Tales from the Amazon Wars, Episode 3

Raindrops pelted Princess Katarina’s tent in the dark night. Unable to sleep, she sat up in her lightweight but comfortable travel bed as the thunder boomed again. How was she going to defeat these Amazons?

Suddenly, she heard a commotion outside. “No one is to disturb the Princess while she is sleeping,” came the voice of one of the guards. “I don’t care if you outrank me. I wouldn’t care even if you were a four-star general. I have my orders from the Princess herself.”

Katarina opened the flap of her small tent. “It’s okay, soldier. I wasn’t sleeping anyway.” She turned her gaze to the visitor, recognizing the military historian. “Major. Do you have something for me?”

“Yes, milady,” said the major. He held up a journal, bound in leather. “I think you’ll find this very interesting.”

“Come into the tent. Let’s keep that thing out of the rain and see what we’ve got here.” Katarina’s dark brown eyes widened with fascination as she opened the journal. “Why, it’s a war diary from my ancestor, the great warrior queen, Roslyn the First! Where did you find this?”

“I was digging around in the basement archives of the library in the Colonial Capital. As soon as I found it, I rode out here as fast as I could. I knew you’d want to see it.”

“Indeed I do. This should prove to be very valuable. Thank you, Major.” As the officer bowed and exited the tent, Katarina opened the journal and turned to the first page…

Princess Roslyn was the oldest child and only daughter of King Frederick III. She had two younger brothers, twins, named Albert and Antonius. Tweedledee and Tweedledum, as many, including herself, called them behind their backs. Both were incompetent, dim-witted louts.

Because sons came before daughters, regardless of age, in the line of succession, Roslyn was only third in line for the throne. And because her brothers were twins, they were constantly competing with each other to impress their father enough to get officially picked to be his heir. This competition led to both brothers taking many foolish risks in battle and needlessly sacrificing the lives of many of their men.

When a small outpost near the southern border of the empire had been overrun and its garrison of a hundred men massacred by unknown attackers, Antonius had eagerly volunteered to lead an expedition to find and punish the mysterious assailants. Albert, who was currently away on an expedition to the north, would be so jealous when Antonius returned with a triumph to celebrate his victory, the arrogant prince thought. The king accepted his son’s offer and provided him with a massive army.

Roslyn sighed as she was forced to stay home once again. Although she was an expert archer and swordswoman, and had received the same education at the military academy that her brothers had, she had never been granted the honor of leading military expeditions to the fringes of the Empire. All of her combat knowledge had only been put to use a few times in small skirmishes with bandits and raiders. She longed for the chance to prove herself in a real battle. But her father always said that her military education was for emergencies only.

Prince Antonius rode out of the Imperial capital at the head of a huge army, cockily proclaiming that if there were any survivors from the enemy force after he was through with them, he would bring them back to the capital in cages like zoo animals. He had 15,000 heavy infantry armed with spears and large shields, plus 3000 archers armed with modern crossbows. But the pride of the army was the heavy cavalry, a force of 2000 knights. These riders were all noblemen who were constanly seeking more battles to gain more riches and glory.

The massive force moved southward, sweating in their armor under the hot sun. They moved slowly, hampered by the Prince’s insistence on taking many luxuries with him. Finally, after several weeks, they reached the outpost where the massacre had occurred. After the Prince’s servants had set up his large, luxurious tent and all his furniture, Antonius and his staff met with the commanding officer of the force that had discovered the massacre to make their battle plan.

The officer, a colonel, bowed to the Prince and his six staff officers, all generals. “My Lords. I fear we are dealing with a much more serious situation than we thought. We have examined the corpses of the men that were slaughtered. About half of them were shot with arrows. Every single shot was either straight to the heart or right between the eyes. I’ve never seen marksmanship like that. The other men were either impaled with spears, again always straight through the heart, or had their skulls split open with axes, or were chopped into many pieces with swords.”

The staff officers, all of whom were old, overweight aristocrats, gulped in fear. Prince Antonius, however, still had a cocky, arrogant look on his face as the colonel continued. “One man was still alive when we got there. He had been expertly stabbed in a way that would keep him alive for a while, but ensure that he would die eventually. He was insane with terror when we found him. The only thing he could say before he expired was, ‘They’re girls. An army of girls. Incredibly sexy girls who can outfight any man. Those girls are demonesses from hell…’ Then he died.”

The other men in the tent looked at one another doubtfully. Finally, the Prince banged his fist on the fancy, heavy oak table. “Preposterous! The idea that one hundred men of the finest Empire the world has ever seen could be massacred by a band of GIRLS is utterly ridiculous. You yourself said that this man was insane with terror. His information must be inaccurate. We’ll find out who really did this and punish them.”

“As you wish, milords,” said the colonel, aware of what fools these men were but knowing he had to obey orders. “My scouts have followed the assassins’ tracks into the desert. Far to the south, beyond where any of our explorers have ever gone, they report that the inhospitable desert turns into fertile land once again. There lies the kingdom of the enemy. If we follow the river, we can be there in three weeks.”

“Three weeks? We would waste so much time, following that meandering river. If we march straight south, we can be in the enemy’s territory in ten days. We’ll just fill our water kegs here,” said Antonius.

“My lord, I would advise having a continuous supply of water handy. You never know what might happen. Also, if we follow the river we can use it to protect one of our flanks.”

“That’s enough, Colonel. I am in command here, and what I say goes. We march straight south through the desert. Tell the men to get busy filling those water kegs. We leave tomorrow at first light.”

“Yes, my lord.” The colonel sighed, hoping that the prince’s arrogance wouldn’t lead the army to doom.

The attacks began on the third day. One moment, the massive column of soldiers was marching along in complete peace. The next, fifteen men dropped dead, arrows sticking out of their throats, chests, or heads.

The others looked around in shock. There was nothing but a faint cloud of dust on the horizon. Some of the crossbowmen fired bolts uselessly into the distance, wasting precious ammunition. A squadron of knights rode off to investigate, returning to report only that the enemy consisted of light horsemen…or horsewomen … who could easily outride them.

From that point on, the attacks continued, the only change being that they grew in size and frequency. The second strike came from the other side. This time, twenty-five men were shot dead with perfectly aimed arrows. After surveying the corpses with a curse, the Prince ordered the crossbowmen to prepare for an archery duel.

They didn’t have to wait long. An hour later came the third raid, from both sides this time. The crossbowmen began shooting back, but there was nothing to shoot at but clouds of dust. The mysterious attackers would ride into range, expertly fire their bows just as they were turning, and vanish before the crossbowmen could acquire their targets.

“I thought our bows had a longer range than any other in the world,” grumbled one soldier as he reloaded his weapon. “Maybe they do, but those riders are so fast they can dart in and out of range before we can h…ugh!” The man who responded was shot in the chest as he was speaking. The arrow penetrated his armor and drove straight into his heart. He was dead before he hit the ground. When the attack was over, forty more male soldiers were dead. The crossbowmen had fired many bolts and hadn’t been able to hit a thing.

Prince Antonius ordered a dozen of his servants to go out and retrieve the bolts. A few minutes later, a solitary servant returned, empty-handed. “I’m sorry, my lord,” he reported. “They hit us while we were trying to collect them. We had to flee. I’m the only survivor.”

“Not for long, coward!” snarled the Prince, drawing his sword and decapitating the servant. It was the only kill any of the male soldiers made that day.

The mood when the army made camp for the night was one of fear and dread. Things only got worse the next morning, when it was discovered that a hundred men had had their throats slit in the darkness by mysterious attackers who had snuck in and out right under the noses of the sentries. The killing wasn’t over yet, however, because Antonius ordered that the surviving sentries, a total of 200 men, all be executed for their failure. The executioners, though reluctant to kill their own men, were worried that they would become the next targets if they refused to obey their prince’s orders. After the sentries had been decapitated and their heads placed on pikes, per Antonius’ wishes, the army set off again.

It wasn’t long before the first attack of the day came, arrows whizzing through the air and embedding themselves in male flesh. This time, Prince Antonius ordered the knights to respond in force, two columns of a hundred riders each. Two hundred proud, heavily armored noblemen rode out into the desert. None of them ever returned. In addition, sixty more men were shot dead in the main column. The vast army still hadn’t managed to kill a single enemy. The Prince screamed and stamped his feet, having a tantrum like a little baby.

When the next ambush came, it was deja vu for the men…or so they thought. Enemy arrows came flying in, the crossbowmen shot back uselessly, and then, in a flash, it was over. “How many hit?” came the call.

There were murmurs and whispers, then the response. “Looks like none, sir.”

“None? But…”

Suddenly, a soldier pointed to a water keg, pierced with an arrow. The powerful shot had cracked the wooden barrel and all the water was long gone and rapidly sinking into the desert sand. The men looked around in panic. Every other keg was in the same condition.

“NOOOOOOO!” roared the Prince. “COWARDS! Come out and fight me like a man!”

“I don’t think they are men, sir,” said one of his staff officers, holding one of the Empire’s new inventions, a spyglass. “The figures on the horses looked like girls to me.”

“Girls?!” Antonius sputtered. “How could mere girls…ugghhh…”

The colonel who had found the men massacred at the outpost rode up. “Beg pardon, sirs, but we should focus on the big issue right now. Our water supply.”

The Prince was still in tantrum mode. “We’ll charge right at them, slaughter them, and drink their blood!”

“My lord, please. We’re six days from enemy territory and the only water we have left is the tiny amount in our canteens. We’d never make it. We’re four days’ march from our territory, and few if any can survive four days in the desert without water. Our only option is to head for the river. We can get there in two days, rest and recover, then follow the river to enemy territory and make our attack.”

The Prince, by now a broken man, wanted to scream at his subordinate and tell him off, but even he knew that the colonel was right. “Fine. Make it so,” he sighed.

But they never made it. As the army changed course and made for the river, horsewomen began following them, staying just outside of crossbow range. The men gulped the last of their water in their canteens and desperately but uselessly quickened their pace. The number of hoofbeats behind them increased.

“Why aren’t they attacking?” wondered a young junior officer.

“They know the river is our only option. They know exactly where we’re going. They can wait for the right moment,” his superior responded. Everyone within earshot gulped upon hearing that.

It was early afternoon when the final attack came. One second, there was uneasy silence. The next, there came a spine-chilling, high-pitched, distinctively female warrior cry in the distance. Then came the arrows, this time over a thousand of them fired at once, all aimed at the crossbowmen. Lightly armored and with no shields, they stood no chance. Over a quarter of the crossbowmen were killed by the first enemy volley. Many others were wounded, in agony from hits to the leg, arm, stomach, or groin, and unable to fight back. Those who could shoot back fired their bolts ineffectively at the distant female figures darting back and forth on their ponies. Then it was time to begin the agonizingly slow process of reloading.

The Empire’s warfare doctrine emphasized heavy infantry, heavy cavalry, and responses designed to counter enemies who emphasized the same. The archers were currently armed with the Mark VI model crossbows, which, although very powerful and capable of piercing the heavy plate armor worn by knights, were also very slow to fire, taking close to thirty seconds to reload. Though the Mark VII crossbow, which could fire twice as fast while being only slightly less powerful, was available, Prince Antonius had elected to stick with the Mark VIs under the mantra of “more power.”

The Amazon horse archers, on the other hand, used compact but powerful bows that were small enough for mounted troops to use, powerful enough to penetrate almost any armor, and capable of rapid fire. Trained in markswomanship from the day she was old enough to ride and hold a bow, a girl-archer could defeat even the most heavily armored opponent by aiming for the weak points in his armor, then finishing him off with her hand-to-hand combat weapons, generally axes or short swords, if necessary.

Each female horse archer could fire a dozen arrows per minute, and three more devastating volleys finished off the rest of the crossbowmen before they could finish reloading. In less than twenty seconds 3000 of the Empire’s best-trained, well-equipped male bowmen lay dead or dying on the hot desert sand, slaughtered by girls, most of whom had not yet seen twenty winters.

The beautiful Amazon princess, just eighteen years old, in command of this force, 1200 horse archers and 800 heavy cavalry, tiny compared to the vast Imperial army, laughed at the carnage her girls had just inflicted. She had been sent out with her little force with orders from her Queen to harass, delay, and weaken the enemy. But after seeing the vulnerability of these males and the incompetence and arrogance of their commander, she had decided to launch a full-scale attack to annihilate them.

With a coy giggle, she ordered her archers to fire into the main body of enemy infantry. A volley of arrows came flying, dropping several hundred men to the dirt. “Infantry into turtle formation!” ordered the Prince. “Knights, charge those bitches and run them through!” The Imperial infantry moved into their turtle formation, shields covering all sides and the tops of their heads. Hundreds more men died before the maneuver could be completed, but the remainder now seemed relatively safe, though occasional cries of pain came from men hit in an exposed arm here or an exposed leg there.

Prince Antonius, cowering in the center of the formation along with his six staff officers, finally thought he had things under control. His knights, heavily armored and armed with lances, would ride right into the lightly armored horsewomen and end this humiliating barrage of arrows striking the shields like rain.

But it was not to be. As the 1800 knights charged the female horse archers, they turned their attention to the new attackers. Though the arrows could not penetrate the thick chest plating the men wore, the Amazons, with their expert markswomanship, fired into the joints and other weak points of the suits of armor, piercing knights in their armpits, hips, and groins. Men fell off their horses with cries of agony, stopping the momentum of the charge. Some girls were such good shots that they could hit their opponents in the eye-slits of their face masks, killing them instantly.

“Rally to me!” cried a high-ranking nobleman, gathering the unwounded riders and preparing another charge. “AAAAHHHHHHHH!”

Suddenly, hoofbeats thundered from the left. The 800 Amazon heavy cavalry were charging them, lances lowered, from the males’ vulnerable side. The Imperials were unable to turn in time to counter this new threat and were brutally ridden into, female lances utterly impaling and penetrating them. The Amazons then rode into – or onto – the wounded knights on the ground, simply trampling them to death, laughing as their victims begged for mercy. Knights were used to being captured and ransomed in battle instead of being killed, but the Amazons were not interested in gold. They were interested in slaughter.

One of the infantrymen on the edge of the turtle formation thought he heard hoofbeats. He peeked out from behind his shield, thinking the allied knights were returning after a job well done. The rain of arrows had stopped, after all. But instead, the last thing he saw before he died was a beautiful brown-skinned woman leading several hundred others in a heavy cavalry charge. A second later, the girl’s lance popped his skull open like a smashed watermelon.

The turtle formation, effective against enemy archers, left the men using it vulnerable to heavy cavalry attacks. With brutal efficiency, the 800 female riders lanced, sliced, axed, decapitated, and trampled everything in their path, riding right through the formation and dividing it in two. Over two thousand men were killed.

“SHIT! Prepare to receive cavalry charge!” shouted the Prince as the Amazons turned around and re-formed their line. The men formed up as well, spears ready to impale any horse that dared charge into them. But instead, the horse archers began firing again, dropping hundreds more men dead as arrows rained down from above onto their now exposed skulls.

“FUCK! What can we do?!” moaned one of the staff officers. “Those cunts have an answer for everything!”

“Hold!” roared the Prince. “Arrows run out! They can’t keep shooting at us forever!”

But just then, a sqaudron of girls rode up to the horse archers. They began handing them packages from their heavily laden animals. Though it was too far to see, the men knew what was in them. Arrows. Thousands and thousands more arrows.

As the incessant rain of lethal projectiles continued, the survivors, without waiting for orders, re-formed the turtle. And sure enough, the Amazon heavy cavalry came crashing into them again, slaughtering thousands more men.

The sun sank lower in the western sky. The Imperial soldiers who were still alive knew that it was the last time they would ever see it. Command broke down completely, with the Prince and his generals simply crying and whimpering, unable to issue any orders. The slaughter was methodical and efficient, alternating between arrows and lances. Hour after hour passed and the killing went on. Finally, the sun reached the horizon and turned blood red, matching the new color of the desert sand.

The smart colonel, the only man of high rank in this force who had any sense, lay in the middle of a pile of male corpses, an arrow sticking out from his chest. He opened his eyes and looked around. It was dark now. In the distance, he could see the torches of the Amazons and hear the pleas for mercy from wounded men as the girls finished them off, but around him, all was quiet. Everyone else was dead. Some of the soldiers had been finished execution style with arrows right between the eyes or good old-fashioned decapiations. He removed the arrow that he had broken and attached to himself with a wad of chewing gum, another of the Empire’s recent inventions, to make it look like he had already been shot. Then he began crawling away.

The Imperial scout peered through his spyglass again, wanting to confirm the strange sight. A man was floating down the river towards him on a piece of wood. Bruised, battered, and sunburned, he wore the tattered remnants of an Imperial uniform. “Colonel? Is that you?” asked the stunned scout as he recognized the officer.

“Yes. It is I. Alive, though not by much,” said the colonel as he beached himself on shore. “Gather the men. I have urgent news about the…let’s say the Amazons.”

Princess Roslyn and her father, King Frederick III, were having dinner in the palace dining room when the door suddenly burst open and a messenger entered. The King raised an eyebrow. “I’m going to assume this is important from the manner of your entrance.”

“Yes, my lord. I’m sorry. But it is important.” He handed Frederick a letter. The king paled as he read it, dropping the turkey leg he had been eating.

“Roslyn, come with me. I’m calling a council of war. Right now.”

“I cannot believe it. Twenty thousand of His Majesty’s finest soldiers, completely and utterly annihilated by a force but one-tenth of its size?” said a duke.

“Believe it, sir. I was there, and I’m the only survivor,” said the colonel who had made it through so much.

“The size of the enemy force is hard enough to believe, but an army of mere GIRLS?!” a fat earl grumbled. “Preposterous!”

Roslyn felt her blood becoming hot. “Perhaps you would like to see a demonstration of what a girl can do in combat.”

As the earl opened his mouth to make an angry retort, King Frederick spoke up. “Enough!” he shouted. “I called this council to plan a way to defeat the enemy, not engage in fighting amongst ourselves. Earl, you will show respect to my daughter. Roslyn, you will control your temper. Now, Colonel, do you think these…Amazons will attempt a full-scale invasion of our territory?”

“They already attacked one of our outposts without provocation and after exterminating a huge army of ours so easily, I fear it is very likely that they will feel arrogant and aggressive enough to do it, my lord.”

“Then we must raise what forces we can as fast as possible. Roslyn, you will be in command.”

Roslyn felt both excitment and apprehension. It was what she had always wanted – but against such an unknown and lethal opponent? She truly would be put to the test.

Princess Roslyn sat on her horse, reviewing her army as it prepared to march out of the Imperial capital. This time, there were no shouts of jubilation or dreams of glory, just a cold sense of duty.

The army was much smaller this time – there just weren’t enough men who could be pulled off of other duties to create a force as massive as the last one. The impact of Antonius’ defeat had been devastating – one-sixth of the Empire’s military had been wiped out in a single battle. Roslyn had 6000 heavy infantry along with 1500 crossbowmen, armed with the new, faster firing Mark VII bows at her insistence. Only a few knights had the courage to go up against an enemy that preferred extermination to ransoming, and because of the power of the nobility, the king couldn’t force them to go. Just as well, thought the princess. She had no use for cowards in her army. The bulk of the cavalry would be provided by 1500 light horsemen, armed with a variety of swords, spears, axes, and bows.

Many of the male nobles had grumbled at the idea of a woman leading an army into battle, but none of them had the balls to do it themselves after the Prince’s epic fail. And her other brother, Albert, was still off in the north, thank the gods. She knew that he was as dumb as his twin, and only would have led a second army to its doom.

They moved much faster than the first force had, Roslyn knowing well just how quickly she could march her men without tiring them too much to deal with a potential ambush. It also helped that she was a low-maintenance young woman who, although she enjoyed the luxuries at the palace, was perfectly capable of traveling light in the field.

The sun rose on the Imperial camp as the army, now at the southern border of the Empire, prepared to move out to meet its destiny. As the men formed up, the Princess looked into their frightened eyes and began a quick, impromptu speech.

“Soldiers of the Empire! For a thousand years we have been the most powerful force on this continent. Through the strength of our soldiers and the innovations of our scientists we have defeated all those who sought to destroy us. Will that streak be broken on your watch?”

“NO!” came the answering roar of thousands of voices.

Roslyn raised her tanned and toned right arm, decorated with many bracelets. She loved dressing feminine, and since she had to dress like a man for battle, the bracelets at least added some femininity to her outfit. “Then let us advance! Now, this kind of goes without saying, but we follow the river this time.”

As the men laughed, she turned to the colonel who had survived the massacre, who was riding next to her. “If anything should happen to me, you are to listen to this man and do what he advises, even if you outrank him. Is that clear?” She looked at her generals in turn, receiving an affirmative salute from each. She nodded and smiled.

A band of scouts rode up. Their leader approached her, bowing. “Any sign of them?” she asked.

“None, milady. It’s as if they’ve vanished into thin air.”

This time, the attacks began on the fourth day. A humming sound broke the monotony and stillness of the desert heat. A second later, a dozen men dropped dead with arrows in their chests or faces.

Even as the bodies were still falling, Roslyn was shouting orders. “Cavalry, split up and pursue! Try to cut them off! Crossbowmen, be ready to fire, but DO NOT shoot without a confirmed target!”

The army waited, tense, as the riders disappeared into the distance. Finally, the sound of hoofbeats returned. The crossbowmen readied their weapons, but thanks to the princess’ instructions refrained from being trigger-happy. It was a good thing, as the riders were their own men.

“Report, Captain,” said Roslyn as the soldiers rode up to her.

“We split up and managed to cut four enemies off and trap them between two of our forces, Princess.” She nodded. Light cavalry was needed to catch other light cavalry. Her dim-witted brother had brought no light horsemen, only heavily armored knights who had been far too slow to catch the Amazon horse archers. “Anyway,” continued the captain, “they fought to the death, killed five of my men and wounded four more, but we finished them off. And we acquired four of these.” He held up a bow.

Roslyn took the weapon and examined it with fascination. It was incredibly light, lighter than the small bows her own cavalry used. Yet it could fire from such a long range, much further than the Imperial cavalry bows and almost as far as the much heavier, slower firing crossbows, which were too big for mounted troops to use.

“Put two of them in the wagons, one in the front of the column and one in the rear. At least one must make it back to the Empire for our innovators to reverse engineer and eventually mass produce. Give the other two to your two best marksmen.”

“Yes, milady.”

“And for the record, just so everyone can hear and all these doubts can be put to rest once and for all. They WERE girls, correct?”

“Yes. Four young female warriors. I’ve never seen women fight that well. Except you, Princess.”

She giggled. “Thank you. Now let’s move on. Everybody keep a sharp eye out.”

The next time, the Amazons attempted an attack from across the river. Horsewomen fired a volley of arrows, but they fell short into the water. “Crossbowmen ready! Pick your targets!” ordered Roslyn as the female riders urged their horses into the river, trying to get closer.

A group of crossbowmen fired their bolts. Most of them missed, as the weapons were at the limit of their range, but two women fell off their horses and into the water. The others quickly retreated.

A loud cheer rose from the men. “Victory! We drove them off! For glory! For the King! For…”

“Uh…guys?” said Roslyn. Everyone stopped shouting and looked at her.

“Perspective, gentlemen. Keep it in perspective. Yes, we drove them off, but we only killed two of them. This can’t even be called a skirmish, much less a battle. Good job, but let’s keep going, you know?”

The men nodded. In truth, Roslyn wanted to jump up and down and join in the celebration, but she knew the dangers that overconfidence would bring. Still, it was an important victory. There were no more attacks from across the river.

The hit-and-run ambushes continued from the other side, but with cavalry patrols able to concentrate on guarding one flank, their effectiveness was limited. Ten more Imperial soldiers were shot dead, but seven Amazons died as well, and the cavalrymen managed to capture three more Amazon bows. When they made camp for the night, the mood was decidedly different than it had been when they had set out. There was still a lot of apprehension, but the fact that they had been able to hold their own gave the soldiers a much needed morale boost.

As she watched the sun sink beneath the western horizon, Princess Roslyn ordered the sentries on double duty. “They’re going to try something before the sun comes up, mark my words.” In her small but comfortable tent, the princess read a book by lamplight until she drifted off to sleep.

She awoke with a start some hours later. Popping open the tent flap, she judged it was around midnight from the position of the stars. The moon was full, giving a ghostly illumination to the vast desert. Everything was peaceful. Too peaceful. She had a gut feeling that something was about to happen.

She began checking on the sentries, who all reported the same thing. Nothing. “With the moon this bright, we’d see them coming a mile away,” said one soldier.

Roslyn nodded. There was truth to that. She turned her gaze to the river…

The river! She tapped the man who had spoken on the shoulder. “Every second man is to follow me!” she whispered. “If they come, they’ll be swimming the river. We need to reinforce that side.” She darted into a supply tent, grabbed a Mark VII crossbow and a quiver of bolts, and tucked a small axe into her belt. Her sword was sheathed on her hip. “Now let’s go,” she whispered, loading a bolt as she spoke.

But before she and the reinforcements were halfway across the camp, she saw female heads rise like spectres from the surface of the water. As if it were a nightmare, muscular female arms drew back the strings on bows. The sound of expertly aimed arrows driving into their male targets, silently slaying an entire row of sentries on the river side of camp, reminded her that this nightmare was all too real.

“ALARM! ALARM! WE’RE UNDER ATTACK!” she screamed. Even as she shouted, she fired, her crossbow bolt nailing an Amazon right between the eyes.

Bells clanged and war horns blew as soldiers raced into action. The sentries she had alerted managed to shoot down several Amazons with their crossbows, but then the others were slashing into tents with their swords, intermingling with the men and making it too dangerous for the sentries to fire without hitting their own side.

Some men woke up at the alarm, only to be met with a blade straight through the heart at the hands of a brown-skinned woman. Others stumbled sleepily out of their tents, right in front of waiting Amazons who shot them down or simply decapitated them.

“Keep the other sides manned! They might have forces waiting while we’re distracted!” Roslyn shouted as she finished reloading her crossbow. She popped out from behind the boulder she had used as cover and came almost face-to-face with a bow-wielding Amazon. The Princess was faster and shot her opponent straight through the heart. Roslyn then drew her sword in her right hand and her axe in her left. As she stepped around the corner of a tent, two enemies charged her. She brained one with her axe and decapitated the other with her sword.

Screams came from a large tent. Leaping inside, she saw a trail of bloody male corpses. Near the back, two Amazon girls, each with a long dagger in each hand, were slowly pushing back the survivors, who couldn’t match the female warriors’ speed and skill.

She hurled her axe and was rewarded with a satisfying THWACK as the weapon buried itself in the back of one of the girls’ skulls. The other Amazon whirled, throwing one of her daggers as she turned. Roslyn just managed to block it with her sword.

The Amazon let out a shrill scream and tumbled towards her with a roundoff followed by a series of ultra-fast one-handed back handsprings. Roslyn stepped to the side and attacked with her sword, but the Amazon dodged with a full twisting layout and landed perfectly on her feet. With a superhumanly fast kick to Roslyn’s arm that sent her sword flying, the Princess suddenly found herself unarmed.

The Amazon drove her dagger straight at Roslyn’s throat. She barely managed to block it, receiving a cut on her right forearm. Her opponent drew the dagger back again, but the Princess suddenly kicked her in the face, breaking her jaw and stunning her. Roslyn then cartwheel kicked her, knocking her down. She stomped down hard on the Amazon’s throat with her military boot, crushing her enemy’s windpipe.

Roslyn let out a sigh of relief. “You guys okay?” she called out to the men in the back of the tent.

“Yes, milady. Thank you for saving us. How about you? You’re hurt.”

She touched the wound. “It’s just a scratch. Now come on and join the fight.”

As she led the men outside, a shrill whistle echoed through the night. The surviving Amazons began backflipping away like pro gymnasts, with incredible grace, elegance, and speed. The men fired their crossbows at them, but thanks to their blazing fast tumbling most of the shots missed. In less than a minute all was quiet again.

“I have the count,” an officer reported, when all the bodies had been lined up. “77 of our men are dead, and there are 24 dead Amazons. We also have a few dozen men wounded too badly to fight who will have to be transported in the wagons.”

Roslyn cursed. “I should have known better. I should have had the river side guarded more heavily from the start.”

“Don’t blame yourself, milady,” said the officer. “Without your warning, hundreds of men would have died.”

The Princess nodded, but she knew she would have to take responsibility for this one. She hadn’t ordered the camp guarded as well as it should have been. But the lessons she learned that night would go on to serve her very well in her long military career.

She looked up at the stars, then out over the vast desert. The Amazons were still out there. Waiting. So far, she had just been sampling a few appetizers. The main course was yet to come.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Girls Vs. Zombies

The sign at the edge of town read, “Welcome to Paradise Valley. Population 1706.” Despite the number, not a soul seemed to be stirring. There was no sound, just an eerie quiet. A dense fog clung to the ground, and a light drizzle was falling.

The silence was broken by the sound of a car engine. A black SUV with five people inside appeared on the horizon and headed towards the town. Danielle, a pretty girl with long wavy brown hair, was at the wheel. Her boyfriend, Larry, a short guy with glasses, was riding shotgun. In the back seat sat Misty, a sexy Asian girl with long jet-black hair. Next to Misty was her boyfriend, Greg, a big blond guy with the look of a simple-minded surfer. Finally, there was Rania, a Middle Eastern beauty with dark brown hair that went down to the middle of her back. Rania had just gone through two very violent experiences and didn’t feel quite ready to get back to dating and boyfriends just yet, preferring quick, casual one-night stands at the moment. All five of them were nineteen-year-old college sophomores on their winter vacation. Danielle pulled the vehicle into a gas station. “We’d better fill up here.”

Greg looked around. “Dude, there’s, like, nobody here,” he said in a surfer voice. “This place is like, deserted.”

“That’s weird,” said Rania in her slight Lebanese accent. “There should be *somebody* around. But the whole town looks empty.”

“Something just doesn’t feel right about this place,” said Misty. “It’s creepy, like something out of a horror movie.”

“Yeah,” added Larry. “We should get out of here as soon as possible.”

“We’re not going much of anywhere without more gas,” said Danielle. She swiped her credit card in the slot, then removed the gas pump and inserted it into the tank. “Well, this works, at least.”

“I’m gonna see if anyone’s there so I can get a bag of chips,” said Greg. “Any of you want anything?”

The others shook their heads. Greg headed towards the gas station mini-mart. Larry walked off on his own, shaking his head as if to clear it.

Danielle’s elegant face was expressionless as she pumped the gas. “So do you want to talk about it?” Rania asked her finally.

“Talk about what?”

“Oh, come on, Dani,” said Misty. “We’ve all noticed it. The way you’ve been down and depressed these past few days.”

Danielle looked around furtively, then whispered, “Well, it’s just that…I’m going to break up with Larry.”

“What? Why?” asked Rania. “Are you guys having problems?”

“No,” Dani answered. “Not really. It’s just that…we have so little in common. Sometimes I find myself wondering why we got together in the first place.”

“Hey, I don’t have much in common with Greg,” said Misty. “I mean, look at us. He’s this blonde surfer dude who says ‘dude’ a lot and I’m the stereotypical nerdy Asian girl. But we have fun together.”

“Well, Larry and I don’t,” said Danielle. “Not anymore. We…” She stopped suddenly. “They’re coming back.”

“No one was inside, and the place was locked,” reported Greg. “Weird.”

“Let’s get out of here,” said Larry.

“Agreed,” said Danielle, replacing the gas pump and closing the gas tank door. She looked over at her boyfriend, still trying to decide how she was going to tell him.

They all piled back into the car. Dani turned the key in the ignition, but it didn’t start. “What the hell?” she said, after trying several more times without success.

“Maybe the gas pump wasn’t working after all?” suggested Greg.

“No. I saw the gas flowing. Anyway, even if it didn’t work at all we still had a little in the tank from before.”

“Pop the hood,” said Rania. “Let me take a look.” Rania knew a fair amount about cars and fixed her own when it had trouble. But after examining several different things, she had to admit she was stumped. “Everything seems to be in perfect working order.”

“Crap. The car’s busted and there’s nobody here,” said Larry.

“We could try calling somebody,” suggested Misty. She took out her cell phone, then frowned. “That’s funny. No service. There should be service. We’re not that far out into the middle of nowhere.” Everyone else took out their cell phones. None of them had any service either.

“You were right, Misty. This is just like the beginning of a horror movie,” said Danielle. “Everything going wrong at once, including the whole town disappearing…it can’t be a coincidence.”

“We could be stuck here,” said Greg. “Unless…we took someone else’s car.”

“Greg!” scolded Misty, playfully slapping him on the ass.

“Just sayin’…”

“Maybe we should try knocking on some doors,” said Rania. “Maybe someone is here. We can ask them for help.”

They began walking around, but none of their knocks elicited any response. Suddenly, Larry gave a shout. “Check this car out. The key’s in the ignition.” He tried the door. “And it’s unlocked.”

“Small-town trust,” murmured Danielle.

“Let’s knock on the door of the house first,” said Misty. But there was no response to the knocking. Greg peered in the window, but reported that the house seemed empty.

“Shall we?” he asked, pointing to the car. “I mean, we’ll, like, bring it back, of course.”

“Fine,” said Misty with an exaggerated sigh, but breaking into giggles and kissing her man on the cheek.

Everyone climbed into the car, with Greg behind the wheel. He turned the key…and it didn’t start. “Uh-oh.”

“This is just how the movie would go,” said Danielle. “I bet none of these cars work. We’re stuck here. And then there’s gonna be the part where the monsters come.”

“There’s no such thing as monsters,” said Misty. “But we are in deep shit.”

“Looks like we have no other choice, guys,” sighed Rania. “Let’s get our stuff from our car and start walking. I remember it was about twelve miles to the next town. If we start now we should be able to get there before dark.”

They went back to the SUV and gathered what they needed. They then started hiking out of town. “Damn, this fog’s getting thicker with every step we take,” commented Larry.

“What was that sound?” asked Danielle suddenly.

“I didn’t hear anything,” said Misty.

“Stop and listen.” A low but spine-chilling and inhuman growl came from the distance. It was impossible to tell which direction it was coming from. The fog was everywhere. “See!” said Dani. “It’s the monster!” She began shrieking with nervous laughter.

Rania came over and held her. “Relax, Dani. It’s probably just an animal.”

“Probably a bear,” added Greg. The growl came again, closer this time.

“I have to admit, that doesn’t sound like any bear I’ve ever heard,” said Misty.

“Uh…guys?” said Rania. Her normally deeply tanned face had gone very pale. She pointed to the left. Through the fog appeared a pair of glowing red eyes, advancing on them. As if on cue on a movie set, all five of them, including the guys, let out high-pitched girlish screams at exactly the same time.

“I hate to say ‘I told you so’, but this time, I really did tell you so!” said Danielle, her teeth chattering. She turned to move in the opposite direction…and stopped cold when she saw another pair of red eyes coming at the group.

“Shit. They’re everywhere,” said Larry. Red eyes were coming at them from every direction. The closest pair of red eyes emerged from the fog, revealing the eyes to be attached to a savage-looking creature that appeared to be…a zombie?

Determined to be a masculine hero, Greg charged forward with a roar, kicking the zombie in the chest. It was knocked backward, but came at him again and bit him, taking a large chunk of flesh out of poor Greg’s neck. He fell to the ground, bleeding and screaming. More zombies appeared and began feeding on his body.

“NOOOOO!” screamed Misty, charging forward, determined to avenge her fallen man. She high-kicked the nearest zombie in the face and was rewarded with a sharp CRACK. Her kick had broken its neck, turning the undead creature dead again.

“Let’s help her get these fuckers!” said Rania, performing a front tuck somersault to take her closer to the zombies. She punched one’s head with her leather-gloved fist, pulverizing its skull into bloody pieces. “See, they’re not so tough!”

Fists and feet flew as they fought back against the monsters. Suddenly, a high-pitched but male scream rang out. “Larry!” shouted Danielle, still showing concern for her man even though she planned to break up with him. Larry had disappeared into the fog. Dani charged in the direction of his scream, but a snarling zombie blocked her path. She tripped it to the dirt, then finished it off by kicking its skull, causing blood and gore to erupt from it. She continued running, trying to save her boyfriend.

Meanwhile, Rania and Misty were almost surrounded by zombies. Rania did a handstand, splitting her legs 180 degrees. She then spun around, kicking all the zombies around her and knocking them down. Leaping back to her feet, she began stomping zombie heads into mush. For the final creature, she raised her right leg in a full vertical split, then brought it down onto the zombie’s head with tremendous speed and force, utterly destroying it.

Misty was facing three zombies, two in front and one behind. She performed a standing back handspring, kicking both of the zombies in front of her and breaking both their necks. She then thrust her elbow behind her, impacting the third creature’s skull and pulverizing it.

“Dani! Where are you!” shouted Rania.

Danielle emerged from the fog, her black leather gloves dripping with zombie blood. “I killed a bunch of them, but Larry’s gone. They must have carried him off.” She let out a sniffle. Misty knelt down by Greg’s corpse (the parts the zombies didn’t like, anyway) and covered her face with her hair. Rania hugged both of the other girls tightly.

More growls came from the fog. “Come on. We have to get back to town,” said Rania. “We’re too exposed out here. We need to find shelter.”

Misty stood up. “And some weapons,” she added, in the mood for killing after having watched her boyfriend get eaten alive.

“Three girls against the zombies,” said Danielle. “Just like in a cheesy horror movie.”

“Except we’re NOT going to get eaten,” said Rania. The three young women certainly made a sexy and powerful picture. They were all wearing tight, low-cut jeans and tight white T-shirts. The combination of their short-sleeved shirts and black wrist-length leather gloves showed off the girls’ slim but very well-toned arms. Hints of six-pack abs were visible between shirts and jeans and the ladies’ asses looked great in their tight pants. The girls were well-proportioned also. Rania was the tallest at 5’8″ and 125 pounds, with a very firm pair of 34B breasts. Danielle stood at 5’6″ and 120 pounds and had an impressive 34C rack. Misty was the smallest at 5’4″ and 112 pounds, with a perky pair of 32B’s.

They made their way back to town as fast as they could. On either side of the road, red eyes glowed through the fog, indicating the presence of more zombies. Finally they reached the outermost buildings of the town.

“In the movies, there’s always a gun shop conveniently located nearby for the heroes to grab weapons from,” commented Danielle. “Let’s see if we can find one.” All three girls, because of their tomboyish natures and their non-aversion to violence, were well-trained with weapons.

The girls began looking. They encountered a few stray zombies along the way. Rania reached out with her gloved hands and broke one’s neck. Danielle punched another’s skull into goo. Misty broke yet another’s neck with a well-aimed spin kick. “The growls are getting louder,” noted Misty. “More are coming. We’d better hurry.”

But a search up and down the streets revealed no gun shop. “This town is probably too small to have one,” sighed Rania.

“Uh…guys?” said Danielle suddenly in a squeaky voice. A large group of zombies was advancing on them. The girls gulped and ran for the nearest building, which was labeled “Paradise Valley Historical Society.”

“The window,” said Misty. She ran up to it and twirled her body sideways. She then fired a powerful side kick into the glass, shattering it. The girls quickly climbed inside, then dragged a heavy wooden cabinet over to cover the opening.

Rania let out a loud sigh of relief. “We should be safe in here.” She turned around…and came face to face with a zombie with very sharp teeth. “Yipes!” she cried out. The zombie growled, but before it could bite, Rania had kicked it in the head so hard that its brains splattered all over the wall.

“You okay, Rania?” asked Misty.

“Yeah, killed the bugger before it could nail me. C’mon, let’s clear out the rest of this place.” The girls explored the building, but didn’t find any more zombies.

“Hey, look what I found!” Danielle shouted. Rania and Misty hurried into the room Dani was in, which was labeled “Military History.” On the walls were various weapons, including swords, daggers, axes, flintlock muskets, and a crossbow.

Misty’s dark eyes lit up. “Now we can really get to killin’,” she grinned.

Rania examined the guns. “These are all old flintlocks,” she said. “Slow to fire, clumsy, and unreliable. Plus I don’t see any gunpowder around, which we’d need to fire them. There are arrows for this crossbow, though.” Rania was an expert archer and bow hunter. She picked up the crossbow and a quiver of about fifteen arrows. She also took an eight-inch dagger in a sheath, which she attached to her belt.

Misty, who studied swordswomanship as part of her brand of martial arts training, picked up and tested several swords before finally selecting one she decided was the perfect weight and feel for her. Meanwhile, Danielle chose a medium-sized battle axe and performed a demostration by using it to decapitate the statue of a general, which was standing in the center of the room. “Should we hole up in here?” asked Dani.

Misty said, “We should cover up all the other windows before the zom…” Her statement was interrupted by the sound of glass breaking and the roars of many hungry zombies.

“Too late,” said Misty, Dani, and Rania at exactly the same time. Despite the seriousness of the situation, they couldn’t help giggling when they realized what they had done.

“Go, out this window!” Rania shouted, turning deadly serious. Danielle smashed the window open with her axe and she quickly leapt through, followed by Misty. Zombies began pouring into the room.

Rania took aim with her crossbow at the zombie in the front. The arrow flew through the air, went right through the first zombie’s skull, and embedded itself in the head of the creature behind it. Both zombie heads exploded, sending blood and gore everywhere. The Lebanese beauty looked down at the weapon in her hands, impressed. As the two now-headless zombies fell to the floor, Rania began reaching for another arrow, then stopped. A mass of zombies was approaching rapidly and there would be no way to recover her arrows. She turned and jumped out the window after her friends.

The girls regrouped outside the museum. “It’s like they know exactly where to find us,” said Misty.

“In the movies, zombies can smell human flesh,” said Danielle.

“This isn’t a movie, Dani,” said Rania. “Misty’s right. There’s something suspicious about all this. Also, zombies don’t just arise out of nothing. I think somebody created them.”

“If that’s true, we’re in even deeper shit than we thought we were,” Misty sighed, tightening her grip on her sword.

“Let’s think positive,” said Rania. “Whoever’s behind this is going to learn the hard way not to mess with three sexy girls with lethal weapons.” That brought cheers and warrior cries from Misty and Danielle.

“We could try escaping from town, but if those zombies caught us in the open and surrounded us, we’d be done,” said Dani. “We’ve got to find someplace solid and easily defendable.”

A growl came from behind them. Three feminine, brunette heads whirled around, long silky hair whipping behind each. Rania shot the zombie standing there in the head, then went over and retrieved her arrow, pulling it out with a squishing sound. “Which way?” she asked.

Her question was answered by loud zombie growls. The girls hurried off in the opposite direction. They rounded a corner and came face-to-face with two zombies. Misty beheaded the first with her sword. Danielle hurled her axe into the other’s skull.

The young women kept moving. Zombie growls came from all around them. At first they only bumped into one or two zombies together, which they dispatched swiftly and easily, but soon they were running into groups of eight or ten.

They quickly found an effective way to deal with them. The girls formed themselves into a “V” shape, with Rania in the back center position. She would fire arrows into the center of the group of zombies, splitting the survivors into two groups. Dani and Misty would then each finish off a group with their weapons. When all the zombies in the little mob were neutralized, Rania would collect her arrows and the warrior maidens would move on.

“We can’t go on like this forever,” Misty said, casually kicking the head of a zombie she had decapitated like a soccer ball, sending it flying a good forty meters. “The zombies are coming at us in bigger groups every time. One of them grabbed my throat and I had to cut its arm off before I finished it by stabbing it in the head.”

“What’s that?” said Danielle suddenly.

A large gray building loomed out of the fog in front of them. “This could be the solution,” said Rania. A sign in front of the building read STATE PRISON. “We might be able to find some guns in here, if they haven’t been taken away. Even if they have, this place has solid walls. It’ll be hard for the zombies to break in.”

The girls used their athleticism and gymnastics skills to leap over the barbed-wire fence and onto the prison grounds. “Look out!” shouted Dani. A zombie was standing on the roof of the prison. It had a red fire axe in its raised right hand, ready to throw. Rania whipped her crossbow around and nailed the creature with an arrow right between the eyes just before it could hurl its weapon.

“Damn, girl,” said Misty, impressed. She affectionately patted Rania on her firm ass.

Rania blushed a little. “Thanks, but the distance was only about 80 meters. Pretty easy shot…uh-oh.” Several more zombies appeared on the roof, each with an axe or billy club in its hand. Rania began shooting them as fast as she could, but some of them managed to throw their weapons before they died. One axe came flying straight at Danielle. She did a standing back handspring as it came at her. The axe flew safely between her legs as she was upside down. Dani landed elegantly on her feet and sighed in relief. She picked up the extra axe and threw it right into the skull of a zombie.

A club flew right at Misty. She reached out and actually caught it, then hurled it back at the zombie that had thrown it. The heavy club slammed into the zombie, knocking it off the roof to its death. Soon all the zombies had been dispatched and the girls high-fived each other. Rania frowned as she counted her remaining arrows, knowing that she couldn’t recover the ones on the roof. “How many left?” asked Dani.

“Only nine,” sighed Rania. “C’mon, let’s get inside.” The door was locked, but Rania kicked it down.

The prison was dark and damp, and had a terrible stench. A lone zombie came out of the shadows. It was wearing a prison guard’s uniform. After shooting it with her crossbow, Rania examined its equipment as she was retrieving her arrow. “No gun. Just a club. The guards inside usually don’t carry guns because it’d be too easy for prisoners to grab them.”

Two zombies in orange prison uniforms appeared. Danielle cut one’s head off with her axe. Misty sliced the other in half at the waist with her sword and watched as the upper half began crawling towards her. When it got close enough, she stomped its head flat. “I guess that confirms it,” said the Asian beauty. “The whole town turned into zombies…or more likely, *got* turned into zombies.”

“Let’s find a room that’s easily defendable,” said Rania.

“And one without this awful odor,” Dani added. They walked down the corridor. Cells were on each side. They rounded a corner into another long corridor…and stopped abruptly. At the far end were a dozen zombie dogs. They snarled and salivated when they saw what they thought was fresh meat. Then they charged. “Oh, fuck,” said Danielle. “This is straight out of Resident Evil.”

Rania began shooting them, but they were very fast. She managed to take out half of them before the other half were upon them. Dani swung her axe in wide arcs, braining two dogs. Misty used her sword like a fencing champion, cutting off three canine heads. Rania threw her dagger into the last dog’s eye. The young women caught their breath. “That was actually one of my favorite parts of the video game,” said Danielle finally. “Oh, and the movie too.”

They continued through the prison. As they moved, zombie prisoners and guards began following them. Soon a large group was after them. There were still nothing but cells on either side of them.

At the end of the hall was a door with a large glass window built into it. Danielle tried the handle. “Locked.” Cursing, she punched the window with her leather-gloved fist. As the glass shattered, she reached in and unlocked the door from the other side.

“Nice punch, Dani,” said Misty.

“Thanks, but we gotta go,” Danielle replied, gesturing behind her. The delay had allowed the pursuing zombies to get very close. Rania, still in the rear, put all her strength into a donkey-style back kick. Her boot struck the lead zombie in the neck, breaking it. The now dead again undead creature fell, knocking three more over. By the time the surviving monsters had recovered, the girls had gained twenty meters.

One more door, this one unlocked, and the young women found themselves in the prison exercise yard. To the right was a high concrete wall, and a guard tower was visible in the distance. To the left, the open yard stretched away in inky blackness. Another door was visible directly ahead of them, across the yard. Rania kept watch with her crossbow while Misty and Danielle dragged over a heavy steel shelf full of sports equipment and pushed it against the door they had just gone through. “That should hold those fuckers,” said Misty.

“Uh…guys?” said Rania in a small and frightened voice. The other two girls looked up, following Rania’s pointed finger. From the open space on the left, a huge mass of zombies was advancing on them. Meanwhile, the zombies that had been chasing them began banging on the door behind them.

“MotherFUCKER!” shrilled Dani.

“RUN!” shrieked Misty. They ran for the other door. Misty tried the handle. “Shit! Locked!”

Rania kicked the door with a high-pitched scream. “It’s steel! I can’t kick it down!”

The pretty girls looked at one another. “Looks like this is the part where we make our last stand,” said Danielle.

The three of them touched their leather-gloved fists together. “Together to the end. Now let’s hunt some orc…er, zombie,” said Rania. Dani and Misty smiled despite their fear. All three ladies were big fans of “Lord of the Rings.”

Rania, standing in between and slightly behind the other women, fired shot after shot from her crossbow into zombie skulls as fast as she could. Danielle began braining zombies with her axe. Misty sliced zombie heads with her sword. Monster after monster fell to the skills of the lethal beauties, but more kept coming to take their place.

Rania, out of arrows, shouldered her crossbow and drew her dagger. Stepping forward, she began stabbing zombies in the head. At the same time, she punched zombie skulls with her other fist, pulverizing them into red goo, and unleashed high kicks from her booted feet, each blow breaking a zombie neck. Dead zombies were piled high in front of the girls, but there seemed to be an endless number of the creatures.

“We have to kill them faster!” shouted Misty. “Let me try something.” She took a couple of steps forward. Rania and Dani stared at her. Misty took a deep breath, allowing the zombies to come closer and closer. She had to time this just right. When they were at the perfect distance, she raised her sword to neck level and with lightning speed swung it in a circle around her, cleanly decapitating six of the creatures. She waited for more to approach and repeated the move, cutting off five more zombie heads.

Misty’s daring attack gave the girls some breathing room, and they went to killing with even greater efficiency. “You’ve got balls of steel, girl!” said Danielle as she cleaved a zombie’s head in half. “In a feminine way, of course.”

“I think we’ll all have nuts of steel after this,” replied Misty, slicing her way through a zombie’s thighs and stomping its head into paste as it fell.

They continued fighting for what seemed like hours, although in reality it was only a few minutes. As another wave of zombies pressed in, Rania suddenly stared, hoping her eyes weren’t playing tricks on her. They weren’t. “Look!” she shouted excitedly.

Sure enough, this was the last wave of zombies. Behind them was only empty space. With feminine warrior cries of passion and excitement, the girls finished off the rest of the zombies. When the wave had been stopped, Danielle and Misty began moving among the corpses, stomping flat the skull of any zombie that showed any sign of movement. Meanwhile, Rania picked up her arrows and shot down a few stragglers roaming around the yard. When they were sure all of the creatures were dead, the girls took deep breaths and stared at the gory scene they had created. At least two hundred dead (again) zombies were piled on the ground. There was blood everywhere, including all over the girls’ clothes. “Wow,” said Dani. “Did WE do ALL that?”

“We sure did!” said Rania, thumping Dani and Misty on the back.

“We are so good!” Misty sang out. After whooping and shrieking and celebrating for a few moments, the young women made their way cautiously across the exercise yard, weapons at the ready. At the far end they found another door. It was locked too, but as it was made of wood Rania was able to destroy it easily with a fierce cheerleader-style kick.

Inside, there was a set of steep, narrow stairs, and also a zombie wearing a uniform that read WARDEN. Misty walked up to it, positioned her sword low in front of her between the zombie’s legs, and jerked it violently upward, slicing the ex-warden in half from crotch to head. Blood flew everywhere.

They went upstairs. On the second floor, three passages branched off. The middle one was labeled “To Guard Tower.”

“Guess we can try it,” said Dani. The stairs to the guard tower took them outdoors again. On the way up, two zombies rushed them. Rania cut one’s head off with her dagger. Dani simply grabbed the other and threw it off the stairs to its death. They reached the top and looked down – and gasped. Hundreds and hundreds of zombies were on the ground around them.

“This must be the whole fucking town,” groaned Misty, yanking her black hair in frustration. “How are we ever going to deal with THAT many?”

Rania’s dark brown eyes suddenly lit up. In the tower, bolted to the floor, was a 7.62mm machine gun. “With that,” she said excitedly. Misty and Danielle turned to look and their eyes lit up too.

Rania took aim and opened fire, mowing zombies down by the dozens. She let out a high-pitched warrior cry as she pumped hundreds of bullets into the helpless creatures.

“Hey, I want a turn,” said Misty.

“Me too,” Danielle piped up.

Rania reluctantly stepped away from the gun. Misty jumped forward into position. Dani gave her a dark look.

“Well, I *did* ask first,” said Misty.

“Fine,” sighed Dani. “Just leave some for me.”

Misty began slaughtering zombies, laughing sadistically as she cut them down. When her bloodlust was finally satiated, Dani took over. She machine-gunned zombies until the weapon clicked empty.

“Only twenty or thirty left now,” grinned Rania. “Let’s finish ’em off and go home.” The others grinned too, but all of their smiles turned to frowns when a gunshot rang out and a bullet slammed into the wall six inches from Danielle’s brunette head. All three girls dropped to the floor as fast as they could.

“Don’t tell me zombies can shoot guns now!” Misty growled.

Rania, peeking through a gap in the tower wall, spotted a uniformed man on the next roof over. He was armed with a sniper rifle and was taking aim again. A split second later, another bullet crashed into the wall above them.

“Nope, it’s a man!” said Rania. She drew her crossbow and inserted an arrow. She waited for the sniper to fire another bullet, then, as he was working the bolt on his rifle, popped up and fired a quick but expertly aimed shot. The arrow nailed him right in the heart.

“Looks like we’re starting to find the real evil here,” said Danielle coldly. She gripped her battle axe tightly. “This is going to be even more fun than killing zombies.”

The girls swiftly made their way down the stairs, on the alert for any more snipers. Re-entering the main prison building, they rounded a corner…and almost bumped into three men in camoflauge uniforms.

The men had guns and tried to draw them, but the sexy women were much too quick for them. Misty impaled one right through the center of his chest with her sword. Danielle raised her axe high over her head and brought it down with tremendous force onto another man’s skull, splitting it in half. The third man tried to run, but Rania shot him in the kneecap with her crossbow. With a cry of agony, he fell to the floor. Danielle and Misty dropped their medeival weapons and each picked up a pistol from a dead man. They pointed them straight at the third man’s head.

Rania re-shouldered her crossbow and smiled wickedly at the thug. “All right, asshole, now you’re going to give us some answers,” she snarled.

His only response was to spit and growl, “Fuck all you cunts.” Rania looked around and noticed a loose brick on the ground. She picked it up and tossed it into the air, then unleashed an ultra-powerful palm strike into it, pulverizing the brick into hundreds of tiny pieces. The man began trembling in fear. How could such a slim and beautiful girl be that strong and lethal?

“Don’t let my slender body fool you,” she said with a cold smirk. “My body is perfect for three things: fucking, torturing, and killing, and you’re only going to be the recipient of the last two. If you don’t start talking, I’ll do a palm strike on your arm. Care to have your arm bone end up like that brick? Then I’ll keep doing them until you start talking or run out of bones to break, whichever comes first.”

Instead of answering, the man bit down on something, then keeled over, choking and turning purple. Rania recognized the scent of bitter almonds. “A cyanide capsule.”

“Wow,” said Dani. “Whatever it is they’re hiding, it must be big.”

“Let’s keep going,” said Misty. “We can capture another one and make sure to get rid of his cyanide capsule. Then we can make him talk, and then we can kill the fucker.”

“A good plan,” came a smooth and refined voice from behind them. “Too bad you’ll never have the chance to implement it.” The distinct sounds of a pistol being cocked and a shotgun being pumped accompanied the voice. The girls all groaned, disgusted with themselves for getting caught with their pants down.

“Yeah,” sneered another, rougher voice. “Now drop your weapons.” Having no choice, the girls obeyed.

“Now turn around,” said the smooth voice. The girls did so and saw two men standing there. One was an average-sized guy in a white lab coat, armed with a pistol. The second was a big man in camoflauge, carrying a shotgun.

“You young ladies certainly are amazing,” the man in the lab coat said in his smooth voice. “I never thought you’d kill so many zombies. But it doesn’t matter. You’ve reached the end of the road.”

“Who are you?” said Rania.

“My name is Dr. Birkenstein. This here is my captain of mercenaries, Mr. Pike. I and my associates are entrepreneurs.”

“And just how the fuck does that work out, with you and your zombie army?” Misty demanded.

“Such bad language. Naughty naughty,” Birkenstein chuckled. “But seeing as how you’re going to die anyway, I don’t mind telling you. I have created a virus that turns people into zombies. I tested it on this town and it worked spectacularly. I’m going to unleash it on several more towns, then sell the antidote to the government for the very reasonable sum of $1,000,000,000.”

“You fucker,” said Dani.

“Watch it, bitch,” growled Pike in his rough voice, pointing his shotgun at her.

Rania, despite being scared, was thinking hard, her mind spinning like a top. “You isolated this town for your little ‘experiment.’ You probably have a device that jams cell phone signals, right?”

“Indeed I do. Smart brunette. I also have another machine that produces a chemical fog. Not only does it reduce visibility, it also prevents any motor vehicle’s engine from starting.”

“I figured it was something like that. But if you wanted this town so isolated, why not keep us out? You sounded like you were expecting us.”

Birkenstein chuckled again. “You may think I’m a greedy bastard, but money isn’t my only love. I also enjoy watching girls fight monsters in horror movies. Then I realized that I’d have the opportunity to do something even better when I created the zombies. I’d be able to watch girls fight monsters in real life. A little side experiment, if you will. So with the help of a familiar face, I lured you in here.”

“What do you mean by that?” asked Misty.

The doctor called out behind him. “Please step forward now.”

Another man appeared. He was short and wore glasses. He was… “LARRY?!” said all three girls, their mouths dropping open.

Larry sneered evilly. “That’s right, bitches, it’s me.”

“But WHY?” cried Danielle.

“I read your diary,” said Larry. “I knew you were going to dump me. Well, no one dumps me and gets away with it. So I decided to get revenge.”

“You read her diary?” said Rania. “Sheesh, you were an asshole even before you did all this.” Larry gave her the finger.

Danielle was seething with rage. “You COCKSUCKER!” she screamed. “You faked your own death and let me get all emotional over it! You made me risk my life trying to ‘save’ you! I can’t believe I ever thought of you as boyfriend material! I’m going to rip your fucking head off and shove it up your ass!”

“You ain’t in no position to do that, cunt,” Larry snapped, but there was fear in his voice. He turned to the other two men. “Let’s finish them off.”

“Yes, let’s,” said Birkenstein. “For all the trouble you’ve caused us, you’re going to be eaten alive by zombies. We’re just going to leave you here and let in a whole bunch of z…” He paused, considering something. “You know, I don’t want to take the chance of you girls using your martial arts skills and actually beating the zombies. You’re just a little *too* good. Pike, go get some rope and tie them up.”

“Yes, boss,” said Pike. He handed off his shotgun to Larry and hurried down the hall, reappearing a few moments later with several lengths of rope. Approaching Rania from behind, making sure to stay out of the line of fire, he prepared to tie her first.

Rania noticed that while Birkenstein was still covering them with his pistol, Larry was simply holding the shotgun and not aiming it at them. She tilted her head slightly, signaling Misty and Danielle to be ready.

Rania struck with lightning speed. She whirled around and grabbed a shocked Pike, then threw him over her shoulder in a classic judo throw. Pike flew through the air and crashed right into Dr. Birkenstein. Both men went down in a tangled heap of arms and legs. The doctor’s pistol went flying across the room. Dani and Misty leapt into action with the skill and speed of elite commandos. Misty raced towards the pistol, while Danielle did a roundoff followed by a series of back handsprings directly at her ex-boyfriend.

Larry had just been standing there, thinking his comrades had everything under control. When Rania launched her sudden attack, he was taken completely by surprise. Now, seeing his stunning but furious ex-girlfriend backflipping at him at lightning speed, he froze like a deer in the headlights. Finally he began raising the shotgun, but it was too late. Dani kicked him with both feet as she backflipped right into him, knocking him to the floor and sending the shotgun sailing. Landing perfectly on her feet, Danielle picked up the shotgun and aimed it right at Larry’s head. Meanwhile, Misty had picked up Birkenstein’s pistol and was now pointing it at the doctor and Pike, who were sitting up and groaning.

“Well, well, well,” smirked Rania in triumph. “Looks like the tables have turned.” She walked over to her crossbow. Picking it up, she inserted an arrow and aimed it at the doctor.

“Now now, let’s be reasonable,” said Birkenstein. His voice was still smooth like a used car salesman’s, but there was an element of fear in it as well. “If you let us go ahead with the plan, we can cut you in on the profits. Ten million dollars each. Doesn’t that sound nice? You can have everything you ever wanted. Isn’t that a lot better than viol…”

He was interrupted by Misty, who walked over to him and kicked him in the stomach so hard that he doubled over and began dry-heaving. “Nah, I like violence better,” she said.

“Then go ahead and shoot us,” said Pike.

“Oh no. You cocksuckers aren’t getting off that easy,” snarled Rania, backhanding Pike across the face with her gloved fist and grinning when she saw his blood spilled. “Your deaths are going to be much slower and more painful. We’re going to show you the same mercy you would have shown us.” Turning on Birkenstein, she backhanded him too and said, “That was for assuming we’d ever be dumb enough to believe that you’d let us live, much less share in your profits.” The guilty look on the doctor’s face indicated that he had indeed been lying through his teeth.

“And for you,” hissed Danielle, glaring furiously at Larry. “You traitor. You are the most despicable little dick in the history of the universe. I can’t believe anyone would sink as low as you did. The pettiness, the cowardice, the betrayal…” She shook her head. “Let’s beat and stomp these fuckers. This dipshit’s mine.”

“I’ll take the big guy,” said Rania, advancing on Pike.

Misty grinned wickedly and pointed at Birkenstein. “I was hoping you’d be mine.”

The girls tossed their weapons aside and raised their fists. The men climbed to their feet, all trembling in fear. They had been watching the beautiful women go through zombies like a knife through butter and knew that their chances of survival against these lethal martial arts vixens were basically zero.

Misty and Birkenstein approached each other cautiously. The doctor faked a left, then tried swinging a right. But Misty was too fast and too smart for him. She blocked the punch easily with her slender forearm, fired a jab to his cheek with her left, and blackened his eye with her right. Kicking him in the chest to knock him backward and set him up at the perfect distance for one of her specialties, she then unleashed a devastating aerial cartwheel kick on him. Her size 7 boots smashed into his head one after the other, knocking him to the floor. The Asian hottie kicked him in the side three times while he was down, breaking three ribs in rapid succession. She laughed as he howled in pain.

Pike decided to try being the aggressor and charged at Rania. She waited calmly as he rushed closer and closer, then suddenly stepped to the side and smashed her elbow into his head when he reached her. Pike saw stars and before he could recover, Rania slugged him in the gut, then broke his jaw with a high kick to his face. She kneed him in the groin, headbutted him, and finally fired a spin kick into the side of his head, knocking him down.

Larry was trembling in fear. He had neither Birkenstein’s brains nor Pike’s muscles, and unlike the other two, he was facing a bloodthirsty ex-girlfriend. He actually wet his pants like a coward, causing Danielle to break into laughter. “Pussy,” she taunted him. He tried to run away, but Dani caught and tackled him easily. She grabbed him by the hair and pounded his head against the hard floor several times, then turned him over and bitch-slapped him across the face several times with her leather-gloved hands. Soon she turned to punching instead. She first concentrated on his jaw, hitting him again and again until eight of his teeth had been knocked loose. Moving upward, she broke his nose with a single punch. Standing up, she savagely kicked him in the head.

Birkenstein staggered to his feet and was greeted by Misty’s knee being rammed into his midsection with extreme force. This time, instead of dry-heaving, he actually threw up. The petite girl laughed at how strong she was. She pummeled his gut with rapid but powerful punches, then fired a fierce low kick to his nuts. As the doctor screamed like a girl, his hands flying to his wounded family jewels, Misty did a handstand and kicked him in the face. Blood sprayed out as her boots made contact. Liking the effect, she repeated the move. She followed that up by balancing on her right leg and kicking him in the head ten times with her left in a series of machine gun kicks. The final kick knocked him down again.

Rania stomped on Pike’s face as he was down. Cursing in pain, he climbed to his feet, but met no relief, since as soon as he finished standing Rania greeted him with a brutal uppercut. She stepped back a little to be at the right distance for some leg action. She did a low roundhouse kick that broke one of his ribs and a high roundhouse kick that slammed into the side of his head. As he stood there, dizzy, she performed a perfect backflip kick on him, sending him down. Leaping on top of him, she drew back her fist. “My arms may be slim, but check out how toned and veiny they are,” she bragged. Displaying her strength, her punch knocked three of his teeth loose. Two more punches gave both of his eyes shiners.

Danielle, taking out her rage, went into a frenzy of kicking and stomping the downed, helpless Larry. Her kicks battered his skull, broke his ribs, pounded his internal organs, and sent fragments of bone into his lungs. After dozens of kicks and stomps, she did a double knee drop onto his chest, then punched him in the face 20 times in a row. By the time she was finished, her black leather gloves were utterly red and bloodsoaked. Performing a back tuck somersault to launch herself off her victim and back to her feet, Dani began kicking him in the groin. Her relentless barrage of ultra-powerful kicks gradually turned his testicles into unrecognizable paste.

“Finishing time, Doc!” Misty sang out. Birkenstein tried to sit up, but he was in too much pain. His eyes widened in pure fear when he saw the little Asian girl coming at him with her sword in hand. With a smirk, Misty cut off Birkenstein’s arms, then his legs, and left him to bleed to death.

Rania grabbed Pike by his hair, lifting his head. “You’re going to be the next victim of my trademark fatality,” she proclaimed. “I first did this one on the asshole who murdered my sister.” With that, she began kneeing him in the face with extreme strength and speed. Pike’s already bruised face was turned into pulp as her knee smashed into it again and again. After a dozen brutal blows, she prepared a final, ultra-powerful strike to his weakened skull. Her knee drove right through his skull bone, splattering his brains everywhere.

The semi-conscious Larry had seen what had happened to his comrades and literally shit his pants. Dani, standing over him, laughed. “You’re not going to get off as easy as they did,” she snickered. She picked up his bruised and battered body. The slender 120-pound girl was strong enough to carry him easily. Taking him outside, she threw him off the ledge. The two-story fall didn’t kill him, but he broke several bones upon landing, including both his ankles.

Growls came and red eyes appeared in the fog. Larry’s face turned white with horror. Sure enough, zombies appeared, moving towards him hungrily. He tried to crawl away, but he was in too much pain to move. A few seconds later, the zombies were upon him. His screams went on for several minutes as he was slowly eaten alive. Dani watched the scene with satisfaction. Soon all that was left of her ex-boyfriend was the parts the zombies didn’t like. “Burn in hell, cocksucker,” she snarled as she spat down on his remnants.

Rania and Misty joined her on the ledge. “Got it all out?” Rania asked.

“Now I do,” Danielle answered. She put her head in her hands. “I can’t believe I picked such a loser for a boyfriend. And I can’t believe anyone would sink that low. He had this coming.”

“They all did,” said Misty. “That Birkenstein must have no soul, doing what he did. And the same for the mercenaries who went along with him.”

“We stopped him. That delusional scientist got stopped by three teenage girls. I hope that was the last thing running through his mind before he died,” said Rania. She shook her brunette head. “The evil in this world…”

“Well, we still have work to do,” she went on. “There are still zombies left.”

From the safety of the second-story ledge, the girls finished off the remaining thirty or so zombies. Rania used her crossbow, Misty used the shotgun, and Danielle fired a pistol in each hand. When the last zombie fell, the girls looked at each other in satisfaction, then held each other in a tight hug.

A search of the premises revealed the cell phone jammer and the fog machine, both of which they turned off. They then made their way back to the car for the long ride home. To their great relief, the engine started perfectly this time.

They drove out of Paradise Valley and never looked back. The next day, the state police and the FBI swooped in, but found no answers, only questions. Even in death Birkenstein had covered his tracks well. The zombie bodies had decayed into dust and only the bodies of Birkenstein and his men remained. The authorities were never able to solve the mystery of the vanished townspeople. It was a secret that only Rania, Misty, and Danielle would ever know.

THE END

Chase Me Faster

“You’re all set!” said the salesman. “The cabin is yours for a week. Enjoy your vacation, Miss…” He looked at Rania’s last name written on the paper, not sure how to pronounce it.

“Just call me Rania,” she said with a smile in her slight Lebanese accent.

He smiled back. She was quite hot. She had a slender and athletic body, standing at 5’8″ and 125 pounds. Her eyes and long hair were both dark brown, and her skin was nicely tanned. Her small, firm breasts looked like 34B’s and she wasn’t wearing a bra. “Enjoy your vacation, Rania.”

“Thank you,” she replied, taking the key he held out to her. She picked up her backpack and headed out to her car.

Rania was a 19-year-old college sophomore. As she drove out to the cabin, she thought about how much she needed this break. A few weeks ago, her sister had been murdered by a man with diplomatic immunity. She had gone through many days of rage and agony before finally being able to team up with three other lethal women and going on a mission to kill the murderer and avenge her sister’s death.

She now had peace in her dreams, but when she had returned to college she had discovered that the contrast between being a female commando/assassin and sitting in a lecture hall was just too great. But perhaps a vacation, she had decided, would help her settle back into her regular life. She had rented an isolated cabin for a week, many miles away from civilization. It would be perfect, she had thought.

After an hour of driving, the road, which had changed from paved to dirt long ago, ended in a pile of loose rock. Rania parked her car and put on her backpack. It would be a four-mile hike from here to the cabin. Just her, all alone, for a week. Or so she thought…

U.S. Department of State Agent Bender sat at his desk, smoking a cigar. The corrupt agent grinned as he read the email offering him a large sum of money in exchange for allowing a terrorist group to smuggle weapons into the United States. This kind of deal was very familiar to him. He typed a quick reply agreeing to the deal and had just clicked ‘Send’ when the door to his office opened and his aide, Tim, entered, carrying a piece of paper.

“You’re supposed to knock,” said Bender.

“Sorry, boss, but I think you’ll be really excited to see this,” Tim replied, handing him the paper.

As he read it, his eyes indeed widened in excitement. Bender had been the agent who had protected the murderer who had killed Rania’s sister from having any chance of being stripped of his diplomatic immunity. He had done it partly out of greed, as he had been paid a large sum for that, but also because he had a domineering mother and an ex-wife who made more money than he did. He was jealous and resentful towards strong women and in his mind, helping people with reactionary, Stone Age views towards women, such as Islamic extremists, made perfect sense.

When Rania had come to meet with him, Bender had sassed her and treated her disrespectfully. He thought he had won, but when the murderer (and a large army of his henchmen) had mysteriously turned up dead, he knew she had been responsible and became enraged. To him, it was a slap in the face, an insult to his manhood, and he couldn’t let that stand. He wanted revenge on her, and waited for his opportunity. Now, it seemed to be literally within his grasp, as he read the paper again. “So she’s going to be all alone at that isolated cabin for a whole week? No witnesses, no help, out in the woods where ‘accidents’ can happen very easily?” Bender grinned evilly and looked at his aide. “You know what to do. Get a team together.”

“Yes, boss,” said Tim, taking out his cell phone as he left the office.

Rania smiled as the cabin appeared in the distance. The four-mile, mostly uphill hike was a little tiring even for someone with her fit, muscular body. She unlocked the door, tossed her backpack on a table, and looked around. The cabin was small and cozy, with a bedroom, bathroom, and combination living/dining room. A stove was at the far end of the dining area. The living area was decorated with a painting of a waterfall on one wall and a large moose head over the fireplace.

She quickly unpacked the few things she had brought. A low-maintenance, tomboyish girl, Rania liked to travel light. When she was finished, her attention was drawn to a large trunk in one corner. Curious, she opened it and found a longbow and a quiver of arrows. “Hunters must use this place sometimes,” she thought. She picked up the bow and tested it. It had a heavy draw weight, but thanks to her slim but strong arms she was able to handle it without trouble. “Maybe I’ll play around with this sometime,” she thought. Rania had taken archery lessons when she was a younger girl and had done quite well.

The dingy, smoky bar was a popular hangout for mercenary types and general thugs and buffoons. Tim sat at a table with six rough-looking mercenaries. He handed Zeke, their leader, a large envelope. “Here’s the advance payment,” he said. “$50,000. You’ll also find maps and all the other information you need in there. You’ll get the other $200,000 when the job’s done. Oh, and the boss asked me to tell you that if you want to have some fun with the target before you finish her, he strongly encourages it. When you see her picture in there, I’m sure you’ll like the idea.”

The mercenary leader grinned evilly. “Well, ol’ Zeke always likes to have fun with his chow before eatin’ it, don’t he, boys?” he chuckled. Loud laughter came from the group. “Don’t worry, we’ll get her done, and get her done right.”

The black SUV pulled up to the end of the road and the six mercenaries got out. One of them looked at Rania’s bright red sedan. “Nice ride,” he said. “Who wants to roshambo to see who gets it after we kill her?”

“We can talk about that later, Ormsby,” said Zeke. “Right now, we have a job to do.” The thugs readied their weapons. Three carried Uzi submachine guns, and two had M-16 assault rifles. Zeke had a 12-gauge shotgun and a .45 pistol. They headed up the trail towards Rania’s cabin.

Rania was hiking in the woods, at peace and not yet aware of the danger that was targeting her. Suddenly, she heard heavy footsteps and deep voices off in the distance. Her sixth sense caused the hair on the back of her neck to stand up. She hid behind a tree and peered through the greenery.

She saw six men in camoflauge clothing, slowly coming closer. At first she thought they were hunters, but then she noticed what kind of weapons they were carrying. Assault rifles and submachine guns, things that no legitimate hunter would carry. A chill ran down her spine. These men were coming to murder someone, and the only someone here was HER.

She thought about what to do. The men were between her and the road, and there was nothing but wilderness in every other direction. But the men had no idea she had seen them. They would go straight to the cabin. If she just circled around and headed for the road through the forest, she could escape. It would be a difficult trek off the trail, but she had a compass. She could get to her car. She would be safe.

Rania moved back through the woods silently. She had enough of a head start to get back to the cabin, grab essential supplies, and hide in the trees before the men got there. She hurried inside the cabin and grabbed food and water. The compass was already in her pocket. She then went over to the chest and took out the bow and arrows. She was glad someone had left them here. If worse came to worse, she wouldn’t be helpless.

Scurrying out the back door, Rania darted into the woods. She made good progress despite the thick trees, checking the compass periodically to make sure she was heading towards the road. The sound of voices and footsteps drifted to her again. She stopped to look and saw the men marching towards the cabin, guns slung over their shoulders. She turned in the direction of the road again, then paused, staring at their guns. The men were about 200 yards away. And three of them had submachine guns and one had a shotgun – weapons that were ineffective at that distance. But her longbow wasn’t.

A wave of anger began building up inside her. These men were coming to murder her, and if she ran away, they would probably get away. She didn’t want to let that happen. She wanted to kill them, but not before finding out who hired them. She was sure it had something to do with her killing the diplomat who had murdered her sister. “I’m tired of running,” she thought to herself.

But did she really want to do this? “Safety,” came the voice of caution inside her. “Protect yourself. Run away. You can get to your car. You can escape.”

“No,” said Rania, covering her mouth when she realized she had spoken out loud. She looked at the men. They hadn’t heard a thing. “No,” she thought. “Not escape. Vengeance.” She took out her bow and inserted an arrow.

She took aim at the man at the back and let the arrow fly. It whizzed through the air…and embedded itself in a tree trunk one foot away from him. “Fuck,” she thought to herself. “Dammit, Rania, you’re out of practice. You’re not as good as you once were.” She thought she was in deep shit now. Maybe she should have run away. But…

Collins, one of the mercenaries, paused. “What was that whizzing sound?”

“Must have been a wasp buzzing by,” said Ormsby. “Damn woods are crawling with those things.”

“Come on, time’s a-wasting,” said Zeke. “Let’s keep moving, men.”

As the men moved on, Rania sighed in relief. She drew another arrow and aimed at the same man. She knew she had shot slightly to the left the first time and adjusted her aim accordingly. This time, the arrow sailed through the air and drove itself with cruel force right into the center of his back. The power of the longbow sent the arrow right through the body armor he was wearing and straight into his heart. His corpse slumped to the ground.

The heavy boots the men were wearing made loud crunching sounds as they walked through the fallen leaves. None of the five remaining men heard their comrade fall. Rania smiled grimly at her luck. Inserting another arrow, she fired at the next man. Again an arrow drove right through body armor and into soft male flesh. The mercenary fell, but just before he died, he let out a faint cry of pain.

Collins, who was walking just ahead of him, whirled around. His eyes widened in shock as he saw two of his comrades dead on the forest floor. His shout echoed through the woods like a trumpet. “WE’RE UNDER ATTACK!!” All four mercenaries whipped out their guns and began shooting wildly.

“FUCK!” cursed Rania. One of the survivors had a rifle. As his weapon had the longest range, Rania fired her next shot at him. The arrow slammed into his thigh and the man fell, screaming in pain and dropping his weapon.

Ormsby realized the futility of using his Uzi at that range. He dropped it, picked up the wounded man’s assault rifle, and began shooting. Collins picked up the second M-16 from beside one of the dead men and began firing as well. Outgunned, Rania had no choice but to retreat. She darted off in the direction of the road, swearing loudly at every tree in her way.

“After her!” bellowed Zeke. “We have to stop her before she gets to the cars!”

“Reddington’s hit,” said Collins, bending over the wounded man. “He can’t move. I’ll stay here with him and…”

“No,” said Zeke. “We need maximum firepower concentrated on her. I don’t want to take chances with just two on one.”

“We can’t just leave him here,” Collins argued. “He’s losing a lot of blood. We have a real serious problem…”

Zeke drew his pistol and executed Reddington with a shot to the head. “Problem solved. Now let’s fucking MOVE.” He raced after Rania, Ormsby right on his heels. Collins stared at Reddington’s corpse for a second, then ran after the other two, shaking his head.

Rania ran through the woods as fast as she could, compass in one hand and longbow in the other. She could hear heavy footsteps pounding behind her. Occasionally, a burst of gunfire would rip through the leaves. She rounded a large tree…and suddenly came face-to-face with Zeke and his shotgun, which was aimed right at her head.

“Uh-oh,” said Rania.

Ormsby and Collins came up from behind, each aiming an M-16 at Rania’s slender back.

Zeke smirked evilly. She was even hotter than her picture had indicated. He was going to enjoy raping her before he killed her.

“I don’t suppose we can talk about this?” offered Rania in a small voice.

Zeke’s response was to whack her in the face with his gun. She cried out in pain. She raised her right hand to touch her bleeding face and flipped Zeke off with the middle finger of her left.

Zeke sneered. “You’d better watch the attitude, girlie. We have all the guns here.”

“Yeah,” said Ormsby. “Now drop that bow of yours.” Having no choice, she let her weapon drop.

“Now drop your pants, bitch,” snickered Zeke.

“WHAT?!” growled Rania.

“We’re going to gang-rape you, you hot little Lebanese cunt,” said Zeke, laughing loudly. “You have such a fit and slim body, I bet your pussy is real tight. I’m boss, I get first fuck.”

Ormsby turned to Collins. “I’ll roshambo you to see who gets second fuck.” He held out his hand to do rock-paper-scissors.

Collins had steadily been growing more and more outraged at the actions of his comrades. He had become a mercenary because he expected to be shooting bad men. He hadn’t signed up for executing his own side or raping a teenage girl.

“Roshambo this,” he snapped. With that, he kicked Ormsby right in the groin. Ormsby fell to the ground, clutching his wounded family jewels. Collins then began aiming his assault rifle at Zeke, but the mercenary leader was faster. Zeke blasted Collins with his shotgun. Collins dropped dead to the ground, a gaping hole in his head.

Rania moved with lightning speed. She tackled Zeke before he could aim at her. Her training and athleticism allowed 125-pound Rania to take down 200-pound Zeke. His shotgun went flying as the Middle Eastern beauty landed on top of him. Her fist shot out and nailed his jaw with a vicious punch, stunning him.

Ormsby, still on the ground, reached for his rifle. Rania snatched Zeke’s .45 out of his holster and shot Ormsby twice in the chest. Ormsby cried out in pain, but continued to move towards his M-16. Rania realized he was wearing body armor under his camoflauge clothing. Her arrows must have gone right through the armor of the men she had killed earlier.

Rania began aiming the pistol at Ormsby’s head, but suddenly Zeke punched her in the face. With a curse, she involuntarily dropped the gun, which bounced away down a slope. Zeke rolled his heavy body on top of Rania’s petite one. “Just where I like to be, on top of a pretty woman,” he sneered. His breath reeked of tobacco. He punched her again, his big fist smashing into Rania’s right eye, turning it black. Meanwhile, Ormsby, groin-hurt and crawling, had almost reached his assault rifle.

Rania was not going to go down quietly. She headbutted Zeke, hard, then thrust her body upwards, throwing him off of her. She swiftly kipped up to her feet. Zeke growled, but she shut him up with a kick to his head.

Ormsby had reached his rifle. Picking it up, he began aiming at Rania. She saw the danger and threw her athletic body into a dazzling sideways aerial cartwheel. Several bullets flew safely between her wide-spread legs as she was upside down. Rania landed elegantly and picked up Zeke’s shotgun. She aimed at Ormsby…

Ormsby aimed his rifle at her…

Click.

Click.

Both weapons were empty. Ormsby ejected the empty magazine and reached for a fresh one in his vest pocket.

Rania had noticed the box of shotgun shells in Zeke’s pocket earlier. She bent down and snatched the box. The shells had to be loaded one by one, but one was all she needed. She finished loading her single shell just before Ormsby finished reloading his weapon. Pumping the shotgun one-handed, she blew Ormsby’s head off. Her heart beating fast with triumph, Rania turned back to finish dealing with Zeke.

He was no longer there. “Oh, shit,” said Rania. Sure enough, a split second later Zeke crashed into her from behind, tackling her to the ground. His eyes burning with rage, he began choking her as he lay on top of her.

Losing air fast, she put all her remaining strength into a punch. The blow hit Zeke squarely on the nose, breaking it. As his blood began flowing, his hands flew to his injured nose. Rania breathed in a deep lungful of air, then threw her opponent off of her just like she had done earlier.

She stood up and kicked him in the side as he was down, cracking one of his ribs. A second, well-aimed kick to the same spot broke the rib completely. A third kick cracked another rib. As Rania drew her leg back for a fourth kick, Zeke suddenly tripped her. Rania began falling…and turned the motion into a back handspring, landing perfectly on her feet. Zeke, who had been about to laugh, scowled in fury instead.

She laughed at him. The mercenary leader, holding his battered ribs in pain, stood up slowly. Rania, on the other hand, was much faster. She performed a front tuck somersault towards him, landing right in front of his face. She punched him in the eye, giving him a nice shiner. “That black eye’s payback for mine, dirtbag,” she snapped. She pummeled him in the stomach several times with her fists, then rammed her knee into it. Zeke gasped for breath and felt like puking. Rania turned sideways, then suddenly elbowed him in the head. As stars appeared in his eyes, she side kicked him in the chest. She then roundhouse kicked him in the side of his head, sending him flying. His back crashed into a tree trunk.

With her victim pinned against the trunk, Rania balanced on her left leg and fired lightning-fast high kicks from her right into his face. Blood and teeth flew as she kicked the crap out of him. Finally, she paused, blew him a kiss, and performed a spin kick. Her boot slammed into his head, knocking him down and out.

When Zeke woke up a few minutes later, he saw Rania standing over him. She was now wearing his .45 pistol on her slim right hip. She smiled down at him coldly. Grabbing him by the hair, she yanked him up to a kneeling postion. “Now it’s time for a little Q and A,” she announced. “Be thankful I’m going to be generous. If you cooperate, I won’t shoot you. Who hired you?”

He spat at her. Rania rammed her knee into his face. Droplets of blood stained her pants. “Now, who the fuck hired you?” she demanded.

“Fucking bitch,” he said, spitting again, but spitting blood this time. Rania kneed him in the face three times in rapid succession, putting a little more strength into each successive blow.

“I kneed a guy’s skull in once,” she said. “I can do it again.” She began raising her knee.

“No!” cried Zeke. “Enough! I give! This guy named Tim hired us. He’s with the State Department.”

“State Department. Those traitors. I knew it,” Rania muttered.

“Now that I know who it is, I know why,” she said. “This Tim guy, was he the big boss? Or was he working for someone?”

“He was working for a guy named…”

“…Bender,” Rania finished, remembering the rude State Department agent who had sassed her after her sister was killed.

Zeke gasped. “How the fuck did you know?”

“That’s not important. Anyway, I’m asking the questions here. Now, you guys look well-equipped. Cell phones don’t work out here, but I assume you have some method of communication that does?”

“I have a satellite phone,” Zeke admitted.

“Good,” said Rania. “Now, here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to call Bender and Tim and tell them the mission was successful. You’re going to have them meet you in an isolated location to pay you whatever they haven’t paid you yet. And you’re going to give a very good and very convincing performance, because if you don’t, I will blow your brains out.” She tapped her .45 threateningly.

The mercenary leader trembled in fear. “If I do this, do you promise you won’t shoot me?”

“You have my word of honor as a lady,” Rania answered.

“All right. The phone’s in my pocket.”

“Take it out. Slowly.”

Zeke took out his phone and began dialing. “Hey, Tim, it’s Zeke. Mission went off without a hitch. We capped the bitch and made sure to fuck her good before bumping her off. Where can we meet to get the rest of the money? I want someplace more isolated than the mercenary bar. Don’t want those other guys getting their greedy eyes on the green.”

There was a pause as Tim responded, then Zeke said, “It’s settled then. Over and out.”

He turned to Rania. “Pretty convicing, huh? Tim and Bender will be at the third bench on the north side of the pond in Snowmane Park in Washington DC, at noon the day after tomorrow.”

“Good job,” said Rania. Zeke sighed in relief.

“And now, it’s time for you to die,” she added.

Zeke wet his pants. “What?! But you promised you wouldn’t shoot me!”

“I know. I’m going to break your neck.” With that, Rania wrapped her slender but muscular thighs around his neck and twisted her boyish hips 180 degrees, killing him.

She spat on the corpse. “You were going to gang-rape me and you expect me to let you live? Fucker.” She spat on Ormsby’s corpse too, then knelt by Collins’ corpse and covered it neatly with leaves. “Thanks for saving me,” she whispered. “Rest in peace. The rest of you mercenaries, burn in hell.”

Rania felt her heart rate slowly return to normal. She was safe now, but she still had a job to do. Before heading back to her car, she looked through the mercenaries’ packs. Among other things, she discovered several small land mines. An idea popped into her head.

Rania stood in the Washington DC park, hiding behind a tree and waiting for Bender and Tim to show up. She rolled up her sleeve and looked at her watch. Sure enough, right at noon, the two men appeared. They walked towards the bench they had indicated. Closer…closer…she waited until one of them stepped in just the right place…

Tim stepped on a mine. It was well-buried and he didn’t notice.

Rania leapt out from behind her tree and aimed the .45 she had appropriated from Zeke at them. “Freeze, assholes!”

Both men stared in shock. “YOU!” shrilled Bender. “How the fuck did you…Where the fuck’s Zeke?! He said…”

“Never mind that. The important thing is that I’ve planted land mines all around here. When you step on one, as soon as you step off it’ll blow you to kingdom come. So hold really still and listen very carefully.” Bender and Tim trembled in fear. They both nodded.

“You,” she growled, pointing an elegant finger from her left hand at Bender. Her right was still aiming the .45. “You’re a big cheese at the State Department. You’re corrupt and you know who else is corrupt. Give me the names of every corrupt agent you know. If you refuse, I’ll kill you. If you cooperate, I promise I won’t shoot you or make you step on a mine.”

“You swear to it?” asked Bender.

“You have my word of honor as a lady,” Rania answered.

“Okay,” said Bender. He began rattling off names, which Rania committed to her excellent memory.

“That’s the last of them,” said Bender. “Now remember your promise.”

“Oh, I will,” cooed Rania. She smiled wickedly…and shifted her aim and shot Tim in the head. She then holstered her pistol and began backflipping away, doing back handspring after back handspring in rapid succession.

Suddenly realizing where the mine must be, Bender grabbed Tim’s corpse, trying to keep his weight on the mine. “YOU DIRTY BITCH!” he roared. “Motherfucking cunt! I’ll get you for this! Gaaaahh!”

Bender struggled. He held Tim’s weight on the mine for as long as he could. His muscles burned with agony, but that was nothing compared to the pure terror in his mind, with the knowledge that he was going to die and there wasn’t a fucking thing in the universe he could do about it.

It may have been his body that gave in first. It may have been his mind. But whatever it was, Tim’s corpse slipped loose from Bender’s grasp and both men blew up in a spectacular explosion.

Rania, watching from the trees, smiled grimly. “Vengeance is mine,” she said in triumph. She then whipped out a notebook and wrote down the names of the corrupt agents that she had memorized.

THE END

Immunity, Part 2

Abby picked the lock of the mansion’s back door and she and Natalie slipped inside. They cleared the rear first-floor rooms quickly, finding only two guards along the way. Abby cleanly decapitated one with her sword. Natalie shot the other from behind in the hand with a poisoned arrow. He was down and foaming from the mouth within two seconds.

Rania and Angela split up as they began going through the rooms on the front side of the first floor. Angela went through empty room after empty room until she finally came to one where three men were playing cards for money and drinking whiskey. Three AK-47s were piled on the floor near them. “Dirty hypocritical bastards,” she thought to herself. “These politically connected types make laws against drinking and gambling that oppress the regular people, then break the laws themselves because they can get away with it.” She was going to enjoy killing these fuckers.

Angela, unnoticed by the men, stepped through the doorway and killed one man with a perfectly aimed throw from her dagger that sent the blade right into his right eye. Before the other men could go for their assault rifles, she was upon them, launching her muscular body through the air in a flying kick. Her booted foot impacted the second man and he in turn was knocked into the third man, sending both of them down. She swiftly finished the second man with a kick to his neck, breaking it. The third man, dizzy, sat up, his back to her. She knelt down and grabbed him in a choke hold from behind, her tanned and toned arm cutting off his air. Her muscles bulged as the athletic blonde vixen choked her helpless victim to death. When he was gone, she did a back walkover to get back to her feet, then casually pulled her dagger out of the first man’s eye and wiped the blood off on his shirt before resheathing it.

The lethal beauty continued her rampage. When she rounded a corner and almost bumped into two guards, Angela simply reached out and used her superhuman wrist strength to snap both men’s necks one-handed. Moving on, she again almost bumped into a guard. She dealt with this one by performing an ultra-powerful backflip kick on him. The kick was so strong that it not only broke his neck, but nearly decapitated him as well. The corpse’s head was now loosely attached to the body at an odd angle.

Rania, after going through several small rooms that were empty, heard voices speaking in Arabic coming from a larger room. She paused and listened. Several voices were ranting about their desire to kill “the infidels.” What surprised her, however, was a female voice among them speaking the same words encouraging violence.

Rania quietly opened the door – and found herself staring directly into the face of a guard who had been standing there. Though both of them were equally surprised, Rania reacted faster. She punched him in the jaw with all her strength, knocking him to the plush carpet. She then bent down, wrapped her slender but muscular thighs around his neck, and twisted her slim, boyish hips 180 degrees, snapping his neck. She looked up. The others were so engaged in their angry conversation that they hadn’t noticed her silent kill.

She drew her silenced 9mm and let out a soft whistle. Four heads, three male and bearded and one female and headscarfed, looked up at her. She began shooting them, one perfectly aimed bullet to the heart for each. Rania had killed the three men and was about to kill the headscarfed woman when she suddenly cried out in broken English, “Please no kill me! Me victim of bad men!”

Rania looked at her coldly. “I might believe that…if I didn’t speak Arabic,” she said, emphasizing her Lebanese accent. The woman’s eyes widened in panic and a dark spot appeared on the crotch area of her ankle-length dress. She had wet herself. Rania, shaking her brunette head in disgust, did a vicious crescent kick to the woman’s face that knocked her to the carpet face first. She then finished her victim with five swift kicks to her head from her heavy boots. Blood and brain matter flowed from the mutilated skull. “That was for all the REAL victims of bad men!”

Suddenly, she heard soft footsteps padding up behind her. She whirled around, gun at the ready, but relaxed when she saw that it was only Angela. “I heard,” whispered Angela, giving Rania a hug. The blonde turned over the body with her boot. “You were doubly right to kill her,” she added.

Rania looked over. Outlined under the dead woman’s dress was a pistol, and near it was the outline of her hand.

Rania and Angela met Abby and Natalie at the bottom of the mansion’s grand staircase. They could see faint lights upstairs, and a crack of light coming from underneath the closed door to what appeared to be a grand ballroom. “Have you checked that out yet?” Angela asked, nodding at the ballroom door.

Natalie and Abby shook their heads. “Take a look and take out the people inside if you can do it quietly and there aren’t too many,” Angela instructed. “Rania and I will go upstairs.”

Abby and Natalie approached the door. “Sounds like a lot of people in there,” whispered Natalie.

“But there’s no way to tell without opening the door and being discovered,” Abby sighed.

“Maybe there’s another entrance. I’ll go around and look for one,” said Natalie.

“Okay. I’ll stay here by the door.”

Meanwhile, Angela and Rania padded silently up the stairs. Two guards were at the top, their backs to the girls. Angela stabbed one in the back, her dagger finding his heart with expert precision. Rania smashed the butt of her shotgun down onto the other’s skull with all her strength, killing him.

They entered the upstairs hallway. “Let’s check all the dark rooms first to make sure there are no suprises,” said Angela. “We’ll save the room with the light for last.”

The first two rooms they tried were empty, but the third contained a pair of guards smoking marijuana. The ladies quietly snuck into the room, unnoticed by the high men. “Hey, fuckers,” said Rania softly in Arabic. The guards whirled in shock and tried to go for the guns in their holsters. The women were much too quick for them, however. Rania reached out with both hands and snapped the first man’s neck. Angela snapped the second man’s neck one-handed.

Rania stared at her companion. “Wow!” she whispered excitedly. “I wish my wrists were strong enough to do that!” She compared her slender forearm with Angela’s thick one.

“Honey, they probably are,” Angela whispered back, ruffling Rania’s long dark brown hair. “You just haven’t tried it yet. C’mon, let’s check the next room.”

Downstairs, Natalie returned to Abby. “Couldn’t find another entrance. I was thinking about slipping back outside and trying to peek in one of the windows.”

“Good idea. We’ve got to get a count of how many people are in that room.”

Upstairs, as Rania and Angela left the room where they had just killed the two weed-smokers, a flash of movement came from their left at the far end of the hall. A guard was there…and he had seen them. He raised the AK-47 he was carrying, but before he could take aim, Rania shot him twice with her silenced pistol. She breathed a sigh of relief as he fell…until in his death spasms his finger jerked the trigger of his weapon. Several bullets went into the ceiling. The sound was incredibly loud. “Uh-oh,” said Rania.

“Never mind that, get ready for a fight,” said Angela. She whipped out her AK-47. Rania drew her shotgun and pumped it one-handed.

At the ballroom door, Natalie was just about to leave when the gunshots were heard. “Uh-oh,” she said.

“Never mind that, get ready for a fight,” said Abby. She removed the suppressor from her high-powered rifle and attached the bayonet in its place. Natalie drew her Uzi. The girls took kneeling positions and aimed at the door.

Two seconds later, the ballroom door burst open and men began pouring out. Abby fired off well-aimed head shots into the men, while Natalie dispatched any Abby didn’t get with short, controlled bursts from her submachine gun. Together the two ladies slaughtered ten men before they stopped coming. The girls then advanced into the room. They stopped and stared when they saw dozens more men inside. “Please!” begged one man in broken English. “We unarmed!”

“That evens the odds then,” said Natalie calmly. “After all, there are only two of us.” She flicked her Uzi to semi-auto and killed the speaker with a single shot to the head.

With animal roars, the rest of the men charged Abby and Natalie. Abby killed five more men with her rifle before it clicked empty. Natalie flicked her weapon back to full auto and cut down several men with a single long burst before it too went dry. “Now we get to the fun part,” said Abby. Bayonet ready, she charged straight at the crowd with a high-pitched warrior cry.

Natalie stayed back as several men rushed her. There wasn’t enough time to reload her gun, but there was just enough to draw her crossbow and fire a single shot into the chest of the man nearest her. The others ran around the dead body and as they converged on her, she got into a fighting stance.

Meanwhile, upstairs, men began pouring out of the room with the light. Bullets from Angela’s assault rifle and slugs from Rania’s shotgun cut them down with brutal efficiency. Although these men were armed, their female opponents’ lethal firearms skills brought them down before any had a chance to shoot.

The flow of men stopped. Angela still had a few bullets left, but she ejected the magazine from her AK-47 and inserted a fresh one with a full thirty rounds. While she was reloading, Rania, her shotgun emptied, kept her pistol trained on the doorway. When Angela was finished, Rania holstered her pistol and swiftly reloaded her shotgun as Angela trained her weapon in turn towards the door.

Angela noticed a grenade attached to the belt of one of the dead men. With a wink, she picked it up, pulled the pin, and tossed it into the room. There was a loud BOOM. Angela and Rania stormed into the now smoke-filled room, guns at the ready. Two men were just standing up dizzily. They had been stunned by the blast, but were not hurt as they had been hiding behind a couch ever since the shooting had started.

Rania let out a hiss when she recognized one of them as Abdul al-Razizi himself. “At last,” she growled. “You murdered my sister. You thought you got away with it because of your diplomatic immunity. But now you’re going to face justice.” Al-Razizi simply glared at her coldly. His assault rifle was on the floor a few feet away. The second man, a big, burly fellow who looked about 6’3″ and 240 pounds, looked at his AK-47, which was on the floor near him.

“Don’t even think about it, asshole,” snarled Angela, aiming her own AK-47 right at his heart. The big man raised his hands in fear.

“Both of you fuckers, kick your weapons away!” Rania ordered. A growl from the slender brunette and a wave of her shotgun spurred both men to obey her. Angela then searched the men while Rania kept them covered. Angela found a revolver in the big man’s pocket and a knife strapped to al-Razizi’s leg. She threw both weapons away as the men cursed in Arabic.

“Who the fuck are you, anyway?” said Angela, addressing the big man. He hesitated, but spoke up when the blonde woman’s finger tightened on the trigger of her AK.

“I’m Salim, chief bodyguard for al-Razizi.”

“Oh, are you now? Well, I’m glad you’re here.”

“Er…why?”

“Because now I have someone to beat to death while my friend Rania here takes care of the asswipe who murdered her sister.”

“Yeah,” growled Rania, her shotgun pointed right at al-Razizi’s head.

“Go ahead, bitch. Shoot me,” spat the murderer.

“Oh, you don’t deserve to die that quickly. I’m going to make you suffer as much as you made Leila suffer.” Rania tossed her weapons aside and raised her fists.

Al-Razizi broke into a grin and advanced on her. “Like a skinny little girl like you can beat me. After I beat you and before I kill you, I’m going to rape you just like I did your sister.” At that, Rania screamed in rage and charged. Angela tossed her weapons away and advanced on Salim.

Meanwhile, down in the ballroom, Abby bayoneted one man in the heart and another in the throat. She stabbed a third man in the center of his chest. As he screamed, she raised her rifle upward, lifting him into the air. He was impaled on her bayonet like a piece of meat on a stick. Holding his weight up with one incredibly strong arm, she drew her sword with the other. She spun her helpless victim around and in rapid succession cut off his legs, his arms, and finally his head with her sword. Dropping the rifle, limbless and headless corpse still stuck on the bayonet, she readied her sword for the other men, who were now all trembling in fear.

Natalie was facing five men. She leapt into the air, splitting her legs and kicking two men in the head. She grabbed two more men and bashed their heads together. An athletic aerial cartwheel kick from her knocked the fifth man down. Four dizzy men were still up. She knocked two down with a crescent kick that struck both their faces. A lethal spin kick to the side of another’s head broke his neck with a sharp CRACK. His falling corpse crashed into the only man currently standing and knocked him down too. She raised her leg over her head in a full vertical split and casually but swiftly smashed it down onto his skull, shattering it and sending blood and brain goo flying all over the place. “There now, three against one, seems a little more fair!” she laughed brightly.

Abby sliced one man in half at the waist with her ultra-sharp sword. Hearing another try to sneak up behind her, she donkey kicked him in the gut, then spun around and cut off his head. Picking another victim, she stabbed him in the heart, then killed another with a powerful roundhouse kick to his head that both cracked his skull and broke his neck. Moving on to another man, she simply cut off both his arms and left him to bleed to death. The remaining men began running away from the sword-wielding vixen in fear. Some of them had wet their pants, and two had soiled themselves. Laughing mockingly, Abby did a tumbling pass towards them, starting with an aerial roundoff and then a set of whip backs. She caught up to them easily.

Rania, charging al-Razizi, suddenly threw herself into a one-handed cartwheel as she got near him. The murderer was unprepared for the unconventional attack and Rania’s boots kicked him hard in the face in rapid succession as she cartwheeled. Before he could recover, Rania had landed neatly on her feet and sent a wicked one-two-three combination of punches into his face. The third punch from the slender but muscular 5’8″, 125-pound girl sent the 6’1″, 190-pound al-Razizi to the floor, hard. “Not bad for a skinny little girl, huh,” she mocked him.

Angela’s 5’7″, 135-pound frame looked very small facing big Salim. Fully confident in her abilities, however, and not afraid in the least, Angela easily dodged two of his attempted punches, then sent a punch of her own right into his nose, breaking it. As he howled in pain and his hands flew upward to his bloody face, she doubled him over with a vicious fist to his solar plexus, straighted him with a powerful uppercut, and finally sent him flying backwards with a kick to his chest.

As Rania approached the downed al-Razizi, he tripped her. The slim Lebanese girl began falling backwards, but used her athleticism and cheerleader training to turn the motion into a standing back handspring, landing perfectly on her feet. Cursing at his failure, al-Razizi stood up and charged her. She expertly stopped his charge by pivoting and firing a side kick into his chest. She then aimed a little higher, doing another side kick into his face. As the diplomat’s right hand flew up to his wounded face, Rania performed a cheerleader-style high kick. Her booted foot smashed his hand against his face, breaking several small bones in his hand. She laughed sadistically as he howled in pain. Moving in close, she rammed her knee into his stomach, then headbutted him hard enough to knock him down again.

Angela did a tumbling pass of a roundoff followed by two back handsprings to bring her close to her opponent. “I’ve studied your culture, if you can even call it that. I know you guys like to do this to your women.” She viciously backhanded him across his face. “Hurts, doesn’t it? Well, this is going to hurt worse.” With that, she delivered two roundhouse kicks to him, one on his left side and one on his right. Each kick broke a rib. While he was rendered helpless by the extreme pain, she moved in close and drove her knee into his groin three times in rapid succession, pulverizing his genitals. She then stepped back slightly and knocked him down with a kick to the face.

Downstairs, one of the men Natalie was fighting heaved himself to his hands and knees. She kicked him in the head with her powerful leg, breaking his neck. “Two against one!” she counted down mockingly. The two remaining men climbed to their feet. A swift side kick to one’s gut sent him doubled over, gasping for breath. The second swung a punch at her elegant face, which she easily dodged. She responded with a lethal palm strike to his face that drove the cartilage from his nose into his brain. She laughed. “Finally, one on one!”

Five men were running away from Abby. As she finished her tumbling pass and caught up to them, she smirked, “Don’t any of you cowards have the balls to face me?” Two men turned around and charged her. She rammed her sword into the throat of one, swiftly pulled it out, and stunned the second man with a quick kick to his face. As he stood there, dizzy, she held out her sword in front of her, positioning it under his crotch. She then raised her sword arm upward. The blade sliced him in half vertically from groin to head. Blood flew everywhere.

The last three men were still running away. Abby hid her sword behind her back by tucking it into her pants. “Hey, guys!” she called out, raising her hands. “I don’t have my big scary sword anymore. Wanna come and fight now?” The men turned. Seeing her empty hands, they ran at her and surrounded her. With a wicked grin and lightning speed, Abby drew her hidden sword, raised it above her head, and spun around like a ballerina, brutally decapitating all three men. “Suckers!” she laughed.

The guard Natalie was facing was now the last man alive in the room. He looked around and trembled in fear upon seeing all the corpses. In desperation, he swung a punch at Natalie’s stomach. Seeing it coming, she tensed her abs. The man screamed in pain as his fist impacted her rock-hard six-pack. Unhurt, Natalie giggled. “Wimp. I’m a girl and I have better muscles than you.” She saw Abby, having slaughtered all her opponents, watching her.

“C’mon, Nat, finish him off. I want to go get something to eat.”

“Yeah, I’m hungry too.” Natalie grinned wickedly at the guard. “This will be quick but painful.” With that, she slammed her left fist into his eye, turning it black, then drove her right into his jaw, breaking it. She did a fierce low kick to his knee, breaking it too and sending him to the floor howling in agony. His howls only got louder when she stomped down hard on his broken knee with her black leather boot, mutilating and grinding down on the bones. She jumped onto him and began punching him in the head with her gloved fists. Blood flew as the slim but lethally strong girl pummeled him, smashing through tissue and bone, cracking and penetrating his skull, and finally bashing his brains in. Thirty punches later, all that was left of his head was a mass of blood, gore, and pieces of bone. Natalie and Abby walked up to each other and gave each other a hug. Both stunningly hot girls were covered with the blood of the helpless enemies they had mercilessly slaughtered.

Looking at the gory scene of death, Abby smirked, “We are so good.”

“Yeah, we’re the best.” Natalie rubbed her toned abs. “C’mon, let’s go upstairs and see how Angie and Rania are doing. Maybe they’re done and we can all go out to eat.”

Angela and Rania were doing just fine. The same could not be said for their opponents, however. Angela peformed a front tuck somersault to take her to the downed Salim. He climbed to his hands and knees as she reached him. She knocked him down again by driving her elbow down onto his head. “Finishing time, honey,” she said in her slight Southern accent. She wrapped her ultra-muscular thighs around his skull and began squeezing. Salim, crying in pain, tried to pry her thighs loose with his hands, but she was far too strong. He thrashed and struggled helplessly, feeling agony and crushing pressure he never thought possible from a woman. Angela squeezed harder. Soon she heard cracking sounds as her opponent’s skull began to give way. Salim’s eyes closed and he went limp. The cracking grew louder. Finally, with a horrible squishing noise, Salim’s skull caved in completely. Bloody goo rolled off of Angela’s thighs.

Meanwhile, Rania was standing over al-Razizi, who was still on the floor and dizzy from the petite girl’s powerful headbutt. She stomped hard on his face with her black leather boot. “That’s for harassing me.” She then began kicking him in the groin with all her strength. The first kick sent searing, white-hot pain through him. By the third kick, he had permanently lost the ability to be a father. By the tenth kick, his gonads were no more than messy paste. “Those were for all the other girls you harassed!”

Al-Razizi was in unimaginable pain and crying like a baby. Rania reached down and lifted him by the hair. As the Lebanese beauty looked straight into his frightened eyes, he began begging for mercy. Rania glared at him with hatred and scorn.

“You want mercy? I bet Leila begged for mercy before you raped her! I bet she begged for mercy before you slit her throat! I’ll show you exactly the same mercy you showed her, asshole!” She dragged him to the nearest wall and placed him against it in a sitting position. He was too wounded to move and could only continue to make feeble pleas to be spared, which Rania ignored.

“This is for Leila,” she said softly. With that, she rammed her knee into his head. Blood flew, splattering on her black pants. Al-Razizi shrieked in agony. Again she drove her knee into him, striking him with expert precision in the middle of his forehead. His cry of pain was fainter this time as he began losing consciousness. She smashed her knee into his forehead again and again, cracking and weakening her victim’s skull. After several blows, he was mortally wounded, blood from his brain oozing out. Rania looked at him with a smirk and prepared one final knee strike, putting every ounce of strength she had into it. Her knee impacted his forehead with devastating force, driving right through the skull bone and deep into his brain. Rania stood up straight, heart pounding, as she looked at al-Razizi’s corpse. “Leila, you are avenged. Justice is done,” she whispered.

Angela came up and gave her a tight hug and a long kiss. “Good work, Rania. How do you feel?”

“I feel like I have closure now. I think I’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep tonight.” She looked over at Salim’s mutilated skull. “What did you do to him?”

“Crushed his head with my thighs,” said Angela.

“Wow, you’re so strong,” said Rania admiringly.

“You’re strong too, especially for someone as thin as you. Even most men don’t have the muscle to do what you did.” Angela stroked Rania’s back. “C’mon, let’s find Abby and Natalie.”

“We’re here!” sang out Natalie’s voice as she and Abby entered the room. Natalie looked around. “Looks like you guys did some good work too.”

“Yeah,” said Abby. “We almost tripped over some of the corpses in the doorway. So is everyone finished off?”

“Yep, all the men in the house are dead,” Angela confirmed.

“Great!” said Abby. “Nat and I are really hungry.”

Angela looked startled for a second, then nodded. “I guess we can go out to eat. No one’s going to find these bodies until tomorrow, and we’ll be long gone by then. But we should change first. Luckily we have clean clothes in the Explorer.”

Rania looked down at her clothes, looked at Angela, then at Abby and Natalie. “Sheesh, you guys are COVERED in blood. Angela and I have some, but you two…What did you DO downstairs?”

“To be fair, most of mine I got from Abby when I hugged her,” said Natalie. “She was a machine with that sword of hers.”

Abby, laughing, drew her sword, twirled it, and resheathed it. “Yep! Those guys didn’t stand a chance.”

The women headed out of the mansion, stopping downstairs to look at Abby’s and Natalie’s handiwork in the ballroom. Rania gasped when she saw dozens of corpses. Some had been shot or had their necks broken, but others were decapitated or sliced in half. One corpse, which was armless and lying in a massive pool of blood, had a look of pure terror frozen onto its face.

Angela shook her blonde head in amazement. “There were this many and you did all of them? Wow. I never thought there would be so many. Something must be up. Maybe Danica will know when we get back.” They exited the house, Natalie and Abby walking ahead, already chattering to each other about what they wanted for dinner.

Rania whispered into Angela’s ear. “Are they always this…casual about killing?”

“Yes, they are, pretty much,” Angela whispered back. “They’re natural born assassins.”

“I don’t think that’s the life for me,” said Rania. “I mean, I’m glad I killed al-Razizi, but that was a personal case of revenge. I can’t imagine living the way Nat and Abby do. I’d rather get back to college.”

“That’s perfectly fine,” Angela responded. “The assassin’s life isn’t for everyone. And even if it is your way of life, you don’t have to live it the way those two do. Take me, for example. I’m a professional killer, but I don’t make fun and games out of it.” She paused. “But I want you to know, any time you want to go on another mission with us, you’re more than welcome.”

“Thanks,” said Rania, squeezing Angela’s hand.

After an excellent dinner at one of the fine restaurants in Kurtaria City’s Diplomatic Quarter, the girls boarded the cargo plane for the long journey home. On board, Angela called Danica on the plane’s radio. “Mission accomplished, Dani,” she said with a grin.

“Excellent,” crackled Danica’s voice. “We’ll do the full debriefing as soon as you land.”

It was 2 AM Pacific time when the plane landed at the secret base. Danica was waiting for them as they disembarked. She gave each of the women a hug. “Luckily it’s night so I could sneak onto here,” she said. “I could have scheduled this during my normal off hours but I like to do these as soon after the mission as possible. Feels funny sneaking away from a regular Army base where 99% of the soldiers don’t know about this secret one. Anyway, let’s go into the basement room and you can give me all the details.”

Inside, Angela did most of the talking, summarizing the mission from start to finish. Abby and Natalie occasionally interjected with boastful but true statements of their kills. Rania talked about peronally finishing al-Razizi off. Danica gave her a kiss when she said that. “And so after we made sure there was no one alive in the mansion except us, we went out for dinner, got back on the plane, and here we are,” Angela finished.

“All wrapped up nice and neat,” said Danica.

“Actually, I do have a couple of things,” said Angela. “One, why were there so many men there? And two, will there be any international repercussions over our going to a foreign country and killing a bunch of people?”

“People who had it coming,” said Natalie.

“Agreed, they had it coming,” said Angela. “I was just saying…”

“Anyway, who’s going to know it was us?” Abby asked, interrupting her.

“They could guess, based on what al-Razizi did,” said Rania. “But there’s no proof against us, and frankly, they did have it coming. And not just al-Razizi himself. They were all associating with him. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.”

Danica raised her hands for quiet. “I can answer both of those issues right now. It seems that the Shah of Kurtaria is a reformer who wants to modernize his country, and the Kurtarian reactionaries don’t like that. Some of them were plotting to overthrow and murder the Shah, and al-Razizi was in on the plot. All of those extra men at his house were conspirators who were to provide muscle for the coup. If the Kurtarian government ever finds out it was us who ‘took care’ of al-Razizi and his men, I’m sure they won’t be anything except very grateful.”

Angela broke into a wide smile. “Wonderful!”

“Would you ladies like a drink before you head off to the airport to catch your flights back home?” Danica asked. “I have some excellent tequila here.”

“I’d love a drink right now!” said Abby.

“Yeah,” added Natalie. “We couldn’t have any booze at the restaurant because alcohol is banned in Kurtaria.”

Danica smiled. “Incidentally, that’s one of the things the Shah is trying to change. He wants to legalize alcohol.”

“Can’t he just make it so?” asked Angela. “He is the Shah.”

“Laws have to go through the Kurtarian parliament, and it’s full of reactionaries,” said Rania. “Democracy in this case is actually a roadblock to freedom. People shouldn’t have democracy unless they’re smart enough for it. In countries where they aren’t, a benevolent dictator is actually better.”

“I’ll drink to that,” said Danica. She poured shots for everyone. “To freedom. True freedom,” she said, raising her glass.

“To a clean and successful mission,” said Angela.

“To victory,” said Abby.

“To kicking some serious butt,” said Natalie.

“To vengeance…and closure. To Leila,” said Rania.

“To Leila,” the others echoed. The girls downed their shots and leaned back, content.

THE END

Immunity, Part 1

Rania stared at the two men seated across from her, her mouth open in shock and anger. “That’s ALL?! That’s all they’re going to do? That’s bullshit and you both know it!”

“It is bullshit,” said the first man, whose badge identified him as a police lieutenant. “It’s truly fucked up. But that’s what the law says and that’s what standard operating procedure is. People who have diplomatic immunity who commit serious crimes are simply deported to their home countries. They cannot be prosecuted.”

“The lieutenant is correct about the procedure,” said the second man, who was an agent of the U.S. Department of State. He turned to the policeman. “However, I’d appreciate it if you showed a little more respect for our procedures. We must…”

“Fuck the State Department and its fucking procedures!” shouted Rania, losing her temper. “My sister was raped and murdered in cold blood. And we all know who did it! He brags about doing it! That man right there!” She pointed to a picture on the desk in an open file. “Abdul al-Razizi, Kurtarian diplomat. He cut my sister’s throat. And you’re talking about respecting procedure? How about showing some respect for my dead sister, you gutless sellout?”

The State Department man glared at the fiery girl angrily. As a an agent of the U.S. Department of State, it was his job to sell good Americans out to Third World interests, on orders from his boss, who hated his own country. He was quite pissed off that she was pointing it out. “Young lady, you need to learn to have more respect for your elders,” he growled. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some business to attend to.” As he got up and left the room, Rania extended her middle finger towards him. The policeman smiled at her when she did that. She smiled back shyly.

Once they were alone, she looked at the lieutenant sadly. “So there’s nothing else we can do? Will he ever be punished?”

“We can’t prosecute him, and his home country won’t, either. They don’t have the jurisdiction to. So I’m afraid he’ll get away with it.”

Rania clenched her fists. “I just can’t let him. If there was anything…Justice just HAS to be done!”

The cop looked around furtively, then reached into his pocket and handed her a business card. “Er…this may be able to help you get what you want,” he whispered. “And remember, you didn’t get this card from me.”

Rania slipped the card into her pocket. “Thank you,” she said softly.

As she left the room, he called out to her, “Good luck.”

It was only when she was outside the building that Rania looked at the card. It read:

“Colonel Danica Cooper

Fort Lewis, Washington”

Beneath that was a telephone number. Rania smiled grimly, took out her cell phone, and began dialing.

Rania stood in the ladies’ room at the trendy restaurant, studying her reflection in the mirror. She was due to meet this Colonel Cooper in five minutes. Rania’s dark brown eyes were red with weariness. She had slept little since her sister was murdered, and hadn’t been able to sleep at all on her flight. Still, she looked quite stunning. Her 5’8″, 125-pound frame was slender but muscular, and she had long dark brown hair, darkly tanned brown skin, and an elegant, youthful face that reflected her age of nineteen years. She looked at her watch, a man’s Rolex that accented her slim, feminine wrist well, and saw that it was almost time. She headed out of the bathroom and sat back down at her table, scanning the new arrivals.

A middle-aged woman entered the restaurant. She was wearing civilian clothes, but something about the confident and aggressive way she carried herself made Rania think that this must be her contact. Rania stood up and went over to the woman. “Colonel Cooper, I presume?”

The older woman’s attractive face broke into a smile. “You can recognize the military type. You’re perceptive. I like that. Yes, that’s me, but please call me Danica.”

“Nice to meet you, Danica. I’m Rania, your client. Well, hopefully your client. You didn’t tell me much over the phone.”

“This has to be as off-the-record as possible. That’s why I’m meeting you off the base and in civilian clothes.” As they sat down, Danica covered Rania’s hand with hers. “This is one of the most emotional cases I’ve ever heard,” said the colonel. “How old was your sister?”

“She was twenty-one,” answered Rania in her slight Lebanese accent. “Our parents were killed by a Hezbollah truck bomb when we were little. We came to America to live with relatives, but my sister was the one who really raised me, even though she was only two years older than me. We were so close.” Rania let out a sniffle. “Sorry,” she said, wanting to appear strong.

“Don’t be,” said Danica, squeezing the younger girl’s hand. The colonel continued, “I and my associates specialize in cleaning up the cases that fall through the cracks of the justice system. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the system, but sometimes it fails. And in this case, it failed spectacularly. I’ve already called in the three best agents I know to take care of this. They’re at one of our facilities right now and as soon as I’m finished briefing you on what they’ll be doing, I’ll be going right over there to help those girls with their plans.”

“Girls?” asked Rania in surprise. She was a modern woman who played sports with men, shot guns, and practiced martial arts. Still, even she was not quite used to the idea of an all-female team of assassins.

“Yes,” said Danica with a smile. “All three of them are extremely talented and deadly, not to mention beautiful. They’re all better fighters than any man I know. In fact, I could take you along to meet them. Normally, the client doesn’t meet anyone besides the point person, but since your case is so special, this is different.”

Rania took a deep breath. “If I could,” she began, heart pounding. “I’d like to do more than meet them. I’d like to go with them. If they’re going after that murdering bastard I want to go along and avenge my sister’s death.”

Danica opened her mouth in surprise, then closed it. She should have seen this coming. “I understand where you’re coming from, but with the types of things they’re going to do…”

“The things WE’RE going to do,” interrupted Rania, sticking her small chest out, her shyness turning into confidence. Danica smiled at the sight of the other girl’s beautiful B-cups being stuck out.

“Do you know how to fight?” asked the colonel.

“Second degree black belt,” Rania answered with a toss of her long dark brown hair.

“Do you know how to shoot?”

“Best markswoman with rifle *and* pistol out of my Girl Scout troop.”

“The Girl Scouts teach that now? Damn, I wish they’d done that when I was a little girl. I had to ask my dad to teach me. Nice to hear that they’ve finally gotten modern enough to…”

“Um…” said Rania.

“Oh, right,” giggled Danica. “Questions relating to the mission. Just one more. Does the idea of killing in cold blood bother you?”

The younger girl took a deep breath. “If avenging my sister’s death is involved, then no.”

“Then it’s settled,” said Danica. “The four of you will go. I’d love to come with you but unfortunately duty calls this time. Now let’s go over and meet the rest of the team.”

Two hours later, after lots of driving out of the city and through wilderness on a series of roads that got smaller and narrower, the women pulled up to a heavy gate. “Off the record, this is a secret base that the Army uses for planning *special* missions. But officially, this place doesn’t exist.”

They had stopped only briefly at Rania’s hotel so that she could pack a suitcase. She had also scooped up some cash and put it in an envelope. Handing it to Danica, she had said, “It’s not much but it’s all I can get right now.”

Danica, squeezing Rania’s hand, had said, “It doesn’t matter – with a situation like yours, we’d do this for free. But I’ll give this to the other girls and tell them to split it three ways.”

A high, barbed-wire fence continued off in either direction from the gate as far as the eye could see. Posted on the fence at frequent intervals were signs that read, “PRIVATE PROPERTY. KEEP OUT. EXTREME DANGER – 10,000 VOLTS. TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT SURVIVORS WILL BE SHOT AGAIN.” The colonel punched in a code on a panel next to the gate and it silently swung open. Rania gulped in apprehension as the truck passed through and the gate swung shut again with a loud click.

Danica brought the vehicle to a stop in front of a small shack. The girls climbed out, Rania with her suitcase and Danica with a briefcase. Inside, there was nothing but a set of stairs leading downward. They emerged in an enormous basement, where three attractive young women were seated at a table, reading various books and pamphlets about the nation of Kurtaria. They stood up to greet the new arrivals.

“Hi, girls,” said Danica. “This is Rania, our client.” Rania smiled and waved shyly.

A blonde woman who looked about thirty was the first to respond. “Nice to meet you. I’m Angela.” Angela looked around 5’7″ and 135 pounds, and she had piercing blue eyes and a deep tan.

The two other girls looked younger, maybe in their early twenties. “I’m Abby,” said the bigger of the two. Abby stood at 5’6″ and 130 pounds, with shoulder-length dark brown hair and matching dark brown eyes.

“And I’m Natalie,” said the other girl. She was around 5’5″ and 120 pounds, with the same color eyes and hair as Abby, although Natalie’s hair was longer and went down to the middle of her back. All three girls were dressed in tight pants and tank tops, and Rania could see that they were all powerful, fit, and muscular, but still feminine.

Danica held up her briefcase. “I brought the rest of the intel for the mission. You four girls should now have everything you need for your trip. I’ll…”

At the word “four”, Angela tilted her blonde head back and smiled, while Abby and Natalie stared at each other, saying, “Again?” at exactly the same time.

Rania looked puzzled. Danica stroked Rania’s hair affectionately. “Oh, this happened on our last mission too. The client wanting to come with us. It’s not standard operating procedure. But she…”

“…did a really good job,” finished Abby. Natalie and Angela nodded in agreement.

Danica continued. “Ladies, you know how seriously I take these things. I wouldn’t let Rania go with you unless I was as confident in her abilities as I am in yours.” Rania smiled when she heard that, and let out a sigh of relief when the other women nodded their consent.

Danica rolled up the sleeve of her top and looked at her watch. “It’s getting late. I have to be back at the base soon. You ladies know what to do. From now on, Angela, you’re in charge.” Natalie opened her mouth, but before she could say anything, the colonel added, “Because she’s the oldest.” Natalie let out an exaggerated sigh and Angela playfully patted her on the rump. “Good luck and God be with you,” said Danica, giving each woman a tight hug. She then disappeared up the stairs.

“Well, let’s get to work,” said Angela. “We leave tomorrow afternoon. We already know some of the details but Rania, why don’t you tell us the story from the beginning.”

Rania took a deep breath. “My sister’s name was Leila. She was twenty-one and a senior in college. I was a sophomore at the same college. One of the organizations there is a Muslim group that’s very active in politics. They protest in front of barbecue joints, strip clubs, churches, synagogues, the ROTC program, European cultural festivals…anything that offends them. Which is pretty much everything. The girls in the group all wear headscarves and the guys…they’re all real creeps. They were always harassing Leila and me after they found out we were born Muslims but left the religion.”

“Abdul al-Razizi was an ‘advisor’ to this group. He’d come onto campus sometimes and make speeches. Leila went to one of his talks one day and started heckling him, saying that he was inciting hatred and violence. Well, he decided he wasn’t going to take that. He started stalking her. One night, after she had a late class, he ambushed her while she was alone on the top floor of the parking garage. The fucker…he…he raped her, then cut her throat. He went around bragging about his crime, saying he had diplomatic immunity and couldn’t be prosecuted. And the fucker was right. All the government did was send him back to Kurtaria. And now he’s sitting in his mansion, laughing at getting away with murder.” When she was done speaking, Rania discovered that she was now clenching her fists in rage. She looked around and her eyes widened when she saw that the three other girls were doing the exact same thing.

“I’m so sorry,” said Angela, coming over and giving Rania a hug. “We knew it was a case involving diplomatic immunity but I had no idea it was this vicious.”

“If anyone ever needed killing, it’s him,” Abby added.

“I’m going to enjoy this mission,” said Natalie in a cold voice.

“Well, let’s show the world not to get on the bad side of sexy Amazon Ladies,” said Angela, opening Danica’s briefcase. “Here, maps and satellite photos showing the exact location of al-Razizi’s mansion in Kurtaria City, and reports on his security force.” She passed them around.

“Boy, this guy doesn’t mess around,” commented Abby, as she read about the size of al-Razizi’s security team. “Paranoid little fucker.”

“Is he really paranoid if we really are out to get him?” said Angela with a snicker. All the women laughed at that comment.

They spent the afternoon soaking up all the intelligence they would need for the mission. “We have a private cargo plane that will fly us to Kurtaria City, so we can take all the weapons we need with us. After we land, we assault the mansion at dark,” said Angela.

As afternoon turned into evening, Natalie rubbed her flat stomach. “I’m getting hungry. How about we order some Chinese food for delivery?”

“Great idea,” said Abby. “I was just in the mood for Chinese.” She began reaching for a phone on the table.

“Um…” said Rania.

“Oh, right,” said Natalie. “Secret base, locked gate, bad idea for deliveryman to come over and all that.”

“Ya think?” said Angela, trying to look stern but instead breaking out into a giggle. “Never mind, I’ll go into town and pick it up.”

After dinner, the girls took a break and played cards and video games. They then turned in for a good night’s sleep. The next morning, they headed out to the secret base’s weapons range to get in some practice before leaving.

Rania watched with a mixture of nervousness and excitement as Angela, Natalie, and Abby in turn fired shots from a high-powered rifle with sexy skill and accuracy. When it was her turn, Rania tossed her hair confidently like she had seen action heroines do in movies, then loaded the rifle and took aim. She nailed head shots on the mannequins at 200, 300, and 400 yards just like the other girls had. They all gave each other high-fives. The girls then did some practice with pistols and shotguns. After that, Natalie showed off her skill with a crossbow by shooting an apple off of Abby’s head.

Angela took out a wicked-looking 8-inch dagger, perfectly balanced for throwing, and another apple. Handing the apple to Rania, she said, “Will you do me the honor of being my volunteer?”

Rania took the apple nervously. “Are you sure this is safe?”

“Relax!” laughed Angela. “I’ve been doing this for years and never missed.”

Rania stood in position and put the apple on her head, then closed her eyes. Angela drew back her powerful arm, took careful aim, and threw. The dagger flew through the air and landed right in the flesh of the apple with a THUNK. Rania opened her eyes and sighed in relief. She, Abby, and Natalie all applauded.

Soon it was almost time to go. The ladies changed into skintight outfits consisting of black leather pants, black boots, black wrist-length gloves, and short-sleeved black tops that showed off the muscular but feminine arms of all four girls. They then gathered their equipment and weapons. Angela had an AK-47 assault rifle and her elegant dagger. Abby carried a high-powered semi-automatic sniper rifle with suppressor and bayonet as accessories, and a long, straight, ultra-sharp sword. Natalie had her crossbow, specially equipped with poisoned arrows, and an Uzi submachine gun. Rania had chosen a 12-gauge combat shotgun and a 9mm pistol with a silencer. The cargo plane picked them up at the designated time and they were off.

Rania’s heart was pounding with excitement. Just a week ago, she had been an ordinary college sophomore and the most exciting things in her life had been Friday night keg parties. Now, she was part of an elite team of lethal Amazon warriors, on a real combat mission to avenge her murdered sister. “Don’t worry, Leila, I’ll do you proud,” she whispered to herself.

Fifteen hours later, the plane landed at a private airstrip on the outskirts of Kurtaria City. After Angela paid off an approaching immigration official with a wad of cash, they were left alone. A black Ford Explorer was unloaded from the plane and Abby got behind the wheel. The rest of the women piled in and the vehicle headed towards town. “It’ll be dark by the time we get to al-Razizi’s mansion,” said Angela. “Perfect timing.”

Abdul al-Razizi’s enormous mansion was built with a combination of Arabic and Mediterranean architecture. It was surrounded by a high fence on all sides, unbroken except for two locked gates, one in front and one in the back. Abby parked the Explorer two blocks away from the mansion, completely out of sight of any of the guards. The girls climbed out, readied their weapons and two-way radios, and gathered in a huddle for their final instructions.

“We’re on the side of the front gate,” whispered Angela. “Abby, circle around the left way and take out all the outdoor guards on that side. Natalie, do the same on the right. Then you two take care of the back gate. Radio us when the job’s done. Rania, come with me. We’ll handle the front gate. Good luck, ladies. Let’s kick some ass.”

Abby and Natalie headed off in opposite directions. Rania and Angela were left alone in the black night. Although it was warm, Rania couldn’t help shivering a little. This was so new to her. This would not be like shooting paper targets at the range or fighting under strict rules at the dojo. She was glad Angela was next to her.

“You ready?” whispered Angela.

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” Rania answered.

“Let’s do it,” said Angela. She drew her long dagger. Her AK-47 was strapped to her muscular back. “For Leila.”

“For Leila,” Rania echoed softly, memories of her sister flooding through her mind. She drew her pistol and attached the silencer. Her shotgun was slung across her chest.

Abby attached the suppressor to her semi-automatic rifle and flicked the safety off. Her trained eyes scanned the left side of the mansion for guards. She counted them as she saw them, watching them walk back and forth, noting the patterns of their paths. When she was sure she had counted all of them, she began taking them out with expertly aimed shots to their heads, firing each killing shot on a man when he was not in the field of view of any of his comrades. Six men, one after the other, fell to the lethal brunette beauty’s markswomanship. Abby felt no emotion except for the familiar tingle of excitement she got when she killed.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the mansion, Natalie unshouldered her crossbow and loaded a poisoned arrow. A lone guard came into her sight. She took aim and killed him instantly with a perfect shot through the middle of his heart. Grinning wickedly at her kill, she loaded another arrow and moved alongside the fence towards the rear of the house, in full huntress mode. Two guards came by, walking side by side. She shot one in the head, the force of her powerful crossbow easily propelling the arrow through his skull bone and into the soft brain matter. The second guard, looking straight ahead, heard only the faint thump of a body hitting the ground. It took him a second to look to the side and see the body, another to notice the arrow sticking out of the corpse’s skull, and yet another second to open his mouth to prepare a yell. He never got the chance to make a sound, however. In the three seconds that had passed Natalie had rapidly and efficiently loaded another arrow, taken aim, and shot him in the head too.

Nearing the back, Natalie saw two more guards walking together. She waited until they paused in their conversation and were no longer looking at each other, then shot one in the heart. Again a corpse hit the ground with a soft thump, and again a guard went through the process of noticing a body and realizing what was going on. The remaining guard was quicker on the uptake than the earlier one, however, and Natalie, reloading, saw that taking the time to aim properly would give him enough chance to let out a scream of warning. She improvised, loosing her next arrow as quickly as possible. The projectile slammed into the man’s thigh. He had time only to let out a faint moan of pain before the powerful and ultra-quick-acting poison caused him to slump down dead, foaming from the mouth. Natalie reloaded again and waited cautiously to make sure no one had heard the dying guard’s faint cry. She then moved on to meet Abby at the back gate.

Angela and Rania approached the front gate silently. Angela motioned for Rania to stay back and cover her as she went right up to the gate. The blonde sheathed her dagger, took out a lock-picking kit, and went to work. Rania covered her, holding her pistol tightly in a two-handed grip, her heart thumping. Suddenly, movement caught her eye. An approaching guard, seeing Angela, began reaching for a gun at his waist and also began opening his mouth to shout. Rania, taking careful aim, shot him in the middle of his forehead before he had a chance to complete either act. As the guard’s corpse fell, Angela gave the younger girl a thumbs-up. A few seconds later, the blonde got the gate open. Rania went up to join her.

Angela tilted her head in the direction of the dead man. “First kill?”

Rania nodded.

“How do you feel?”

“Frankly, I feel good,” Rania whispered. She paused. “Is it wrong to feel that way?”

“When you kill someone evil, it’s not wrong at all,” Angela whispered back. “I felt the exact same way after my first kill.”

A rustle came from some bushes. A guard, who had apparently been taking a pee, came out with his back to the women, zipping up as he walked. Angela, her blue eyes concentrating with focus and passion, snuck up behind him and drew her dagger, gripping it in her right hand. Pouncing like a tigress, she jerked his jaw up with her muscular left forearm and quickly and brutally slit his throat. Blood flowed freely as he collapsed to the dirt.

Suddenly, the front door of the mansion opened and two more guards stepped out. Seeing the girls, not to mention the bloody corpse of their late comrade, two mouths opened. That was all they had time to do. Rania shot one man right between the eyes. At the same time, Angela flung her dagger straight into the second man’s heart. The two pretty women looked at each other and gave each other a high-five.

Meanwhile, Abby and Natalie had met at the back gate. No one else seemed to be around. Abby took out her lock-picking kit and was about to approach the gate when Natalie tapped her on the shoulder. A guard had appeared and was heading straight for the gate. The girls quickly hid themselves behind a thick column that separated the gate from the rest of the fence. When the man came close enough, Abby suddenly stepped out, reached through the bars of the gate, and, taking advantage of her superhumanly strong wrists, snapped his neck one-handed. Before his body could fall, Natalie leapt out and snatched a ring of keys hanging from his waist. She quickly found the right one and opened the gate.

The young women stepped onto the mansion’s grounds. “Looks all clear,” whispered Natalie.

“Let’s peek around the corners to make sure,” Abby whispered back. Natalie nodded and headed off to the left as Abby went towards the right.

Natalie glided silently through the well-watered grass of the mansion’s grounds. She rounded her corner…and found herself staring straight into a guard’s bearded face. Before he could react, she drove her left foot into that face in a blindingly fast and powerful high, cheerleader-style kick. The force of her kick drove the cartilage from his nose into his brain and he slumped dead to the grass.

She met Abby again at the back door. “All clear on my side,” Abby reported. “Yours?”

“One. Liquidated the bugger.” Natalie tapped her slender but ultra-strong thigh.

Abby grinned, then reached for the two-way radio on her hip. “Abby to Angela, all clear on our end.”

“All clear on ours too,” came Angela’s response. “Rania and I each got two. How many did you guys get?”

“Six,” said Natalie, activating her radio.

“I got seven,” said Abby proudly, sticking her chest with its C-cup breasts out. Natalie playfully slapped her on the ass.

“That’s a total of seventeen,” said Angela. “The intelligence reports stated that al-Razizi has a security force of about twenty-five on duty at any one time. That means either most of the guards were stationed outside, or something else is going on and there are a lot more men here than we thought. We’d better be real careful, ladies. Natalie and Abby, clear the mansion from the back. Rania and I will go from the front. Over and out.”

“Acknowledged. Over and out,” Abby responded.

TO BE CONTINUED…

The Liberators, Part 3

Paul sat on the cot in his cell, filled with worry. Time was running out. It would be mere hours before the deadline would be up. Suddenly, there came the familiar sound of loud footsteps in the hall. He gulped in fear. Was his execution coming already?

The key was inserted in the lock and the door swung open. Instead of a guard entering, however, a blonde woman that he had never seen before was shoved into the cell, hard. He opened his mouth to say something. At that moment, however, another blonde woman was shoved into the cell. He stared. “Christina!” he cried out. The cell door was shut with a bang.

Christina looked up in shock from her position on the cold cell floor. “Paul! Oh, sweetie! Are you all right?” She jumped up and gave him a tight hug and a long kiss.

“I’m fine, I guess. Just scared. But you’re here! I knew you’d come for me! My heroine.”

“Well, I tried,” said Christina. “Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned.”

The two of them were still holding each other. Angela cleared her throat loudly. Christina and Paul pulled apart and looked at her. “Oh, I’m sorry,” said Christina. “Paul, this is Angela. She’s one of the people who helped me on this rescue mission. Angela, this is Paul, my boyfriend.”

Paul and Angela shook hands. “Nice to meet you. Thanks for coming to rescue me,” said Paul.

Angela smiled. “He’s cute,” she commented. “Christina, you’re a lucky girl.” Christina and Paul both blushed.

Paul told the girls about his time as a prisoner, including the visits by Marina. “Oh, we’ve met *that* bitch,” said Angela with a growl. “She’s the one who captured us.”

“She…she also murdered Samantha,” said Paul. “S…she just shot her, right in the heart.”

“Oh, I’d like to get my hands on that cunt right about now,” hissed Christina upon hearing that, clenching her fists.

“I think we’d all like to kill all those fucking mobsters,” said Angela. “But first we have to get out of here. The others will probably be coming soon, since we didn’t call in to them. Let’s be free so we can help them take these fuckers down.”

“The others?” asked Paul.

“Three more were on the rescue mission with us,” explained Christina. “We split up to search different locations where you might be.”

“So when those other guys…” began Paul.

“Girls,” Angela corrected him with a smile. “Other girls.”

Paul smiled too. “I should have known.”

“So getting down to business,” said Angela. “Anything that could help us get out of here?”

“I’ve searched this cell top to bottom many times,” said Paul. “Nothing.”

“If the guards hadn’t taken my hairpin, I could have used that to pick the lock,” Angela sighed.

“I may have something,” said Christina. She reached into her shoe and pulled out a small piece of wire. “The guards didn’t find this.”

Paul looked at her with admiration. Angela thumped her on the back. “Smart blonde!”

Christina grinned. “Here,” she said, handing the wire to Angela. “You probably have more experience with this kind of thing.” Angela took the wire and inserted it into the lock, rattling it around.

Meanwhile, Danica, Abby, and Natalie moved cautiously along the halls deeper into the warehouse, weapons at the ready. Danica had her M-16, Abby her sniper rifle, and Natalie her Uzi. Eventually, they came to a closed door. “I’ll check it out,” said Danica in a barely audible whisper. She turned the knob slowly, then silently pushed the door open a crack and peeked inside.

“It’s a big room,” she reported. “Four men inside, working. They’re moving crates around. We’ll take them out as quietly as we can. They’re armed, so I’d rather try taking them out from a distance. Natalie, use your crossbow on them. Abby, you and I have suppressed weapons, but they won’t be completely silent. We’ll keep them trained on a standing target. Fire only if they notice something.”

Natalie nodded and took out her crossbow, loading a poisoned arrow. Abby gripped her rifle tightly, the suppressor already attached. Danica shouldered her M-16 and took out her silenced pistol. She then nudged the door open silently. Natalie took aim at the man farthest on the left. Danica and Abby aimed at the two men on the right.

Natalie fired. The arrow struck her target in the stomach. He jerked, then toppled over, foaming at the mouth. Even as he was falling, she rapidly and expertly loaded another arrow. She aimed at the next man and fired. He fell, an arrow lodged in his throat. Grinning wickedly, she began loading another arrow.

“Hey, can you give me a hand with…” One of the men turned to call out to his comrades, but stopped in mid-sentence when he saw two of his buddies lying dead on the floor, both foaming at the mouth and with arrows stuck in their bodies in undignified positions. Before he could shout out a warning, Danica shot him between the eyes with her pistol. The faint sound of the shot alerted the last man, but before he could do anything Abby had killed him with a clean shot to his chest from her rifle.

“Good work, girls,” said Danica. They searched the room.

“Here,” said Abby softly. Behind a stack of crates, a narrow set of stairs led downward. The ladies pit-patted quietly down the stairs. The stairs curved to the right, revealing an open door. Beyond the door was what looked like a control room. There were several computer stations and switchboards. Another doorway was on each side of the control room. Three men were inside, all with their backs to the girls and all busy on computers. Danica nodded and the three women stepped into the room, aiming their weapons.

“Good evening, gentlemen,” said Danica calmly. All three men whirled around in shock. “Now nobody do anything stupid,” continued Danica. “A stupid move will be your last.”

“Wh…what do you want?” stammered the man in the center.

“We want to know where the prisoners are being held,” said Danica.

“Hey, you’d better look out behind you!” said the man on the left suddenly.

Natalie rolled her eyes. “Come on. We’re not falling for that one.”

“Unfortunately for you, it was not a trick,” said a female voice from behind them. Danica, Abby, and Natalie let out simultaneous groans. “We have you covered. Now drop your weapons,” continued the female voice. The sound of guns being cocked was heard.

“It’s no use,” sighed Danica. “Do as she says.” They dropped their weapons.

“Now turn around. Slowly,” the voice went on.

They turned around and saw two men and a woman pointing AK-47s at them. The woman was a tall brunette in a black dress and black boots. She grinned wickedly. “I’m Marina. My, but this is getting to be quite a party. After I torture you to find out how much you all know, I’m going to have a lot of executions to take care of.”

“You fucker,” said Natalie. Marina just laughed.

“Hey, you’d better look out behind you!” said Abby suddenly.

Marina laughed again. “Like we’re going to fall for tha…”

At that moment, like three pouncing panthers, Angela, Christina, and Paul tackled the three gun-wielding thugs from behind. The three men at the computers jumped up and a massive rumble broke out.

Danica broke into a wide grin. “She did warn you!” she laughed as she attacked the computer guy in the middle. Abby and Natalie charged the other two computer guys. Christina began punching the guy she had tackled repeatedly in the face from her position on top of him. Angela, who had insisted on being the one to jump Marina as she was the most dangerous, punched Marina in the eye and was preparing another punch when the Russian woman suddenly headbutted her hard, stunning her. Marina used the opportunity to kip up to her feet.

Unfortunately for Paul, he simply was not built to be a fighter. When he had seen that one of the men was the bald guy that had originally kidnapped him, he had insisted on taking him as his target. Although he had succeeded in tackling his man with the aid of the element of surprise, the bald man quickly recovered and began choking him. Paul tried to pry his attacker’s hands loose from his throat, but he was much smaller and weaker than his opponent.

Christina looked over in alarm. She was about to go and help her lover when the man underneath her, taking advantage of her distraction, bucked her off, sending her crashing into a wall. He grinned evilly and got up, advancing on her. Christina scrambled to her feet and got into a fighting stance.

Poor Paul was soon choked unconscious by his opponent. The bald man got up and looked around, trying to decide which fight to intervene in. Noting that Danica seemed to be the leader of this attack group, he rushed at her, intending to sneak-attack her from behind.

Danica had been busy working over her computer-guy opponent. She punched him in the nose, kneed him in the stomach three times in rapid succession, and kicked him in the face. She was about to kick him again when her sixth sense detected danger coming up behind her. She fired off a back kick that plowed into the gut of the man attempting to sneak-attack her from behind. Laughing at his failure, she grabbed both wounded men and bashed their heads together.

Marina was not one to mess around when the situation got serious. She raised her right leg in a full vertical split (ripping her dress and showing her sexy black panties), intending to do a lethal axe-kick on Angela, who was still on the floor. Angela rolled out of the way just in time. Marina’s booted heel slammed into the place where Angela’s blonde head had been a second earlier. Angela kicked Marina in the stomach. The brunette was wounded long enough for Angela to kip to her feet. The two pretty and deadly women circled each other, trading punches. Angela was stronger than the slim Marina and her blows did more damage, but Marina was faster and landed more hits. After landing a good punch, Angela did a jump kick to Marina’s face. It would have knocked her down, but Marina turned the motion into a back handspring and landed neatly on her feet. Angela swore and did a front handspring to take her closer to her opponent.

Abby’s legs crashed into her victim as she performed an aerial cartwheel kick on him. Before he could recover, she punched him twice in the gut and once in the face. She grabbed him by the shoulders and looked into his eyes. He looked back and she could tell he was attracted to her, despite the fact that she was engaged in kicking his ass. She teased him by making a kissing sound with her lips, then suddenly headbutted him and kneed him in the groin. She followed that up with a brutal roundhouse kick to the side of his head that sent him to the floor.

Natalie elected to charge her target not by running at him, but by doing a roundoff followed by a series of back handsprings directly at him. Before he could do anything, her booted feet plowed into him as she was backflipping, knocking him down. Landing neatly after her tumbling pass, Natalie stomped on her victim’s face, then kicked him hard in the side, cracking one of his ribs. A second kick to the same spot broke the rib completely. She laughed. “Get up, you pussy. Fucking wimp. Can’t even handle a little girl.”

Christina’s opponent swung a punch at her, but she ducked under it easily and slugged him in the gut. Before he could recover, she punched him in the nose, releasing blood. Next, her front kick to his chest knocked him backward. Realizing he was now at the perfect distance for one of her specialties, Christina smiled sexily and performed a cartwheel, her feet impacting his head one after the other. The force delivered by her muscular legs knocked him to the floor. Looking over, she saw that Paul was unconscious. She was about to run over to him when her opponent began getting up. With a sigh, she turned back to face him.

Danica did a crescent kick on the two men she was fighting. Her kick struck both of them in the face. The one on the left recovered faster and she quickly pivoted and fired a side kick into his chest, sending him crashing into his desk. She winked at her second opponent, the bald man. “Say good night,” she taunted. With that, she put all her strength into a backflip kick. The kick was powerful enough to break his neck. As his corpse slumped to the floor, his comrade trembled in fear.

Angela greeted Marina with a strong punch to her other eye. “Got a matching pair of black eyes now, bitch.” Marina cursed in Russian and nailed Angela in the jaw with a wicked one-two combination of punches. The Russian beauty grabbed the blonde hottie and rammed her knee into her stomach. The attack was delivered with enough strength to wound even Angela’s hard abs. She stumbled backward. Marina laughed, growing more confident…then suddenly howled in pain as Angela’s roundhouse kick crashed into her side and cracked one of her ribs. Screaming in fury, the brunette did a high crescent kick that Angela barely ducked under. She couldn’t avoid Marina’s cheerleader kick that plowed into her face, however. Marina then did a spin kick to Angela’s head that knocked her out.

The Russian woman looked around and decided that escape was the best option. She ran out of the room through one of the side doorways. Christina took notice. “Oh no you don’t, bitch. You’re not getting away.” Anger building up inside her, she launched herself at the man she had been fighting, nailing him with a flying kick and knocking him down. Grabbing his head and placing it between her thighs, she swiftly twisted her hips, snapping his neck. Not giving the body anything more than a quick glance, she raced off after Marina.

Natalie smirked as her opponent dragged himself to his feet, clutching his badly wounded side. “Here’s what a girl’s fists can do,” she sneered. She pummeled his face and chest with fast punches, far too swift for her helpless victim to put up any kind of defense. “And here’s what a girl’s boots can do.” She kicked him in the groin with her metal-toed boot, causing him to howl like a wounded pig. As his hands flew to his nuts, her boot struck him in the face, knocking him to the floor. She began kicking him in the head repeatedly with her heavy boots. His skull was quickly shattered and blood and brain matter flowed freely. She finally stopped long after he was dead.

Abby’s opponent got up and swung a punch at her. She blocked it with her thick forearm and slugged him in the face, knocking him backward. “Try again, baby,” she cooed. This time, he charged her. She calmly waited until he had almost reached her, then suddenly sidestepped and smashed her elbow into his head. Laughing, she turned to face him and did a standing back handspring, kicking him in the face. She noticed that his look of pain was combined with a look of arousal. “Like my gymnastics skills? Then you’ll love my finisher.” With that, Abby let out a shrill scream and launched herself into a handstand on her opponent’s shoulders. Gripping his neck, she twisted hard, breaking it from her handstand position. She somersaulted back to the ground, watching in satisfaction as the man’s corpse fell.

Danica did an uppercut on her surviving opponent. As he stood there stunned, she balanced on one leg and began kicking him repeatedly in the face with her other. Finally stopping her barrage of kicks when he was almost dead, she grabbed his throat with both hands and finished him by choking him to death.

Danica, Abby, and Natalie all looked around. Suddenly, Angela let out a moan from her position on the floor. Danica bent over her, while Abby and Natalie ran after Marina.

Marina raced down the hallway. Ordinarily an extremely fast runner, she was slowed by her cracked rib, courtesy of Angela. She could hear Christina’s footsteps running behind her. Marina ducked into her quarters and grabbed her pistol, as well as her purse that contained all her travel documents. She then headed back into the hall, smirking. She had a nice .45 caliber surprise waiting for Christina.

Christina rounded a corner…and suddenly came face-to-face with Marina and her .45. “Oh fuck, not AGAIN,” she sighed. “I just can’t get away from these blonde moments.”

Marina laughed. “Time to die, cunt.” She pointed the gun at Christina’s head…and suddenly fell to the floor, her pistol sailing loose. “WHAT?!”

Paul was standing behind Marina. He had tripped her to the ground. Marina dove for her gun, but Christina got to it first and snatched it up, pointing it right at the Russian’s head. Marina closed her eyes.

“You won’t die that quickly,” snarled Christina. She whacked Marina in the face with the gun, then transferred the weapon to her left hand as she stood up. Grabbing Marina by the hair with her free right hand, she began brutally kneeing her in the face. Blood splattered on Christina’s dark jeans as she brutalized the once deadly, but now helpless vixen. Christina paused briefly, then lowered her target slightly and started kneeing Marina in the throat. She rammed her knee into its target again and again. When the blonde finally released her opponent, Marina simply flopped down dead, her throat crushed.

The sound of applause suddenly came from behind. Christina and Paul both whirled around and saw Abby, Natalie, Danica, and Angela standing there, all clapping.

“You go, girl!” said Abby.

“You’ve got a deadly mean side!” grinned Natalie. “If you ever want to, you can join up with us!”

Angela, holding her injured head, said, “Thanks for finishing that witch.”

Danica walked up to the little blonde and gave her a hug. “It’s over now. You did good. You all did good.”

Christina blushed. “Actually, I couldn’t have done it without my lover here,” she said. “He saved my life by tripping the witch from behind when she was about to shoot me.” She and Paul gave each other a passionate kiss. Danica and Angela smiled, while Abby and Natalie let out wolf whistles.

Christina and Paul finally pulled apart. “Paul, there was something I was going to ask you when you got back from your trip,” Christina said. “But I think now is as good a time as any.” She reached into her pocket and took out the ring. “Will you marry me?” The other women gasped in surprise.

Paul smiled and blushed. “Of course I will,” he said. He and Christina kissed again, while the others stood around them, applauding.

THE END

The Liberators, Part 2

The five female warriors were seated in the cargo plane, having made themselves as comfortable as possible (which still wasn’t much) when they had boarded many hours ago. Christina was glad that Danica had told them to get a good night’s sleep last night, because sleeping in the hot, cramped, noisy cargo plane was next to impossible. Their gear was stored in the back of the plane. In addition to what the girls had carried on board, there had also been three motorcycles already stowed in the aircraft, to provide transportation for when they got to Moscow.

Danica stood up and moved among the women like an officer among her troops. “If you want to sleep, try and get as much of it as you can now. When we get closer, we’ll go over the plans one last time.” The colonel sat back down and opened a book. Angela entertained herself with a magazine, while Abby and Natalie both managed to sleep. Christina sat awake with her thoughts, unable to stop thinking about Paul and what he must be going through.

Paul sat glumly in his cell. He had been there for two days now. He had searched all over for anything that might help him escape, but found nothing. A henchman would come and feed him once a day, but wouldn’t talk to him when Paul asked him for news.

Footsteps approached. Paul looked up in surprise, for he had already been fed for the day. The cell door opened and there stood Marina. She wore an elegant black dress that showed off her slim, athletic figure, and knee-high black boots.

“Your friends aren’t being very cooperative,” she said. “We haven’t received any money or any indication of when they’re going to pay up. That’s bad news…for you.” She reached under her dress and pulled out her .45 pistol, which she had been wearing strapped to her thigh underneath the dress. Pointing the gun right at Paul’s head, she smirked, “Your friends have one more day. If they haven’t paid up by then, I’ll be back …to finish you.” She advanced on him, still pointing the gun at him, then suddenly kicked him in the face with her big black boot, knocking him onto the cot. Laughing at her dominance over him, she re-holstered her pistol under her dress and turned to leave.

Paul, groaning from the impact of her painful kick, yelled after her, “You won’t get away with this!”

Marina, not bothering to turn around, laughed. “Yeah, right. Who’s going to come and rescue you? Your girlfriend?” Still snickering, she walked out of the cell and locked the door behind her.

“Yeah,” said Paul to himself. “That’s exactly who.”

The cargo plane landed at the deserted airfield. The women had gone over their plans of attack for the final time in the airplane. They loaded their gear onto the motorcycles. A local, uniformed man approached the plane and was met by Danica, who handed him a wad of cash. He quickly counted it, then left with a wink and a nod. “This is it, ladies,” said Danica. “Good luck, stay safe, and kick some ass.”

Abby climbed onto one motorcycle and Natalie got on behind her. Angela, after saying reassuringly that she could still drive a cycle even though she hadn’t driven one in years, got onto the second bike, Christina clinging to her back. Danica mounted the last one alone. Because of the time difference, it was already evening. The three bikes headed off into the darkening night.

“It sure was smart to take those motorcycle lessons,” shouted Abby over the roar of the engine. “It was on that list of ‘Top 10 Things A Female Assassin Should Know How To Do’.”

“Yeah,” Natalie shouted back. “And it was really cool meeting all those actresses and stuntwomen while taking those lessons. It’s amazing how many of the same things actresses and assassins have to know how to do.” She paused. “Of course, it would be a lot more fun if I got to drive.”

“Come on. We played rock-paper-scissors on the plane and I won the right to drive the first leg. You can drive on the way back, okay?”

“What-evah. Hey, I think we’re getting close.”

“Agreed.” Abby cut the engine and turned off the headlight. She parked the bike behind a tree by the side of the road and the two girls grabbed their weapons and headed for their target. “There it is.”

Abby and Natalie’s assigned target was a farmhouse complex consisting of a large main house and a barn. The place was a known hideout for the Russian mob. “Perimeter guard count,” whispered Abby, going into all-business mode.

“Four,” Natalie whispered back.

“I count four too. I’ll start from the left.”

“You got it. Now we get to the fun part.” Natalie unshouldered her crossbow and loaded a poisoned arrow. Abby attached a suppressor to the barrel of her semi-automatic rifle.

Taking careful aim at the guard farthest to the right, Natalie shot him in the head with her crossbow. He died instantly, the penetration of his brain by the arrow killing him even before the poison could. Deciding to have a little fun with her second shot, she shot her next target in the foot. He looked down in surprise at the arrow in his foot, then fell over dead, foaming from the mouth.

Meanwhile, Abby killed her first target with a clean shot through the heart from her rifle. The man next to him saw his comrade fall, but before he could do anything Abby shot him in the head, causing a fountain of blood and gore to erupt from it. The two pretty girls looked at each other and gave each other a high-five, then started toward the buildings. “Let’s clear the barn first,” whispered Natalie.

“Okay.” They approached the big red barn, alert for any unseen guards who might suddenly pop up. None did, however. The assassins approached the main door of the barn one on each side. Abby counted to three with her fingers and on three they burst into the barn.

There were two guards right inside the door. Natalie snapped the neck of one with her slim but strong wrists. Abby slit the other’s throat with her knife. Two more guards deeper inside the building raised assault rifles towards the girls, but before they could fire Abby had killed one by flinging her knife into his chest, and Natalie had dispatched the other with a crossbow shot.

The ladies swept the barn with their weapons. “All clear,” said Abby. They quickly searched it, but found no sign of Paul or any sign that a hostage was being held there. Exiting the barn, they approached the main house. Abby picked the lock of the back door and they entered silently.

A light was on in the living room. Three men were there, drinking vodka and playing cards. Three AK-47s lay on a table near them. “Hi, boys,” said Natalie as she and Abby calmly walked right in.

The men looked up in shock and tried to dive for their weapons, but to no avail. Abby blew one’s head off with a quick shot from her high-powered rifle and Natalie riddled the other two with bullets from her Uzi.

Footsteps came running down the main staircase. The girls whirled around and took aim with their weapons. Two men came rushing down, but stopped abruptly when they saw the lethal female assassins pointing weapons at them. “Hands up! Now come down and sit on the couch over there,” said Natalie.

Fear on their faces, the men obeyed. Abby guarded them with her rifle while Natalie searched the rest of the house. “No sign of the hostage,” Natalie reported a few minutes later. “I searched the whole place.”

Abby turned to the two men. “Where’s Paul?” she demanded.

“Paul? Who’s he?” said one man. “And who are you?”

Abby fired a bullet that slammed into the couch an inch from the man’s testicles. “Don’t play dumb with me, asshole! Paul! The man you mobsters are holding hostage!”

“Please!” begged the man, yelping in fright. “We really don’t know!”

“Hmm. I guess they really don’t know. This isn’t the place, then,” said Abby.

Both men sighed with relief. The second man said, “Then you’ll let us go?”

“Nope,” answered Natalie in a calm and cold voice. “We’re going to kill you. You know too much about us, and anyway you’re members of the Russian mob. You have this coming.”

Two mouths dropped open in fear. Natalie nodded at Abby and both lethal vixens performed simultaneous front tuck somersaults to take themselves right in front of their victims. Abby killed the first man with a brutal palm strike to his face that drove the cartilage from his nose into his brain. Natalie grabbed the second man by his hair, wrapped her slim but ultra-strong thighs around his neck, and twisted her hips 180 degrees, snapping his neck. The girls looked at the scene with satisfaction. Abby took out her two-way radio to contact the others.

Danica zoomed through the dark streets of Moscow on her motorcycle, enjoying the feel of the wind against her face. She enjoyed the perks of being promoted to a higher rank, but she missed going into hot zones and getting to kick ass personally. This mission was just what she needed.

She soon reached her target, a small schoolhouse that was being used by the Russian mob as a hideout. Two men with shotguns were on guard outside the building, one in front and one in back. Danica drew her pistol and attached a silencer. She snuck up on the first guard from behind. Suddenly, she stepped on a branch with a CRUNCH. The man whirled around, trying to aim his shotgun. She shot him through the heart. As his corpse fell, she thought, “Damn. Well, I’ll try to see if I can sneak all the way up to the next one. I hope I’m not losing my touch.”

Going around to the other side of the building, she repeated the routine, sneaking up behind the guard. This time, she made it all the way and clonked him on the head with the butt of her pistol. As he fell, she caught his neck between her thighs and began squeezing with all her strength. She finally released him long after her lethal legs had choked all the life from him.

Danica unshouldered her assault rifle and flipped the safety off, setting it to full auto. She walked up to the door and kicked it open, shattering the wooden door into dozens of pieces. Two men inside tried to point their guns at her, but she fired off a long burst from her weapon, cutting both of them down. She quickly swept the rest of the room, looking for any other gunmen.

A noise came from behind a couch. Danica instantly aimed her rifle towards it. “Come out with your hands up!” she ordered.

A frightened-looking man wearing glasses stood up from behind the couch, hands raised. “D…don’t shoot!” he stammered.

She kept her weapon trained on him. “If you cooperate, I won’t shoot,” she said. “Now where’s Paul?”

“P…Paul? That guy they kidnapped? He’s not here. He’s at the old warehouse. The one about ten miles west of the city center.”

“That’s where Christina and Angela are!” thought Danica excitedly. She gave the Russian a cold smile. “Thank you very much. And now, it’s time for you to die.”

A look of fear appeared on his face. “B…but you said you wouldn’t shoot me!”

“I know,” said Danica. “I’m keeping my promise.” With that, she walked up to him and kneed him in the groin, causing him to double over in pain and clutch his wounded gonads. She then put all her strength into an ultra- powerful spin kick that slammed into the side of his head with a sharp CRACK. He fell to the floor, his neck broken. She performed a perfect standing back tuck to celebrate. “Yes! I’ve still got it.”

Danica took out her radio and called Angela and Christina. No answer. She tried again. Still nothing. “Shit.”

She called Abby and Natalie. “Paul’s being held at the warehouse that Christina and Angela are investigating. I called them but there was no answer. Get over there as fast as you can. I’ll meet you at the side entrance. Over and out.” Flicking off the radio, she hurried outside, jumped onto the motorcycle, and raced off into the night, hoping nothing had gone wrong.

Christina and Angela had set off on their mission with both excitement and apprehension. Angela drove the motorcycle in a wild ride along the streets of Moscow, the muscles in her big forearms standing out as she gripped the controls tightly. Christina, clinging to Angela’s back, found that she enjoyed the ride thoroughly.

“Well, here we are,” said Angela. She and Christina climbed off the motorcycle and grabbed their weapons. “This is it. The killing part,” Angela whispered. “Are you sure you’re up for this?”

“It’s a little late to be backing out now,” Christina whispered back, trying to inject a little humor into the situation. It worked, as Angela giggled. “Seriously, though,” Christina continued, “I’ve gone over this in my head many times. I’ve got to do what I have to do to save Paul.”

Angela gave her a hug. “I’m here for you. Oh, and just remember, if the first killing bothers you, it’s only natural. It’ll get easier the more you do.”

The girls moved off towards the warehouse. They climbed over the surrounding fence easily and split up as they approached the building.

Angela, moving along cautiously, stopped when she heard footsteps. A guard with a pistol in a holster was approaching. She ducked into an alcove, drew her knife, and waited. Just after he passed her hiding spot, she leapt out and plunged her knife into his back, finding his heart. She withdrew her blade and the man slumped to the ground, blood flowing onto the surface.

Running footsteps were heard. Another guard, pistol in hand, was approaching. He saw Angela and began taking aim at her. Before he could fire, however, she flung her knife at him with deadly accuracy. It lodged in his throat. His hands flew upward to his throat as he fell, gurgling. Angela calmly walked up to him and retrieved her weapon from the dying man.

Christina had snuck around the other way. She padded quietly around the perimeter of the building…and suddenly came face-to-face with a guard. The guard, who was as surprised as she was, tried to draw his gun, but Christina whacked him in the face with the butt of her shotgun, knocking him out. She looked down at the unconscious man. She had never killed anyone before, not even in self-defense, let alone in cold blood. She hesitated.

She heard someone come up behind her and whirled around in panic, trying to aim her shotgun. “Wait. It’s just me,” came Angela’s voice. Christina sighed in relief, lowering her weapon.

Angela looked at the guard lying on the ground. “Dead?”

“No,” Christina whispered.

“Finish him,” said Angela. “We can’t take the chance of him waking up and alerting all his buddies.”

Christina, after a pause, raised her foot and brought it down in a lethal stomp on the man’s throat. A sharp CRUNCH was heard. She looked down at the man she had just killed.

Angela hugged her. “You did good,” she whispered. “And like I said, it’ll get easier the more you do. Now come on. Let’s go inside.”

They entered through the side door of the warehouse, using a key Angela had appropriated from one of the dead guards. Christina was filled with conflicting emotions. Part of her was in shock that she had taken a man’s life, but another part was feeling satisfied and powerful that she had pulled off the kill. She gripped her shotgun tightly. Angela had her AK-47 ready in her hands.

The girls advanced cautiously through the first room, which was a large space filled with stacks of crates. Suddenly, a bright light was shone on them. They looked at each other and then performed sideways aerial cartwheels in opposite directions. The gymnastics moves saved their lives. A split second later, bullets impacted the place where they had been standing.

Six guards with AK-47s were firing at the girls from a catwalk overlooking the room. Christina and Angela dove behind separate crates for cover. Angela leaned out and took out one opponent with a quick burst from her own AK-47. A second later, Christina nailed another guard in the head with a blast from her shotgun, causing it to explode in a fountain of blood and brain matter.

The four remaining guards went for cover, two keeping fire trained on the girls while the others retreated. Angela and Christina periodically leaned out and returned fire. During one such action, Angela leaned out from behind her crate just before one of her opponents popped out from behind his. She quickly shot him dead.

Christina’s shotgun clicked empty. She whipped out her revolver and yelled, “Cover me!” She leapt up and dashed closer to the enemies’ position as Angela laid down covering fire. Christina dove behind another stack of crates. From her new angle, she had a clear shot at one of the guards. She fired two bullets into the center of his chest.

As their comrade fell dead, the last two guards began a panicky retreat. “The buggers sent a team to raid us instead of paying up!” one yelled. “Well, we’ll show them. We’ll kill the hostage!”

“No!” shouted Christina. She jumped up and began chasing after the guards.

“Christina, wait!” yelled Angela. “There’ll be too many of them! We have to call the others and go in all together!” But Christina was already gone.

Angela raced off after her. She caught up to the smaller woman as they raced down a hall. “Christina, stop! We need to…” At that moment, six men and a woman, all armed with AK-47s, appeared from around the corner. All seven of them instantly trained their weapons on Christina and Angela.

“Oops,” said Christina in a guilty voice.

“Drop your weapons!” ordered the woman. She was tall and slender, with a messy but alluring pile of dark brown hair. She wore a short, elegant black dress and knee-high black boots. Angela and Christina reluctantly dropped their guns. At that moment, the two-way radio on Angela’s hip squawked.

The woman in the black dress scowled. “Drop it on the floor and slide it over here!” The radio squawked again. With a sigh, Angela slid the radio over. One of the men bent down and picked it up.

An evil smile appeared on black dress girl’s elegant face. “Welcome to Moscow, ladies. My name is Marina and I’ll be your hostess. Gentlemen, search these ladies and escort them to the basement.”

The men roughly searched the girls, relieving them of all their equipment. Christina and Angela were then frog-marched off to the basement, assault rifle barrels in their backs.

Abby and Natalie met Danica outside the warehouse fence. “I’m afraid Chris and Angie have been captured,” said Danica.

“Do you think they’re still alive?” asked Abby in a worried voice. “What if they’ve been…”

“No! We’re not going to think like that. Not as long as there’s still a chance. Come on. Let’s go.” The three ladies vaulted over the fence and headed for the building. “Check the perimeter,” said Danica.

“Three guards outside, all dead,” reported Natalie a minute later. “Looks like Chris and Angie’s handiwork.” The tone of her voice was proud. Abby and Danica also couldn’t help smiling a little.

Weapons in hand, the girls entered the warehouse through the side entrance. “Door’s unlocked,” murmured Danica.

Inside, Abby stepped on a small piece of brass. She looked down. “Shell casings. Looks like there was a shootout.”

“Look!” whispered Natalie. She pointed to the bloody corpses of four dead guards. “More handiwork.” Despite the seriousness of the situation, she couldn’t help smiling again. At the far side of the room, a hallway led deeper into the building.

“This is it, girls,” Danica whispered. “Stay sharp and stay together.” Hearts beating rapidly, the three pretty and deadly women entered the hall, wondering what they would find.

TO BE CONTINUED… (again)

The Liberators, Part 1

Christina hugged her boyfriend, Paul, as they stood in front of their apartment. “My man, going on his first business trip,” she smiled. “You’re moving on up in the world.”

Paul blushed. “Aw, this is really big shot Senior VP Samantha’s trip,” he replied. “She’s the one who’s going to make or break this deal with the Russian company. I’m just along to report on the condition of their labs.” Paul and Christina both worked for a company called Worth Chemicals. Christina was the company’s head of security, and Paul was a chemist. They had been dating for almost two years.

“Don’t sell yourself short,” said Christina. “Sam needs you, and the company needs you. Remember, out of all the chemists Mr. Worth chose you to be the one to go.” She kissed Paul on the lips.

A car horn was heard, indicating the arrival of the company vehicle that would take Paul to the airport. He reluctantly disengaged himself from his hot blonde girlfriend’s lips. “Have a good trip, and travel safe,” Christina called. “Love you.”

“Love you too,” Paul called back. The driver opened the trunk and put Paul’s bags in. Paul climbed into the back seat next to Samantha.

On the way to the airport, Samantha filled him in on the details of the trip. “Mr. Worth thinks that if we can make a deal with these Russian guys, we can have a supplier at a much lower price than our competitors. However, he’s worried about quality. That’s where you come in. I need you to do a careful inspection of the Russian company’s facilities while I’m handling the business end of things. Make sure everything’s up to our standards.”

Paul nodded and leaned back in his seat, excited to be on his first real business trip. He had no idea how exciting – and dangerous – things were going to get.

In Moscow, Paul and Samantha were met at the airport by a driver from the Russian company. As they drove along the streets, none of them noticed the black Mercedes that was following them. Inside the Mercedes, the driver, a big, ugly, curly-haired man, nodded to his comrade in the passenger seat. “Call Marina and tell her we have a fish and we’re in pursuit.”

The second goon, as big and ugly as his companion but bald, nodded and took out his cell phone. The two men were thugs working for the Russian mob. They were in the business of kidnapping rich people and holding them for ransom.

“We got something, Marina,” said the bald man into his phone. “Looks like a couple of rich American business travelers, one man and one woman. They have a local driver.”

“Location?” said the cold, feminine voice on the other end.

The bald man told her. “We’ve got it under control. I’ll call you when we’ve got them. Over and out.”

The vehicles entered a deserted stretch of road. “Let’s do it,” said the bald man. The curly-haired man snickered evilly and accelerated, ramming the back of the company car. There was a loud clash of metal. He rammed the car again, forcing the company vehicle off the road. It crashed into a tree and came to a stop. The Mercedes braked to a stop behind it and both goons jumped out, carrying pistols.

Paul and Samantha looked at each other in fear. They had been enjoying a nice ride when they had suddenly been rammed and forced off the road. A moment later, two men with guns appeared.

The curly-haired man cold-bloodedly executed the driver with a shot to the head. Paul and Samantha both gasped in shock. The killer pointed his gun at Samantha. “Get out, now!” On the other side of the car, the bald man, pointing his gun at Paul, motioned for him to do the same.

“Follow my lead,” Samantha whispered to Paul, before getting out of the car. She approached the curly-haired man with her hands up. A scared look was on her face, and only part of it was acting. She saw him relax as his brain told him he was dealing with no more than a frightened woman.

She struck with lightning speed, kicking the gun out of his hands and drawing a hidden stiletto from underneath her skirt. She plunged the weapon into his throat, twisting it hard, then yanked it out. The curly-haired man collapsed to the ground. Blood bubbled out of the dying man’s throat.

Paul had been watching Samantha closely. When she attacked, the bald man began aiming his gun at her. Paul did the only thing he could do. He jumped on the bald man, trying to wrestle the gun away. Paul was much smaller and weaker than his opponent, however, and the big goon soon gained the upper hand.

Samantha dove for the curly-haired man’s gun, which was lying on the grass a few feet away. Just before she could get to it, however, a shot rang out. Samantha looked down in surprise and saw that she had a large hole in her chest. A second later, she slumped dead to the ground.

“NOOOOO!” shouted Paul, who saw what happened from his position pinned under the bald man. Who could have shot her? He was still keeping the bald man busy.

He got his answer a moment later, as a tall, slender brunette woman appeared, a shiny, still-smoking .45 caliber pistol in her right hand. She had the stunning beauty of a model, but he could see the evil in her eyes.

The bald man whacked Paul in the head with the butt of his pistol, knocking him out. He then looked up at the woman. “Marina!” he said. “What are you doing here?”

“Saving your incompetent ass, apparently,” she answered. “You idiots can’t even do a simple kidnapping right. It’s a good thing I decided to come here myself. I had a gut feeling that something would go wrong.”

“Hey,” said the bald man defensively. “I got my man. And at least I wasn’t the one who got beat by a girl.”

“You just may be getting a beating from a girl, if you keep giving me attitude,” she snapped.

The bald man stood up straight. “Sorry, ma’am,” he said in a frightened voice.

Marina pointed at Paul’s unconscious form. “Now put him in the trunk and let’s get the hell out of here.”

Christina sat in her office, going over the weekly security report. She plucked out the last two French fries from the carton and ate them, even though they were cold, and tossed the empty carton and a crumpled burger wrapper into the trash can across the room.

Suddenly, there was a knock on her door. “Come in,” she said. Mr. Worth, President and CEO of the company, entered, an extremely worried and alarmed look on his face. Christina stood up and stared. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m afraid I have some bad news,” said Worth. “You’d better sit down. It’s about Paul and Samantha. They were…attacked by the Russian mob on the road from the airport. The mobsters were targeting Westerners for kidnapping. They killed the driver…and the fuckers killed Samantha too. They said she was resisting. Paul’s been kidnapped. The kidnappers are demanding that the company pay them $10 million within 72 hours, or they’ll…they’ll kill him.”

“Oh God,” said Christina, her hand flying to her mouth.

“I’m already working on getting the money together,” said Worth. “We should be able to…”

Christina jumped up. “Wait a minute. How do we know the fuckers won’t kill Paul even if we do give them the money?”

The CEO sighed. “We don’t. But I’m not going to give them an excuse to kill him. I’ve also been in contact with the Russian police, and they said unless they get extremely lucky, there isn’t much chance of catching the bad guys before time runs out. Handing over the money seems like the best chance we have to get Paul back alive.”

Christina began pacing. “I can’t stand by and let this happen without doing anything.”

“I know he’s your boyfriend…”

“He’s more than that!” the blonde interrupted. She reached into her pocket and showed Worth a ring. Her voice softened. “I was going to ask him to marry me. I was going to surprise him when he got back from his trip.” She felt the tears start to flow. She hadn’t cried since she was 13.

Worth stared at her. “I didn’t know you two were that close,” he said softly. “Er…I know how you are and I know how you operate,” he continued. “I kind of figured you might react the way you did. There may be another way to handle this. I have a…connection who may be able to help you.” He pressed a business card and an envelope into her hand. “If you need to take some time off in the next few days, it’s granted,” he said. As the CEO exited, he called out, “Good luck.”

Christina wiped the tears from her face and looked at the business card she held in her hand. It read:

‘Colonel Danica Cooper

Fort Lewis, Washington’

Beneath those lines were an address and telephone number. She opened the envelope and saw that it was filled with hundred dollar bills. There was a note on top of the money that read, “You’ll know what this is for.” A grim smile appeared on Christina’s attractive face as she reached for her phone and began dialing. Those mobsters were going to get a swift, sharp, and brutal lesson in pain very soon.

Danica met Christina at the entrance of the base. Christina had driven there as soon as she finished her call, stopping only at the bank to withdraw as much cash as she could on short notice to add to the stash in the envelope. The two women shook hands, then Danica led Christina into her office and closed the door.

“I’m so sorry about your boyfriend,” said Danica, squeezing the other woman’s hand. “Unfortunately, we have very little time. You told me the deadline was 72 hours and the kidnappers were Russian mobsters. I’m familiar with them and it pains me to say it, but they do have a tendency to kill kidnap victims even if ransom is paid. We’re going to have to move fast if we’re going to rescue him.”

“Which unit will be performing the rescue?” asked Christina.

“Unit?” said Danica, staring. “Honey, that rescue ain’t going to be performed by any Army unit. Do you have any idea how much red tape there is in this organization? By the time we got everything together, the deadline would have long passed.”

“And so just who will be executing this mission, then?”

“I’ll be leading a team of…hmm, how shall I put it…I’ll just say assassins.”

“ASSASSINS?!” Christina jumped up from the comfortable chair she had been sitting in. “Aren’t you an Army officer? What are you doing dealing with a…”

“There are a lot of shades of gray in the world. Sometimes things have to be done that regular soldiers just can’t do. There’s always going to be an underworld. My philosophy is to make deals with the ones who have some sort of code of honor, and make war on the ones who don’t.”

Christina sat back down, nodding her blonde head in understanding. This was a whole new world to her, and Danica knew it a lot better than she did.

“In my dealings I’ve gotten to know some good assassins,” the colonel continued. “I’ve already called the ones I think would be the best and brightest for this job. They’re on their way right now. Two of them, Abigail and Natalie, are coming in from Denver. They should be here in a couple of hours. The other one, Angela, is coming in from Tennessee, so she’ll need a little longer.”

Christina stared in surprise. “All girls?”

“Like I said, I picked the best and brightest. Funny how that worked out!”

Christina smiled. She was starting to like this woman.

Danica smiled back. “I promise you, us four girls will be a lethal and unstoppable team.”

“I’m sure you will be. However, five girls will make an even more lethal and unstoppable team. I’m coming with you.”

The colonel opened her mouth, but Christina continued speaking. “I assure you, I do not make this statement lightly. I’m experienced with firearms and well-trained in hand-to-hand combat. I’m not just an ordinary businesswoman.”

“I don’t doubt your talents, but this is a mission that will require killing people in cold blood,” said Danica. “Are you sure you’re up for that?”

“Those fuckers killed Samantha, my friend, and kidnapped Paul, my lover. Trust me, I’ll have no problem killing them.” Christina’s voice was grim.

Danica nodded slowly. “Then it’s settled. The five of us against the Russian mob.”

“Thank you, Colonel,” said the blonde.

“Please, call me Danica,” she replied. “Now we’d better get to the airport. The rest of our team will be arriving soon.”

Paul awoke with a terrible headache. The first thought that came to his mind as he regained consciousness was, “Not again.” In the past two years this was the second time he had been kidnapped, the second time he had been knocked out, and the third time he had been taken hostage.

Finding himself lying on a dirty cot, he sat up and groggily tried to remember what had happened. The drive…the ambush …Samantha getting killed by that sexy but deadly woman…and the ugly bald guy knocking him out.

Paul looked around and saw that he was locked in a dark, musty cell about eight feet square. There was no window, and a barred door was the only exit. A sink and toilet stood in the corner.

Suddenly, footsteps approached. There was the sound of a key turning in the lock and the cell door swung open. A pretty woman stood there…the same woman who had murdered Samantha.

“Ah, so you’re awake,” she said in a sexy accent. “I’m sorry we haven’t gotten the chance to become acquainted yet. I’m Marina.”

Paul said nothing.

“Now now, where are your manners, Paul?” she snickered. She held up his wallet. “Luckily, I already know who you are.”

“You murdered Samantha! How could you?!” He finally spoke up.

“Oh, was that her name? She was resisting. I had to ‘take care’ of her. We would have preferred two hostages but you’ll do well enough. We’ve already asked your boss for $10 million.”

Paul’s glance traveled past Marina and towards the open door. She noticed and laughed. “You’re thinking about escape, aren’t you?” She smiled sassily. “Well, go on and try it. Try and get past me.”

Paul shook his head and turned his body as if he was going to sit down on the cot, then suddenly charged her, hoping to take the vixen by surprise. She was too fast for him, however, and stopped his charge abruptly by kicking him in the face. His hands flew to his injured jaw. Glaring at her, he rushed her again. This time, she pivoted and knocked him back with a swift but powerful side kick to his chest. Paul, growling, was about to charge her a third time when she suddenly whipped out a gun from under her coat. He recognized it as the same one she had used to kill Samantha.

“All right, playtime’s over. I have some business to take care of. You be a good boy now.” Marina exited the cell and locked the door behind her. Paul sat back down on the cot and rubbed his sore jaw. He wondered if Christina knew yet. He began to sob. He didn’t want to die without seeing her again.

At the airport, Christina and Danica sat on a bench in the baggage claim area, waiting for Angela’s flight to come in. Abby and Natalie, whose flight had arrived earlier, were sitting on another bench across from them. When Danica had pointed the two new girls out, Christina had been shocked at how young they were. The skinny girl, Natalie, had rather irritably responded that “Abby and I are 21 now and we don’t even have to use our fake IDs anymore to buy beer.”

Christina sighed with uncertainty. Did she really want to go through with this? Associating with assassins and personally going on a mission that would involve cold-blooded killing? She tried to steel her resolve. “I have to do this for Paul.”

Abby and Natalie whispered to each other as they sat on their bench. “I don’t like this,” said Natalie. She nodded at Christina. “Why is she here? It’s not SOP for the client to come out here like this.”

“And why did Danica want to bring in another assassin? Does she think we can’t handle this ourselves?” wondered Abby.

“All right, stuff a sock in it, you two,” said Danica. “Abby, I have the utmost confidence in your and Natalie’s abilities. That’s why I chose you for this job. But this operation is too big for just two people.”

“When are you going to tell us the details of this operation?” Abby asked.

“When we’re all together back at headquarters. No need to go over everything twice.”

Christina stood up, pointing at the TV screen labeled ‘Arrivals.’ “Look, Angela’s flight just landed.”

The black, unmarked SUV sped over the deserted roads. It was a dark and moonless night. Danica, tight-lipped and silent, was at the wheel. Christina sat in the front passenger seat, a million thoughts racing through her head. She couldn’t believe she was actually doing this. Abby, Natalie, and Angela were in the back seat. Christina had watched the assassins size each other up when they had first met at the airport. She had been relieved to see that Angela, at least, was close to her age.

“Hey, that sign said Fort Lewis was the other way,” Angela piped up from the back seat.

“We’re not going to Fort Lewis,” said Danica. “We’re going somewhere more …private.”

After traveling on a succession of roads that got narrower and bumpier, the black SUV came to a stop in front of a gate. A barbed-wire fence stretched off to the left and right. From the illumination of the headlights, signs on the fence were visible that read PRIVATE PROPERTY. KEEP OUT. TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT. SURVIVORS WILL BE SHOT AGAIN and EXTREME DANGER. 10,000 VOLTS. Danica got out of the vehicle and punched in a code at a control pad next to the gate. The gate silently swung open. The Army colonel got back in the car and drove into the secret base. Christina gulped as the gate swung shut behind them.

After a few more minutes of driving, they came to a small tin shack. Inside, there was nothing but a set of stairs leading down. At the bottom of the stairs, Danica flipped on a light switch, revealing that they were in an enormous basement. For the first time, the five women were together in a private, well-lit place. They looked at each other carefully, sizing each other up.

Danica, as the leader of the expedition, was the oldest woman in the room, nearing forty (although she still looked youthful and sexy). At 5’8″ and 132 pounds, she was also the tallest. She had shiny, shoulder-length brown hair that was pulled back in a neat bun. Angela was thirty years old and a sexy Southern beauty. She was 5’7″ and 135 pounds, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a deep tan. Abby and Natalie were both 21 and the youngsters of the group. Abby was 5’6″ and 130 pounds, with long dark brown hair that went down to the middle of her back. Natalie was slightly smaller at 5’5″ and 120 pounds. Her shoulder-length hair was exactly the same color as Abby’s. All four women had very well-toned, muscular, and feminine bodies.

Although her body was as muscular, well-toned, and feminine as the others, Christina was still a little intimidated. She was 29 years old, but her youthful face and long blonde hair made her look younger. At 5’3″ and 120 pounds, she was also the shortest woman in the group. In addition, for the others, killing was their profession, whether legitimately or illegitimately. She was just a businesswoman.

“All right,” said Danica. “We don’t have a lot of time, so let’s get right to business. We’ve all been introduced. Christina here is our client. Her boyfriend, Paul, has been kidnapped by the Russian mob while he was on a business trip to Moscow. They demanded $10 million in ransom and threatened to kill him if they didn’t get the money within 72 hours. Since that was about six hours ago, we have 66 hours left. Christina and I both believe there is a good chance that Paul will be killed anyway even if the ransom is delivered on time. Therefore, we’ve decided on a rescue mission. I called the rest of you here because if I tried to get the Army to rescue him, by the time we got through all the red tape the deadline would have long passed. Angela, Natalie, Abby, I’ve read all your files…”

“Wait a minute,” interrupted Abby. “We have *files*?!”

“Yes. But that’s not important right now,” answered Danica. “What’s important is that I’ve read your files and I know you’re the best people for the job. The five of us will be going in…”

“Wait,” interrupted Natalie. “Five? Since when does the client go on the mission? We can’t carry passengers.”

“Excuse me, but I won’t be a passenger,” said Christina. “I know as much about weapons and hand-to-hand combat as anyone else in this room. I can take care of myself. I’m not going to just sit here while my boyfriend is in danger.”

“What-evah,” said Natalie. Danica scowled at her, not liking that attitude.

“Now as I was saying before I was interrupted, *repeatedly* I might add,” continued the colonel, “we’ll be leaving tomorrow evening. It’s getting pretty late and we all need a good night’s sleep. Once we get to Russia, we’ll have to work fast to beat the deadline and we may not have much time for sleeping. We’ll make preparations tomorrow. There are bedrooms off the hall to the right.” The five women headed off to bed, Christina full of apprehension, Danica still intensely focused, Angela cool and expressionless, Abby eager but calm, and Natalie eager and excited.

The next morning, after a quick breakfast in a makeshift dining room, they got down to business. Danica had already contacted her sources in Russia about possible places the mobsters might be keeping Paul. “We’ve narrowed it down to these three locations as the most likely. They’re known hideouts for the Russian mob, and they’re all isolated places that would be ideal for holding a prisoner. I have blueprints of each of the locations here.” The colonel put some documents on the table. “When we arrive, we’ll split up to do reconnaissance on each of these places. Abby and Natalie, you’ll take this one here. Angela and Christina, you’ll do this one. I’ll take this one alone, since it’s the smallest.” Danica then pulled out a map of Moscow and marked each of the mobster hideouts on it. “I have a map for each team. If you discover that Paul is being held at your location, call the others and we’ll be there as soon as we can. If our reconnaissance fails to reveal the hostage’s location, we’ll have to raid all three locations.” She paused. “Are there any questions?”

“What if we raid all three places and the hostage isn’t at any of them?” asked Angela.

“We’ll cross that bridge when and if we come to it,” Danica answered. She continued, “Go over your blueprints with your partner. Decide on a game plan for recon and get it drilled into your heads good. Then we’ll all get together and make plans of attack for raiding each location. I want each of you to know all of these places like you know your own house. After that, we can start getting our supplies and weapons ready. Decide what weapons each of you wants to take. There’s an outdoor firing range at this facility, so we can get some practice in before we leave. We all need to be very sharp. A cargo plane will be landing at 6:00 this evening to take us to Russia. We need to be ready to drive to the base’s airstrip at 5:45. We have a lot to do. Let’s get to it.”

Christina stepped forward. “I…I just want to thank you all for doing this. I love Paul and I don’t want to think about life without him.” She pulled out the envelope that Worth had given her. “Here’s the money for the mission. Split this four ways, or divide it however you usually do these things. I’m sorry that it’s not more, but my boss and I had to grab whatever cash we could on short notice. No one else knows about this mission. Of course, no one would have had a problem with him using $10 million of company money to pay off the mobsters, but he uses less than that to pay for a rescue…then the sensitive and whiny would be offended if they found out. Go figure.” Angela nodded in understanding and agreement at that remark.

“It’s not really about the money for me,” said Natalie. “It’s about the thrill and the excitement.”

“For me, it’s about being the best at what we do, and being able to prove it by utterly defeating our opponents,” put in Abby.

“I’m motivated by the desire to take revenge against those who are truly evil,” said Angela.

Christina felt a small smile come to her attractive face. She was very different from these women, but there were similarities too. In any case, she hoped they could get along, work well together, kick some major gangster ass, and rescue poor Paul.

The women then got to studying their blueprints. Angela leaned over close to Christina and touched her arm. “I know what you’re going through,” she whispered. “My husband was murdered and I couldn’t have any peace in my dreams until I took revenge on the assholes who killed him. That’s how I became an assassin in the first place.”

Christina smiled at the other blonde and squeezed her hand. “Thank you,” she whispered back. She was especially glad to hear that from Angela because they would be working together. She also wondered whether she might have ended up like Angela if it had been Paul who had been murdered. She would have certainly wanted vengeance, and could easily have been driven to violent acts herself. In fact, if the Russian mobsters killed Paul, she might become…

“No,” she thought. “I’m not going to think about that. Not as long as Paul’s still alive.” She turned her attention back to the blueprints.

After they had finished their tactical planning, the five sexy women headed out to the shooting range. Christina, although she owned several guns and practiced frequently with them, was still nervous about how her performance would compare to those of the professional assassins. Though she was disappointed that her markswomanship wasn’t quite as good as theirs, she smiled when Abby told her, “You’re still a better shot than 99% of cops.”

The ladies had a fun time shooting various weapons. They made a bit of a friendly but intense competition out of it. Danica was revealed to be the best shot with pistol and revolver, Abby won the rifle contest, Angela took the shotgun competition, and Natalie was the best with the submachine gun and the crossbow. The shooting helped the tomboyish women bond and they shared jokes and work stories over lunch. After the meal was over, Danica went over some common Russian words and phrases.

The sun slowly moved lower in the sky as the girls continued with their preparations. Christina took a break to talk to Danica. “Thanks for organizing all this,” she said to the colonel. “This means so much to me.”

“No problem,” Danica replied. “I can only imagine how I’d feel if my husband or my daughter was kidnapped.” She paused and looked around, seeing that the others were busy. “I’m glad to see everyone’s getting along decently enough,” she said in a low voice. “I was worried about bringing so many clashing personalities together. I’m an Army officer and not a referee. Even in my capacity as a mom. My daughter’s an only child, so I’ve never even had to deal with squabbling siblings. But even though we may be different, I think we have enough in common that we can work together very well. I really think this mission is going to work.”

As the afternoon shadows got longer, the ladies changed into their combat clothes, each packed a small bag for their personal things, and readied their weapons and ammo. Danica called her husband and daughter to say that she was going on a secret mission. Abby, Natalie, and Angela were all comfortably single. At 5:45, the women, armed, beautiful, and dangerous, headed out of the building for the ride to the airstrip.

Danica was dressed in camoflauge pants and top and military boots, though she wore no rank or other insignia. Not for this mission. Her brown hair was tied back in its ubiquitous bun. She carried an M-16 assault rifle and a 9mm pistol.

Christina wore dark jeans and a black T-shirt that was tight enough to make the shape of even her small breasts stand out distinctly. Her long blonde hair was in a bun like Danica’s. She was armed with a 12-gauge shotgun and a .357 magnum revolver.

Angela wore tight black shorts that showed off her cheerleader’s legs, and a black top that had the sleeves rolled up to show her muscular forearms. Her shoulder-length blonde hair was in a ponytail. She had an AK-47 assault rifle, along with an elegant but extremely sharp combat knife.

Abby and Natalie both wore tight black pants and black tank tops that displayed their well-toned biceps. Abby’s long brown hair was ponytailed, while Natalie’s shoulder-length brown hair was left free. Abby was armed with a semi-automatic, high-powered sniper rifle and a knife similar to Angela’s. Natalie had an Uzi submachine gun and a crossbow. Abby wore ordinary black sneakers, but Natalie had on a pair of sexy knee-high black leather boots.

Soon, the cargo plane landed. The girls climbed aboard and the plane quickly turned around and took off again. Danica alone spoke briefly with the pilot and co-pilot. It was clear that this was a ‘talk as little as possible to others’ type of mission. As the aircraft headed off into the darkening sky, each woman felt a surge of excitement run through her. They were all eager to kick some ass.

TO BE CONTINUED…