Chapter 2:

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 182

Riley Gray finished her laugh with a cough as the burning smell invaded her lungs. Victory or not, it was time to get out of there. She slammed her foot on the gas, bringing the truck to life and tearing away from the scene. The explosion quickly faded into the background as she headed for the outskirts of New York.
"Shit, could you go any faster?!" Robbie yelled at her, while Katie clung to him for dear life. The two of them were sharing the passenger seat, and the small girl was nearly in his lap.
"Oh shut up." The red head smiled as she drove.
Everything had gone perfectly. Building the bomb, meeting with ass hat Z, and, finally, blowing up the monorail and the majority of Z's high ranked oh-so-precious jobmen. She held a mild disliking for the mindless drones, but mostly because everyone else did too. The people she really wanted to blow up were the Eosians. The human ones.
Erebians and Eosians had a hatred for each other that was almost natural. In the old days, when the two countries had been united as the USA, a second civil war had ignited this hatred, and nobody really remembered why. All they knew was that Eos and Erebos were far too different to ever get along ever again.
To the east, on the other side of the river, was where the Eosians made their lair. Obsessed with appearances and money and industry and all those things that made Riley's skin crawl, they were the definition of having a stick up your ass. And all of it belonged to creepy Mr. Z and his jobmen. Most of the real humans were shut away in suburban utopias and practically brainwashed to a point where they had almost no idea about the world around them. It made Gray sick.
To the west, was home. A desert filled with back-stabbers, booze hounds and whore masters. It wasn't pretty, but it was enough for Riley, even when what you were eating for lunch was usually called 'mystery meat'. Each town had it's own laws, seeing as anyone who'd dared to try to create some form of government had been shot down. Literally. As long as you had a gun and a bottle of alcohol in your grasp, you were pretty okay as far as the Erebians were concerned.
In between, were the Neutral States (although, there weren't actually any states anymore. They were just regions with names). These states (MN, IA,MO,AR,LA) were pretty much the only place both Eosians and Erebians could go without being quite as tempted to kill each other. Trading was their main purpose, but anyone who lived there seemed always on edge, afraid one of the countries might try and claim the land as their own.
That was where she was headed. Then, it was onward to California. Home sweet home. As she recklessly swerved back and forth across the cracked roads, she reached past Robbie into the glove compartment and brought out what looked like a hair dryer.
"Watch where you point that." Robbie muttered as his sunglasses tried to slide off his freckled nose. He hated traveling by shortcut, but it was better than being stuck in a car with the crazy lady in the driver's seat for hours while Mrs. Squeeze-A-Lot tried to suffocate him. He actually liked both of them, however, sometimes it was all he could do to keep from throwing himself out the window.
Katie opened her eyes. She'd had them held tightly shut ever since the explosion went off, but she didn't want to miss this. Shortcuts always looked so pretty to her. She gasped as Riley fired the gun from the side window, and a large pool of light appeared to swallow them up.
They were flying now. Riley leaned back, her foot finally off the pedal. Robbie yawned as the truck moved through the tunnel. His yawn turned into a grunt of annoyance as Katie pushed him aside to look out the window.
The shortcut seemed to be constructed of space itself. Galaxies spun perpetually around them, stars twinkling like small flames. There were no planets to be seen, but a huge red star was spitting solar flares on Riley's side. Colors danced on the three's faces. It was beautiful.
Robbie groaned sickly. Katie's weight on his stomach wasn't exactly helping his dizziness either. Suddenly, she gasped excitedly. "Oh look, look! It's" She trailed off, awestruck.
"It's a nebula." Robbie muttered as he tried to make his lunch stay put.
"Hmm." Riley regarded the fantastic red nebula with mild interest. She wondered briefly where Robbie had found this out, before remembering he lived in the old library. She pictured him with his nose stuffed in one of the dusty books and chuckled.
The tunnel ended a few minutes later, and the truck was dropped out into an abandoned parking lot with a thunk. Riley stretched as she got out, twisting from side to side. Katie practically jumped out, a gentle smile on her face. Robbie sighed with relief, finally rid of the weight.
Night was creeping up on them, with it's army of crickets and frogs. There was a lake nearby, you could smell it in the moist air, and, every now and then, there was the faint splash of a fish. The parking lot was next to a torn down shopping center, and plants of all kinds had already invaded almost every corner of it. Long, dark cracks ran through the blacktop. It was mildly warm, and Robbie felt a little better under the darkening sky.
"I love Missouri." Katie breathed.
"If you ask me, it rains too much here. Go unload some of the crap. We might be staying the night." Riley shook her head, flinging her pony tail from side to side. She was ready to lay down for a nice, long nap.
"You sure that's a good idea?" Robbie came around the nose of the truck, rolling his shoulders so they would pop. "I mean, those zombies probably have shortcut guns too."
"Yeah, well, I don't like shortcutting twice in one day. Gives me head aches-"
"Oh dear god!" Katie screamed from behind them.
"What now?" The brown eyed woman hissed.
"With our luck, it'll be an arm or something from a clone." Robbie Collins scratched his chin. "She'll be having nightmares all week."
"Ughhh." She walked with her arms crossed over to the younger girl. "What the hell are you..." She paused, looking into the back of a truck. "...Hey Robbie!" She called. Katie shivered with revulsion next to her. "We might have a little more than an arm over here!"
"What-oh!" He slid to a stop next to the girls.
It was a jobman, laying eagle spread on top of their stuff. Blood caked the side of his head, and there were bits of shrapnel covering him. After a few moments, Riley recognized him (despite the fact that all jobmen looked almost the same). Hadn't she seen him at the meeting? And she might have smashed him into the wall on her way there...
"Well, what do we do with him?" Robbie raised an eye brow. Her companions were looking at her now.
"Uh, toss him out I guess." She shrugged.
"What?! No! Are you crazy?" Katie whined. "How could you do that? We should get him to Claire."
"Kate, he's a jobman."
"So? Doesn't that mean he's partially human?"
"Yeah, partially."
"It'd be too dangerous to keep him around." Robbie tried to comfort Kate.
"I don't care! If you leave him then I... I'll stay here too!" She stuck out her lower lip and glared at the two of them.
Robbie and Riley turned to each other. "We shortcutting again?" The thin man asked, his tummy already feeling queasy.
"Looks like we don't have a choice." Riley smiled a tired smile as Katie let out a victorious 'yes!'

Submitted: August 12, 2013

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