For those of you who haven’t read any of the Journey Of St. Laurent before: You are now reading an online serial pulp novel. If you didn’t start at the beginning, you may want to do so. Chapter 1:Â Down By The Bay. This serial is the sequel to my first novel, Oasis.
Oh, Oh, Oh, and I almost forgot â€“ I have a short, short story being published today (I think) on the Tweet the Meat horror twittercast. http://twitter.com/TweetTheMeat for the story. http://tweetthemeat.blogspot.com/ for more about Tweet The Meat. Another publishing credit for me!
Chapter 18 â€“ Furious and Fast
For little while, I was actually gaining on him.
It helped that he ground his gears every single time he had to shift.
Michael kept pumping his fists above his head in the air and yelling things like, “Come on Corbin. Sweet! We are so going to catch him.”
London just kept looking back and forth between me and the green Honda, like she was trying to decide which of us was more insane.
I just kept my eyes on the road and my foot on the gas.
Soon enough we escaped the suburban maze and made our way to a main thoroughfare. Oddly enough, there were actually a few other cars out on the road with us. They all must have been in a hurry to get wherever they were going, because they drove with the same reckless disdain for driving law that I was.
It was a mess, to be sure.
The main road narrowed and straightened and led out of town.
I had the sinking feeling that this is where I was going to lose Samir. There was just no way the old Jeep was going to keep pace with the sporty little green car.
I kept after him, though. The anger I felt at myself for being stupid was the extra little boost of insanity I needed to keep up the chase.
The buildings and houses became more sparse and gave way to trees. The road curved outside the city and began running alongside a large body of water.
I guess that’s why they call it Baytown.
Samir was getting way ahead of me now.
I clenched my jaw and did my best to push the gas pedal through the floor. If he makes a couple of quick turns, he might lose me.
Up ahead, the green Honda became more and more like a speck.
It made me so angry that I felt like crying.
Before I could break down, though, the green speck up ahead wobbled and then veered sharply to the left.
Samir had done it. If he even made one more turn before I got down to that road, I wouldn’t be able to find him.
I hated him. I hated him for what he did in Oasis. He had helped release the virus that had swept across the city and killed my friends and coworkers. I hated him for what he was putting me through now. He had cheated me out of the chance I needed to maybe even the score against the other-worldly threat that now faced America.
Not that I really knew what I was going to do with the virus if I did recover it. What I did know is that somebody in my government was too weak and scared to use it, and that Samir knew where the last viable samples were.
The beach angled away from the road and all I could see was pavement and trees.
And thenâ€¦ something else came into view up ahead.
But it couldn’t be, could it?
As I approached the turn, the angle improved and I could see a mess of something bright green smashed against a tree. It was the Honda Samir had taken from the impound lot.
I hit the brakes, and I was way more careful about it than the terrorist had been.
Heavy black skid marks showed where Samir had slammed on his brakes, wobbled and then left the road. At the edge of the road, the skid marks became deep furrows leading up to the wrecked car.
He had made up his mind to turn a little too late. He had locked up his brakes and plowed into a tree.
A trickle of black smoke rose from the car.
My heart pounded. I pulled the Jeep to the side of the road and stopped about twenty feet away.
Was Samir still alive? Would he be able to tell me where I could find what I was looking for? Or did he already have it, and that’s why the trunk of the other car had been open in the impound lot?
The anger boiled up inside of me. If Samir was dead in there and he didn’t have the virus, or it had been too smashed up in the wreck, my whole journey was in vain.
There was no time to sit and think about it, though. If the fire in his car spread, I’d never get a chance to know anything.
I hopped out of the Jeep.
London called out something I couldn’t understand.
I ran to the crumpled vehicle and threw open the door.
You already know what happened next.
I’m not proud of the way I felt or the way I treated his dead body. At my core, I’m still a nurse. Before this mess started, my whole life had become saving lives in the emergency room. It never mattered to me whether or not the folks who came in on stretchers deserved to be saved. Now I just felt angry that he didn’t suffer more before dying.
All I can say is that extreme stress can bring out the best or the worst in people, and from time to time it has certainly brought them both out in me.
In any case, as I said at the very beginning of my story, I pulled a cooler from the back floor and left the green car and Samir’s dead body to burn. Then I drove back to the beach to see if the cooler had what I hoped it had in it.
And it did. Two preserved vials of the virus.
London leaned over my shoulder. “What is that stuff?”
There was no use lying to her or avoiding the truth.
I closed the cooler and looked up at her. “It’s a viral weapon.”
I took a deep breath. I had already dragged her and her brother through the ringer. She probably deserved to know what was going on. Maybe the extraterrestrial goings-on would make my story a little more believable.
I stood. “Let’s get somewhere a little less out in the open and I’ll tell you the whole story.”
“No, you tell me now. I’m getting tired of trusting you.”
I walked over, set the cooler in the back and gave Michael the sternest look I could muster. “You do not touch this cooler, understand?”
He just nodded and craned his neck in an effort to see the fire.
London grabbed my shoulder.
I turned to look at her.
She had her right hand in a tight fist.
“Look, it’s going to take a while. Let’s go find some real food and rest and I’ll tell you everything. I promise.”
She drew her hand back and glared at me.
For a moment I thought she was actually going to hit me.
She narrowed her eyes and shook her head. “Get in.”
I hopped back in and started the Jeep.
The fuel gauge caught my eye.
“We need to get gas anyway.”
She just stared at me.
I guess she’s had enough.
Michael leaned forward. “Can we go back to the fire?”
I pulled back on to the road and wondered what I was going to do now that I had the virus. I had considered the issue before, but those thoughts all seemed rather academic at this point.
Fortunately, the answer would present itself soon enough.
Keep Reading! Chapter 19 is here.