Sequel to The Fired Gun
In the third installment of the Talisman Wars series, Dakota takes his teenage daughter Kenna on dangerous missions in an attempt to prevent the war from spreading. But an encounter with mutated monstrosities reveals a new and powerful enemy whose plans are as secretive as they are terrifying.
When Dakota goes missing, Kenna must step up and locate him at any cost. She relies on new and old friends to help her, but the responsibility to save him falls directly on her shoulders. Frantic, she travels across the country in search of her dad ... and is willing to kill anyone who gets in the way.
Can she find him before it's too late?
Wind whipped through the little prairie town. Small branches, papers, garbage. They flew by with little impact on the two visitors. But Ken could already see larger things rocking back and forth with increasing speed. Loose shingles on a nearby building -- containing a handful of stores and offices -- lifted up slightly. Pieces of dust and dirt hit her cheeks and felt like sandpaper. The storm had to be getting closer.
Which meant they were right on target. For weeks, Dakota and Ken tried, unsuccessfully, to catch up to the creator of more than a hundred magic-made tornados. While they still had no idea what the person even looked like or why they targeted tiny boroughs, seemingly at random, there was one thing Dakota and Ken could use to their advantage. Twisters were unpredictable, but not impossible to understand. They acted in very specific ways depending on conditions, terrain, and other factors. It took a crash course in meteorology, but eventually, Katya and Kenna got a handle on what was and wasn't normal.
If, for instance, a funnel cloud appeared out of nowhere, that was a pretty good indicator that it'd been started by a talisman. Same if it appeared in a mountainous area or seemed to follow a very direct, linear path or road. The latter was their foe's calling card. Whoever it was, they used a vehicle of some kind, started the storm in the middle of an empty place where no one could see, and then guided it along a highway or sometimes a dirt road before turning it loose on an unsuspecting municipality.
That was the pattern. The only piece of information they had. Twister shows up. Levels a town. Disappears. Along with any trace of the bastard who created it.
Most of the time, the duo was simply too far away to get there in time. Their one other encounter was pure coincidence. They happened to be in the area. More luck than skill. This time, they'd been listening to the weather practically 24/7. For days, there had been strange tornadoes heading south on Route Eighty-One. A big funnel steamrolled El Reno, just outside of Oklahoma City. The largest town so far. And a few individual farms were wiped off the map, in addition to smaller towns.
Next in line was a place called Union City, but it constituted little more than a village, floating aimlessly in a sea of patchwork crops. The people here knew they lived in Tornado Alley. They assumed this was a normal storm, and thus, they took normal precautions. Seeking shelter. Locking up. Running for safety. They'd gotten early warning from the weather service. Ken swore she could still hear the ringing from the alarms.
The pair, alone, stood in an empty street near the northeastern corner of town. They'd gotten there in time, Ken thought. For once. They would save this place like they did in New Mexico. And maybe, just maybe, track down the jerk responsible.
She readied the ropes and other gear they would need to keep their feet on the ground. Dakota gladly accepted the equipment. But when she moved to hook herself in -- this time to a sturdy outcropping of a house's foundation -- he stopped her. "Only one of us can fight the storm," he spoke over the howling wind. "There's no reason you have to be here for this. You need to go inside, find some place safe."
Shaking her head, Ken glared in his direction. "We should stick together."
"Not on this one," he continued. "Find a basement or something. I'll call you when it's all over."
"I'm not gonna hide while you risk your life!" When he didn't budge, she came up with a new plan. "Some of the farm people to the east might not know trouble's coming. I can go and warn them, maybe take shelter there. Either way, I'll be out of the storm's path."
Dakota reluctantly nodded. "Go quickly. And be careful."
She didn't have to be told twice. With wind literally beneath her heels and her rifle strapped behind her back, she took off at a full sprint down a side road that would lead her out of the town.
There were five farms at a reasonably close distance. Almost all of them had long driveways. She knew it would take up valuable time to go down each one, but what choice did she have? With her heart pounding and her lungs beginning to ache, she ran up to the properties and slammed her fist against the front doors.