by Kat Heckenbach -
Jax crouched behind the rock, sweat dripping down his back. His hand twitched around the spear held tight against his shoulder. The familiar click-click was getting louder quickly; the bug was close.
He stiffened and adjusted his grip on the spear as he anticipated the appearance of the beast. When it sensed his presence, it would rise up on enormous black legs, giant pincers threatening. But the triangular section of tender underbelly would be exposed—for one critical moment. Jax breathed deeply to calm himself.
Nothing had quite prepared him for the life of a bug hunter. Back home on Avenir he’d been a businessman. Suits, ties, meetings with people of power. People with the kind of power he wanted, so much so that he’d been willing to do anything…
Even putting his family in danger.
Then that morning came. The enforcers barreled through his front door, and Jax was dragged out of his home, hands and legs shackled. The anger in his wife’s eyes had hurt. The fear in his children’s eyes had nearly killed him.
He didn’t have to think twice about the offer from the government. Tell all about everyone he’d been involved with, every detail of their crimes, and be set free on Eclectia. His death was faked to take his accomplices off his trail. Of course it meant giving up his family, but it ensured their safety.
The clicking intensified, jarring Jax out of his thoughts. Every muscle in his body tensed.
A roar erupted from the other side of the rock. Jax counted, one, two, three… He jumped to his feet and aimed as the creature reared up. The spear left his hand, arced over the rock…whoosh…and lodged into the exposed flesh. The giant beetle screeched and dropped straight down, shaking the earth beneath Jax’s feet.
He stared as the beautiful, dying beast twitched, its legs curling and scraping the rocky ground. Then he lifted his gaze skyward, tears burning the corners of his eyes.