From A Night Too Dark, the seventeenth Kate Shugak novel:
He was running flat out, straight at them, squealing and growling a challenge, turf kicked up behind him by those long, sharp, deadly claws. Distantly, as if it were happening to someone else, she could feel his weight hitting the ground, a steady, rhythmic vibration up through the soles of her feet. His thick, gleaming hide rolled in loose, flapping folds around flesh diminished by a winter’s hibernation.
He couldn’t possibly have been moving that fast before, the thickness of the brush would have impeded him as surely as it would have stopped Kate and Old Sam’s escape. Once he was in the clearing he moved at a flat-out four-gaited gallop, the hind legs following the fore legs in a dedicated integration of muscle and bone and attitude that she would have recognized as sheer beauty if she hadn’t been standing on the finish line. He was the size of a Humvee, coming at her with the hammer down and armored with teeth and claws, and she concentrated all her awareness on the tiny bead at the end of the barrel of her rifle. She blew out another breath, and held it.
The bead wavered a little before steadying, and suddenly bead and bear’s head sprang into acute and equal focus. His head came up in mid-stride, some instinct as primeval as the forest behind him alerting him to the danger. For a fleeting moment their eyes met, and it flashed through her mind that she had seen that expression or something very like it before. The eyes, dark, near together, near-sighted, and bent on the annihilation of his target. Looked just like Harvey Meganack’s when he was intent on scoring against Kate at an NNA board meeting.
She pulled the trigger without volition, an act of instinct and self-protection. As if coming from a great distance, she heard the report of a rifle shot, and after what seemed like forever felt the rifle’s butt kick into her shoulder.
The bullet penetrated eye and occipital bone and ricocheted around the inside of the skull. The bear’s head flung back with such force that it broke his neck. His front legs went out from beneath him and the forward motion backed by his mass was so great that he slid the remainder of the mere twenty feet that had separated them when the bullet entered his right eye and made mush of his brain.
When his body slid to a halt, his head flopped forward. The tip of his short, blunt nose was just touching Kate’s boot.
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