked in that Afghan village three years ago. Something had been different about the child's face. Then he remembered. It shook him.
    He got up and waited for tomorrow.

    Selena had been quiet on the long trip home from Bulgaria. Nick doubted she remembered much about what she'd said in the hotel. He hadn't brought it up with her. He'd decided not to talk with Harker. Selena was part of his team and it was his job to watch out for her. Harker had enough on her plate.
    The night before he'd dreamed of Afghanistan again. The dark woman wasn't in it. The child's face stayed the same, an Afghan child. He'd been up since 3:00 A.M. Drinking coffee and staring out the window. Thinking about Selena.
    She didn't know him, not really. He tried to remember how it had been when Megan was alive. Had

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