I woke up to the snap of branches and the echo of breathing about five metres away. Instinctively, I clamped my hand over Dree's mouth, stiffening. My other hand silently moved to my side, only to discover I didn't have my bludgeon or knife. Of course. They were strictly GI.
Whatever it was - whatever they were, rather - moved slowly closer, spreading out. They were clumsy as all hell, but they knew these woods. By this point, we no longer had the option of escape. One, two, three, four... five people moved through the underbrush. Adrianne started to shiver.
Had we just leapt from the frying pan into the fire?
As they closed their circle around us, I surveyed them carefully. They were armed with simple staves, but didn’t seem to know how to hold them properly. Perhaps they hadn't been trained at all, which would give me an advantage. And they were wiry, but something hinted that supplies were scarce among them, so they would probably be weakened and less clear-headed. Still, five at once was definitely too many to take on since I’d also have to protect Adrianne at the same time… and what if she panicked?
Adrianne sat up quickly, which was not what I would have advised, and our hunters reflexively moved to attack her.
This was bad.
I didn’t leave my job, my boyfriend, and all the modern conveniences of the City to watch my best friend get the shit beat out of her. Pushing Adrianne back down, I kicked the feet out from under the nearest attacker, pushing him violently into the man beside him. I swivelled to kick the third opponent directly in his solar plexus with both feet. He shot backwards about two metres, hitting the ground with a thud.
The fourth man bear-hugged me from behind, and I flattened his nose with the back of my head. I saw stars, but he managed to hang on to me. As I moved to kick him in the crotch, he simply fell forward onto me. When I regained my breath, I kicked him in the crotch anyways, but even though he doubled up, he stayed right on top, still hugging me.
As I struggled with this man, something strange happened. The fifth attacker moved to grab Adrianne by her long hair, but as he did she recognised him.
There was a silence as he looked at her. Realisation flooded his eyes and he sat back on his heels.
"What the hell are you doing here?"