Serial Saturday: Road Trip, Part 3

Israel reached under his jacket and drew out the Glock he’d acquired from one of Bryce’s henchmen early on his road trip. All three of the young men took a step back.

“Hey-” began one.

“Oh, this isn’t the half of it, boys,” Israel said. “I’m a bad man, and maybe you should think a little harder about all the bad men roaming around out in the big old world before the next time you decide to hassle someone who just wants to drink a cup of coffee in peace.”

The ringleader of the kids was raising his hands to his shoulders, as if he thought that he would have gotten Israel concerned otherwise. Something he’d learned to do from movies, probably.

“As it happens, though, gunning you all down in a parking lot might attract some attention,” Israel said. He turned and bent to slide the pistol under the driver’s seat, then straightened and pushed down the old-fashioned lock before slamming the door.

“So,” he said. “Do we all still want to get on this merry-go-round, or are we done for the night?’

“You’re crazy, man,” said the leader.

“That seems to be the prevailing opinion,” Israel replied. The interesting thing was the reaction everyone had to a crazy man. One kid, the biggest of the three, was already backing toward the pickup, a fairly logical reaction, really. Another, with long stringy brown hair, looked like he’d suffered some sort of mental vapor-lock and was standing there with an expression on his face like he couldn’t quite understand what had happened. The third, the leader, who looked like a roadie for a Bon Jovi cover band, was coming right at him, though. Maybe he thought he’d found a way to get himself a new pistol, but most likely he was just an idiot.

Israel shoved his hands into the pockets of his jacket and waited. For just a second, it looked like the kid would think better of it. Then he remembered his friends watching and took the last two steps forward, swinging. Israel swayed back from the first punch and slid away from the second. The kid finally decided just to grab him, and Israel brought his hand out of his pocket into an uppercut.

It connected nicely, and the kid took two steps back and fell flat on his ass. He was having trouble focusing, as he sat there on the asphalt, but his eyes narrowed a bit when his gaze fell on the knuckledusters Israel wore. All the movement had pulled at the bandages on Israel’s side, left over from the last ruckus Bryce had caused, but it didn’t feel like he was bleeding. That was more than he could say for the kid, who was dripping blood from this chin.

“Sorry, kid, did you think I put the gun away because I wanted a fair fight or something?” he asked, stepping forward. The kid was trying to get up, but he was still too wobbly to do it fast, and Israel hit him again on the side of the head. It might have been a little harder than it need to be, given the brass knuckles, and the kid’s eyes rolled back in his head before he slumped to one side.

There was a loud clinking noise. Israel looked up to see the big one stepping away from the bed of the pickup, holding a rusty tow chain. The long-haired one still didn’t seem to know what to do, but it looked like the big one had changed his mind about leaving.

They’re coming, Lucien said. He wasn’t talking about someone with a hunk of chain, and he was right, as always. Israel could feel it in his guts and in the back of his throat. Reality was being grabbed and twisted around, so an Old One or two could move through it. That sort of thing was unhealthy for a human. Not as unhealthy as the sorts of things they did on purpose, but bad enough. The things Bryce was sending after him were terribly old, and they were the kind of things that had made human beings huddle closer around their fires or just plain run for countless generations. He didn’t need Lucien to tell him they were coming.

He looked up at the two kids. They weren’t as attuned as he was, but they could tell something was happening, too, down in their brainstems. The one with the chain had shambled to halt some ten paces off, and the other one was looking back and forth desperately, trying to find whatever it was that was telling the animal part of him to run.

Israel laughed. “Boys, we’re in it now.”

Copyright © 2011 SM Williams

~ by smwilliams on April 23, 2011.