Gian saw a small barrage of missiles strike the sand in front of Megan’s eighteen wheeler, causing the woman to bank a hard left. The instant wall of smoke and dirt mixed with Gian’s tinted windshield dropped visibility to zero. He knew Megan would be steering into him as well as Tate and James’ pickup truck.
Cutting a hard left, Gian kept going until he was out of the smokescreen and back to the featureless horizon of sandy plains. He looked back to where the pursuing truck and trailer would be, but it was someone else.
Julie. Gian had guessed it before he could even make out the yellow Humvee with glass as black as his own windshield. She was old enough to have lived on Earth, though Gian had desperately wished she had stayed. Her merciless reputation kept everyone around her uneasy. What were you thinking Neal? You just sent a jackhammer to take care of a nail.
Gian summoned his cannon and kicked the buggy in reverse, moving just as fast as he was. He fired a few shots, knowing he wouldn’t do much unless he moved closer. Any closer and she’ll annihilate me. Julie was already approaching recklessly fast.
Looking out his left, Gian sped up just in time for Tate’s truck to miss his front tire. After a cloud of smoke trailed out of the cab, Tate coughed up and waved. Gian got on the radio, “Go faster caveman! She just wants the kids alive, so just get out of her way!”
Tate grabbed his mic, “Fuck that! Let’s take this bitch out!”
“Unless you have a rocket launcher in that truck, you’re useless here. So get out of here, now!”
He saw Tate tense up, but James seemed to be talking him down. Tate responded, “We’ll be back.”
“Copy that.” Gian shifted into drive and sped past Megan’s truck, quickly closing the gap to Julie’s Humvee. He almost switched channels to talk Julie down, but decided to concentrate instead. She always wanted to see who was better anyway.
Approaching fast, Gian lined up his green crosshair over the driver side window. He saw a double barrel turret emerge from above the driver side headlight. Gian tilted his head, Upgrades. At the last second, Gian shot the turret instead of the glass. One of her shots still connected with the buggy.
Gian counter steered left and spun into a U-turn, kicking up his own dust cloud. He could feel explosions erupt where he just was. He shifted to reverse again and watched Julie charge straight through the wall of sand. Shifting back, Gian proceeded to trail behind Julie’s blindspot. He aimed for the rear passenger tire. BAM!
The shot didn’t seem to have an effect. Julie veered right until she was directly ahead of Gian. A tube with a butane flame emerged. Gian cut left in time to dodge a concentrated, green gout of flame. Didn’t see that before. He was then aware that the damaged turret was aimed at him. BAM!
Counter steering right, he realized she was veering left again, the green flamethrower still active. Double damn! Gian pounded the brake, missing most of the heat. A good sized portion of the windshield was dripping away, and he was slowing down. The tires were sloppy-wet, spitting liquid rubber along the side windows.
Over the radio, he warned them, “I’m not going to be much good anymore. Tate, stay ahead of Megan. Megan, Deborah, use the kids for shields. It’s your best bet to stay alive.”
Gian revved the buggy harder than before, but Julie was still leaving him in the dust. In a side mirror, he wondered how far back the other truck was.
Deborah knew the hummer was closing in, but she couldn’t help but stare at the walkie in her hand. ‘Use the kids for shields?’ Is that what I sound like? Inside the trailer’s shade, Deborah had already been squinting. Glancing out the back of the trailer was like staring at the sun itself.
Shotgun in hand, Deborah knelt down to put her hand around little Tommy’s shoulders. She nearly forgot that she scared him so much. Deborah tried to soften the stare of her red eyes. “Tommy, I need to play a trick on this person, but I need your help. Will you?”
The wide eyed four year old reluctantly nodded, “Mommy said to help you.”
“Good man. Don’t be scared, okay? I won’t let you get hurt.”
As soon as he nodded again, Deborah walked him to the edge of the trailer. The truck’s dust trail didn’t help Deborah’s light sensitivity. She scanned through the thin dust trail to barely see a yellow behemoth approaching.
The driver seemed to know the vehicle’s limits, or didn’t even care. It was easy to hear the vehicle continuously bounce and shimmy, though it seemed heavy enough to not ramp any of the bigger slopes. Hopefully the sand is giving us some cover.
Deborah knelt behind Tommy and faced him outside. “What do you see?” She had never used a human shield before. Using a child made her feel like shit.
“A really fast yellow tank!” He sounded very excited, “Chief Tate’s is bigger and slower though.”
“He’s not a chief anymore. Do you see any guns out there?”
“Mom said that too. But he’s making us safe.”
“Focus kid. Guns. Do you see any?”
“Um… I think so, but no one is holding it.”
Deborah rolled her eyes. How did my mother put up with this?
POP! Deborah heard a fast whistling sound followed by something smacking Tommy and her further back into the trailer. Flat on her back, Deborah craned her neck up to see a massive glob of dull white splattered over Tommy’s chest.
He cried, “Owwwww! Mommy!”
Deborah tried to push him off, but noticed that the glob was also attached to the floor. “Hold on.” She pressed harder and harder, but found that she was suffocating Tommy. She apologized as he coughed for air, “Sorry Tommy.”
From what she could see, most of the glue was on the boy, dripping to the floor to trap both of them. Shit. Deborah still had the shotgun in her right hand; she tried to reach between herself and Tommy into her vest pockets.
The first item she found was a flask of water. She poured some on blob to her left. The water seemed to slide off without much effect. Deborah tried to ignore Tommy’s crying as she dug for something else. Yes!
Deborah pulled out a lighter and ignited a miniature jet of green flame. Stinging fumes immediately assaulted her nostrils, Tommy also made a point to complain as he cried, “That stinks!”
She pushed Tommy away again, slowly getting him further and further away. Clang. Deborah heard boots land inside the trailer.
Craning her neck up, she saw a thick figure wearing puffy black tactical gear matching the rest of the Wayne Manor guards. Their face was covered in a tight black mask that hid all features, including the eyes. The soldier was rising from a three point stance with a sharp, shiny kukri machete, and running to Deborah.
Deborah flung Tommy away and tried to aim her shotgun, but it was trapped in the glue with the boy. Fuck it. Deborah kicked off the side wall enough to twist the shotgun towards the soldier, and pulled the trigger. The assailant was shot in their left foot and shin, knocking them off balance.
Handing Tommy the lighter, Deborah told him, “The melts the glue, get me the gun.” She drew a tire iron from her belt, “And don’t burn yourself.”
Tommy sobbed, “Okay.”
The soldier pushed up to a knee and drew a sleek pistol with extended magazine. Deborah was already swinging for the face. A three shot burst planted two slugs in Deborah’s hip as she made contact with the mask.
Deborah caught a kukri swing with the curve of her iron and parried it to the side. She also wrapped her right arm around the shooter’s forearm before another three shot burst went off. Deborah looked over her shoulder at Tommy. He’s still burning away.
A head-butt caught Deborah in the chest, hard enough to knock her back, but she still had the gun arm locked in. Deborah curled her knees up to her chest and caught the soldier around the neck and right armpit. Anyone else would be gasping for air, but the soldier was determined to stab Deborah through the chest.
With her tire iron on the ground, Deborah’s left hand was trying to push the kukri away by the hilt. It was a struggle, but the soldier was slowly advancing the tip of the blade towards Deborah’s heart. There was no pain, but Deborah felt her skin being penetrated.
Deborah shifted her grip, and instead, allowed the blade to slice through the vest towards her face. She felt her left cheek peel open as the kukri slid past, and then she dug her teeth into the guard’s black gloved thumb. With a tight grip and a freed left hand, Deborah managed to twist the weapon out of the soldier’s grip.
The enemy immediately reacted by dropping to their knees, using the momentum to hurl Deborah upward. Deborah keep her knees wrapped, but her teeth pulled away the glove’s thumb with a chunk of skin. She landed face down behind the soldier, who was nearly sitting on Deborah’s back.
Deborah felt the assassin sliding out of the triangle hold. As the hold was broken, Deborah pushed herself forward, nearly leaping out of the trailer in the process. She spun and stood to see a pale red head, her tight braid dangling back and forth, just above her shoulders. She pulled her mask off the rest of the way and dropped it.
Baby blue eyes stared back at Deborah. She yelled over the rickety trailer and howling wind, “You are a handful aren’t you?”
Why does everyone want to talk in the middle of a fight?
Deborah charged back; the other woman dropped the pistol with a smirk. Deborah had been trained to fight purely offensively against a vampire. A blood sucker didn’t get tired until dawn, so it was customary for Deborah to reserve her own stamina and end a fight as soon as possible. In the daytime, against another vamp, Deborah decided not to change tactics. I hope I was the last one to feed at least. Might let me last longer.
The soldier spun in the blink of an eye and brought right heel into the right side of Deborah’s jaw. The roundhouse kick slammed Deborah’s face into the opposite wall, but she caught her attacker’s boot and jumped in the air. Deborah wrapped her legs around the other woman’s leg and brought them both to the ground.
They sat up in unison. The other woman reversed the hold and with their legs still intertwined, spun Deborah onto her belly. Deborah couldn’t feel a way out as the other woman basically laid on top of Deborah’s back. Deborah felt the soldier grab her wrists, twisting them in the air. Though painless, Deborah felt like enough pressure would dislocate both shoulders.
A tiny voice cracked, “Get away from her you bitch!”
Deborah twisted her neck to see Tommy aiming the shotgun at the assailant. Did he cock another shell? She swore she hadn’t heard it.
The other woman released Deborah’s wrists and calmly sat upright, managing to keep Deborah locked down. “Do you remember me Tommy? Major Julie Davidson? I said I’d let you drive my Humvee sometime.”
Deborah reached out for the tire iron.
Tommy’s tiny voice cracked again, “Just… Just get off her!”
Deborah slowly drug the iron into her grip. She heard Julie remove something from a pouch. “Don’t make me use this Tommy.”
Tommy yelled, “Get off her, now!”
Something flew through the air and made a solid smack sound. Deborah looked back and saw a cylindrical grenade fall the same time Tommy did. She could see the pin was still in it. Julie suddenly released Deborah and bolted.
Deborah grabbed the iron and ran back to Tommy. Julie dove for the grenade, pulled the pin, and threw it over Deborah’s head. She heard metal bounce off metal before an explosion knocked her off her feet.