Turned down South Harbor and floored the accelerator.
The Shelby complied, engine growling as she lurched forward with a burst of speed.
We were now in Southside and the weight of the Twins in my shoulder rig was a comforting feeling.
Did some quick figuring in my head. Nearly 70 blocks before Double Deuce. Straight shot south down South Harbor. Then another straight shot east on Marshall. At the rate we were going, I figured four minutes, maybe five, until we hit Winn town.
Making good time.
* * *
We were turning left onto Marshall Avenue when I caught sight of five headlamps in the Shelby's rearview.
Joyboys were punker gangs who liked fast bikes and sported blunt impact weapons--both hand-held and implanted.
In this part of Southside, these would be the Go-Boys.
"Company," I said and punched the accelerator. The Shelby leaped forward.
"I see them," said Mouse, half-turned in the passenger seat and peering out the back window. "They're just crossing South Harbor. Go-Boys, right?"
"Yep," I said.
"Three blocks back," said Mouse. "Lose 'em?"
"Make 'em think twice," I said.
"Got it." She unlatched her seat restraint and clambered into the back seat.
Checked the rearview.
Still three blocks behind but starting to close on us.
Heard the snap of latches behind me. Then Mouse clambered back into the passenger seat with an H&K MP5 and five extra magazines. She checked the subgun then started to roll down her window.
Cold air blasted into the car.
Closer now. A block and a half behind. I could see them in the passing light of the streetlamps. Black crotch rockets. Riders in black leathers.
"Gaining," I said.
Mouse shoved herself partway out the passenger side window, hooked one leg through the seat belt, and sat on the windowsill, half-turned toward our pursuers.
"I make five of them," she called in. "Yup. Go-Boys."
Crotch rockets in a V-formation, the lead cycle closing the distance.
"You got 'em?" I said.
"Oh yeah," she said, and let loose a series of three-round bursts.
Tires squealed and metal crunched.
Then the dull whumpf of an explosion.
Orange light flared behind me.
Flames roared up from the back of a parked car.
Two headlamps were still on our tail.
Mouse reloaded then let off a rolling burst of fire.
Another crunch of metal.
Then gunfire sparked off the parked cars on my side.
Mouse dropped back inside. "Bastard's on the sidewalk," she said, reloading. "Can't get a clear shot."
The last Go-Boy was pacing us, staying on the sidewalk and keeping his head just below the rooftops of parked cars.
Glanced ahead, then said, "Reloaded?"
"Yeah," said Mouse.
"Shoot in front of him," I said.
"Shoot in front of him. Make him slow up a little. On my mark."
"Okay," she said and got back in position in the window.
Glanced at the Go-Boy.
Armour Avenue. Fifty meters out.
"Now!" I said.
Mouse unloaded, sending a long burst of fire a meter in front of the Go-Boy.
He cut speed, dropped back a few meters.
"Back in and buckle up!" I said.
Mouse scrambled back inside and clipped on her restraints.
I floored the Shelby.
We lurched forward.
Heard the Go-Boy speed up to match us.
Shot a look.
A meter behind and to the left.
Hit Armour and veered left, crossing in front of the Go-Boy, jumped the curb ahead, and mashed on the brakes.
The Shelby skidded to a howling stop, slammed me into the seat restraint hard enough to bruise skin and shove air from my lungs.
Impact at the rear rocked the car forward. Something bounced once across the roof and landed a meter in front of the Shelby's headlamps.
I floored the gas.
The big block roared and the car lunged forward, tires squealing, slammed into the Go-Boy, the Shelby bucking and rocking as we ran over the rider, then we sped down the sidewalk, slid through a slot between parked cars, and veered back onto the eastbound lane at Wayland Street.
Optic clock. 19:07:48
Two minutes gone.
Fifty-three minutes before deadline.
And in the near distance, the towers of Winn Town rose up into a moonless sky.
(to be continued...)