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Authors: Andrew Kjelland

Black Box 86ed (26 page)

BOOK: Black Box 86ed
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“Time to go!” H
yells, standing. He takes off at a dead sprint the near miss obviously having him rattled. Roger bolts to his feet running towards me as I try to catch up.

Smoke fills the sky. Like a deadly thunderstorm the sun almost completely blotted out. We run but the battle seems to follow. Sprinting into the street just steps behind H, it’s so dark I can’ barely tell it’s him looking behind I see Roger just feet behind me, behind him two huge bombers. Billowing smoke from the bombs hidden within. The huge clouds blotting
out the sun. I look back to “Help” not losing stride he’s a good twenty
feet ahead of me. Dam for an old guy he can really huff it.

A light streaks across the sky above our heads. A direct hit on a helicopter. A whoosh of air as it spins out of control mixing with the screams of the about to be dead men inside.
Getting louder, louder. splat

Just like that, like from some god awful cheesy comic book. Splat not thirty feet from me a man more tomato paste than human la
ying on the sidewalk. His helmet still on but one arms missing. I shut him out. Focus, focus, and just get out of here. I hear the surprised cries of Roger behind me as he runs past the flat Stanley on the sidewalk.

My stitches pulling with each stride as I slowly lose ground. Roger making it to my side. “Come on Will don’t give up now!” He yells. I turn from him to H now pointing to a subway tunnel as he gains even more steam leaving Roger an
d I behind.
Reaching the edge of sunlight just feet before plummeting into the darkness of the tunnel. We run a good twenty yards in.

“Hey where the hell you goin?” H yells as we run by.

“Jesus we didn’t see you,” I respond.

“I can’t see a thing.” Roger says.

Help clicks a flashlight on. “Here I got a second one,” he says handing it to Roger.

“Wait here,” he says handing it to me.

“Don’t want you to rip a stitch just cause you tripped.”

“Thanks,” I respond.

“Wait, James isn’t with you guys? I thought he was behind you.”

“What? No I didn’t even think about him.”

“What do we do now?” Roger asks turning to Help.

“Should we wait see if he makes it here?”

“We’re on a schedule,” H says. “If he is still alive and so inclined he can catch up.”

I look to my feet shuffling them. If he just leaves his partner behind like that what would he do if I really needed help? I look to Roger with a mirror image of my thoughts clearly on his face.

“Hey look you can stay if you want but a lot more people could die if we don’t hold
onto time right now ya hear.
If we don’t scout the north side 2,000 men could be walking right into a slaughter, I’m not letting that happen. Not after what our so-called government has done to this great country.”

“Ok I reply where do we go?”

“Well we’re gona follow this subway tunnel all the way till the end, if we’re in the right one it’ll drop us off just a few blocks from where we need to be.”

“Ok, let’s go then,” Roger says.

H turns and at a brisk pace starts down the tracks.

“O and one thing you see that rail? It’s called the third rail and if you touch it you’ll be a crispy peace of bacon before we’re able to turn around to see what that delightful smell is.”

We take off again, Roger and I walk side by side.

The adrenaline wearing off, I start to feel a splitting pain, like my ass has been wrapped in barbed wire. I
run my hand down the inside my pants pulling back, I see blood, not much but defiantly a few stitches have torn or
something. I make sure not to say anything, given Mr. “Helps” outlook on helping those in distress.

I look to Roger his eyes look miles away but it may just be the lighting.

“You ok?” I ask, “I mean considering everything that’s going on are you doing alright?”

“Are they safe?” He asks. “You know Over and G
race, you think they're alright?”

“God I
hope so,” I reply.
“They, got more men with em
, ya know so they're probably ok.
Hell, they are with the most protected man in all of Chicago I’m pretty sure they are going to be fine.”

“Ya but he’s also the most sought after man too. What if the government finds them?
And even worse they’re
gona find them with probably the most wanted man in America,
that can’t be good.”

That hadn’t occurred to me.”

“I’m sorry Will,”
he says a tremor in his voice.
“I’m so sorry.”

“About what?”

“You know... last night.
We really thought you would be ok, we stayed up watching the entire street, I swear we di
dn’t see nobody the whole night.
I’m sorry,” his voice trembling now.

“It’s, it’s fine.

“No, no it’s not. What we did was stupid and selfish and looking back I can’t believe I let
myself do something like that.
It’s just… I haven’t had much luck when it comes to my… I guess it’s my love life. I mean I told you bout my wife up and leaving me and
taking the kids with her. I… I just couldn’t take it. My kids where my life and she just ups and takes em… my entire life and one bitch just get up and walked out on me, never to be seen again ya know. And…. Over… Over was there for me…. I remember I was driving damn near cross-country from Austin all the way to Connecticut. It was a
twenty hour
job and I needed the money and to clear my head. I ended up passin Over. Found out he was going close to the sam
e spot I was so we just drove ten
hours straight talking over the radio. It… The person I was… at the start of that trip it wasn’t me. It was broken down lost
in the world Roger. But after three
hours on the radio with Over I was a new man. He, he saved me
nd I can’t be more grateful for passin him on the interstate that day. And we, we didn’t think we were gona make it this far. You understand we thought it was the last day on earth, like god himself was just about to come down on us. So, we were selfish, and I can’t apologize enough for it.”

He turns a tear sliding down his face. His expression looking for reassurance.

I pause struggling to
come up with the right words.
I... I understand, you know
We don’t know if we’re going to be alive an hour from now, I… I understand.”

“Fag,” H snarls under his breath.

Roger moves his gaze down to his shoes and keeps it there
as we continue through the tunnel. The only light from our flashlights bouncing as we walk.

The sound of rocket fire and machine guns vibrate through the tunnel, like a distant thunderstorm, it rumbles through the air.

“Oh an I’m sorry about the whole finger popping ass stuff I was just shaken up.”

He smiles, “no, no it defiantly got the point across.”

“What exactly are we looking for?” I ask help

“Anything and everything. We’ll find a good spot to look around and just report back what we see.

“And then what?
What happens when we meet up with everyone?”

“Kid any answer I give you would just be pure bullshit, I don’t know what the hell is going to happen between now and then so why don’t you just stop asking questions.”

More silence. The damp air swishing in and out around us. We hear an explosion this time sounding as if right above us. Dirt and dust and cockroaches shake loose from the ceiling.

“Dam we must be right under em.”
Roger says

“Ya I’m glad we aren’t walking around up there right now.”

“Shhhhhh!” H spits.


“Shut the hell up,” he bites at me

We stop, standing in silence. The rocks around my feet start to vibrate and dance.

“What the hell is it?” I ask.

“Get to the wall now!” H yells as he sprints hopping over the third
rail into a depression in the wall. I turn to the wall running I
jump over the rail into a crevice. Lights appear from around the turn in the subway the rumbling getting louder, finally the train begins to pass us

Car after car of military. O god, I slink to the ground hoping they do not spot us
. The steel railway moans
under the weight of the cars, as s
parks from the third rail jump and skip along down the tracks exposing me for an instant then darkness again. The final car passing by I let out a sigh of relief.

“You waitin for them to come back?
Get your ass moving,” H scold
. Roger steps to my side and we continue to follow.

Halfway through the bend we see a light.

“Bout dam time,” H sighs. “Now when we get out all we gotta do is fine a tall building, we’re gona take a look around and see what the military has sitting out.

“This seems like a waste of time,” Roger observes, “I mean how much help can this really be doing?”

“Listen we ain’t the only ones checking this shit out. We’re just filling in a hole they haven’t been able to see in yet.
That a good
enough explanation Mr. Captain O
’ fillin holes?”

“What the fuck does that mean?”

just smirks and turns away.

“Don’t you fucking turn your back on me!” Roger screams at him.

I grab his shoulder, “hey, hey let it go.”

“Why should I let this prick say whatever he dam well pleases?”

“Cause if we aren’t all on the same page here it could mean us not getting back to Over and Grace.” Shaking with rage,
nods and we continue out of the tunnel.

The sun seems blinding from the dark subway tunnel. H
walks under a nearby tree motioning us to him.

“How much farther we got?” I ask.

“Just gotta get to a tall building now.
They wanted to know about the opening of the subway tunnel and the surrounding ar
We’re in the thick of it ya hear. There could be more patrols and all types of units walking around so we need to be quieter then a dead church mouse you understand? We only shoot if we are being attacked, we only yell if we are being attacke
If you get separated the only person you ask for help is the good lord himself and no one else. This information is gona be more important than anyon
e of our lives, including mine.
It could mean not only several hundred rebels saved form an ambush but even getting your friends back with Landen
out of Chicago.” Roger and I nod. “Alright the
n, so we are going to that building just down the street.
We’re going to sneak up to the top, I’m goin to take a look around and we are going to get the hell out of here.”

A helicopter flies close overhead the wind from the blades blowing the branches of the tree.

“Let’s get a move on before we get caught with our thumbs up our asses.”
He turns looking both ways he runs across the road into a bus stop. Pulling out
is binoculars he looks down the road.

“Here you see that patrol over there?” He asks handing them to Roger. He nods handing the binoculars over to me. “Now they’re just some basic training bitch platoon.”

“How can you tell?” I ask bringing the binoculars to my eyes I see three men in uniform. They look green, like they’re just kinda hanging out.

“Cause anyone they got that knows how to carry a gun is off in fucking Afghanistan or Iraq.
You think a bunch of regular Joes could take Chicago if the government weren’t stretched dam near everywhere?”

I look down the line of them. Looking at the guy farthest away I see Mike leaning against
a crate smoking a cigarette.
I freeze. Like my brain has given me the blue screen of death. How? This can’t be, it can’t be him I console to myself as my brain reboots.

“You ok Will?” Roger asks nudging me.

“Uhh ya, ya I’m fine,” shaking the last few cobwebs from my brain.

Roger starts talking to H but I’ve traveled miles into my head.

What do you do Will? What the hell do you do? I pause hoping the answer will come to me. Nothing. You’re gona loose her again. When this all blows over you’re gona loose her. He’s gona come back with some metal of fucking honor and she’ll just let you go.

No, no that’s not right. Not
after all we’ve been through...

That’s just it,
isn’t it? All you’ve been through. You know it’s not her… Right now it’s not. How could it be, you’re barely you.

But I’m happy, I’m terrified for my life but for the first time in a long time, I’ve felt the need to protect it. That I should protect what I have with her. Our life… together. I feel my familiar empty void carving out my stomach. Like a virus traveling to every part of me. Reaching my head. Everything I need to feel, to be alive sucked away in instant.

You knew it wasn’t going to last. You haven’t captured Grace’s attention, she’s a refugee not your girlfriend. Your stability, your protection and when she
neither your time will be done… I stare at my shoes, I stare at my double knotted shoe laces. Then, what?
The breeze swirls around me, causing a mini tornado as it swirls and twirls, catching leaves.

“WILL!!” Help screamingly whispers hitting me in the shoulder.

“Sorry,” I whisper back.

“Listen I’ll shoot you dead if your head isn’t here, if I think you’re going to get us caught I will shoot you and Roger dead you understand?”

I nod.

BOOK: Black Box 86ed
12.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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