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Heirs of Cain

cain

Fallen angels—the last words of a dying man.

To the local cops, the words are meaningless. But legendary assassin Cain knows exactly what they mean—a hit is in the works. And the target is big.

Joining forces with his old boss, General Lucas White, Cain soon learns that Seneca, a former ally, has been hired to kill the U.S. president and three top Middle East leaders. With the clock ticking, Cain pursues Seneca, unaware of the deadly betrayal that could sabotage his mission. And cost him his life.

From the dark jungles of Vietnam to the midnight shadows of Central Park, Heirs of Cain takes its readers on a thrilling ride they won’t soon forget.

Reviews:
Ranked 13th on Gelati’s Scoop’s Top 20 Best Summer Reads in 2010

“Powerful and compelling. This story is so intense …that you will still be breathing it and thinking about it for a while after you’ve turned the last page.”
–Night Owl Review (April 2010)

Heirs of Cain is graphic, chilling, exciting and thoroughly worth the time to read. For those who are daring enough to step out of their typical reading genre, I invite you to check out Heirs of Cain. For all others…enjoy!”
–Sabrina Marino, FreshFiction.com (April 19, 2010)

“This is a fast-paced and intriguing thriller. Wallace keeps the story moving at a breezy pace . . .”
–David Pitt, Booklist (March 2010)

A gritty thriller…Wallace raises interesting questions about moral relativism and how trained killers can adapt to civilian life.
–Publishers Weekly

EXCERPT: 

North Vietnam, October 5, 1971 Nguyen Van Luc stood on the riverbank, shifting nervously from one foot to the other, watching intently as the small boat silently cut through the murky water.

In the darkness, with the dense jungle at his back and a cold moon overhead, Nguyen, a notorious Vietnamese operative and black marketer, had but two things on his mind:

Pass along the message and get away as quickly as possible.

He didn’t care for these men, didn’t trust them. Most of all, though, he feared them.

Especially the leader, the one called Cain.

All Vietnamese, North or South, friend or foe, feared him.

Cain.

The fuckin’ man was a legend on both sides of the DMZ. A stone cold assassin known for killing with his bare hands. A “Cain kill” was rumored to be so quick, so perfectly executed that the victim seldom experienced pain. It was also said that Cain never killed a man he couldn’t look squarely in the eyes.

Skeptics questioned whether this was the truth or merely another fabrication of the U.S. myth-making apparatus.

Not Nguyen. He knew it was true. He’d seen the man in action, killing with precision and cold indifference. Cain’s reputation was not built on falsehoods. It was built on body count.

Nguyen wanted nothing to do with a man like that.

With the boat only a few yards from shore Nguyen lit a cigarette, took two deep drags, and then tossed it into the water. Rubbing his hands together, he squinted into the darkness, silently counting the men in the boat. Five. Oh, shit. Fear stabbed at his heart. That many here this time. Even that crazy goddamned Indian, the one called Seneca. This must be big.

He plucked another cigarette from the pack and tried to light it. He couldn’t. His shaking hands wouldn’t cooperate. Frustrated, he threw the cigarette into the water and watched it float away. As the boat finally slid into the bank and the men came into focus, Nguyen’s fear overwhelmed him. He felt the warm piss stream down his legs.

Nguyen forced a smile, stepped back and watched as the men silently climbed out of the boat. They were dressed in dark pajamas, and their faces were painted black. Each one carried an M-16, a machete—and a knife.

Together, Nguyen thought, they looked like five faces of death.

When all five men were on the bank, Nguyen quickly pulled the boat behind a mango tree and covered it with bamboo and grass. His task completed, he took a deep breath, tried to steady his nerves, and then turned to face the five assassins.

The one called Snake, wiry and wild-eyed, put a hand on Nguyen’s shoulder. Nguyen spun around, terrified, heart beating rapid-fire.

“Lucky, my man,” Snake said. “Good to see you. We had our doubts about the fidelity of your commitment to our side.”

“Not to worry. Lucky always on side of money.”

Snake snickered. “A true patriot, huh, Lucky?”

“Patriot, yes. Lucky a patriot for sure.” Cain moved forward. “Did Houdini give you the map?”

“No need map,” He shook his head. “Lucky born near here. Village less than three kilometers away.”

“There’s supposed to be a map,” Cain said.

“Map in Lucky’s head.”

“Forget this shit, Cain,” Seneca said, stepping forward. “This ain’t playin’ out like we planned.”

“Yeah, Seneca’s right, man,” Deke said. “If this sorry slopehead is lyin’, we’re screwed. I may be just a dumb nigger from Chicago, but I ain’t stupid. No way we should go in blind.”

Holding up both hands, Lucky said, “I no lie. Village three kilometers west. Meeting in school building. Wife’s cousin work there. I know this area good.”

Nguyen looked into the faces of all five men, his eyes finally coming to rest on the one man who had remained silent, the only one who exhibited any degree of understanding or sympathy—the one called Cardinal. Nguyen’s scared eyes pleaded for a friend.

“What do you think, Cain?” Cardinal said, sensing Nguyen’s silent plea. “You trust him?”

“Trust him? No. Believe him? Yes. He has no reason to lie. He hates the North Vietnamese more than we do.”

“Yeah, and he hates us even more,” Seneca said. “I say, no way we go in. Houdini scrounged us a map. We use it, or we pull the plug.”

“We’re too close to pull out,” Cain said.

“Maybe we should have brought Rafe and Moon,” Deke said. “Maybe we’re travelin’ light.”

“We don’t need them,” Cain responded. “We’re going in.”

“No fuckin’ way,” Seneca said. Gray eyes narrowing, Cain moved two steps toward Seneca.

“With the gooks, you’ve got a chance,” he said, looking hard at Seneca. “With me, you don’t. Your call.”

The two men glared at each other for almost a minute. Seneca’s right hand touched his knife, his fingers dancing up and down the handle. The other four men watched, barely breathing, paralyzed, as though they stood in a minefield.

After several more seconds of thick silence, Seneca grinned slightly and then backed away. “Have it your way, Cain. You have the most stripes. And as we all know stripes rule.”

“Don’t challenge me, Seneca. Ever.”

The Indian sneered, said, “Yes, sir, Captain.”

Cain grabbed Lucky by the arm and pulled him close.

“If one of my men dies—one—I’ll hunt you down like a dog. And when I find you—and I will find you—I’ll cut your gook heart out and feed it to your children. Then I’ll kill them. Understand?”

Trembling, Lucky nodded and backed away. “General White speak to me this morning. Say give message to you.”

“Lucas? What message?”

Lucky dug into his shirt pocket, took out a piece of wadded paper, unfolded it, and handed it to Cain.

Cain read it silently, then out loud. “Tuez le messager.”

He carefully folded the note, looked at Seneca, and gave a slight nod. Seneca pulled Lucky forward, flashed a quicksilver smile, and then plunged his knife into Lucky’s chest. Eyes wide and registering total and absolute terror, Lucky staggered toward the water, dropped to his knees, looked around quizzically, and then collapsed into a spreading pool of his own blood.

“Dumb little slant-eyed bastard wasn’t so lucky after all,” Seneca said, wiping blood from his knife.

“Wonder what’s in his head now?” Snake said, laughing. “Wonder if that map will guide him into gook heaven?” “You believe gooks got their own heaven?” Deke asked.

“Nah, not really, ’cause they ain’t got a soul.” “All God’s children got a soul, Snake” Deke said. “Even the gooks.”

“Yeah, and all rats have fleas,” Snake answered.

Deke bent down and began rummaging through Lucky’s pockets. He stood up, holding a wad of U.S. money. Most of the bills were hundreds.

“Goddamn. Look at this,” Deke said. “Must be ten grand here. Where’d a little dink monkey like him come up with this kind of scratch?”

“War’s a profitable enterprise,” Snake said. “Everybody knows that.”

“Yeah, profitable for everybody but the killers,” Cardinal answered.

“Here. Take some,” Deke said, offering a handful of bills to Snake.

“Money’s not what I want,” Snake said, moving toward the river’s edge. “What I want is to waste every dink in this fuckin’ shit-hole country. Every fuckin’ dink, regardless of what side he’s on. They’re all useless, chicken-shit, untrustworthy slopeheads. I wouldn’t give you a drop of spit for any of them.”

Snake yanked Lucky’s body into a sitting position and, with a single swing of his machete, separated head from torso. He held up Lucky’s head, kissed his cheek, and then tossed the head into the river.

“Rest in pieces, Charles.”

The head hit the water and rolled over, eyes open and looking toward the night sky.

Deke said, “You is one cold motherfucker, Snake. One hard-hearted white dude.”

“Don’t pay to have a heart in this place,” Snake said.

“Pocket the money, Deke,” Cain ordered. “We need to move. It’s blood time.”

“My favorite time,” Deke said, stuffing the cash into his pocket.

Snake rolled Lucky’s body into the water. “One down. A million to go.”

Their destination: an old school building in the North Vietnamese village of Hoa Binh.

Their mission: kill nine high-level ARVN generals and two Russian advisers. Operation Nightcrawlers.

The final test; a preview of coming attractions.

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