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May 18, 2015

Flash Fiction Challenge – The Car Chase

Filed under: flash fiction challenge — Tags: — Eva Therese @ 11:07 am

As always, the challenge is courtesy of Chuck Wendig. This time the challenge was to write a short piece showcasing a car chase and I decided to put down an idea I’ve been kicking around for rather a long time now.
I had some problems with the challenge because a) English is my second language and b) I don’t have a driver’s licence and in fact I’ve never been behind the wheel of a car. I can picture the scene in my head, but I have difficulties putting it in words, because I don’t know what stuff is called, is what I’m getting at. With that small disclaimer, the piece is here.

“Lucy Green?”
Lucy turned around, still in the process of trying to hold her cup of coffee in one hand without spilling while using the other hand to put the change in her wallet.
“Yes?” she asked. A lock of hair had liberated itself from her ponytail and was tickling her cheek and she tried unsuccessfully to brush it away, using the back of the hand holding the wallet and the change.
“I need you to come with me.” The man talking to her was wearing some kind of uniform which she didn’t recognize. Possible he was a security guard from one of the shops.
“What’s this about?” asked Lucy and then wondered if maybe it would be easier if she transferred the coins to the hand holding the coffee and then tried to get them into the wallet.
“I said, come with me,” said the man and made a grab for her hand.
Her change fell to the ground and Lucy would have knelt to pick them up, if the stranger hadn’t held her wrist with an uncomfortably tight grip.
“Let go!” said Lucy. “I asked you what this is about. Who are you and what do you think you’re doing?”
He didn’t answer. Instead he drew a gun and pointed at her.
Lucy felt herself go very pale as all the blood drained from her face and rushed towards her feet as if it wanted to get as far away from the barrel as possible and she could hardly blame it. She felt faint for a split-second. Then she threw her coffee at the man’s face. Or maybe threw was the wrong word; a more apt description would have been to say that she smashed her cup into his face with her hand.
He howled like a wolf and she made a run for the door.
Bursting outside, she ran to cross the street and nearly got herself run over by a car that skidded to a halt in front of her, leaving streaks of burnt rubber on the asphalt.
A man jumped out, wearing dark clothes but not a uniform.
“Right on time, I see,” he said and opened the door to the backseat. “Get in.”
Lucy shook her head and started to back away. “No, I’m not going any…”
A shot ran out behind her and Lucy dived into the car, slamming the door behind her, while the man did the same in the front seat. The car jumped forward, engine roaring and seconds later they had turned a corner. Another shot ran out, but it already sounded far away.
For the first time Lucy noticed the driver, a woman, whose face she could only see in the rear view mirror. She looked from her to the man. “Who … who was that guy? And who are you?”
“Name’s Karl, that’s Alice, pleased to meet you.”
“That’s not what I meant. I …”
“Sorry, but that’s all the introductions we got time for right now. Incoming!”
They were at an intersection and a police car was coming toward them from their right. Lucy expected the car to slow down, but it didn’t, rather it sped up as if it intended to run into them. She grabbed the seat, digging her nails into and braced for impact, but the driver managed to brake and turn at the same time and the police car shot past them. Tires squealing, the police car spun around to follow them.
“Make the jump!” yelled Karl at Alice.
“Can’t,” she replied in a completely calm voice. “Those police vehicles,” she pronounced it as if it were two words ‘ve’ and ‘hicles’, “are sending out a block. Until we get out of range of the signal, we’re stuck here.”
There was a moment’s silence, and then Lucy heard herself say: “The next exit will take you out on the freeway.”
She didn’t think Alice had heard her, since she didn’t react, but just kept on heading straight. But either she had to take a moment to make up her mind or she was simply trying to trick their pursuer for at the last possible moment she turned right.
They swung out onto the freeway in a turn so sharp, that Lucy felt herself being pressed up against the car door. She was almost sure that the car ran on two wheels for a second before coming down with a small jolt. The vehicle screeched like a demented bird and she looked out the window and gave a small squeal herself. “We’re going the wrong way!” she heard herself moan in a voice she barely recognized as her own. “We’re going against traffic!”
The traffic was dividing in front of them like the water at the Red Seas as the drivers veered left and right to avoid a head on collision, but their car still had to swerve to avoid the ones that weren’t fast enough.
“Never mind that!” snapped Karl. “Are the police still after us?”
Lucy turned to look out the rear window. She could see a mess of cars neatly parted in the middle like a wake of metal. Some of the drivers had gotten out and were shaking their fists or making rude gestures. She could hear horns being honked, rather belatedly. Here inside it was just a distant noise, but outside it had to be ear-splitting.
And while she was looking she saw the car with the Police emblem on the hood swing into the freeway after them.
Lucy turned around. “They’re still on us! Gogogogo!”
Alice didn’t say anything, but simply accelerated the car and they shot forward. She started swerving more as fewer cars had time to get out of their way.
Karl swore, quietly but systematically, in every kind of English he knew. He started with a euphemism for intercourse which would have been familiar to Chaucer and then he started to work his way through the centuries, ending with an expression which referred to a practice that would become known in about five hundred years, when bionic implant made it possible.
Lucy looked out through the rear window again and had just turned back to inform the other two that it was no use, the police car was still gaining on them, when she caught sight of Alice’s face in the mirror. This time she didn’t just squeal, she managed to scream at the same time, the resulting sound giving the impression of a scalded pig.
“What now?!” Karl turned to look at her with a longsuffering expression.
“Alice,” Lucy managed to squeak. “Her eyes are closed. She’s not looking at the road.”
Karl sighed and looked harassed. “Keep it down. She’s concentrating so she needs to keep her eyes closed and that means you shut up as well.”
“Concentrating?” began Lucy, but then lowered her voice and continued in a hiss. “But she’s not even looking at the road, how can she be concentrating?”
“There are too many cars and we’re driving too fast for anyone to manoeuvre through safely, so she’s looking at the timelines instead. She finds the one in which we manage to get thought this without crashing and dying and follows the directions in that one.”
Lucy sat stunned for a moment. “She can do that?” she finally asked.
“Yes. If she’s allowed to concentrate. Now zip it.”
Alice sped up and Lucy felt herself being pressed back against the seat by the acceleration. Out of the side window she could see nothing but a blur as they rushed past. She closed her eyes tight. If Karl wanted to know if the police was still after them, he could damn well look himself.
She sat stiff as a board, feeling the swift movements of the car from left to right and back again for what felt like forever. She was convinced that every second could be her last and it was all she could do to not just scream or try to open the car door and throw herself out or possibly both.
So absorbed was she in her own misery that she actually jumped when Karl said: “We’re far enough from them now. We can make the jump.”
Jump, thought Lucy. What jump? Are we going over a canyon or something? We’re going to die. We’re still going to die. All these were thoughts that flew through her brain as she opened her eyes. She was just in time to see Karl, Alice and the inside of the car go transparent and then everything disappeared. When it reappeared she was still in the car with the other two, but everything around them had changed. It was now a barren landscape and even as the car slowed down Lucy could clearly feel the bump in the road, if it even was as road.
“Where are we?” she asked Karl.
“Safe,” he said, “for now.”


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