I wake again to feeling the ground vibrate beneath me. It sounds like a herd of horses are headed my way. They wouldn’t, would they? Would they really chase me on horseback?
That’s pretty ballsy.
I stretch my legs and, although they hurt, they can move. That’s saying something, at least.
I’m going to have to find some water, but I think I can get back on my feet and on the move. I’m not faster than a horse, but I’m definitely smarter.
I stand up, slip the headphones over my ears, and take off.
War by Edwin Starr hits my ears with a mighty scream and some strong drums. I’m ready for this.
The elevator settles into place at the bottom of wherever we’re going. Mom pushes a few buttons on the keypad in the center of the steel door in front of us and it swings open. A series of lights switch on inside the room on the other side, showing a long hall with a large white tube running the length of it.
“That’s one really big sewage pipe,” I joke.
My dad laughs in response before saying, “Well, it’s definitely for evacuating, but not something I would consider waste.”
He and Mom walk to one of the doors toward the front of the large white tube and open it. The three of us follow in awe.
We enter behind them and find ourselves inside what looks like the interior of a passenger train. Well, at least it’s what I would guess the inside of a passenger train looks like when it hasn’t been inhabited by drifters for decades. The room is spacious and has lush blue seats throughout.
“Whoa,” The Geek gasps. “This isn’t one of those pneumatic passenger trains, is it?”
“Good eye, son,” Dad smiles. “Inspired by Jules Verne’s Paris in the Twentieth Century, it uses compressed air and magnets to send these big capsules through long tubes at over seven hundred miles per hour. It’s a lot like those tubes banks had at the drive-up windows back in the day. We like to call it the Vacuum Train.”
“Suck Truck is more like it,” I mutter.
“To be fair,” Mom rebuts, “we were less focused on branding than functionality. And with this train we can cross the country in a matter of hours, completely unnoticed by any of the groups we’re trying to avoid.”
“Really?” The Geek asks. “Doesn’t this thing make an awful lot of noise and vibration as it zips by underground.”
“I’m not smart enough to pretend I understand the inner workings of it, but it’s amazingly quiet and I’ve been assured by our technicians that it is completely undetectable.”
“You’ll excuse me if I’m not impressed that you’ve been hiding this nice little train from me while I’ve been running across the country trying not to get killed for the past two weeks.”
“If you hadn’t been so quick to dismiss us when we saw you last, Cyrus, we had fully intended to offer you–”
“Yeah, whatever. Would have should have.”
“Wait, what about everyone else? You have this great escape path down here and you’re making everyone else die in the building above?” Eve looks angry.
“Don’t worry, Eve, sweetheart,” Dad replies. “Everyone else is using the tube north to get to safety. It will bring them right to the tunnels under Niagara where they can cross the border or go wherever they choose. We, on the other hand, have larger fish to fry.”
“Okay,” Eve breathes a slight sigh of relief. “So where are we headed?”
“West,” Mom answers.
“West?” we all ask in unison.
“Why?” I continue the question.
“Where?” The Geek asks.
“Sit down and buckle up,” Dad answers. “I’ll explain on the way.”
We do as we’re told, the door shuts, and Mom presses a few buttons on the console in the front of the room before we are pushed against our seats as the capsule takes off.
Go to Chapter Eleven