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shrox
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06 Jan 2012, 11:05 pm

I'd guess I am about half way done, but who knows, could become a weighty tome...no title yet. Oh, and I am not married anymore. Oh well.
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We had been driving for days. We stuck to the thinnest lines on the map, the roads we thought least likely to be watched. I drove in between the towns and settlements, my wife drove when we approached and passed through them. Sometimes she would let me out a few miles outside of a town, drive in and get something for us to eat, then come back and pick me up. I hadn't had a hot meal in weeks. Our Prius 6 was illegal, I had trashed the GPS, so we could not be tracked easily. We stole a license plate every few days, hoping to keep our freedom for a few more weeks. We had no rest, and that was our worst enemy.

And we stank, badly. We had not the pleasure of a shower in over a week. I offended the most.

My wife was asleep in the passenger seat. I stopped at a rest stop with vending machines, and there I blew it for us. All because I wanted a Pepsi.

I took a bill from my pocket, and inserted it into the bill acceptor. The currency scanner read my fingerprints on the bill. I realized what I had done just as the bill was pulled in, too fast for me to grab. I was exhausted, and my inattention just cost us our anonymity. I ran back to the car, slamming the door as I got in. She awoke with a start and screamed, drawing all the attention we did not want. Gracie, our border collie started barking, drawing even more eyes to us. I started the car and jumped the curb, cutting deep ruts in the spotty green lawn as I spun the car back towards the roadway. Someone got a free Pepsi later that day.

Just over a minute had passed before the horizon revealed the blue strobe lights of the approaching police. They were followed by a red strobe, an EMT, that meant they expected blood. By now, I was ready to give it to them.

I floored the accelerator, the flywheel spun up and the motors to each wheel hummed loudly as we sped towards who we had avoided for so long. The lack of sleep did not help my judgment. The collision alarm gave a level one warning, detecting the potential danger of two cars racing headlong towards each other at ever increasing speed. My wife did not share my opinion, and let me know with a punch in the arm. "What are you doing! What happened back there?"

She had never hit me before in our lives; the rude awakening was to blame. She immediately apologized, which seemed silly considering I was about to smash us into bits. The patrol car was about a hundred yards away when one of our car's front motors seized up and stopped spinning. The tire screeched for a moment, then shredded. The rear of our car swung to the right, we slid across the lane to the left, and impacted the front of the patrol car, tearing off our rear right fender and wheel, as well as ending the two officers’ lives. I saw one of the officer's sunglasses land on our hood, the earpiece caught in the seam between the hood and the front fender. Then the airbags smacked us back and rug-burned our faces. The EMT slammed into the patrol car and launched end over end. Shattered glass and splintered plastic sprayed through our now missing windows. Our dog was shot through the disintegrated windshield, but managed to hit the ground running, then tumbled across the grass for fifty more feet. Her only injury was a cut pad on her front left foot. What a lucky dog. That would be our last bit of luck for the day.

Then it was quiet, except for the hiss of fluid dripping onto a hot surface. Our dog crouched where she lay, like she did when she was expecting to be accused of chewing up something. We were all understandable dazed; when I recovered my wits, I went to the smoking pile that once was a patrol car. I reached in, and took the one gun I could find. Now we were known to be armed and dangerous.

Just as I turned away, the smoke stepped up into fire, the plastics began to burn fiercely, sending up a big black column of smoke that pointed out to everyone right where we were. We had to get away right now, but there was no way to get away.

Then my wife noticed a culvert off to the right. We ran towards it, calling our dog to follow. She limped over to the entrance of the narrow tunnel, but would not follow us in. I made an executive decision, we had to go. I pushed my wife ahead and yelled "Go! Now!"

The tunnel was slimy, with a faint gasoline smell. We had crawled about two hundred yards when Gracie decided to follow. We could hear her nails clicking along in the ever darkening shaft, her silhouette casting a long shadow from the now distant circle of light at the entrance of the tunnel. Then I heard the faint, rapid, and sharp thump, thump, thump of helicopter blades slicing through the air. The first responders had arrived, but would have no one to save. The police would follow, if not already there. My tax dollars at work, but working against me.

We crawled in the dark for about twenty minutes. My wife was ahead of me, taking the brunt of the cobwebs that spanned our avenue of escape. She said "Do you see that?" I realized I had been looking straight down as we crawled, I looked forward and saw a ethereal beam of potential freedom shining from someplace above. Another ten minutes brought us to a vertical shaft, with a grating about ten feet over our heads. A ladder offered a way up, but I was sure the grating would be locked or welded in place. It was. By now the gasoline smell was strong, but not yet overpowering. I assumed the further we went, the worse the fumes would become.

We crawled on for another few minutes, finding an identical shaft and grating. I didn't want to bother, but my wife climbed up and tested the grating, it easily swung up and open. I guess I was wrong about our luck running out for the day. She looked out and said, "It looks like a refinery." We decided to wait until dark to climb out.

We feel asleep and when we awoke it was light again. I cursed softly; I don't normally curse unless I am really mad or upset. I was mad and upset, and hungry. We both were, we all were. Gracie hadn't eaten since the last time we had food. We waited all day in the gasoline reeking tunnel until night came again. We climbed back up and realized someone had closed the grating. It was still unlocked, and we slowly opened it. I climbed out first, pushing Gracie ahead of me. Normally she would have protested at being picked up, but now she only grunted a bit and didn't struggle. By now I had a pounding headache from the fumes and hunger; at least we had a few bottles of water with us.

I was sure that there would be security cameras scanning the refinery, and I was right. We weren't out of the tunnel for more than thirty seconds when bright floodlights blinded us. I heard a vehicle coming around the storage tank we had come out next to. I pulled out the gun, suddenly realizing that I had no idea if was loaded or not. As soon as the vehicle's headlights swung around towards us I squeezed the trigger. I got off six shots, at least one found it's deadly mark, and the Hummer rolled to stop. A young woman was slumped against the door. I hadn't even considered that a woman might be in the truck. I felt sicker than I ever have in my life, and could literally feel God and all the universe looking at me and what I had just done. My wife said nothing. Then the woman moaned, she was not dead, but the growing red spot on her shoulder was not a good thing to see. Her bulletproof vest had caught two other bullets and saved me from being a murderer.

Gracie, who usually runs away from loud sounds, came up and licked my hand. I whirled about and fired without thinking. The gun made a click, it was out of rounds, and I didn't kill my dog. Stupid man, lucky dog. I threw the gun as far as I could; it clattered atop one of the storage tanks, out of sight from the ground.

I opened the door of the still running Hummer, and the woman fell out. She was limp and unconscious. I dragged her over a few feet, then we all got in and I drove slowly away from the scene. As we rounded another storage tank, a small guardhouse came into view, with lights on inside and no one visible through the windows. We circled it, seeing no one inside. I got out of the Hummer and edged towards the window, the guardhouse was empty. I could see some Ramon noodles in an open cabinet. I motioned my wife to come out of the truck, she did and we went inside. I quickly peeled off the paper lids off three of the styrofoam cups and filled them from the hot water tap. I handed them to my wife, grabbed as many cup o' noodles as I could carry and we went back to the Hummer. As we stepped out off the guardhouse, I noticed a few sets of overalls with a phoenix bird logo on them. I went on to the Hummer, then went back and grabbed them. They had ID badges attached to them, each with a picture of a black male. My wife and I are so cracker we are saltines. But the card reader at the gate wouldn't care, just so long as the ID was valid.

We passed through the unmanned gate with no problem. We did have a new problem though, four bullet holes in the Hummer's windshield. At least the Ramon was ready to eat, but I had forgotten to look for any utensils. Gracie wouldn't care anyway; we let her's cool a bit more before we allowed her to eat it.

We stopped just before dawn to change into the overalls, and to take care of the business of biology, a piss and a dump. In the cool grey light, I noticed the door had a Phoenix Fuels logo on it, with a trickle of blood running over it.

The wind of driving had blown it back at the bottom, creating an L shape in red. It had already dried, and I couldn't wipe it off.

We got back in and drove just few hundred feet before the trees revealed a sign for a Phoenix Fuels gas and mini-mart. I looked at the gas gauge; it showed about a quarter tank left. I didn't like Hummers; my Saturn would have had over half a tank left, the Prius 2 even more. Another mile and we were at the pumps. Just as I stepped out, and old man opened the door of the store and said, "The computer's down, your company card won't work. You'll have to sign for it." I had intended to just use our last twelve dollars to pay for it, this was better. My wife went over to the driver's side door with the windshield squeegee, then knelt down out of my sight. I followed the old man inside, he drew up the slip, and I signed it with the name of the man whose overalls and ID I had. "How are things on the retail end?" I asked the old man. "OK," he said. "I don't make any profit on company sales though. Even the food is at cost for you guys."

"Can I put some items on this as well?" I asked. "All I have on me is a credit card" The old man sighed, "I guess so, alrighty." I picked up six sandwiches, a pack of bottled water and a six pack of Pepsi. "We are going out in the field, kind of an emergency," I said. "Yeah, I heard. Those terrorist dick-wads shot up the refinery up the road." He bagged our stuff, and turned to put the slip in the drawer. I suddenly thought I could rob him, but I cast the idea aside. As he fumbled with the sticky drawer, I noticed a plastic United Way donation jar on the counter, out of his immediate view. I picked it up and slid it into the bag. What a low life bastard I was. A petty thief for petty change. The old man didn't notice. If he hadn't noticed the bullet holes in the windshield, he probably was not that observant.

I trotted back to the truck, and saw a clean spot where the blood trickle had been. My wife had filled the tank as well. I got in, and we drove off. Gracie was asleep in the back seat, I reached back and petted her; she was hot. I told my wife so, and she turned and spoke to Gracie. "Sweetheart, wake up." Gracie did not stir. My wife noticed that Gracie's paw looked big. She shook Gracie, who then yawned and stretched, and turned on her side. We could clearly see her paw was infected. The slime and gasoline of the tunnel had not been a good thing to expose that cut to. She only licked the sandwich half we offered her, a sure sign in any dog that it was sick. After that, Gracie alternated for the next two days between deep sleep and licking her paw.

We had hid the Hummer behind some thick bushes by a stream. While I disliked the Hummer, it meant we didn't have to stick to the roads. We were able to clean ourselves up a bit in the cold water of the stream. Our hair was greasy enough to give the truck a lube job. At least it was early summer, and the days were warm and the nights pleasant. We saw some cows on a hilltop, about a mile away I guessed; they might have been the famous happy cows, black and white on the emerald green grass. Our food would be gone tonight, and we would have to start out again soon. I decided to lay down for a while, while my wife, an avid reader, had found the manual to the Hummer and was reading it. Some fun I guess.

I next remember bright red. It was a flashlight shining through my eyelids. Even before I opened my eyes, I knew we were frakked. A slim voice behind the light said, "Are you Shrox?!"

Many times I had imagined how bravely I would fight our foes face to face. All that planning and mental role playing collapsed in a millisecond. "You know it's us." I replied.

"We are here to help you," the slim voice behind the light said.
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shrox
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07 Jan 2012, 4:37 pm

Oh...



artrat
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07 Jan 2012, 10:49 pm

You should have posted it in the thread titled "Wrong Planet writing showcase" thread.
Nobody seems to read people's writing posts when not in that thread.

It's not bad writing. The beginning captured my attention and it was well written
Is it based on your real life?


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