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Consumed

Consumed

Page 7

Refocus. Inside his PPEs, he was sweating, and maybe bleeding—he didn’t know. But the heat wasn’t bad, so he suspected the fire was at least contained. Also, the ambient noise level was down, although maybe that was his shock talking. Or not talking. Whatever.

He had to get to Anne.

“Help . . .”

Okay, that didn’t carry far. He took a deeper breath. “Help . . .”

He had a glow stick and a whistle in his chest pocket. If he could just get to them, maybe he could make some noise, throw some light, that would give the crew something to find him with?

“Help . . .”

With dwindling strength, he gave the whole movement thing one last try, even though, assuming he had a spinal cord injury, that was ill-advised. Grunting, straining, he lifted his head and managed to free his left arm. It cost him, though. What little vision he had went on the fritz and something started to hurt in his chest.

Heart attack? Maybe.

He was young, but that was what his father and his grandfather had died of. Widow-makers were what the docs called those occlusions . . .

Not that he had anyone to make a widow.

Anne was the only woman who had ever held his interest longer than it took to have an orgasm. And she was never going to be the marrying type. Hell, she’d cut her own arm off before she’d let anybody put a ring on—

Oh, God, what had he done to her?

Groaning, he patted around with his gloved hand, feeling for something he could bang with or—wait . . . was this a pipe? No way of knowing, but it damn well felt like a cylindrical, super-hard object as he fit his palm around it.

With the speed and strength of someone a hundred and eighty years old, he managed to grip whatever it was and knock it against whatever he could find. Wet wood made a thucking sound that didn’t carry more than his voice did, but the concrete floor?

He got a good ring out of it.

Danny hit the pipe over and over again, training all his focus on raising his arm the five inches he could and bringing it down, over and over again. With every strike, the thing weighed more and made less noise.

Eventually, he gave up. And realized he was having a lot of trouble breathing.

The oxygen feed was dead. His thirty minutes up. So he’d been unconscious for almost twenty.

And still nothing but that dripping. No voices calling his name. No sirens. No debris removal. Yeah, sure, there was no more collapsing going on, but gravity had already won the grudge match against the warehouse and was doing victory laps around the ruins.

It appeared he was going to die here—and what exactly did that mean?

As he posed the question, he waited for the slide show of his life to roll out, that whole flash-before-the-eyes thing that people talked about.

When his mental screen stayed blank, he thought, Probably just as well. There wasn’t much he wanted to revisit. But shit, shouldn’t he go out with something better than . . . nothing?

All right . . . fine. He was pissed he didn’t know how Game of Thrones ended. And he was going to miss the taste of cold beer on a hot rooftop in August. And damn it, why the hell had he bothered to quit smoking?

He was not going to miss filling out paperwork, traffic jams, or his chronic bad elbow. He was glad his parents were already dead.

He really hoped he got to see his twin brother on the other side.

Yeah, it would be almost worth all this just to see John again.

Likely not in heaven, though, given the way they had behaved all those years. But Hell was more fun, wasn’t it? And he’d sure as shit know more people down there.

He was never going to know who the next president was going to be, or whether that raise he’d put in for would have gone through, or if that mole on his back was melanoma or not. And his landlady was going to be pissed. Out of the original four of them who had rented her shit hole, Mitch was in rehab, Moose had just gotten married, Jack was going to end up moving in with his sister . . . so it was just him left.

Who was going to get all his crap out?

Probably the boys on the crew, and they’d divvy up the good stuff—

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