The oppressive heat was exhausting. The way the sun shone down on the desert sand blinded Mac as he walked out of the command post. They were getting ready to do a run. Mac wasn’t excited about it. Especially the way Twitch kept jumping at every noise.

“You gonna be ok, brother?” Mac asked as he eyed his cousin warily.

“Keep your eyes open. I have a bad feeling about this one,” he replied looking back and forth.

“You worry too much,” Andy said as he walked out the door.

“I keep your ass safe with my worrying mind,” Twitch reminded him.

“Yeah, yeah,” he laughed.

“How about you all stop acting like a bunch of girls and load up,” Marcy laughed maniacally as she bounced out of the room and sidled up to Mac.

“Damn, that’s cold, Pix!” Andy laughed.

Marcy lunged at him. She hated being called that. Mac chuckled to himself. She was lucky that Andy was a close friend. Any other man on that base would have taken that as a challenge. Female or not, she might be in some trouble.

Mac grabbed her around the waist and hauled her over his shoulder. Marcy shrieked and thrashed in an attempt to get away.

“Babe! Babe! You gotta calm down,” Mac laughed.

“Tim! Put me down right now!” She yelled.

Mac smacked her on the ass and looked to Griffin.

“Which Humvee is she in?”

“She’s with Andy’s team,” he replied with a look of confusion.

“Crap!” Mac swore and carried her over to the vehicle. “Andy is driving. He has to keep his eyes on the road don’t mess with him.”

“Yes, Dad,” she smirked.

Mac groaned. He knew that smirk. She wasn’t one to let things go that easily. He shook his head in defeat and yelled for Twitch.

“Tell her what you just told me,” he ordered, angry,

“Don’t do anything stupid, Pix. I have a bad feeling,” Twitch said softly.

Her eyes widened in shock and she nodded. Everyone knew not to mess with Twitch and his gut. She kissed Mac on the cheek and got into the back of the vehicle.

Love you, Big Mac,” She smirked.

Love you, Pix,” He replied. “See you in a while.”

If Mac had only known how fast that while would be he never would have let her get in that Humvee.

About twenty miles from base the truck rocked and the loud roar that filled his head nearly took him to his knees as he watched in horror as the other vehicle flipped in the air and landed on its top.

Mac and Twitch were the first to race from the truck. Twitch ran to the front of the vehicle as Mac ran to the far side and pried open the door. The smell of sulfur and gun powder nearly made him gag. It was mixed with metallic smell of blood and Mac searched the wreckage for any survivors.

He found her curled in a ball with a piece of shrapnel sticking out of her arm. She was crying like he had never heard before. He scooped her up as gently as possible. He didn’t want to hurt her but the smell of gasoline was tickling his nostrils. He had no idea how long it would be before the truck blew but he knew that it wasn’t a matter of if it blew, it was a matter of when.

Marcy moaned as he waded through the truck and as soon as he cleared the door he heard Griffin scream and a moment later they were airborne. The last thing that registered in his brain was to hold onto Marcy. Then, everything went black.