In those last few seconds of consciousness as she looked up and tried to focus, a dark shadow materialized, mutating into the shape of a man hovering above her. His face, its surface gaunt and crevassed with moon-like craters, appeared to be streaked with soot as he stared into Tess’s eyes. His own eyes, as acute and black as obsidian, were utterly barren of emotion.
Contemplating the mortally wounded woman, now lying in a swelling pool of blood, his razor-thin lips curved into a tiny smirk of triumph.
“It is finished,” he whispered. He held a semiautomatic Sig Sauer tactical rifle, a silencer twisted onto its 18-inch ashen barrel.
He raised it to Tess’s head as she slipped into the blackness.
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