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"Born of the Blade" - Part Nine

Spotted the burgundy ToyoHonda Daimyo as it rolled up 41st, then slow to a stop twenty meters away.
   
Shit shit shit.
   
Then the Daimyo pulled a U-turn and retreated south.
   
"Goddamn fucking mooks!" said Mouse "She's rabbiting!"

Quick scan.
   
The van sat two meters to our right, its back half blocking us in. A ToyoHonda Pioneer behind us. A ChrysFord Hopper in front.
   
Too bad, Hopper.
   
I started up the Royale and put it into gear.
   
The mook on the hood went from leer to frown.
   
Mashed the accelerator and we slammed into the runabout in front of us, shoving it two car lengths before it plowed into another parked car beyond. The encircling mooks leaped back, out of the way.
   
Hood Mook flew forward half into the windshield, half onto the Royale's roof, his meat cleaver clattering away.
   
Threw the Royale into reverse and backed up three meters.
   
Hood Mook stumbled backwards off the hood, arms and legs pinwheeling, and hit the concrete hard.
   
Back into gear, punched the gas, yanked the wheel hard left.
   
The Royale lurched onto the sidewalk in a squeal of tires, bouncing over the curb. We roared forward a car length and I yanked the wheel hard right and we slalomed between the panel van and the crunched Hopper, missing the van's front corner by centimeters.
   
Wrangled the wheel, putting us into the northbound lane on Mason, fishtailed through the intersection ahead, and slewed into the westbound lane on 40th.
   
"Where is she, Val?" I said.
   
"What the fuck was all that?" said Val.
   
"Val, focus!" I said.
   
"Okay, okay!" Then: "Mason and 41st. Signal."
   
"Track and call out," I said as we approached Grove and 40th.
   
"Wilco," Val said.
   
I slid behind a sedan approaching the intersection ahead, into the eastbound lane, and fishtailed through and onto Grove street heading south, one block west of Mason.
   
"Southbound on Mason," said Val.
   
I sped down Grove, apartment buildings and single-story houses flashing past us, thankful at being the only car on this stretch of street.
   
"What's our play?" said Mouse.
   
"Force her to stop the car," I said.
   
"Then slice and dice?"
   
"If it comes to it."
   
"Oh please come to it."
   
When we crossed 41st, Val said, "She's coming up on 42nd, turning west."
   
I slowed as we approached the end of the block and scanned the intersection ahead.
   
"Westbound on 42nd," said Val.
   
"We're on Grove near 42nd," I said.
   
"She's gonna cross you in about five seconds."
   
Then the Daimyo crossed the intersection heading westbound.
   
"There," said Mouse.
   
"Got her," I said. "Thanks, Val."
   
"I'm out," she said and hung up.
   
I pulled into the inner lane on 42nd and we came up alongside the Daimyo, matching speed.
   
Turned to look into the car.
   
McCarthy turned at the same time.
   
We locked eyes.
   
I gave her a nod
   
Her eyes went wide with recognition.
   
She turned back to the road ahead
   
And the Daimyo lurched forward with a burst of speed.
   
"Here we go," I said, mashing the accelerator, and we rocketed after her.
   
The Daimyo barreled past Steiner and Cambridge and we kept pace a car length behind.
   
At next block, the Daimyo swerved onto Oxford, going wide, nearly clipping the far curb, and roared south.
   
I cut the turn tight, the tires squealing in response.
   
The Daimyo sped south on Oxford.
   
Twenty seconds later, she blew through the light at the six-way intersection of 46th, Oxford, and Gibson Street, rocketed through the intersection amid swerving cars and yowling horns, and continued southwest on Gibson.
   
We slalomed through the mass of cars stopped in the intersection and raced after the Daimyo.
   
"Is she trying to lose us?" Mouse said as we sped along. "Cuz she's not doing a good job."
   
Five blocks ahead, the Gibson Street Tunnel entrance loomed, a five story maw of concrete and light.
   
The Daimyo raced on.
   
"Shit," said Mouse. "Is she serious?"
   
Four blocks away.
   
"Yeah," I said, suddenly aware of the Twins in my double-holster shoulder rig. "She's headed for Southside."
   
"We're gonna turn heads," said Mouse.
   
"I know," I said.
   
The surrounding streets vanished and we were in the tunnel, the thrum of the Royale's engine echoing off the stone walls, the tunnel lights strobing past on either side.
   
And then we were in Southside and the change was immediate.
   
Even the sky looked darker here.
   
I knew it was just a trick of the light by the Three Sisters blocking part of the glow emanating from City Centre but it wasn't helping.
   
Bumper to bumper cars lined both sides of the street. Sad-looking bungalows squatting on dead lawns bordered by waist-high chainlink fences flashed past us, their lights either out or dimmed to keep the shadows from taking interest.
   
Because in Southside after dark, the shadows hunted and fed.
   
The Daimyo spend onward and we followed just behind.
   
"Time to end this," I said, speeding up.
   
We started to close on the Daimyo.
   
A dark shape darted into the street from between two parked cars five meters ahead.
   
I mashed the brakes and we slammed against the seat belts as we skidded to a squealing, fishtailing stop.
   
Looked.
   
A black cat stood in the middle of the street, fangs bared and hissing, back arched, tail swishing, green eyes flashing in the Royale's headlights.
   
It hissed against then darted away into the darkness.
   
Beyond, three blocks down, the Daimyo slewed onto South Harbor Boulevard.
   
"Dammit," I said and floored the accelerator.
   
The Royale lurched forward and we rocketed down the street.
   
Moments later, we slewed onto South Harbor Boulevard and the single lane gave way to two in both directions. Houses became buildings rising three-, four-, and five-stories. Where there were no buildings, large fenced-in lots overgrown with weeds or cemented over and littered with paper and garbage dominated the space. Signboards rose up on either side of the street now, many of them covered in graffiti. Those that still worked were missing logos and letters, yet kept up their lurid flickering glow of reds and yellows or sputtered pale lamplight onto defaced adverts.
   
The Daimyo sped along, now a block ahead of us.
   
"How long do you make it?" said Mouse.
   
Scanned to either side, then at the rearview.
   
"Another twenty seconds," I said.
   
The Daimyo crossed Spenser Avenue and three crotch rockets sprang out from the side street and sped after it.


(to be continued...)


"Born of the Blade"
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 10
 

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