Flash Fiction: School’s Out
Another flash fiction entry from terribleminds.com.
This challenge, in honor of Mad Max: Fury Road, was to write a 2,000 word story featuring a car chase.
I have to admit, this one was tougher than Peregrine’s Folly. That one seemed to just jump into my head. This one took a fair bit of planning to get right.
BUT I HAD A BLAST!
It clocks in right around 1,850 words.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
Alex tossed the head onto Fat Pete’s desk. It rolled to a stop with Tony the Toe’s glassy eyes staring up at the mobster.
Probably couldn’t do that again if I tried.
“Jesus Christ, Alex,’’ Pete snorted, “I’m eating here.”
Pete waved a hand. One of his goons carried the head, arms outstretched, to one of the bookshelves lining the back wall of the office. Alex doubted Pete had ever read any of the books in room. He always seemed like more of a Kardashians kind of guy.
“Two million,” Alex said.
“Two? For that slimy fucker?” Pete said, “Terms were half that.”
“That was before you asked for your sick trophy,” Alex said, “I ruined a good suit getting you the head.”
“Fine,” Pete mumbled, waving another hand. Bits of mayonaise and pastrami flew from his fingers.Another goon produced a tablet and tapped the screen several times. A light buzz in Alex’s jacket confirmed his payment had been transferred. He turned for the door.
“Where are you headed?” Pete asked, feigning sincerity, “Come in, sit, have lunch. Let’s talk business.”
Alex didn’t turn.
“I’m out Pete,” he said, “Last job. Retired.”
“Alex, think about this,” Pete snorted around his sandwich, “Sure, we’ve had our differences, but you’re the best. I’d hate to see you walk away in the prime of your career.”
“No Pete,” Alex said. He opened the heavy door and stepped around it into the hallway.
“Have it your way,” Pete said behind him, “Say hi to that lovely family for me.”
Alex could hear his chortle all the way into the elevator.
Alex stepped out of the lobby onto the sidewalk. He pulled his cell from his jacket pocket and tapped the screen. It rang several times before he heard a pickup on the other end.
“Hey sweetie,” he said, “Good news. Daddy got done with work early. I’m going to pick you up from school and we can spend the day together. How’s that sound?”
“That sounds great daddy,” came the voice on the other end. It definitely wasn’t Sammy. It was deep. Rough. “Can we go to the zoo?”
Fat Pete’s chief errand boy.
Not too bright, but then you don’t exactly need to be Stephen Hawking when your favorite pasttime is snatching little girls from their backyards.
“Where’s Samantha?” Alex demanded.
“Oh, she’s right here,” Rodney said, “We’re playing games. Boss asked me to keep her company for a while. Just to make sure she was safe, you know?”
“Rodney,” Alex said, teeth clenched together, “I’m going to cut your fucking balls off.”
He punched the end call button as the valet roared around the corner in his Challenger. Alex pulled up an app, punched in a short code, and hopped in the driver’s seat.
He could just hear the rumble over the squeal of his tires. Alex watched in his rearview as a wall of flame ripped through the fifteenth floor.
Fat Pete’s floor.
The windows erupted outward, peppering the street below with twisted metal and shards of glass. Alex was blocks away when the rest of the building collapsed in on itself. A cloud of debris was hot on his heels as he sped toward Sammy’s school.
Two pounds may have been overkill, but Tony had such a BIG head…
Alex punched up the in dash navigation.
“Track Sammy,” he yelled over the roar of the car’s twin turbos. A blue arrow popped up on his screen, heading north. Away from the city.
Should’ve ditched the phone, asshole.
Alex screamed around a corner, nearly wiping out a group of crossing pedestrians. He cranked the wheel hard left and slid in behind two black SUVs. The arrow flashed steady just in front of him.
Sammy would be in the lead car.
The back hatch of the tailing SUV popped open. A hail of automatic fire tore through the road between them. Alex swerved in and out of the oncoming lane to avoid the river of bullets. Horns blared at him, as if he could politely ask the hired guns to stop shooting at him.
The gunmen were stalling.
The blue arrow was pulling away.
Sammy was pulling away.
Between traffic and gunfire Alex couldn’t pull around. He swerved to the other side of the SUV and jerked the wheel hard right. The Challenger launched up onto the sidewalk. Pedestrians scrambled to get out of the way of the speeding car.
He rolled the window down and pulled the pistol from his shoulder holster. Three quick shots bounced off the passenger window.
Armor? Pete, you asshole.
If Pete had spent the money on armor plating odds were good he’d have fitted the SUVs with run flat tires.
Alex hoped he was too dumb to remember the undercarriage.
Alex fired at the pavement beneath the passenger compartment. He doubted he’d hit the driver, but bullets flying up from the floor were enough to damage anyone’s calm.
The SUV began to swerve. Another few rounds. The driver cranked the wheel hard. The top heavy SUV couldn’t handle the sudden turn and toppled over, sliding roof first into the first dozen cars in the oncoming lane.
Alex dropped off the sidewalk with a clunk and slammed the gas. The turbos kicked in. Alex was thrown back into his seat as the gap to the blue arrow began to shrink.
Hang on Sammy.
Alex needed a plan to stop the lead SUV. He couldn’t risk shooting Sammy and a rollover wouldn’t be exactly conducive to her health.
The car’s speakers chirped. An unknown number flashed on the navigation screen.
“Answer,” Alex said.
“Hey kiddo,” came the voice on the other end.
The only person with the stones to call Alex `kiddo’.
“I heard a rumor that you were getting out of the game. I just had to give you a ring and hear it myself,” Liam said.
“Not a good time, Liam,” Alex said.
“No, see,” Liam said, “Now’s the perfect time kiddo. See, I’m curious to see what you do with that truck.”
Alex glanced back in the rearview. Behind him, just off his left bumper, was a silver Aston Martin.
“Still compensating, Liam?” he asked.
“Now, now, kiddo,” Liam said, “Is that any way to talk to your old friend? Your goddamn mentor?”
“That’s why you’re getting a warning, Liam,” Alex said, “Stay out of this.”
“No can do kiddo,” Liam said, “See, you are officially the largest contract I’ve seen since the wall fell. You’re the top ticket in town.”
The Charger jerked.
The rear tires skidded.
Alex fought the wheel to keep the car straight.
“A pit, Liam?” he said, “You know better than that.”
“I know kid, I know,” Liam answered, “Consider that your warning. Why don’t you just pull over and we make this easy?”
Alex punched the screen to end the call. The line went dead.
Alex kept his foot glued to the floor but the SUV was gaining. Swerving to keep Liam behind was slowing him down.
Alex glanced down at the nav screen. They had left the city miles behind. They were now speeding through the suburbs. The only road for miles with a bridge over the river.
Christ, the safehouse.
Rodney’s safehouse. An old farmhouse where he liked to take his time with the little girls he abducted. God only knows how many were buried under those floor boards.
Alex lost focus too long. Liam tapped his bumper. His rear tires broke and he nearly lost control. He wrestled the wheel straight.
He couldn’t outrun Liam.
The SUV dove between two more of armored trucks flanking the bridge. Alex cranked the wheel and slammed the brakes. Smoke rolled around the Challenger as he spun to a stop.
Liam’s Aston flew by.
A storm of automatic fire tore through the sports car. The fuel tank blew, sending the Aston Martin, and Liam, tumbling into one of the SUVs.
Alex popped the trunk and leapt from the front seat. He grabbed a long, thin tube from his neatly arranged arsenal. He fitted an RPG in the end and fired.
The explosion sent the second SUV sailing over the rail into the river below.
Alex tossed the launcher back in the truck and flopped into the driver’s seat. He slammed the Challenger into gear and floored it.
He roared past the flaming Aston Martin.
Always be prepared, right Liam?
The sun had started to set when Alex turned down the gravel road to the old farm house. He killed the Challenger’s lights. The motor’s rumble wouldn’t allow for stealth but at least he didn’t have to give them a clear target.
Alex turned past the white picket fence down the driveway to the house. Two thugs, holding what looked like MAC-10s, stood on the bottom step. Rodney, apparent king of this Mensa gathering, stood on the porch.
He was holding Sammy in front of him.
Alex stopped a dozen yards from the house. He killed the motor and slid from the car. He started slowly toward the front porch.
“Alex,” Rodney shouted, “So good to see you. Sammy here’s been wondering when you’d join us.”
The goons’ MAC-10s were deadly.
At this range they’d be lucky, at best, to hit him accidentally. He drew and fired two shots. The gunners dropped before they had the chance to try.
Rodney snatched Sammy up and held her close to him, revolver to her temple.
“Let her go, Rodney,” Alex said.
“Don’t think so, daddy,” Rodney croaked, “See, I’ve got all kinds of fun games for us to play. You need to back out of here real slow.”
Rodney was dumb as a bucket of shrimp and he was a dangerous bastard when he was raping little girls and making house calls with Fat Pete’s gang.
Alex could smell fresh piss running down his leg. He continued toward the porch.
“I said stop!” Rodney screamed.
Sammy threw her head back hard.
Rodney’s nose popped in a flood of red.
Rodney pulled the pistol away from Sammy’s head. Alex fired two shots before he could drop her. The first passed through Rodney’s gun hand, shattering the revolver’s grip. The second ripped through Rodney’s forearm. His bone splintered. The gun fell to the porch. The arm dropped to Rodney’s side, useless.
Sammy sprinted down the stairs.
Rodney screamed and reached for her.
Two more shots.
Rodney’s kneecaps disintegrated. He pitched forward and rolled down to the dusty landing.
Alex holstered the pistol and dropped to a knee. Sammy leapt into his arms.
“Are you ok, sweetie?” he asked.
“I’m ok, daddy,” she said, tears streaming down her face, “I knew you’d save me.”
“It’s ok hunny,” Alex said, “I’m here.” Alex cupped her face and looked into her eyes. “Sweetie, we need to get out of here,” he said, “Go get in the car. Daddy has one more thing to do, then we need to leave.”
Sammy nodded. She opened the passenger door and climbed in the Challenger’s rear seat.
Alex reached into his pocket.
He thumbed open his pocket knife and started back for Rodney.