Hit and Run

Posted: February 23, 2013 in End of Times, Fiction

The ground rushed up at her.  Feet together, down.  Sneakers hit grass and broken glass.  Ankles bend.  Knees bend.  Forward at the hip.  Left shoulder down.  Chin to chest.  Rolling forward, crunching more glass.  Hair splaying everywhere.  The backpack slid free, caught in the mangled left hand.  Feet spun overhead, slammed back to the earth, knees straightened, and she was up and running.  Sprinted across the grass, yanked open the door of the pickup.  Her mauled hands shot fire up her arms with every motion.  Blood speckled the vehicle.  She slung the pack into the passenger seat.

Above and behind her, two frustrated howls.  The demons disappeared back into the apartment.  The watcher jammed her hand into her pocket, whining through her teeth at the pain.  She fished out her keys, now slick with gore.  There was an instant’s fumbling to get the right key into the ignition, enough time for the two demons to appear at the bottom of the stairs.  They loped toward her as the truck roared to life.  She jammed the stick into first, mashed the gas to the floor, let the clutch up.

The tires screamed, threw the truck forward.  The still open driver’s door swung shut as she took off.  The demons fell into pursuit behind her.  She watched in the mirror, felt the searing pain of her hands, tightened her grip on blood-slicked controls.  She braked hard.  “Fuck you,” her voice dripped venom.  She yanked the stick into the reverse position.  The engine roared with all her anger, the tires squealed her frustration.  The truck jumped backward at the demons.  She looked backward over her shoulder, right arm across the seats, left holding the wheel steady.  Both demons jumped.  One was fast enough.  The truck slammed into the other with all the watcher’s rage.  Its scaled carapace cracked visibly, then it disappeared under the truck.  A rapid double thump marked its passing under the tires.

She mashed the brakes, looked forward.  The last demon had turned to face her, black scales and beady eyes glittering in the ultrabright headlights.  Back into first gear, tires chirped, truck lunging forward again.  The beast stepped out of the path, but she was ready.  It stepped right.  She popped the door latch, kicked the driver door open, never letting off the gas.  The window shattered as the monster’s squamous head went through it.  A drumbeat and a crack of the thing’s ribs, and the door slammed closed again.  She palmed its face off of the door and was rewarded with a thump as the beast fell under the back tire.  She shifted up, and was on the road again.

She steered with her knees, pulling her shirt off over her head.  She wrapped it around her left hand, stanching the bleeding.  She palmed her makeshift bandage on the steering wheel and wrapped her right up in the sleeve of her labcoat.  “How are these bastards finding me?” she wondered aloud.  Her pocket computer beeped.  Anders Johnson’s voice came from her front pocket.

“… easy to find,” He said.  “I mean, these were the Horsemen of the damned Apocalypse!  Conquest was makin’ our troops real damned effective against each other.  War was turnin’ all our weapons against us.  Famine, well, I mean, we was all hungry anyway.  His job was easy.  Pestilence was the same.  No working hospitals, and the bugs… “

Silence for a moment.  She heard nothing but the wind noise and the engine.

“Whenever we had some toy we could use to fight back, or something they wanted or needed, my best guess is that ol’ War would just hijack any of our satellites.  That or magic.  Shit.  You damn bookworms didn’t figure this out?”  A muffled reply.  “Well, it didn’t matter.  We couldn’t use our satellites and they could suss out anything they wanted to find.  May as well ‘ave been magic.”

“Pause playback,”  The watcher said.  So there was no stopping.  They’d find her wherever.  She’d had five minutes at home before the first demon had shown up.  She looked past her bloodsoaked shirt to the fuel gauge.  About three quarters of the tank left.  She needed to find help, and she needed to find the apparition.  Fast.

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