We speed after the Humvee, Nova’s mobile prison. Metze to the back and right, wind ripping at our vests, my finger tapping on the trigger guard of the rifle.
I’m scared for her. They’ve taken her alive, which is a good sign.
And they’ve taken her alive.
Which is a bad sign.
The fear makes me angry, which makes me nervous and afraid, which feeds into a cycle of growing rage at the somewhat distant specks. So I gun the engine and race after them, keeping low and muttering under my breath.
Metze is laughing, half hysterical, and following. He has his P90 slung in front of him and he’s having the time of his life. Metze likes to be on the move.
We gain on them faster than I would have thought we could. They’ve added to their convoy, racing on the interstate away from the small private airport that they just ruined. We pass civilians in cars that do double takes and slow down to get away from whatever is happening. Metze is half burned and covered in blood, I’m not much better.
We don’t look like motorcycle cops. We look like psychopathic murderers.
Just wait, that will be accurate.
The Humvee is sandwiched between four black SUVs.
I wonder, do they get a discount at SUVs-R-Us? They seem to have an endless supply of the less than creative choice of vehicle. We’re a few hundred yards away when the rear SUV pops the trunk to reveal a man behind the barrel of a heavy machine gun.
“Shit!” Metze and I both shout it as we split off, just as bullets whip past us like the wind but more bitey. The gunner tries to track us but makes the critical error of not deciding which he’s going to go after. That gives me the chance to level the rifle on the handlebars and line up a shot that misses. It goes just over the man’s shoulder and punches out the windshield, leaving a spiderweb looking hole. It also startles the driver, who dodges the wheel and throws off the gunner’s aim.
Metze is faster than I am, racing up beside the SUV and holding the P90 across his chest with his left hand. He squeezes the trigger and sprays the broadside of the vehicle as he passes, punching dozens of holes through the metal and half as many into flesh. The SUV veers off and tumbles into the ditch, rolling over and over before hitting the concrete of an overpass.
They’re dealt with.
I am reminded that they are not the only ones to deal with when more bullets crack by us. Metze takes cover behind a transport truck that’s doing it’s best to get away from everything by doing everything but slamming on the brakes. I go a different route.
I go up the hill of the overpass and lurch across the road, barely dodging the hood of an in motion car while not dodging the very hurtful words the driver throws at me. Almost as bad as the bullets.
I come down on the blind side of the second to the rear SUV. I see the surprise on the passengers face as he struggles to bring a rifle around to bear. That’s the problem with vehicles. They’re cramped and confined and you have to use carbines or handguns or something that isn’t as unwieldy as a concrete block in a swimming pool.
I do the stupid thing. I lean over and wrench open his door.
See, there’s another downside to vehicle combat.
You have to take off your seatbelt. He is too busy with the rifle to really fight off my hand when I grab his vest by the shoulder strap and pull. He comes right out and screams, rolling along the highway at a speed reserved for vulcanized rubber and not human skin, before slamming into the wood post of a highway sign.
I can’t help but laugh.
It says Buckle Up!
With the door open I push off the bike’s seat and hurtle into the passengers seat, ditching the rifle, where the driver and two rear passengers are sort of busy with other things. Like Metze taking potshots from the other side, or driving. I lean around the seat and pump two rounds off, taking care of the backseat thugs. The driver recovers from the surprise, one hand on the wheel and the other going for his own sidearm. So we engage in the assassin’s dance of survival.
It’s messy and clunky and about as pretty as me doing a waltz. I slam his head into the steering wheel and try to get my handgun into his side, he batters my wrist against the console to stop me. I jab him in the side of the head and he tries jerking the wheel to throw me off balance.
His head explodes and I see Metze on the other side just before his bike revs and speeds ahead towards the three remaining goon-mobiles.
I push the corpse out onto the highway with as much ceremony as I can muster, which is none, and take control. Bike’s are notoriously underarmored, as in they have none, this is slightly better.
The Humvee was sandwiched in the middle and last time I looked at it, it didn’t have a man sized figure manning a heavy gun mounted to the top.
It does now.
Declan opens up with zero regard for things like civilians or vehicles or my well-being. The fifty caliber rounds tear up ashpalt and metal alike, at least he’s focused on me and not Metze. That’s something.
At least, Declan opens up right until one of the Humvee doors is ripped right off and flung out into the great big unknown. With a man attached to it.
Nova is awake.
Declan disappears and the Humvee swerves wildly, which I take to be a good sign. I expect to see him fly out but I’m disappointed.
Metze deals with the leading vehicles, distracting them and weaving in and out of innocent cars while peppering them with shots. I get close to the Humvee and figure I’ll soon see Declan come flying out, when that girl gets pissed she gets strong.
Except he doesn’t. The swerving stops. And Declan sticks his head back out the top, behind the gun. He doesn’t take it though, doesn’t start shooting again.
He locks eyes with me, his face dripping fresh blood and ragged scratch marks dragged across his forehead and cheek. He looks inhuman. Enraged. And he raises a hand towards the asphalt.
It responds. A huge piece raises up in front of Metze and launches his bike through the air, Metze barely clinging to it before crashing down further along the highway. Then we’re past him, speeding on.
Declan flips me off and I hit the brakes, as if that will help. The chunk he tears from the road is flung at my windshield.
And it hits. Hard. Metal grinds and glass shatters and someone screams.
Then in that familiar realm of blackness.
Just before I go, I realize that whatever hunting of witches the Agency was doing, they really sucked at it.
Because that, that was witch-like.