For Dead Eyes Only Chapter 1

Available at a bookstore near you now is the first Shadow Warrior novel, entitled For Dead Eyes Only. We present here the entire text of the first chapter of the book.  If you'd like to order the book, you can do so via our books page.

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FOR DEAD EYES ONLY by Dean Wesley Smith
ISBN: 0-671-01879-5

For Dead Eyes Only ©1997 Apogee Software, Ltd. - All Rights Reserved. Published by Pocket Books under license from GT Interactive Software Corp. Based on the computer game Shadow Warrior™ ©1997 3D Realms Entertainment -- All Rights Reserved.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof is any form whatsoever. For information address Pocket Books, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

Excerpt from
by Dr. K. D. Morgan

On the beaches of Southern California, the surfing population discovered an entirely new, and very dangerous sport: Continental Wake Surfing. With the American continent moving at such a high rate of speed toward Europe, huge forty to fifty foot waves formed behind the continent like a wake behind a boat. One surfer nicknamed "Tube" stayed on the same wave for twelve hours and six minutes before falling and never being seen again. Many consider his ride a world's record that will stand until the next time America heads toward Europe. However, there are Continental Wake surfers in Australia who claim they rode even longer. It will be up to a national panel to decide if Tube really holds the record or not.

Bullets pounded into the heavy, polished wood of the Sushi bar with distinct, individual smacks, one right after another, as if someone was cutting fish into small chunks. The smell of gun powder mixed with the smell of raw fish and cooked tempura. Not a normal smell, and Lo Wang took a deep, long breath. He loved sushi and high- velocity weapons. Mixing the two, until this afternoon, would have never crossed him mind. He might have to try it again later.

Smack. Smack. Smack.

Bullets tore into the wood. Gray smoke floated in clouds near the ceiling, mixed by the slow-moving fan. In one corner a woman sobbed. Beside him, behind the Sushi bar, two businessmen in gray suits crouched, wide-eyed. Obviously terrified. Sweat from the warm day and their terror dripped from their faces as if they had both just ran blocks to catch a bus.

Wang laughed. Today they would have a story to tell their office co-workers. And their grandchildren. The great Sushi bar shoot-out. He could just imagine how the one who cowered the most, whose pants dripped wet with fear, would tell the story as the hero. Ancient Japanese saying: Largest coward, biggest story.

Wang's stomach growled between the sound of another round of bullets pounding into the face of the bar where he'd been sitting just moments before. The only part of lunch he had received was the soup. Good soup, he would admit, but just not enough food to fill his hunger before he was so rudely interrupted by the dogs-who-call- themselves-men shooting up the fine Japanese restaurant.

His stomach rumbled again. Soup alone just wasn't going to hold him for long.

Smack. Smack. Smack.

He glanced around the area to see if he could locate anything to snack on, to calm the annoying growling of his insides. A dirt-covered piece of salmon lay on the floor. Nothing else was in sight behind the counter. Normally, he wouldn't have minded a little dirt on his raw fish, but salmon always gave him intense gas. And intense gas caused his housekeeper, Mrs. Minski, unnecessary stress in opening windows of his apartment. She had been complaining enough lately about always having to wash out the blood splattered on his clothes. Eating salmon wouldn't help her mood.

Again his stomach rumbled. Ancient Japanese saying: No food in sight, move sight.

He moved in front of the cowering businessmen and crouched so he could get a look around the end of the Sushi bar. He hadn't paid any attention at all to who had started the shooting. He had simply jumped over the bar, finishing his soup as he went. He expected to see a bunch of gang kids from the New York streets. This neighborhood had been riddled with gang problems lately. He normally would have known better then to stop here. He could have just gone the few extra blocks into New York's Chinatown. There, for certain, he would have been able to finish his lunch without the sound of gunfire and the smells of gunpowder changing the taste of the Sushi.

He glanced around the end of the bar and his blood ran cold, as if the thick heat of the summer afternoon had been swept away by an Arctic wind.

Two of the seven men facing him with guns wore the black and green headband he'd become so familiar with. These were no regular street gang kids tearing up a restaurant for personal gain or plain enjoyment.

No. These were Zilla's men. All seven of them.

Zilla's men were always highly-trained, armed-to-the-teeth, assassins. And for years now their only mission had been to kill him.

Zilla had double-crossed Lo Wang before, when Wang worked for Zilla's company as a Shadow Warrior in Japan. Wang had almost been killed, but had managed to get to the United States and recover while falling in love with high velocity weapons. Once healed, Wang had sworn revenge.

Now Zilla had made a mistake. He'd sent assassins to kill him again. In America.

Assassins who might know Zilla's location.

And, on top of that, they had disturbed his lunch.

Wang could have killed them all easily, but revenge is a dish best served raw. And in a Sushi restaurant, that seemed appropriate. He moved back to where the chef had knocked over a rack-full of large knives when he scrambled for the back room. Three knives still had small bits of fish clinging to their edges. He picked the pieces off and popped them into his mouth, letting their wonderful taste melt the edge off his hunger.

More bullets pounded into the bar.

Smack. Smack. Smack.

He studied the knives. It would be a waste to use such fine instruments on such meat as these assassins. He did have three guns on him, but in a Japanese restaurant, knives just felt right to him. Granted, that would be a slight nod back to his earlier, more traditional days as a Ninja, a Shadow Warrior in Japan. His old teacher, Master Shoji, would be proud. Master Shoji always said that feeling right about killing a man was more important than just killing him. Except, of course, if the man was about to kill you. Then feelings no longer mattered.

Master Shoji always had had a lot of exceptions to his rules.

Wang patted the guns slung over his back and tucked in his belt, enjoying their hard feel. Not that a good missile launcher didn't suit him just fine, like a baby in a mother's hands. But at this moment knives would be his choice. He had decided. Besides, it had been a few days since he'd killed someone with a knife. Falling out of practice was never a wise idea in his line of work.

Smack. Smack. Smack.

Wang ignored the bullets tearing up the bar at his back. Carefully he held each knife with one finger, making note of its weight and balance position. Shortly he had a dozen knives held lightly in his fingers.

Another round of machine-gun fire pounded into the bar and cut apart the hanging cloth above the cutting table, dropping dust and cloth down onto the already soiled hunk of salmon. One of the business men started to move, but Wang snapped him back into his crouched position with a simple tap on the shoulder.

With a finger wagging at the man, he said, "No. No. No." It was as if he was scolding a misbehaving child. There was no point in letting the businessman be killed. He would someday have grandchildren who needed a story. And a hero. And the businessman needed to be alive to tell the story of the great Japanese restaurant shoot-out. Wang stood and turned to face the gunmen, knives in both hands.

"Who want some Wang?"

Faster than the human eye could follow Wang threw, one knife at a time, at the startled men with guns.

Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.

Each knife struck a target, exactly where he had aimed.

Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.

Six assassins jerked backwards. Expressions of surprise covered their faces. Each had a knife buried to the hilt in his throat.

Lo Wang had noted often that a man who thinks he is invincible is always surprised when he is killed. Those six men looked very, very surprised.

With only one assassin left, Wang took two knives, and with a flick-flick, pinned both the man's arms tightly to the wall behind him.

Thunk. Thunk.

The man's AK-47 dropped to the floor, useless. Wang's throws had exactly cut all the muscles in both arms, leaving the man helpless and pinned like a butterfly in a child's science project.

With an easy bound, Wang jumped back over the now ruined Sushi bar and his empty soup bowl, and walked casually up to the assassin, spinning two knives in one hand like a cheerleader would spin a baton.

The assassin appeared to be of the same type that Zilla had sent to kill Wang numbers of times before in Japan. Young, not more than twenty, with cold, beady eyes, and hair cut so close it all stood straight up like some stiff brush. To Wang, sending such youth always seemed to be such a waste. It would have just been easier for Zilla to kill them himself. But it did give Wang practice. But practicing during lunch was not his idea of the best time.

The assassin's gaze was focused completely on the knives spinning in Wang's right hand. He seemed to ignore the blood flowing from his arms down the wall at his sides. Wang never ignored bleeding, especially if he was the one doing the bleeding. But it seemed Zilla had trained his men otherwise. Not a healthy training, in Wang's opinion.

With the knives spinning in a blur in front of the man's face, Wang said, "I hope you are paying attention."

The man nodded, too quickly.

"Zilla? His location, please?"

The gunman's expression changed from one of wanting to please to blank. He shook his head slowly, side to side. His eyes were filled with fear, but his lips were glued together by courage. A very deadly, and stupid combination.

Wang, without seeming to slow the spinning knives, snipped off a small piece of the assassin's nose and caught it in his left hand, holding it up for the assassin to see. "Looks like chicken," Lo Wang said, turning the hunk of nose around in front of the man. "Chicken a favorite of mine." Wang smiled, spun the hunk of nose around slowly in his fingers, licking his lips, then tossed the nose over his shoulder so that it landed near the business men behind the bar. They could keep it as a souvenir of their lunch. Maybe even dip it in plastic, mount it on a nice plaque, and hang in over the fireplace. Then when telling the story to their grandchildren they could point to the hunk of nose with pride.

The assassin's eyes were almost bulging out of his head. Blood poured from his nose and down the front of his face, spurting slightly at the beat of his heart. Wang moved the still-spinning knives closer to the assassin's face, then began to lower them slowly.

"Zilla?" Wang said, staring into the assassin's eyes while smiling and lowering the spinning knives toward the man's belt. "Or do I find a piece that look like pork?" Somehow the assassin's eyes got even bigger, then through the blood he sputtered,

"I don't know where Zilla is. But Tanaka does."

Wang backed the spinning knives away slightly and the man signed, which came out almost like a gargle because of all the blood.

"Tanaka?" Wang asked. "He have another name?"

The problem with the name Tanaka was that it was so common in Japan. Much like Smith or Jones in the United States. Without another name the information would be almost useless.

The assassin again shook his head, spraying blood in all directions. "Only Tanaka."

Wang nodded, discouraged. He could tell the instant a man began to speak the truth. This man was doing so. Of that, there was no doubt. But at least Wang now had one lead to Zilla's location. Now all he had to do was find a first name. Wang turned and started away. "I will let you live," he said, loud enough for the assassin to hear.

Then, without turning around, Wang flicked both knives underhand and backwards at the assassin.

Thunk. Thunk.

The knives cut off both ears of the assassin and pinned the man's head between the knives.

Wang laughed to himself. "Assuming someone can stop bleeding."

Wang knew that would not be possible. But the assassin deserved a slow, lingering death. He had broken down and given away his boss. There was no honor in such cowardly action. Better to die with lips sealed then live with hole in honor. Wang moved back to the Sushi bar and leaned over to look at the two businessmen who stared at the nose on the floor in front of them. "You can finish lunch now," Wang said. "Speak well of me to grandchildren."

The businessmen both nodded, but didn't stand.

Wang turned and headed for the front door and the busy New York City streets. This time he would go the extra two blocks to China Town before stopping for lunch. And meat first. No soup Just in case he was interrupted again by another group of assassins who wanted a piece of Wang.

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