Jack Hayden liked to describe himself as "a people person". He was charming, witty, well spoken, and was good-looking in the sense that both men and women could like the shape of his face and the form of his body without feeling any sort of sexual attraction to him. He could make anyone trust him. He could sell virtually any product. He could talk his way out of anything. Well, almost anything.
Jack screamed in pain. A bullet had nicked his right shoulder. Blood burst from the wound in a jet of deep red. He clamped his left hand over it. His right hand still held his pistol. He gritted his teeth, and his scream modulated into a flow of profanity. He was breathing very hard. Gingerly, he moved his right arm up and down, then flexed his trigger finger. All systems go. With an effort he braced himself against the rock behind which he had taken cover.
He sprang forward, running uphill to the next piece of cover. Bullets wizzed past him. He twisted his torso around and fired at his pursuers. There were three of them still alive. His shots were erratic, but all three men hit the ground to take cover. That gave Jack enough time to get behind another rock. Irrationally, he thought of his pursuers' uniforms getting dusty from lying on the ground. They were Colatrian Guards and wore white and green. "Soon they'll be wearing red", thought Jack, trying to psyche himself up. "Soon there will be more than dust on those uniforms."
He was in the foothills of the Zanjaras, the mountain range that marked the boarder between Kasno and Colatra. It was bleak, dusty country. Almost like a desert. The sun was very bright in the sky, but it was autumn and the wind was cool. He was retreating into the hills, trying to draw the guards after him, trying to find opportunities to kill.
He whipped out from behind the rock and fired. This time he had a chance to aim, and he hit one of the guards in the stomach. Jack didn't have the time to watch him fall; he barely got behind the rock again without getting hit by the other guards' shots. He realized that he had no idea how many bullets he had left. Sweat was dripping down his face, and he wiped it out of his eyes with his right sleeve. His mouth was hanging open now, drawing raw, ragged breaths. "Surely . . ." he thought. "Surely those guards are getting tired. And surely they're running out of ammo too." He swallowed his saliva, "Just keep telling yourself that, chum. Soon their colors will be green, white and red."
He made another dash for the next rock. It was close, and he didn't bother shooting behind him. For all he knew, his gun was out of ammo. He heard the crack of the Colatrian rifles, felt the bullets whistle passed him. He dove for cover.
And then his leg exploded.
A bullet had hit him in the calf of his left leg. When a bullet goes into a person, it makes a little hole, about as big around as itself. When it comes out, it makes a crater. He looked down at his leg. Below the knee it was completely mangled. The pain was indescribable, but he didn't even really feel it.