Chapter Five (of Ten)
Weighing his next action carefully, he decided that there was no hope of finding any of his now unlikely travelers. Instead his only choice was to return to his country property, and hope that somehow the strong shell of “The Planet” could withstand the assault by increasingly maddened mobs.
Just as he was hoping that they wouldn’t make the connection between himself and the country property, the heavy gates of its driveway flashed on the screen then froze. The image twisted and wavered, and was almost impossible to recognize. But he knew it too well and for his own sake he hoped he was the only one who did. He would never be able to make it around the city in time, just on the chance that someone had recognized it. Cutting through the city was the only way he could beat the transmissions before they became clear and someone recognized his hidden spaceship; “The Planet”. Even in the middle of a forest it stood out like a Nuclear Plant, but colored a shiny silver rather than the common white of the nuclear facilities.
Then his trouble with getting back suddenly became minor. He felt a sharp jarring as his car lurched forward. His foot was still on the brake when he looked down, so he knew he hadn’t stepped on the gas, or even let up on the brake momentarily. He looked at the dashboard and found that it was still operating, so he hadn’t snubbed the engine again. When he glanced at the rear view mirror he knew what the problem was immediately.
A carload of people stared back at him through the mirror. Some were hanging on the outside of the vehicle that had bashed his car, while the interior was filled more faces that were laughing hysterically at his now frightened face. A bottle broke and bounced over the car in pieces after it smashed into the top of Tim’s vehicle.
He hit the gas pedal hard and lurched forward, then punched the brake. Before the following car could react to his sudden stop, they hit him in the back end and then their brake, stopping them against his bumper. Tim hit his gas pedal once again and sped off. The car behind sat still behind him, its lights flickering as their driver cranked the engine over. They had killed their engine because of Tim’s stunt and it had to be restarted. By then Tim had gone around a corner, and into the path of yet another car running down the center of the street. This one also had people jammed into it and hanging all over the outside of it as well.
Tim suspected that this car had been going around the block to cut off his escape, but the one that had hit him had been too impatient and had gotten him to leave before they could seal off his exit. Their eyes were wide as the recognized that this was not the group that they were playing with, and that this large black vehicle was the intended victim instead. They swerved to avoid Tim’s vehicle, attempted to turn too quickly and buried themselves into a building instead. It had bounced up and over the curb, then continued into the building, spreading glass and thin metal, and people everywhere around and over the vehicle.
The car that had hit Tim twice had caught up though, and after avoiding the swerving friend, he was behind Tim once more. It was easily recognizable by the headlights that had broken with the collision. One was entirely blackened, while the other shone up into the foreboding and lowering clouds. The clouds also looked heavily laden with smoke from the many burning buildings and vehicles within the city. They almost looked greasy, ready to drip something black on anything below them in the city.
Coming down a hill, and into the very heart of the city, Tim could see clearly many of the tremendous fires that raged throughout it. It was clearly out of the hands of the Fire Department as blocks of buildings were burning rather than individual houses or businesses.
Facing such a horror, Tim instinctively let up on the pedal and slowed slightly. But unimpressed by the burning city, the car behind him struck him like a large hammer. Tim’s head jerked backward and bounced off the head rest behind him. It had to be quite a blow for this massive machine to be shoved forward so violently, and it was too much for the attacking car. It stopped, it’s front end crushed and now dragging on the ground. In seconds the occupants had either jumped out of the interior, or had fallen off the exterior when it collided with Tim.
He watched in sickening horror as the second chasing vehicle had returned, running over the fallen people like garbage cans blown into the road by the wind. The headlight bouncing in circles as each body was overrun; the tires flattening them into mere unmoving bumps in the road. Tim pushed on the accelerator hard and the car lurched ahead.
On the downhill road he flew over two intersections that each launched him into the air as he passed over the cross streets. The heavy car bounced heavily, sending sparks where it had come down that attracted people looting one of the stores. The car behind him was lighter and sped up over these bumps without as much bouncing. It also flew farther in the air and was getting close to Tim’s rear bumper.
He yanked the wheel over suddenly, just before hitting the flat spot of the next intersection. He thought about the possibility of rolling the heavy car over, but knew that it also had a very large suspension system and should be able to take it, as long as he could hold the wheel over. He gripped it with all of the strength in both his arms and shoulders until his hands started cramping, and still he hung on. The rubber tires shook and jumped while screeching horribly. Smoke was everywhere as the trailing car continued straight through it, and the intersection, and further down the hill without him.