Saturday, 2 October 2010

Chapter Thirty-Eight

The engine of a police car was purring softly in front of them, perhaps thirty feet away.
“Oh God,” Jobe muttered, feeling his stomach drop at the sight.
“We’re fucked…” murmured Serima as creeping sickness began to seep through her, like blood turning to oil.
They thought they could escape the real world. They were wrong. She was certain now. The police would find the guns on them. They would link the three of them to the Aquinas. Prayer would be taken eventually, perhaps killed. Jobe would be thrown in prison. She would end up alone in some young-offenders unit…or maybe a psych-ward like mum, dead inside, babbling about magic and conspiracies. She would die alone.
But then she realised something, like catching a scent on the wind. The thought froze her for a moment.
This was not a real police car. It was a perfect replica.
The men inside would look and talk like police officers, but they wouldn’t be. Suddenly she was certain of this and an even darker poison seemed to flow through her, right to the tips of her fingers. She shuddered and held back the urge to burst into tears. The car’s neon blue lights began flashing silently, illuminating a halo of sapphire rain around it. She glanced at her brother. Tears were in his eyes too, but he was silent. She tried to say something to warn him, but the words wouldn’t form in her throat.
Jobe was feeling the same oily sickness, though he said nothing. All he could think was that he had thrown his life away. Not just his but Serima’s life too. He couldn’t take his eyes off the car crowned with silently revolving neon. And then a dawning sensation.
“Something’s not right.”
“Jobe,” Serima managed unevenly, “Jobe, they’re not feds. They’re not policemen.”
He couldn’t see the faces of the men inside, his view obscured by the glaring headlights. He looked at Serima. She was hunched over, holding her belly and rocking gently. “Damn it all to hell…”
He put his hand in Serima’s and she gripped it tightly. They waited. Still, no one got out of the car. Both vehicles purred, facing each other, about thirty feet apart. The police car was blocking the way back onto the road.
“Are they gonna kill us?” he heard himself ask. Serima didn’t respond, she just hunched over a little further. Another tide of icy dread tugged at the shore of Jobe’s mind.
“They want her,” Serima managed quietly, glancing tearfully at the purring police car. She’d been right all along. Tonight would be the night they died.
“Give me the gun…” Jobe muttered, then more forcefully, “Give it, now!” She shoved the pistol into his lap and he gripped it immediately, staring hard at her. “Hang the fuck on.” He gunned the engine suddenly, it roared as the Transit lurched forward.

As the two members of the extraction team in the silver police sierra unsheathed their weapons, about to step cautiously from the vehicle, the white van lunged forward, closing the gap between them in moments and slamming into the front edge of the car, clipping it and spinning it; a bloom of orange-white sparks, a metallic shriek.
“Reverse!” barked James Cullen, dropping low on the back seat. The driver tried to do as ordered but the Transit had too much force against them. Engine still roaring, it had them wedged, its bulky back end weaving slightly as the tires slipped around on the cement.
The bearded team-member in the passenger seat quickly raised his gun and fired two silenced shots through the windscreen, shattering it completely and spider-webbing the windscreen of the Transit a few feet beyond. Cullen snapped his gaze away just in time to give him a glimpse of his driver’s face, right temple punched by a fluke returning shot; blood, brain and splintered bone splashing silently across the inside of the sierra. Cullen dived into the foot-well of the back seat, pulling his weapon immediately.

Gunning the engine as hard as he could, trying to crush the car completely, lost in a momentary lust – the windshield spider-webbed. Serima screamed beside him and lunged below the window. The silent shots passed between them, slamming into the soft metal wall behind their heads. Oh, we’re gonna die…
Astonished, ears ringing, Jobe literally stepped on the accelerator pedal, tears streaming down his face at the thought of being killed instantly. With only one hand at the wheel, he shoved the gun’s silencer through the small hole in the ruined windshield and fired twice. We’re gonna die. He realised he was wailing. He threw the van into reverse and then surged forward again. In the time it took to accomplish, amidst the roar of twin engines, something nicked his left cheek without breaking the skin; Jobe’s heart boomed like a drum at the fleeting sensation.
God…
The Transit slammed into the police car again, clipping it and this time spinning it away completely, and the van burst forward into the approach lane. Jobe felt one of the back tires burst, the Transit pitching sideways for a second. Fuck. Jobe was thrown forward by a violent impact – he heard his sister scream as they were both hurled into the dashboard, into sudden blackness.

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