Without Wrath is the third book in the Matt Hurst and Pablo Manual conflict. To avoid the life of an American hero that would have allowed him no privacy, Matt Hurst decided to change his name and live in obscurity in the Pacific Northwest. Believing Pablo was dead, he was not looking over his shoulder, so he got comfortable.
Unbeknownst to Matt, his alias gained some quiet fame and a newspaper file photo exposed him to a very much alive, Pablo Manual. Fulfilling his manifest destiny, battling Pablo, and trying to handle the public crush once his true identity was exposed, Matt Hurst is frantic, wild, and clawing. Without Wrath delivers all the way.
He could feel the hair stand up on the back of his neck. Matt Hurst was out of breath, hiding behind a large pine tree, close to panic.
He had never been spooked like this before, especially in the forest. Yes, he knew it was unwise to hunt alone, but he had always been at home in the forest and looked upon it as his friend. Not now. Now it seemed to have turned on him. Suddenly, he realized what it felt like to be the hunted, and he had to admit, he was afraid.
The morning had started rather uneventfully. It was not until after he had descended to the bottom of a ravine that he caught a slight movement coming from near the top. He found shelter behind a boulder, and from there he sat and watched for a long while but saw no further movement. Just his imagination?
Moments later, as he was traversing a small stream, hopping across rocks, he once again had the feeling he was being watched, that he was not alone. He had this unshakable feeling of being under the surveillance of a rifle scope. He was still trying to pass it off as his imagination when a small glint off a rock sent his blood running cold. He quickly made his way to cover, sure the glint was not that of a bird-watching enthusiast’s binoculars. One of his many enemies was out here to kill him.
He sprinted a good stretch after coming around a bend in the creek bed he was in. He saw the glimmer of a lens reflected off the sun and was sure it was not some miracle of nature. The sensing of this unknown presence was unleashing some very irrational fears in him. Really, it was surprising and almost irrational for a man of his experience, but still, he knew the forest offered unlimited places for a seasoned sniper to prey from—and who was to say there was only one? Just the thought had him ducking as he moved.
He tried to slow his breathing and listen, but his heart was still racing. In the back of his mind, he carried the hidden fear that one day one of his many enemies would follow him out here and finally rid the world of Mathew Hurst once and for all. He waited and listened for sounds coming from deep in the forest.
He had been receiving survival training these last few months, and some had taken place nearby in these woods. He had joined the President’s little group and moved to Seattle where they were working with him, but he was far from graduating. He listened again . . . nothing.
There were always bears to worry about, of course. The experts often warned that hunting alone required a constant state of mental awareness and toughness, and hiking in or out in the dark was much scarier when you had no partner—no matter what anyone would admit to. It was a macho thing, he supposed.
Bears could be nasty on the charge, as they offered no place to get a kill shot with their head down running at their target at full speed. But Matt also knew that bears did not carry scopes. What if he were wrong; water had the ability to refract light and he was crossing a stream when it happened, after all.
He relaxed a bit as he could hear nothing and was about to continue on when he heard a twig snap. Matt froze. Something was out there, for sure.
He considered . . . if it were a bear or cougar, the best thing he could do would be to make noise and scare the animal off—unless it had him on the menu, there was always that. However, if it were an enemy combatant, then he would lose advantage by exclaiming, “Here I am!” But it was also possible it was a fellow hunter; in which case he would want to be heard so he did not get accidentally shot. What a quagmire. He considered his options as he shouldered his rifle over his left shoulder and reached his right hand under his left arm and drew out his Smith and Wesson 44 magnum from its shoulder holster. His normal sidearm choice was his Beretta 9mm, but not out here, not when he went hunting.
Of all the people in the world, it was his dentist, Dr. Vickerman, who had suggested the magnum and the logic behind it. It was Washington State after all, and a lot of people hunted, even one’s dentist. Dr. Vickerman, who often went to Alaska to hunt, said he always asked himself what would be the worst case scenario out there in the wilderness, and in this case, it would be a grizzly bear standing over him, ready to kill. He asked Matt, “What gun could you guarantee would save your life?”
Matt had concurred at the time, as he did now, there would be only one: the 44-magnum revolver.
The trail veered to the right, so Matt faced the trail with his back to the creek bed. The tension was intense, and the clock was once more ticking him toward some deadly encounter. Sensing the coming confrontation, he cocked the weapon, which had a hair trigger—less than a pound of pressure would set it off. Whatever beast or enemy lay on the other side of his gun was going to be annihilated in a loud and angry way. The discharge from the gun was violent; it literally hurt his hand to shoot, and even if it were a full-grown black bear or a man in full body armor, this pistol would kill its target on impact. It had taken Matt some practice to get proficient with it, but proficient he was.
The moment was upon him; his heart rate pulsing through his hand on the gun, waiting for the millisecond he needed to gain the deadly advantage. He assumed a semi-boxer shooter stance in anticipation. He was facing the game trail with the most intensity he could ever remember—when suddenly the barrel of what he could only assume was a gun came to rest on the back of his neck.
He froze. Then a very familiar voice instructed, “That was a good application of logic, Matt, but we really need work on the tracks you leave everywhere and how to watch your flank.”
He lowered his weapon, easing off the hammer and replacing it in his holster, as he replied, “Yes, Jim.” It was the only acceptable reply when his mentor had just taught him a lesson. Of course, it was an unscheduled lesson and now Matt realized he had to be “on” at all times, even out here.
He turned to talk to Jim, but he was gone. Matt sighed and then continued on his way, a little more wise about hiding behind the tree his footprints led to, and watching his back.
João sat on the edge of his bed. Last night was a brain-cell killer . . . so much rum. He looked back onto the bed and spotted the girl he mated last night; she was maybe eighteen years old. She also had the perfect ass that was now slightly sticking out of the covers—and it stirred something in him even though his head was pounding.
He was going to replace the blinds today as some of the slats were bent and the sun’s first rays always found his eyes, which was why he was up right now. He couldn’t count how many times he’d planned to do this, but today was really the day he was going to fix the blinds.
He was pretty sure it had been over a year since he had started trying to kill himself by partying too hard; over a year since he had lost his best friend; and over a year since he had returned to Rio de Janeiro and his Favela Nova Brasília.
He was currently the leader of “The Anthill Gang.” Others had different names for them, but they were the “Anthill” as far as any of them were concerned, and that was all that mattered. Their Favela was part of the Complexo do Alemão, a place where there were many slums. João had no interest to know how many, all he cared about was their own, and those right next to them.
Abandoned on the streets at age nine, he had lived the life of a street child. He surely would have died had he not met Felipe soon after his parents had abandoned him. He remembered his early life with his parents always worrying about putting a roof over their heads. He remembered coming up Avenida Itaoca, the street that ran along the entrance to Nova Brasília where the businesses on both sides were abandoned, the buildings all stripped and broken, just like after a war. The drugs had not yet completely taken over things back then.
One of those buildings was the last residence João recalled having as a child with his parents. It had been a factory years before, but now even the roof was stripped. People had divided up the floor space and lived there, but rain was the enemy of that plan and it was short-lived. He remembered the day he woke up and his family had moved. His mom had left him some bread and a blanket—and that was it. She couldn’t write, so there was no note. She had never even told him his last name.
His best friend, Felipe, had suffered the same fate, only Felipe would still see members of his family. He was abandoned by his father, kicked out and told to go out and survive, while other siblings were permitted to stay. Felipe had to endure seeing his more favored siblings around from time to time. That was how he found out his papa was sick and he was able to let him know just how much he appreciated the abandonment—right before he killed him.
João had no such luck. He never saw his parents or any of his siblings ever again.
He walked over to the bathroom, relieved himself, and came back to the bed, positioning himself so to be out of the rays of the sun. He looked at his bed partner again. She was one of their whores. He had no idea how many they had at this point. Now that their rivals, the Reds, were gone, they were able to expand their place on the Hill and absorb all of the rival gang’s assets.
It wasn’t easy becoming Premeiro Comando. He and Felipe had grown up just floating around as kids with no place to be and no food to eat. They tried everywhere, but no place was for them. They were run off from any place where money could be found.
Then one day when they were fourteen they found themselves in a new kind of place in the flatlands— one the drug lords didn’t control. They were both able to find vendors who gave them food for work. Life was good—for about a second. Hooked on getting high anyway they could, they sometimes found themselves sniffing glue, and although it made his head feel like it did now, a tube would last a long time and the world just disappeared when they did it.
The drug lords did not run this new town, it was the militia who did. The militia was a private group that extorted money from the locals for “protection.” The protection part worked, but everything there was more expensive because of the “Militia tax.” The main positive was the place was pretty safe for street kids—or so they thought—until one day they walked out from an alley where they had been sleeping. The militia had just caught an older boy of sixteen smoking pot. To their horror, the fucking putos took the kid out to the main square and shot him! That was it for them in the Gardenia Azul.
The next place they landed was Nova Brasília where the local gang, the Anthills, needed recruits, and they quickly rose up the ranks because they had learned a trick on the streets that the Ants hierarchy liked. After Gardenia Azul they met some Colombians who were smuggling cocaine and used them as mules. This was the best time of their lives to date because it was the only period when they ever had any money. Being old enough, then in their teens, they actually rented a room and had a place to stay. That was until the Colombians got busted, but not before teaching the two of them the trick.
The Colombians knew that most Brazilians could kind of understand Spanish when spoken, but what Felipe and João discovered was they could not understand provincial Spanish when spoken quickly. The Colombians used it as a way to communicate openly without someone deciphering what they said. Back then the leader of the Ants was Paulo, and he overheard them one day using it and liked the idea. Felipe and João quickly became intrinsic to the Ants ascension in the criminal world, and their impact never lessened until they ran the gang.
Other than the two years that he left Rio and had gone to Ecuador to attack the United States, João had never been outside of Brazil. Starting out as a foot soldier and ending as the co-leader, he didn’t seek out to attack the U.S. He was brought into the attack as part of a team. His employer, a super-brain driven by God, recruited twelve of the Ants to carry out the attack; and João was the only one left to tell the tale. Everyone else was dead. After years of battling their rival gangs, the Reds and Ramos Nacidos, the man/boy behind the brain changed their status overnight.
The man/boy was soft and looked so out of place, yet he spoke to Felipe like the most fearless warrior. He was after one of their whores. This was the part of the God thing that João just never quite understood. No one that knew them would have dared come in like that, but this man/boy, he later came to know as Pablo Manuel, just walked right in and bargained with Felipe for her. Such a deal would have been impossible for anyone else to pull off. Pablo said the rival Reds would all be dead by morning and the Ants could have their territory. Crazy talk as the Reds were connected to some serious prison gangs in São Paulo, the tendrils reaching all the way to their Favela.
It was unfathomable, yet it happened, and it put them on a map of people never to fuck with. People spoke of their brutality now. When a gang perpetrated that kind of destruction, then they got notice and respect quickly. Suddenly, right after Pablo’s people butchered all the Reds, the Ramos Nacido boys got real quiet and stayed off the Ants’ turf. It had taken the Ramos boys this long to start their rivalry again. Apparently, they were tired of hearing the rumors of how badass the Ants were now, and wanted some action for themselves.
Things were different now, though. As soon as they knew the Olympics were coming to Rio, the government started cracking down, especially on drugs and violence—the two things João stood for. He looked at his bedmate’s ass again, still slightly sticking out of the covers, and added sex to that list of things that he stood for.
Nowadays, the UPP (Polícia Pacificadoa), Brazil’s peacekeeping police units, were everywhere, and that just would not do. So the Ants sent a message last week and shot one of their officers who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Turned out it was a woman. Why the UPP would be sending a woman after someone like him he had no clue? But she was dead now and her upset brethren were buzzing like bees all around his Favela.
The Hill housed them and the Reds on the main facade, and above them the Praca do Terco (a flat terrace with no structures) prohibited the Ramos Nacido from coming straight down into their neighborhood on anything other than on foot. For the Ramos boys to get to them, they would have to use a car and come up the Avenida Itaoca, then turn up Rue Nova Brasília, and come right into the heart of the beast. So they had started the galinha (chicken) tactics.
Last week, some of the Ants were having a roof party when shots came from up the hill. No one was hit, but the party was over quickly. Spotters had been seeing the Ramos boys all over, driving by, and sitting up at the top of the hill staking things out. Once the Reds were dead, the Ants had taken over the territory, but that meant more territory to protect.
João rubbed the girl’s foot as it popped out of the covers. She had short stubby feet, but they were cute. Not all whores were so cute. As a matter of fact, if it were not for Pablo’s “needed” whore, then none of this would have happened.
After Pablo had the Reds killed, the man/boy was back as promised for the whore, Vera. He took her and told Felipe to have fun for the next few months, but soon he would be back, and he would need twelve Ants for a mission.
At first, they thought about refusing, but then they thought about the Reds and agreed, especially after seeing what Pablo had left to split among themselves—a duffle bag containing five million U.S.—and it put them on the map financially as a player.
Pablo’s gift enabled them to finally buy coca from the Colombians who had that amount as their minimum buy. To this day, the day before the Colombians arrive for a delivery, the whole upper Favela empties except for the Ants. Initially, there had been some incidents that the Colombians had to deal with among the locals and the Ants stood back. But now the deal was in place and the shipments came every Friday.
João still marveled at Felipe. Felipe was a hard man, in fact, he was so hard that if one just looked at him, one knew his whole story, and that was why João was in place now. Like a prison gang, once their hierarchy was taken away to help this man/boy named Pablo Manuel attack the United States, Felipe just instinctively knew how to run things remotely: WITH AN IRON FIST.
He and Felipe had made the initial buys. Then they turned the operations over to Carlos to handle while they were gone. To his credit, Felipe was amazing at controlling things from afar.
It turned out that the man/boy was a super genius. Pablo Manuel had come from Ecuador with a plan given to him by God, and somehow their whore was attached to the plan. Over a couple of years this genius had built a bunker inside a mountain attached to a rock quarry that he owned.
He also had built a drone army that ran on super batteries. They were silent, had stealth technology, and were internally cooled. And they were undetectable. He had two types—flyers and fish. The fish were of the five-hundred-pound Sea Bass variety and packed a wallop that could cripple any vessel. The flyers were of two different varieties: the boom and the electrical storm.
This genius then made it all into a video game to train the twelve Ants. They trained and trained and trained. Soon they were all really good at the video game, and they loved it. That was when it was revealed to them that it was not a game, but in fact, they were actually guiding an automated army. Slowly the partying was tapered off and they got serious. They learned tactics, studying the attack tactics of both the United States and Ecuadorian militaries. Suddenly João was excited as it looked like the genius wanted to kill some people.
Then it happened, the first downside. Pablo separated the two of them—him and Felipe. He needed an Ant to be his right-hand man, and he needed an Ant to be the lead to guide the other video warriors. João could not believe that Felipe accepted the right-hand man job without even trying to get him to, as co-right-hand man. He just left him. They always did everything together. João was so hurt he turned down the lead video warrior offer.
This Pablo, super genius, had given them all their own rooms. They were four levels down in the mountain and João chose the room at the end of the long corridor, as far away from everyone else as possible. Felipe was out doing all sorts of things he wanted to do while he was stuck playing the stupid game, a game he used to love.
That wasn’t what bothered him the most, though. What bothered him the most was Felipe’s apparent belief that this Pablo had a relationship with God.
They had both seen and done enough to know that they did not believe in God, and now this? He saw the adulation on his friend’s face when he talked about Pablo, or saw Pablo. It was too much! And after that last visit with the gringo in tow, the two of them had needed to talk, especially after he gestured, he was watching João after he asked him to stop getting high.
His head was pounding, and when he replayed it all out, it just got him angry and overloaded, which was why he was always getting high and drinking so much these days. He was self-medicating himself through the hardest thing he’d ever had to face, the loss of his only friend.
João went over to the blinds, tried to adjust them, but ended up accidentally letting in more sun than before, which caused his whore to stir and reveal a pair of tits that only youth could provide. His bedmate mumbled something and turned away to bury her head in the pillows. The new light revealed a pair of eyes in the corner on the far side of the bed, eyes that were always watching him. As far as he was concerned, it was okay if they saw what happened in the bed last night. They could be witness to how heroic he was.
He drifted back again to his time away from the Favela.
Pablo had built special rooms that were rectangular in shape and about the size of a squash court. They had a console in the center that sat about two-thirds away from the far wall. The console was the game controller, and the wall was the screen. The screen was dividable into four sections, all HD, and all very state of the art. After more than a year in the compound, however, João was going completely stir crazy—all he was doing was training, eating, fucking, and sleeping.
They each also had their own apartment and he kept one of the female Chinese workers they employed for his own. His girl resisted some at first, but he soon had her whipped into shape. Still, it was not enough. He’d realized that this was the longest he had ever gone without killing someone; ever since the day they stabbed that drunk in the alley more than ten years ago, they had not stopped.
That was when João went to Felipe and demanded he get him out of that room and let him have some freedom. Felipe’s answer was to train João to be a helicopter pilot—not in the real world, but on a game that Pablo had created to get rid of his malaise. Pablo promised João that he’d made it just for him, and once he learned it, he could go anywhere he wanted.
It took weeks to learn to play the game right because one had to really fly the helicopter, but once he had learned and mastered all aspects of flying, the program let him go anywhere. It was a game like no other, but João had finally realized that those two had only tried to distract him. They figured because he got high all the time that he did not know what was going on. But he did, he always did, and Felipe was just about to find that out when it all went down.
He got up and walked across the room to wash his face. He had a lot to do today, starting with fixing those fucking blinds. He looked in the mirror and realized how much he had aged in the past couple of years since it was over. He missed Felipe and had been trying to slowly kill himself ever since his friend’s death.
No one had ever hit America like that before. It had turned the world upside down . . . and it all started with the Ant’s and their whore.
Pablo had needed to get vital information out of the United States and he used the whore to do it. Ostensibly, Pablo was operating off the belief the he was a messenger of God, and that’s why he needed the whore. He was adamant that she was his destined partner.
Initially, they both found Pablo’s story all a bunch of crap, and there was no way João was giving up his favorite whore. João fondly remembered breaking her in at a very early age when they found her on the streets, terrified. He loved it when they were terrified, like his former Chinese housemate was at first.
After Pablo took her away, he had trained her and sent her to the United States. She did come back with the stolen information, sure, but she also brought back that gringo; he turned out to be her lover. The gringo was then able to get himself appointed as Pablo’s topside security man. It was all too weird. Felipe never trusted the gringo and told him so.
João had no idea who, but one of them betrayed the Ants and poisoned them. The only thing that saved him was that he was fortuitously locked in the stairwell getting high before the next round of warfare.
Luckily for him, he liked getting high before he played the game. In the few minutes he was absent, someone poisoned the Ant’s rooms. Once he had figured that out, he got away by riding an all-terrain vehicle, stopping only to get the gringo‘s favorite guard dog on his way out of the compound.
Before that, they had finally had a chance to do some fighting. And once they started killing actual people, one couldn’t have pried him out of his room with a crowbar. He was no longer jealous of his friend’s freedom. He was a born killer and this was his chance to play the game of death. He just liked to be stoned when he did it—and now he was alive because of his love of being stoned.
He remembered the last time he saw Felipe. Felipe had been giving a pep talk after they had destroyed an attack group of the Ecuadorian military and then crippled the U.S. Carrier Group the USS George H. W. Bush. João was so thankful that he took getting stoned so seriously. He knew that they were heading into some heavy action, and he knew he needed to be stoned to be at his fullest capabilities.
Felipe and the gringo made their rounds to each room for their little pep talk and then left. That was it—he never saw him again, alive or dead. Some asshole robbed him of the chance to set things right with his only friend.
He knew from the world news that after he’d fled, the United States seized the compound, but no mention of Pablo, Vera, or the gringo, Matt, ever surfaced. João saw one of the poisoned Ants die a horrific death right in front of his eyes, and he knew it was not the U.S. that did it because they had not gotten there yet.
At least one of those three betrayed the Ants, and probably lived to tell the tale. If João ever figured out which one was culpable, he now had enough money to do something about it when the time came. He also had enough money to leave here and never come back. But he knew he would never leave again.
He lit a joint and smoked it as he got the blinds right with some good old Jerry-rigging. Guess he didn’t have to go shopping after all. That was good because it was time to go back to sleep, but not before he investigated that ass sticking out of the covers one more time . . .
Carlos woke João by entering his room, and the alarm clock said it was three in the morning. Carlos was the only one allowed into his room or there would be trouble. And even then, he had already learned not to move too quickly or try to touch him.
João uttered, “Shit, how the fuck did I sleep through the whole day and half the night, too?” What the hell was in that joint, he wondered? His whore was gone, he noticed. She had escaped while he was in his coma, probably hungry. He looked at Carlos and tried to focus, “What’s up?”
Carlos reported without emotion, “They’re making their move, just like you said. They just parked two full-sized vans a hundred yards up the Rue Nova Brasília.”
João jumped up and turned on his monitors. He had been waiting for just this scenario. “Okay, go release my toys and take positions.” Carlos left immediately.
João pulled up his super high-definition, night-enhanced, mini- rotating camera system. He had cameras secretly placed all over the entire Favela; after all, he had learned more than a trick or two from his former co-conspirators. As he brought up the screen he observed the vans . . . and then he got the rush.
João was sitting on a big secret. In the history of the world, he was in the top percentage as far as people he had single-highhandedly killed in battle. It had to be in the hundreds, maybe even the thousands.
When they attacked the Bush Carrier Group, they were only supposed to aim for the propellers to disable them. But he purposely drove a five-hundred-pound bomb directly into the belly of their supply ship, knowing it would be loaded with easy kills.
He mused, imagine if the world knew he was alive and what he had done. He would become the next Osama bin Laden. He might have been born poor and ignorant, but he was neither any longer.
The red light came on and his hand controller was ready. It got fun from here. He saw four men exit the vans, two from each. He could see they each had an AK-47 slung over their backs and a grenade in their right hand. So that was the plan, they think they know where I’m staying and they want to blow me to pieces.
João put false information out all the time as to where he was staying, so surely the grenadiers would have missed their mark tonight, regardless.
He saw them sneaking up the sidewalk, staying in the shadows. It was now time to have some fun. He launched the first RC car by them at forty miles per hour. Slack-jawed, they watched it go by and zip right under the van holding six of the Ramos hombres. The van exploded with a concussion that shattered more than a few local windows.
All the occupants were dead before they knew there was danger. The street grenadiers were in no man’s land now, not knowing if they should run for it through the inferno or continue the mission that was obviously blown? They didn’t have long to decide before the second RC zipped by and headed for the other van, which was already on the go and was now turning around. The occupants in that van saw the black streak coming down the street and managed to get the side door open. Two of them actually made it part way out of the vehicle before the remote bomb blew them out, a good fifty feet away. The other four perished in the second massive explosion.
That was all the grenadiers needed to see; the battle was over before it had started and they ran as fast as they could back to the Avenida Itaoca, back to their Favela Itarare. With the fire burning on the left and the middle, they had to go to the right. After they cleared the vehicles they stopped and gathered the two wrecked bodies that had blown out of the van, both tattered and bleeding out of their ears. They were carrying their brothers . . . really half dragging them, when they turned the corner right into the firing squad.
Before they could react, the Ants wiped them out, their unused grenades falling to the ground, as did their bodies and weapons. Without delay, Ant’s seemingly came out of woodwork, collecting all of the weapons from the dead Ramos soldiers.
Up the street, another group of Ant’s were collecting all of his wireless cameras that were mounted with magnets around the street. Just like that, it was over and they were gone, along with any traces of them. No one would dare speak against them in their Favela. The UPP could kiss his ass.
Even if they went door to door, all that they had used here were some strong plastics and some electronics, which the authorities would never find, as both had been incinerated.
João had five screens in all, and he was focused on the gang’s efficiency at removing the cameras in a timely fashion, which was up to his expectations. One by one they were taking down his cameras and he was losing views. He was still focused on his main zoom camera though, one that was well hidden and did not need to be removed.
He was so busy congratulating himself and lost in the rush that came from barbecuing those putos or he might have heard the small creak the door had made. Although he didn’t hear the assassin, he felt his presence and by the time he turned around, the Ramos assassin’s knife was a foot from him and coming down hard.
His reactions probably would have allowed him to get his arm up and take it from there, but he never got the chance. The black streak came out of the corner and his protector had his assailant by the wrist and was gnawing fiercely before the man knew what had happened.
As he was leaving the compound in Ecuador two years before, he had found one of the dogs the gringo had been training. The dog had been wearing a bulletproof vest and he looked so badass that João just had to have him. The dog came to him right away and accepted him as his new owner ever since that day, without question. João was a hundred and thirty pounds, and Gringo, his dog’s name, was now a hundred and twenty. His assailant was his size and the fight was not going well.
Of course, by now he had his Beretta out and the fight was over no matter what, but this was a good time to give the dog a taste for blood and death. João gun butted the knife out of his assailant’s hand and the Ramos assassin screamed in pain. He kept punching the dog in the face with his free left hand, but the dog would not let go of the right. He was screaming and then he tried to bite Gringo, but João gun butted him in the head and he fell back. That was it. He had exposed his neck and the dog went for the kill.
To his credit, the gringo, Matt, did not train these dogs to wound. The beast grabbed the assassin’s throat and clamped down. His reaction was what João would have done—he reached for the dog’s eyes. So João broke his fingers as Gringo crushed the gurgling man’s throat with a syrupy kind of sound he would never forget. He called the dog off and sat him down. João noted that Gringo looked like a satiated lion after the kill.
João went out only to find his entire security detail dead—all of their shirts had a red dot where their hearts were located. He looked at his new best friend by his side and vowed to never again be anywhere without him. He went back to his monitors. There was one still lit up. He called a number, Carlos answered, and he asked if it was in position? The answer was affirmative.
Across the Hill, one of the Ramos runners arrived at their headquarters bearing a grave message for all, but he was so out of breath that he could barely deliver it. Finally, he stammered out, “Estão todos mortos.”
They were the last words spoken in the room full of Ramos leaders. João‘s remote copter hit the window and its plastic explosive cargo took care of the Ramos boys and their entire headquarters. That should slow down their growth, João thought, and turned off his last monitor as the sounds of the madness he had unleashed were unfolding throughout the city.
Ant’s came in and took away all evidence of the control station. They also had the ghastly job of removing and cleaning up his fallen security detail. Although João hated to admit it, he had learned a lot from Pablo as well. He opened his window and listened to the wonderful sounds of chaos. He heard a tortured scream come from far off and a large smile appeared across his face as he and his new friend lay back on the bed.
He lit up a joint and enjoyed the rest of the night, the sounds of sirens and screaming and madness. Some people might like to hear pleasant words and sounds before they fell asleep to help them ease off into a peaceful night’s rest. But João found the scene outside to be the most cathartic night he could ever remember, and for sure this was the most relaxing bedtime story he’d ever experienced. Actually, it was the only one he had ever experienced.
An especially excruciating wail came from across the hill, yet it somehow made it through the cacophony of sound that was happening outside. João imagined it was the mother of one of the Ramos leaders. She must have just come upon the completely destroyed casa that João arranged and found her son mangled and dead.
He wanted this night to last forever, but unfortunately for him, he was back asleep some time in the middle of the helicopter search of his Favela.
"After reading the first two books in the Harbinger of Change series, I could not wait until I got my hands on number three, Without Wrath. All three books are fast paced and take unexpected turns, like an olympic bobsled run. Great characters come and go and the story continues leaving you wanting more. Kudos to Timothy Jon Reynolds, a great new author has entered the ring."
– Rob Mckelvy
"The third book, Without Wrath in Reynolds' series, the Harbinger of Change, has a vivid cast of characters and a story line with a lightning pace with numerous twist and turns from beginning to end. By the end of the book I was left wanting more and am definitely looking forward to Reynolds next read in this series, Chesed."
– M.R. Sandridge
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