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Liberty’s Child (Part Thirteen)

Liberty’s Child

A Jack Collier Mystery

By Brett N. Lashuay

Look here for last week’s entry!

 

Day Thirteen: Or Not

 

            I had all the windows down and open, I’d even pulled the fabric sun blocker from the over head so that Columbia could stick her hands out through the open sun roof. It was actually kind of nice, sitting besides her and just diving like we were. You could forget your problems at a time like that, with a beautiful young girl sitting next to you on a warm night, driving on a lonely stretch of highway, just yourselves and the music to distract you. Only one thing could really damage a moment like that and we were on I-94, about ten minuets after going past New Baltimore when it happened.

 

            I was watching the rear view mirror, just to make sure of who was or wasn’t following us, and about half a mile after the last on ramp, I noticed a pair of headlights. This was no big deal, but kept my eye on them. Columbia was explaining something about international economic law, and how her father’s company was breaking it, when the headlights behind me went out.

 

            I may be paranoid, and I might have issues, but I know a problem when I see it. Those headlights had just gotten on the free way, and then their head lights went right out when they thought no one was looking. They did everything too early though, came on too early, turned their lights off too early, everything. They were giving me time to think of something to do.

 

            “Fuck.” I said noticing that they didn’t come back on any time soon.

 

            “What?” She asked.

 

            “There is a bar over head and another one on the door.” I said, trying to sound calm as I pressed down on the gas. “Please grab them.”

 

            “What’s going on?” She asked looking worried, but doing what I’d told her. I hit the top window’s button and grabbed the end of the fabric sun blocker for that window and zipped it shut on an automatic impulse. I was about to close the windows but decided that having them to open would preferable to shooting through the glass.

 

            “Someone has decided to take you back.” I said, and as the moon broke through some clouds I could see that the large truck was much closer than I wanted.

 

            I pushed the gas down to the floor and the large needle on the Mini’s over sized speedometer swept down towards the stereo. The problem was that I could see the big SUV was closing in. At this speed, all they’d need to do would be to bump one of my corners to send me into a spin. The Mini couldn’t keep up with whatever company had made that truck. We flew past one of those small bridges that traffic cops use to cross from one side of the free way to the other and a thought occurred to me, if I couldn’t out run them I might be able to out think them. While I composed my thoughts, Lucas With the Lid Off started to play on the ipod. The SUV came dangerously close to ramming range and I decided to go with my idea.

 

            “You know what the funny thing is?” I asked as I put my hand on the gear knob.

 

            “What’s that?” She asked as the wind blew her hair back dramatically.

 

            “I do all this for two hundred and fifty dollars a day, plus expenses. Hardly seems worth it some days.” I put my foot down on the clutch, took the car out of gear, and slammed down on the break with one easy motion, yanking up on the parking break in hope that it might help slow me down.

 

            The tires screamed as if were subjecting them to some kind of arcane torture that had been outlawed centuries ago for being even too nasty for the Spanish Inquisition to perform. The SUV sailed past, and it would be miles before they even had a reaction to what I was doing. I gave the wheel a slight adjustment, let the parking break up and the car spun gently around. I put the car back into gear and tore up the freeway, going the wrong way. A police officer must have seen what was going on because he was coming across the same small path I intended to use with his light blaring. I passed him too close and the driver’s side mirror from both our cars smashed in a crunch of glass and plastic.

 

            The officer’s siren went on as he passed me by and I could see another car nearly hit the cop when they both tried to cross at once. That was bad news, because the SUV was just coming across which meant we were now outnumbered something awful. I could have taken the SUV with the cop’s help, but now we were in real trouble. The SUV had turned its lights back on, and was coming up on the rest of this little pack of cars that were going down the road as fast as we all could.

 

            “There’s a cop!” She shouted over the wind. “Why don’t we stop?”

 

            “One officer.” I said. “This late at night, he’s got his side arm, maybe a shot gun if we’re lucky. They’ve got two cars, no doubt with three guys each, all armed. I’m not stopping until a fucking swat team shows up with lots and lots of guns, and then maybe not then.”

 

            I looked in the back window at the SUV, which had pulled up next to the highway patrol car. There was another flash besides the ones from the cop car and it suddenly swooped off the road and into the field next to the road, where it stopped. I knew then that we were pretty much fucked. The car, which was some variety of Mercedes, pulled up next to us. There were four of them in the car, and the one in the front passenger seat was rolling down his window.

 

            “Pull over.” He shouted.

 

            “What?” I screamed out the window, using the motion to cover the fact that with my right hand I was grabbing the Webley from its holster.

 

            “Pull over.” He shouted again, trying to sound louder. “We just want the girl.”

 

            “What?” Columbia screamed.

 

            “They say they just want you.” I said, seeing the SUV was coming up from behind to box us in.

 

            “Stop now.” The man said pulling out his gun and aiming it at me.

 

            “Okay.” I said nodding.

 

            “What?” She screamed and I took my foot off the gas and we started to slow down a little.

 

            I then raised the gun over the window’s edge and pulled the trigger twice, then put my foot back down on the gas. The driver of the car wasn’t fooled though and kept up even though his passenger was dead. I saw the other two fooling around in the back seat and let up on the gas just long enough to see them. I pointed the gun into the back seat and fired three times, then deciding I was through with this car fired at the front tire.

 

            The tire exploded, and it was then that I realized what a dumb idea that was. The Mercedes banked right very hard and the front of the Mini struck it. The SUV behind us didn’t have time to react and plowed into the back end of the car. The car swung in a hared arc to the right and then began to roll over.

 

            The car made crunching noises as we tumbled over and the world began to turn in actually a pretty slow motion. There wasn’t as much sound as I would have expected after the first roll, and those first noises were primarily glass breaking. The car didn’t seem to bounce, just roll a couple of times and then come to a stop. The windshield and back window had managed to go through all of that without even cracking, but when I looked behind I noticed the windows in the back seat hadn’t been so lucky. I figured that there were probably two window shaped sections of shattered glass, holding their basic shapes in defiance of being destroyed.

 

            I was surprised that none of the air bags decided to burst open. I wondered for a moment, as we slowly rolled over again, if there wasn’t something wrong with their sensors or something. Maybe the whole thing happened too slowly for it to kick in or something, I don’t know.

 

            What’s amazing is that we landed upright with all four wheels on the ground. The car had stalled in its roll, but beyond that we were alive. I put my foot down on the clutch and turned the key, and thanked the gods of automotive quality as the car started right up with its customary call of joy. I put the car I gear and heard something whine as we started. One of the tires had slipped off its rim and went flat, but I would deal with that later, right now we were going to get away.

 

            Or at least we were going to.

 

            The problem with the plan was that the SUV struck my door and the air bags exploded around me. They popped open from the side of the seat, the steering wheel, and I would have sworn that the gear knob popped open and a small air bag deployed from that. We slid maybe ten feet side ways before hitting something and rolling again. This time we stopped rolling on my side of the car. We were just on the shoulder of the road, another push and we’d go down into the ditch next to the freeway. I noticed the glass was gone from the top window, but the fabric cover remained. That would at least give me a few seconds where they couldn’t see what I was doing.

 

            “Are you alright?” I asked as I opened the arm rest compartment and pulled out my black plastic punch dagger.

 

            “I think so.” She said.

 

            “Okay.” I said unbuckling my seat belt. “When I get out, you unbuckle and get into the back seat as fast as you can. Okay?”

 

            “Okay.” She said.

 

I reached back with my right hand and pulled the Marley thirty-eight out. I had no idea where the Webley was and at that moment I didn’t feel inclined to go looking. I held the black punch dagger, a present from a friend a year or two ago, against my arm so that no one would see that I had it until the last moment.

 

            “Are you still alive in there?” Someone from the black SUV asked us.

 

            They opened their doors and started to walk toward us with intent. Their boots making crunching noises as they walked across the shattered glass littering the streets. I drew back the hammer of the Marley and waited until one of them was almost close enough to touch the car. I aimed as carefully as I could in the cramped conditions and when I was sure of my self, fired a single shot that went right up his nose and through his brain. There was a considerable amount of scurrying back as he hit the ground and I used that opportunity to burst through the window, or wiggle through the best that I could. I saw something move as I started to come out and fired at it. I heard a shout as the bullet hit someone in some part of their body. I ran around the back of the car and used it to cover from the shots that hit the hood.

 

            “Don’t!” Someone yelled. “She’s in there, we can’t risk it!”

 

            “That’s right mother fucker.” I muttered as I thumbed back the hammer. “You’re going to have to come out and get her, and then get shot by me.”

 

            I patted my sides to find the speed loader for the Marley, and then realized that it was in my jacket pocket, which was in the back seat of the car, which was only a few feet away in actual distance but was a million miles from here in reality. I had four rounds left, and an unknown number of assailants to kill, which was just great really. I looked down at the stones on the shoulder, it all else failed I could declare my enemies dumb and throw rocks at them. I held the punch dagger tight between my fingers, just glad to have something in my hand.

 

            My only solace was that there had to be about a dozen cars on their way by now, you couldn’t have what happened here happen and not get a full alarm going off. If I could wait them out for just five minutes, I’d be fine. As it turned out, I was actually right about the time it took them to show up. Of course the down side was that these would prove to be five of the longest minutes of my life.

 

 

This is part thirteen of twenty-three, come back next week for part fourteen and every Thursday until we’re done to see what happens next. If you get lost, one of the tags here should help you. The Liberty tag will take you to the story while the Jack Tag will take you to Part One of every story we post here.

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June 18, 2009 - Posted by | Fiction, Jack |

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