Deep, Dark

A Joe Ledger Prequel Story to The Dragon Factory

Joe Ledger

Jonathan Maberry

St. Martin's Griffin

DEEP, DARK (Chapter 1)(1)The Vault Ultra High Security Biological Research Facility The Poconos, Pennsylvania

Twenty Minutes Ago

It was the dirty end of a dirty job.

Three of us--Bunny, Top and I--were hunting horrors in the dark, seven thousand feet below Camelback Mountain. Even with night vision, body armor and weapons, we were lost in an infinity of shadows. If we blew this, if we couldn't wrap this up before the clock ticked down then the whole place would go into hard lockdown. Steel doors would drop and explosive bolts would fire, triggering thermite charges that would seal the doors permanently in place. Federal and international biohazard protocols forbade anyone from digging us up if the fail-safes went active.

The Vault would become our tomb.

The government would disown us, our own people would have to write us off.

But the things we hunted wouldn't care. When our lights and weapons and food ran out, they'd hunt us.

And, very likely, they would get us...and then get out.

DEEP, DARK Copyright © 2009 by Jonathan Maberry.