I want to run, but the sirens are getting closer fast. Also, there are multiple chirps now. Not enough to be a swarm, but I’d guess it means there are more than one of those seeker drones out there now. I can’t be certain how many, but from the frequency of the chirping, I’d say they’re beginning to flood the area. The SPs know I’m here, no doubt.
A woman runs outside. A very worried look appears on her face as she sees me standing in her back yard.
“It’s you, isn’t it?” she says as a big smile grows. She has a rolling pin in her hands. I can already feel the pain from when she will inevitably bash me over the head with it. I stand in silence, not having a clue of what to do.
“Well, hurry up, come on, get inside,” she yells at me. I don’t even have words, I continue to stand there. She runs to me, grabs my hand and pulls me to the door. I try to stand my ground, but she’s much stronger than she looks.
She grabs the hand of the little boy as well and pulls him inside with us. She slams the back door and pulls me deeper into the house. She hurries around the house closing blinds as I stand in stunned silence.
“Wow, I can’t believe it. It’s really you.”
“Umm. . . yeah, it’s me. Are you going to–?”
“But we all thought you were dead!”
“Dead? Why?” Then it hits me. Eve.
“They found that friend of yours. She said you had died in the river. They’ve got hundreds of folks out there searching for your remains.”
That would explain why I haven’t seen any sign of the SPs for the last few days. They weren’t looking for me, well, not the real me anyways. And, of course, the first thing I do when I get into town is get spotted by some housewife. So much for me being good at what I do.
“So, is she–” I ask slowly, hoping the answer isn’t what I know it is.
“She’s still alive, but she’s being held captive. They’ve been making a very big deal of her hearing and execution.”
Good, she’s still alive. Not that she will be for much longer, but at least she is now.
“How did they find her?”
“I guess she was just walking through that town, what was it called again, Walter?”
The little boy responds brightly, “Tonwindo!”
“That’s right, Tonawanda. She was walking around aimlessly and, well, they took her in. They’ve been showing the video of her capture for days. She was in tears, bawling as she was captured and she didn’t put up much of a fight. It was almost as if she wanted to be caught.”
The sound outside is obnoxiously loud now. Helicopters and jets shake the house as they fly overhead. There’s no question they know where I’m at.
“Mrs.” she cuts me off, “but you can call me Patricia.”
“Sure, Patricia,” I repeat, “me staying here is just going to cause you a whole load of trouble, I mean, unless you’re planning on turning me in.”
“Of course not!” she exclaims. “You’re the symbol of the resistance. Our family is proud to support what you’re doing.”
“Okay, cool, but if I stay here, they’re going to bust your doors down and take us all in for treason. I’d hate to see little Walter here be put to death just because I hid out in your house.”
“Oh, right. Okay, but you’re not going to get very far if you head out there now.”
“No, probably not. But I can’t let them think you’re helping me. Plus, I’ve already made it further than anyone actually thought I would. It’s probably not the worst idea to just give up. It’ll save everybody a whole lot of trouble.”
“What? No, of course not! You’re a rebel, right? Rebel’s go down fighting.”
“Well, I don’t know if I would call myself a–”
“You know what? My husband’s got an old motorcycle he has been fixing up out in the garage. It’s not much, but it might be just what you need to get out of here.”
“But then they’d know you guys were helping me.”
“Oh, come on, I just throw out a couple of comments like, ‘He held a knife to my baby and threatened to kill him if I didn’t help’ and they’ll forget all about us.”
“Well, they think you’re pretty harsh,” she says matter-of-factly.
“Okay, fine. Lead me to the bike.”
“Have you ever driven a motorcycle before?” she asks.
“Tons of times,” I lie. Once. And that one didn’t end very well for the bike.
Patricia leads me to the garage and inside I see an old beast of a motorcycle.
“Does this thing actually run?” I ask.
“Oh, sure,” she responds. “I mean, Wayne hasn’t actually had the opportunity to try it out yet, but he had finally gotten it to start last week.”
“Awesome,” I laugh. Maybe it’ll blow up under me and leave nothing for the SPs to take home with them. That would serve them right.
“Here’s the key,” Patricia grabs a key out of a box by the door and hands it to me. “Now, are you sure you can drive this?”
“Don’t worry about it. You should probably head inside. Once this door opens, things are going to get pretty crazy.”
“Okay, um,” she hesitates, “drive safe, I guess.”
“I have a feeling my driving will be anything but safe.” I laugh. She laughs with me until it suddenly becomes awkward and uncomfortable. She gives me a sad look before disappearing inside without another word.
I step onto the bike and look down. After searching for a minute, I finally find the ignition and place the key inside. This could be trouble. I turn the key and the bike lurches out from under me.
Of course. I forgot to get out of gear. Guess my one previous attempt to ride wasn’t as educational as I had thought. This could be a lot of trouble. I set the bike back up, sit on it, and place the key in again. I kick at the gear peg until it’s all the way down. I believe that’s first. I kick it up one notch. If I remember correctly, that should be neutral.
I turn the key, holding down the clutch and the brake as I do so it won’t shoot out from under me like last time. The bike starts. I slowly release the clutch and the bike keeps running. If I had been in gear, I believe it would have stalled.
Alright, so far so good. I twist the throttle a few times to get used to how it feels. The engine revs loudly, filling the garage with sound. There shouldn’t be any question where I’m going to be coming from by the people outside waiting for me.
I get off the bike and run to the garage door opener button. I press the button and run back to the bike, hopping on as quickly as possible. As soon as there’s enough clearance under the door, I twist the throttle and let out the clutch. The front wheel lifts into the air as I move forward, but I hold on tight, and we’re out the door.
An army of SPs have gathered on the street. All of their attention turns to the loud motorcycle that has just joined them. I drive down the sidewalk accelerating as fast as I can while the SPs scramble to respond to my sudden presence. I’m almost past them before I hear gun shots.
I have to switch gears, something I wasn’t good at years ago when I rode that one time. The bike jumps as I switch into second. Not too bad. I kick into third, causing the bike to skip forward once again. I open the throttle up and move into fourth. I’m getting better at this. Just like riding a bike.
I don’t want to test my luck. Fourth should be fine.
I speed through the streets of the subdivision. There are still loads of SPs vehicles piling into the area, all trying to run me off the road. I almost flip over several times while swerving to avoid them. Somehow the bike manages to stay upright and moving forward.
Once I get away from the houses, I find a major roadway heading directly where my GPS wants me to go. I open up the throttle even further, risking a switch into fifth gear. Four point six four miles.
I’ve got a parade of Street Patrols behind me now, all flashing their lights. People pour into the streets to get a glimpse of me, throwing whatever they can into the road to try to trip me up. I see the road ending up ahead which means I have to turn. I pull as hard as I can to the left, trying to slow as little as possible. My knee hits the asphalt, tearing a gash through my skin. I scream out in pain, but drive on.
Another big junction ahead, this time it’s filled with SP cars blocking my path. I see a line of men aiming weapons at me. I turn to the right, into the grassy backyards of some houses. My other knee hits the ground as I turn, luckily not as bad as the left one. I look down at my left leg, blood is pouring from the knee.
I see a driveway open to the left and turn hard to enter it. My left leg hits the ground again and I almost fall off the bike in reaction to the pain. I yelp in agony, but cut it short. No time for that right now.
Down the driveway and back onto the road, I pull to the right again. A couple cars try to follow me into the yards, but there isn’t enough clearance for them. The rest of the cars get stuck on the wrong side of the roadblock, causing a mass scattering to get through and back on my tail.
I’m going perpendicular to my destination, which means I need to find a spot to turn. There’s no time to waste by going in the wrong direction. I take a wide turn to the left and enter the intersection at high speed. Four point two four miles.
The road bends to the right and a glance at my GPS tells me I’m aiming straight in the direction for the drop off once again. Great. The SPs have caught up to me and pull to my side. The rest of the street is empty. Probably means there’s another roadblock ahead. I need a new idea and I need it fast.
The street curves to the left again and I see my theory was correct. In fact, all of the side streets are blocked off. There’s no exit. I open up the throttle as far as it will go, deciding that if they are going to stop me, it’s going to at least be as fantastic as I can make it.
An image of Eve flashes in my mind.
What would Eve do in a situation like this? She wouldn’t surrender, would she? But is this worth my dying in some spectacle of fire and gunshots?
Then I remember the kiss. I don’t want this to be the end. It can’t be the end for me, not so soon after I found Eve. And they have her; they’re holding her, prepping her for execution.
If there’s anything that can stop that, it’s the rebellion, right? The only chance she has left is if I deliver this package. Whatever they have on these papers has to be the key to the rebels taking over. And if the rebels take over, surely they can free Eve.
But there’s no chance for me to deliver these papers. All routes are blocks now. I only have the options of death or surrender. The latter may also end in death, but may buy me some time to come up with something else. And I don’t want to die. I want to live. I want Eve to live and I might be the only chance she has left, even if I’ll have to figure it out from behind bars. I glance at my GPS. Three point four miles.
This can’t be where this all ends, can it? I’m too close. I look around for any way out. I can’t bust through the roadblock. The best I’d be able to do would be to try some sort of crazy jump over it, which more than likely would just end with me mangled on the other side. I suppose the other option would be being shot in the head.
I look behind me to see if I can turn around, but there’s a wall of SPs closing me in back there.
In the midst of my indecision, the bike slows and finally stops, twenty feet from the roadblock ahead. I step off the vehicle and put my hands over my head.
“What seems to be the problem, officers?” I yell. Three men come running at me at full speed and tackle me to the ground. They flip me onto my stomach, push my face into the asphalt, and slip a pair of handcuffs over my wrists. They tear off my backpack and steal my headphones. They pick me up roughly to the sound of cheers from all around.
I look up and see people on roofs and in windows cheering happily for the success of the Street Patrols. They begin chanting.
“Kill him! Kill him! Kill him!”
I’m thrown onto the hood of a patrol car and frisked from head to foot. I don’t carry much, but they quickly find my GPS and begin shouting questions as to the nature of the device. I keep silent. I’m shoved into the back of the car. My head hits the door frame on the way in.
Go to Chapter Thirty-Five