ULTRA: THE SCHOOL FOR YOUNG ASSASSINS

When Chief Executives of the top secret agency "Ultra" get ordered to "prejudicially retire" the classified program for training child assassins to do the government's dirty work worldwide, they naturally comply by destroying the secluded Ultra Training Facility and terminating every last student, instructor, and staff member -- right down to cooks and janitors. But what will "Ultra" do about the five young assassins already sent out on assignment to five different spots around the world? HUNGER GAMES-esque. Dark and violent.

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1. Sabine

Lost. She's lost. In the dense cold woods. Mist floating amid the tree trunks.

It's morning. The sun rises, a cold dazzle. She's wet. Running. Breathing hard in through the nostrils, out through the mouth.

Stops. Gasping. Holds her body against the rough bark of a Douglas fir.

A brief thin shadow. Gliding. She glances up. It's a parachute.

It floats down, disappears behind the treetops.

She shuts her eyes to see the afterimage. A man in probably water resistant dark clothing. Some bulkiness -- that would be the weapons. A rifle probably, pistol, grenades.

None of which she was. She lost her weapon scurrying away just after the hit.

If one parachutist, then there will be others. She didn't hear a plane, but maybe it's too high up. Or maybe they're using gliders.

Sabine kneels down in the deep shade of the fir. Retches. Her body shakes. She sticks her hands under her arms to warm them.

Fixes her gaze on a nearby patch of mushrooms growing out of a dead oak stump. She notes the pinkish color at the gulls and wonders if she can take the risk. Her stomach is tight and empty and she's dizzy with hunger.

Decides not.

She's in a leather jacket, two black wool sweaters, black pants, black assassin's shoes. The sweat on her neck feels icy. And her teeth are clicking when she doesn't set her jaw.

She's had to wade a surging river. Almost wrenched away from her hold on the rocks, over which white water foamed.

She's been moving fast since yesterday afternoon, and her hands and face are scratched up by twigs and brambles.

She's rubbed mud on the welts to seal them. She didn't want to leave a trail of blood drops.

When she can feel some sensation in her fingers again, she takes them out from under her arms.

Shakes them hard. They're trembling.

Gloves. Why didn't I carry an extra pair?

She touches the hilt of the combat knife taped to her skinny ankle. It's her only friend now.

There are some matches inside the handle, also a small compass.

But last night, she didn't make a fire.

They're too close, too tight and disciplined, too well armed  -- the pursuers.

How many? She doesn't know.

Getting away from the hit -- she'd assumed that would be the hardest part. It wasn't.

The hardest part was now. In the Oregon forests, tracked by stealthy and brutal killers.

 

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