Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen starts up just as I’m starting to feel how heavy this moment is.
I still can’t believe there’s an entire army chasing after me. I don’t know what’s more impressive: that I have an entire army chasing me or how I appear to be outrunning them. Sure, Billy said he fooled them somehow, but he also said that he just now did that, which means right up until those tanks passed me by at the graveyard, it’s all been me.
The lyrics of the song wash over me. “Everybody’s out on the run tonight, but there’s no place left to hide.” He would have loved that.
Nope, not going there.
Things are finally starting to feel good. Not the time to start thinking about him. Or how he looked the last time I saw him.
Or how I’m never going to see him again.
“No,” I say definitively. “Not a chance. Kill me right now if you have to, but there is absolutely no way I’m going to hand myself over to Alvin.”
“Is this being such a bad option?” Maxine asks with a quizzical look upon her face. “You are realizing that I am in the power to be handing you over to him myself, what with my army of policemen and weapon pointed at your head.”
“Why aren’t you?” The Geek asks.
“I am feeling generous. You are children and have already been having many troubles to be fighting. Perhaps you should no longer be subject to the whims of others. Perhaps it is now being time for you to decide for yourselves. So, I am giving you options. Go along on your own way and face all the dangers ahead or help me with this one little thing and I provide you safe travels.”
“I don’t like it,” I say grumpily.
“Weren’t you the one who was just saying how we needed to stop Alvin from taking over the world?” The Geek asks me. “Isn’t that the whole reason we went hunting for Eve’s parents in the first place.”
“Well, yeah, but that was before people on our side started getting shot,” I answer. “I’m not—“
“People on our side have been getting shot all along,” Eve argues. “Or were you not paying attention at the Battle of Cheyenne.”
“That was people on your side,” I debate. “The people on my side are the ones sitting here on the ground next to me.”
“I don’t know if you could be considering Mr. Grant as being on your side,” Maxine suggests. “He was trying to kill you many times.”
“Tons of people have been trying to kill you,” The Geek says. “How is his death any different?”
“Because I’ve never been forced to stare at any dead bodies of people I thought might be friends until this very moment. Doesn’t that bother either of you? He’s right there, dead, right next to us. I know this wasn’t a game or anything, but look at him, this is serious.”
Eve and The Geek look at the ground, recognizing the death we were all attempting to forget, even if the corpse was currently bleeding out beside us.
“I guarantee you there will be more death coming your way if you continue on your journey alone. Where are you even thinking you will be hiding from Mr. Alvin? Even if you were not having your tracking mechanism, he would be finding you.”
“Canada,” I answer firmly. “We’re going to Canada. It’s where I’ve wanted to go all along. They were willing to keep us safe. They will keep us safe now.”
“Uh, Cyrus,” The Geek says quietly. “That was before we allowed for the downfall of the American government. What reason would Alvin have to keep from invading foreign soil to find you? It’s not like he’s acting on behalf of the American government. There is no American government anymore.”
“Your little friend is having a good point,” Maxine says suggestively.
“Yeah, but—“ I cut myself off, not certain how to debate the thought.
“So, what would we have to do?” Eve asks Maxine, sounding resolved to the choice she has given us.
“It is simple. You surrender to me, I take you to Alvin, and then you use whatever you have been using all this time to get yourselves free once again and bring me the device.”
“All we’ve been using is luck,” I reply.
“Then you had better be hoping that your luck is still not having run out. I will be giving you some time to be thinking it over.” Maxine walks toward the nearest SUV and the three of us are left looking at each other, not knowing what to say.
Go to Chapter Twenty-Eight