Looking back, I saw Growly zip up his trousers and climb back into the helicopter. The pilot pulled the door shut and lifted off, waving to me as he rose into the air. I waved back, then ducked away from the swirl of spitting sand. The helicopter circled once and headed west. The sound faded.
The desert was silent except for the hum of the electrical power lines a few hundred yards away. The wind ruffled my shirt, flapped my trouser legs. I turned in a slow circle, wondering what to do now. And thinking about the words of the PR guy: They said, we don't get out of the helicopter, remember?
"Hey! Hey, you!"
I looked back. A door had cracked open in the white power block. A man's head stuck out. He shouted, "Are you Jack Forman?"
"Yes," I said.
"Well, what the hell you waiting for, an engraved invitation? Get inside, for Chrissake."
And he slammed the door shut again.
That was my welcome to the Xymos Fabrication Facility. Lugging my bags, I trudged down the dirt path toward the door.
Things never turn out the way you expect.
The foregoing is excerpted from Prey by Michael Crichton. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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