Death Hunt: Mortlake Series Book 6
Death Hunt: Mortlake Series Book 6
Death Hunt: Mortlake Series Book 6
Death Hunt: Mortlake Series Book 6
Death Hunt: Mortlake Series Book 6
Death Hunt: Mortlake Series Book 6

Death Hunt: Mortlake Series Book 6

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Bloodthirsty creatures stalk the English countryside…

Paranormal investigator Marcus Mortlake leads a busy life. Between battling the supernatural and dodging faculty review boards, the professor has little time for personal affairs. But when a man he met a long time ago mysteriously dies, it isn’t long before a sinister turn of events drags Mortlake into the mist-shrouded moors beyond the city.

Something has been stalking England… Something not of this world. But for once, his team gets help from a powerful ally.

As Mortlake finds out, a secret department of Her Majesty’s government has been assigned to investigate possible supernatural activity. Led by the foxy Desmond Drax, they too have a stake in these strange occurrences.

Forced to form an uneasy alliance with Drax, Mortlake soon finds himself fending off a pack savage beasts. These voracious creatures seem to phase in and out of our reality. And with each kill, the pack grows larger.

Can Mortlake and his allies stop these beasts’ relentless hunt before it’s too late?

Or will the pack continue to grow and devastate all of England?



Chapter 9

Two sets of armed guards checked Mortlake’s ID and then Lynn’s. The sergeant by the inner door peered at the American for a long moment, and he then waved them both through without uttering a word.

“I just love your little old British hospitality,” Lynn murmured.

“It’s not all tea and cake,” Mortlake admitted. “People here can turn paranoid very fast, just like anywhere else.”

The Wyebridge town hall was a hive of confusing activity. Actual physical maps had been pinned up along one wall, revealing the surrounding countryside in detail. About a couple of dozen men and several women, all in dark combat gear, were talking in small groups or checking equipment.

Military-type carbines were evident, as were Tasers, handheld radios, and other gear Mortlake couldn’t identify at first glance. Crates with obscure markings stood in corners, most of them opened, some of them empty. As the newcomers were ushered across the room by a silent noncommissioned officer, the Section Thirteeners fell silent, and some stared.

“Rude,” Lynn muttered. “Feels like being a tourist in London.”

They wove through the melee, heading for Drax, who was at the center of a huddle of older civilians. Mortlake guessed, rightly, that these were local councilors and officials. Drax was holding forth in his usual oleaginous manner, soft-soaping people and insisting that the situation was under control. When he caught Mortlake’s eyes, Drax took the opportunity to pass the little group off to a subordinate.

“I must speak to our expert consultants,” he explained.

Dismissing the NCO, Drax led Mortlake aside, smiling at Lynn as he steered them into a small office. A laptop sat on the desk, angled so they could see the screen from the doorway. The screensaver was a sepia-tinted picture of a familiar face. It was a late Victorian or Edwardian photograph of a man with a mustache and glasses. It took Mortlake a couple of moments to recognize Nobel Prize in Literature awardee, Joseph Rudyard Kipling.

Very much the poet of the British Empire, Mortlake thought, extolling the power and glory of the British. And the implicit inferiority of everyone else.

“Ah, my weakness is nostalgia,” Drax said, following Mortlake’s gaze. “I so loved The Jungle Book as a lad.”

He closed the laptop and sauntered around his desk.

Lynn spoke to him in person for the first time.

“Do you see yourself as more of a Baloo or a Bagheera?”

Drax looked surprised by the question for a second and didn’t respond.

“Or maybe a Shere Khan?” Lynn added, leaning against the desk, arms folded.

Mortlake felt he needed to head off an argument, though Lynn’s questions were just what he’d have asked.

“We’re not here to talk about our favorite children’s authors, sadly,” he said quickly. “I’m happy to share information, Sir Desmond. What there is of it. But I’d prefer if you do the same.”

Drax walked toward the front of his desk and took a seat, gesturing to two smaller and less comfortable chairs facing him. Mortlake sat, but Lynn remained at the end of Drax’s temporary desk. It was a simple enough trick, but thanks to her height, she was imposing, and that might give them a little edge. Drax was obviously the kind of man who liked to control a discussion, so it made sense to outflank him a little.

Mortlake shared some of his theories about the hellhounds and the Hunt, and Drax listened respectfully. Then Mortlake moved on to Section Thirteen’s capabilities.

“Do you know when and where the pack will appear tonight?” he asked bluntly. “I mean, specifically. We know the general area.”

Drax smiled.

“The pattern seems to be repeating itself,” he said. “So even without our wild talents, we’d have a pretty good idea. But yes, thanks to our special operatives, we have narrowed it down to the hills to the West, right by the Welsh border.”

Drax had a smaller map pinned up over a noticeboard. He jabbed at an area where rising ground darkened a swathe of green. It was inside a red oval about half a mile long and a quarter-mile wide. Hills, mostly, some forested and most tricky to climb. Mortlake felt a slight twinge of pain in his arm. The dressing had been removed, and the scars had begun to fade, or so he’d convinced himself. But he was not in ideal shape to go scrambling over rough ground.

“So, what are you going to do about it, Sir Desmond?” asked Lynn. “I mean, you got all those guys out there with guns and stuff. They gonna lie in wait and shoot the devil dogs? Or have you got something else planned?”

Drax looked sharply at her, and Mortlake saw genuine malice. He saw that the bureaucrat didn’t like to be challenged by an assertive woman, which was another danger sign. Drax’s evasions and his nostalgia for Britain as a superpower suggested a slippery and perhaps deluded personality.

Mortlake intervened again. “I assume you won’t try to capture one? They would simply vanish back into the dimension of the Game.”

“Quite possibly,” Drax said, his composure recovered. “But if one is stunned, we might nab it. Regardless, we do hope to gather as much data as possible. And we will test out a few different tactics and weapons to see which are most effective.”

He walked back to his desk, reached into a small box, then produced a round of ammunition and stood it on end. Looking more closely, Mortlake saw that the bullet attached to the cartridge was bright silver. He raised an eyebrow.

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