Book Excerpt – No Man’s Compass

No Man’s Compass
by S. D. Hines

    Publication Date: Jan 17, 2018
    List Price: $14.95
    Format: Paperback
    Classification: Fiction
    ISBN13: 9781578336883
    Imprint: Polar Bear Press
    Publisher: Polar Bear Press
    Parent Company: Polar Bear Press

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    Copyright © 2018 Polar Bear Press/S. D. Hines No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission from the publisher or author. The format of this excerpt has been modified for presentation here.

    Michael Healy carried a sidearm, a .45 colt revolver. As the two men ran towards the boy, Michael gasped to his brother, "Get the boy…to safety…I’ll handle…the bear."

    Chest burning with exertion, James gasped back a question. "Can a pistol…kill a bear? You told me…it couldn’t be…done."

    Healy gasped back, "We’ll soon…find out." James reached the boy and grabbed him, and with a reserve of strength he didn’t’ realize he had, whisked him into his arms and ran back to the village, calling loudly for help.

    The ursine steamroller continued barreling towards them on all fours as big as a horse. Wishing he had practiced more with the sidearm, Michael aimed the Colt with a steady hand, took a deep breath, and squeezed the trigger.

    The report almost made the creature stop, since it was seconds later that he felt the searing pain in his right shoulder. Several more steps and he stopped, roaring, standing on his hind legs. It was a maneuver that bears used to intimidate rivals by making himself as large as possible.

    Healy squeezed again, and the round took the bear in the chest. It lodged ineffectively in the thick chest muscles, and the captain squeezed off another round. A red splotch appeared on the bear’s neck and the beast dropped and roared towards his tormenter, thoughts of his meal forgotten. He instinctively knew he had to kill this man in order to survive.

    Michael Healy squeezed off another shot, then another. Then the monster was upon him and he fired somewhere in the chest as he was bowled over. He smelled the hot, fetid breath of the carnivore in his face as he dropped the gun and grasped for his hunting knife, determined to get in at least one thrust before he died. Though death was certain, he snarled defiance and gripped the knife. A detached part of him was surprised that he felt no terror, only a heated anger and a determination to die fighting.

    The weight of the monster was the weight of the world as he thrust upward, twisting to find a way through ribs. He tried to take a breath but his chest was crushed and he heard his own ribs audibly crack as his blade drove inward, driven harder by the beast’s own bulk. For a moment he puzzled whether he’d die from asphyxiation or from teeth and claw. He thought he could hear his brother shouting from far away but the agony of his chest and of the lungs that drew no breath overwhelmed him. With his last bit of strength, he twisted the knife sandwiched between himself and the wounded bear…

    Blood spurted hot over his chest. Whose? Then all went dark and the pain blessedly disappeared.

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