Greg Preston thought about dying.
Under the circumstances, it was hard to think of anything else. He was standing in a nearly-dark warehouse, a
manmade cave of emptiness and shadow. He stared at the only source of light, an open loading door admitting the
pallid glow of streetlamps.
He felt the sweat on the palm of his right hand where it clutched the hard, alien shape of a .45-caliber automatic pistol.
The gun was unnecessary, really, the police insisted. Greg didn't share that opinion.
A shifting in the darkness behind him reminded Greg that he wasn't the only person in the warehouse. Five steps back
crouched a heavily armed police officer. On the floor above were fifteen others, and twenty more were hidden in the
warehouse office or the vans outside. He wondered for the hundredth time if they would be enough.
It was all a trap, a trap for something most people would never believe existed. Not in the twenty-first century, and
certainly not in southern California. Greg Preston was the bait, and no matter how many cops backed him up, he still
felt naked and vulnerable in a way he'd never felt in his life.
An odd bit of old English poetry swirled into his head. Now who wrote that? Allingham, maybe.
Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men.
Greg held the gun even tighter.