black... Chapter 8
Jasmine calls out my name in vain as I make a mad dash for her moped helmet. It won’t be long before it comes into view of the sinister vehicles. They’re lighting up the road and surrounding area with their blinding head and search lights as they move slowly but surely in our direction. I knew that dam helmet was trouble the first time I laid eyes on it. I put jasmine’s cry behind me as I run like the devil’s nipping at my heels. It doesn’t even feel like my feet are touching the ground.
I try to ignore the ever encroaching steel dogs as they attempt to sniff us out. Their glary stare blinds my peripheral vision and their howls drone constantly in my head like a pack of hungry wolves. The belief that I could make it to the helmet and still find a place to hide is fading rapidly. With that thought I take a quick glance to my left. My heart sinks as I realise that I don’t have a shit show in hell of making it.
I’m twenty or thirty metres away from the fence and the search lights are waving from side to side only inches away from the helmet. Once they spot it alarm bells will be ringing or in this case probably a chorus of deafening air horns. Then the search lights will sweep the entire area with a fine tooth comb. It would be suicide to carry on or head back to the tree line so I skid to the ground where I am. Luckily the grass is quite tall and covers my sides, leaving only my back exposed.
I should have taken more time to properly access my chances of beating the “v” eights to the helmet instead of relying on a split second decision. But it’s too late for hindsight so I need to access the current situation and make a better decision. I slowly raise my head above the grass line and check on the position of the cold and calculating “v” eights. Before I can focus on what’s going on all hell breaks loose. The search lights are furiously flashing around the paddock and the thumping of my heart against the hard ground is replaced with the vibrations from highly revved up engines. I drop my head back down and lay motionless like a deer caught in a hunter’s paralysing spot light. I close my eyes and prey that they don’t spot me. If there is a god I ask that he spare me so I can fight another day and save the one I love. To die here now would surely be a waste.
I realise that there isn’t a merciful god as a single air horn sounds above the revving, now comes the hunter’s bullet. I don’t intend to suffer the same fate as the deer. I take another look over the grass just to be sure I’ve definitely been seen and that the air horn wasn’t a scare tactic to spook me out of my hiding place. No, it wasn’t. A blinding set of spot lights are heading straight for me wiping out the fence like they were tooth picks. Like the deer I spring to my feet and make another mad dash, this time for the tree line and away from where Jasmine is hiding. I can hear the vehicle ripping and churning up the ground as it loses traction behind me. It’s desperation to run me down and its shear power has it slipping and sliding on the grass which gives me the time advantage I may need to reach safety.
My leg muscles start to fail and I feel like I am going to fall over so I adjust my speed slightly and run in a zigzag pattern to make myself a harder target. I eye up a tree close by that has a thick, long trunk with plenty of branches. With the Vehicle still having problems finding traction but only seconds away I leap at the tree's trunk without thinking and clamber up the branches. The tree's rough bark rips at the flesh on my hands as I frantically climb upwards and away from my relentless pursuer. I hear it accelerate below me, signalling its intention to charge at the tree. At this point I am caught between two branches and completely stretched out.
Panicking, I scramble to pull myself up. Too late! The lightning strikes "CRACK!" and the thunder rolls, reverberating through the unsuspecting tree. The impact unleashes a violent wave of vibrations that sweep through the trunk and out into the branch I’m holding onto, rocking it and loosening my weak grip. I start to drop like a lead weight. Crashing through the smaller branches as I search wildly with my arms and legs to gain control of my fall and hopefully stop short of the raving lunatic below. My gallant but ultimately feeble attempt to stay in the safety of the tree comes to a stale end. I smash straight through the stationary vehicles windscreen with it still revving full on and still trying to move forward. The driver must be completely insane.
My adrenaline must have kicked in because I can't feel a thing and I’m completely wired for action. I urgently lash out at the driver with my foot. It finds its home at the top of an empty seat. Boy, now I feel even more stupid about doubting Jasmine. No time to get precious though, I need to swallow my pride and focus on escaping. I slide through the empty windscreen frame and into the passenger’s seat.
I look around the single cab of what looks like the inside of a pickup truck but there is only a simple gear stick and steering wheel fitted. Everything appears to be upholstered in soft black leather that almost feels like human skin. There’s no Speedo or rev counter, no clock, CD player, or ash tray, only tightly pulled black leather stretched over the basic shape of a pickups interior. I feel down where the accelerator and brake pedals should be to but there’s nothing there either. I don't scare easily but this cab is really freaking me out.
Now that I’ve slowed down momentarily and I'm not reacting on instinct alone my sense of smell comes back. I almost reach as I take in a whiff of the putrid stench. It smells like I’m in someone's bowl, like raw sewage! Without wanting to spend a second longer in this abomination I reach for the door handle. As I do the revving pickup starts reversing at high speeds as I start gagging. I grab at the gear stick and try to wrench it from the floor with the other hand over my nose. It won’t budge at all, so in desperation I take a hold of the steering wheel. Dam! I can't budge that either and the smell is making it hard to concentrate. All my body wants to do is throw up.
I get a grip of myself and grab onto the steering wheel with both hands. Then I kick my feet onto the dashboard on both sides of the steering wheel and pull as hard as I can. To my surprise the steering wheel pops out and ends up in my lap. I throw it out the windscreen frame in absolute disgust. The hole where the steering wheel use to be starts oozing a dark substance. The smell in the cab instantly intensifies and the truck spins one hundred and eighty degrees and comes to a sliding halt.
Before I can react and launch myself out the windscreen frame the truck rams into fist gear and wheel spins before it takes off towards the fence. It picks up speed rapidly as I once again grab at the gear stick. The smell isn’t as bad as the fresh air is blowing in and I’m somehow getting use to it. Even though my stomach is still turning and I still feel a little queasy. I latch onto the gear stick with both hands and hunch over so I can fit under the cab’s roof. I yank on it as hard as I can and eventually it gives way to.
The dark ooze seeps from this wound as well and the smell is just as bad. I try to smash the rear window of the cab with the gear stick but after the first hit it turns into the same dark ooze that came from the wounds. I try to flick it off as it runs down my arm but it sticks to my arm like napalm but luckily it’s cold and doesn’t burn. I give up and look round for anything else that I can wrench off that might cause the truck to stop or even slow down but there’s nothing. I can’t even find a seat belt, so I curl up in front of the passenger’s seat, block my nose and wait.
I feel the truck crash through the fence and then do a wheelie on the road. It shudders to a halt and then roars off again into the paddock. I can feel it skidding on the soft ground through the floor. After about thirty seconds of thrashing about the truck puts on its anchors. It just stays in the one spot and idles. I wait and I wait feeling very uneasy. I give up waiting after what seems like forever but in real time was probably less than five minutes. I decide to check out what’s going on and rise up from my protective huddle.
I slowly crane my head and look out the passenger’s window and at the same time push against the door that has no handle. It doesn’t even feel like budging. Everything is pitch black outside until my eyes adjust to the moon light but before they can a bright light shines into the cab. Now’s my chance to make an escape, I rush across the other side of the cab and put all my weight and strength into busting out the driver’s door. All I do is give myself another bruise to add to my collection. Now another bright light shines in through the driver’s side. Come on Jasmine Create a diversion or beam them out of here, do something! The trucks on both sides of us rev up their engines. I need to think fast before I become the filling in a metal sandwich.
Right, I have a plan but I need to time it perfectly. If I propel myself out the windscreen frame to soon they will abort and run me down like a dog. If I leave it too late it will be exactly that, too late. But if I time it just right I’ll be laughing all the way back to Jasmine while they are untangling themselves from a mangled mess. I quickly get into position with my shoes hard up against the upright of the seat with legs bent. Much like a sprinter at the starting blocks but instead my hands are griped around opposite sides of the windscreen frame. Now I’m spring loaded and ready to catapult to freedom.
I wait nervously as my heart pumps like there’s no tomorrow and my adrenaline kicks into gear again. I feel a trickle of blood run down my hand as my grip on the window frame gets tighter. There must have been some glass left in the frame. It doesn’t matter though, because I can’t feel a thing. That’s it! I’m sick of waiting!
“Come on! What are you waiting for? “I scream as I eyeball both trucks. They taunt me like bulls with their angry grunts and their defiant stomps. My eyes show no fear as the two powerful beasts kick off their destructive journey. They charge towards me with their heads down and horns at the ready. With no red cape to confuse them or sword to slow them down I use cunning to gain victory. Closer, closer, now! I catapult out the window as the bulls collide.
The sickening sound of metal colliding with metal follows me out the windscreen frame as I fly out over the bonnet. I hit the ground rolling and come up into a ready position to start my sprint to the finish line. To my horror three more trucks are parked in a row about fifty metres in front of me. Where the hell did they come from? Their head lights are dimmed and for the first time I can see the front of my antagonizers. They look like they are grinning at me with their piercing eyes and radiator grill that looks like an evil smile.
“Not today boys!” I shout in defiance
I spin around and head back towards the horrendous crash behind me. I leap onto the crumpled bonnet of the crushed truck in a single bound. The other two trucks venting steam on either side, the Matador victorious once again. With an extra spring in my step and sporting a grin of my own I purposely push down extra hard on the wrecks roof on my next step as I bound to safety.
Without any warning I unceremoniously end up flat on my back with the wind knocked out of me. To make matters worse I am lying in a puddle of black ooze. It’s like I’m in a Jello wrestling pool that smells really bad. I feel shattered, my back aches and the ooze is making me sick once again. The engines on the other three trucks spark into life. No rest for the wicked I guess. I urgently crawl out of the muck and push through a mound of metal dust particles until I reach clean grass. This is what the wrecked trucks must have reduced to. Not having any time to ponder what just happened I get to my feet and start running away from the other trucks behind me.
To my amazement they are now right in front of me. How’d they get in front of me so quickly? I turn round on the spot and check behind me. The three trucks are still there with their lights dimmed, engines rumbling and grins even wider. O.k. fellas you want to play? Let’s play! The two trucks on either side reverse and fan out to create a circle around me with the others. I now stand in the middle of six blood thirsty steel dogs that seem invincible and can replenish their numbers at will. They roar as they stare me down with crazed, hungry eyes. At this point my body is telling me to drop to my knees and surrender like a broken man and let the dogs savage me. But my “will” is screaming at me to make a stand and to go out fighting and that is exactly what I intend to do.
Without another thought and using the element of surprise I sprint towards one of the trucks giving me a few precious seconds head start. They react without hesitation to my defiant charge and put pedal to metal for the Final act, tearing up the dirt in their thirst to pull the curtain down on me which gives me another few second’s grace. Please keep those wheels spinning just a little longer, almost there, yes! I take off with my shoe landing on the truck’s bonnet at the same time it finds its grip on the ground. It shoots forward causing me to lose balance, topple over its roof and crash into the tray behind the cab. I try to break my fall but end up hurtling into the back of the tray at full force. I roll around in the tray trying to find my breath when I hear an almighty explosion as the trucks collide where I stood only seconds before.
I brace myself knowing what comes next. Once again I wind up in the middle of a pool of ooze. I lay there vulnerable like a new born baby covered in blood and slime. Cut, broken and bruised I just stare up at the night ski as it spins round in a whirlpool of stars. The adrenaline is wearing off and the pains of my battle are becoming unbearable. All I can do is succumb to it as the whirlpool fades to black...