Sleepy Lady and Pet Dragon

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
A couple's strange hobby: urban treasure hunting. Remember to like, comment, and/or subscribe. Thanks for reading.

Submitted: August 28, 2012

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Submitted: August 28, 2012

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Tonight, like most nights, I don't dream. It's just a black void. One of my favorite songs begins to play in my head, but just the chorus. It stops then replays itself a few moments later. I shake myself awake when I realize it was my phone alerting me of a new message.

Tab: "waik up."

Me: "I'm here."

*Receiving MMS*

A picture of my window taken only seconds earlier.

And there she stood, her pale skin contrasting the calm darkness. Navigating the usual trashy floor, I came across the necessary items: a hoodie, my cell phone, my backpack, and my wallet. I opened the window and stepped out into a rather agreeable night. Tab met me, throwing her arms around me and kissing me.

"I missed you."

"Me too."

I led her to the gate and we left the backyard. A black Nissan Altima waited for us. I rode shotgun while Tab sat behind me. The driver, Jose, switched the radio on. His Russian techno music blasted away as he put the car into gear. Shortly, I recognized the road and realized we were headed towards the docks. Right now, the docks were a disaster zone of wreckage. No one truly knows the details but some have suggested that extra-humans are to blame. I personally don't believe in that bullshit. Jose parked the car. I gave him $50 for his trouble. Tab took a hold of my hand. We ducked under the police tape and tentatively walked on the wreckage. Dozens of the large shipping containers balanced precariously atop more twisted metal. For some strange reason, I began to feel depressed. It felt like walking through the ruins of some destroyed metal city. There were cars under the piles with people still inside. Of course, they must've died as soon as the containers landed on them. We reached a dead end. Tab took a look around and found a crevice which we crawled into. Tab's butt twitched as her legs pushed her ahead. After several feet of crawling, we reached a clearing. This is where the Kotomaru family met with a city official: Groph. I spotted a gun. Tab and I were after the missing duffel bags. Twenty million dollars in unmarked bills. No one expected an 18 year old and his girlfriend to be poking around for urban treasure.

"Maybe the Kotomaru emissary took it. I heard their car was crushed here, too," Tab said.

"Groph had a bag. Did he make it out?" I asked.

"I heard someone named Think caught up with the Cadillac."

"What did he do?"

"She drove it into the Orange River."

"Fuck. That's ten million for the fishes."

"The emissary's car should be around here," she reassured.

"What's his license plate number?"

"It's a custom plate: MMMG."

"I don't get it."

"Well, simple enough either way."

The crushed vehicles must be all within the same vicinity since the person behind the explosion sought to eliminate every driver in one move. We backtracked into the crevice and came across a car's back window. Tab once again squeezed into the tight space of the compacted vehicle. After switching on my head-light, I followed, ripping a hole into my shirt as I went after her. A body, mangled and crushed, still sat in the driver's seat. Tab took a second to pry the rings off the man's fingers. She pulled out her cutters and snapped off the chains around his neck. Unfortunately, the windshield remained intact, preventing further advancement. Using a small pen-shaped object, she obliterated the glass. I was right behind her as we went into an area with a little more room. This space allowed us to go on our knees and advance faster. I activated Tab's light. Dirt clung to her sweaty face. Using my sleeve, I wiped her face clean. She turned to continue. Her arm knocked a cylinder over. It rolled loudly as it clanged on the metal. I picked the object up to examine it. The thing may have been a tear gas grenade or a frag grenade. I didn't want to find out the hard way so I stuffed it into Tab's satchel. Scanning ahead, we saw there were several paths to choose from. The first led to an abrupt end of jagged metal. The second seemed to go vertically. The last I couldn't see far enough to judge its condition.

"Let's split up," Tab suggested.

"I'll take this one," pointing towards the third.

She headed to the second tunnel. I watched her crawl until the path demanded she climb. The third option waited for me. Like a lizard, I slunk down, turning my head this way and that in search of areas of interest. Nothing but the warped metal tunnel I was already in. After a few more feet of crawling, I found myself inside a shipping container. Inside, there were at least 20 people, all dead. Dressed in rags, they must have been immigrants trafficked from China or something. As you can expect, the container stunk a powerful odor. Also, by the look of it, there weren't any ways out besides the entrance, which I headed through. I planned on taking Tab's path. As I had seen earlier, it went vertical after several feet. Minding my head, I stood and reached for some hold to hoist myself. Instead, I found Tab's hand. With her assistance, I managed to scamper up to her level. We crouched atop a white car. Tab had smashed the sun roof to gain entrance. Already I could tell Tab had stripped the corpses of their jewelry. She led me inside and through the already opened windshield. I wanted to ask her what's with the pace but the crawling had me gassed. Finally, I saw Tab stand up ahead of me. I found myself inside another container. This one, standing perfectly erect where the doors were, had crates of flour packed in seran wrap.

"What's all this?"

She took a pack, "It's heroin! Who knows how much heroin!"

I reviewed the package. It was actually a brown powder. The light must've confused my senses.

"Babe, it's ten dollars per gram! This thing weighs 5 lbs minimum. That's at least 1,400 dollars in my hand! Not to mention the other boxes that hold at least 50 of them!" She said excitedly.

"Well, we can't take everything. Let's take two each. $5,600 when we sell it."

"That's small fish compared to the emissary's loot."

"Don't get greedy. Remember the raccoon with the closed fist?"

There's a story every wilderness person knows and that's the overzealous raccoon who finds himself in a trap because he won't open his fist and let go of his prize. This could easily happen since the crawl spaces are so narrow. We poked around the other crates in the container, peeling planks apart to ascertain the nature of their contents. So far, only the one held anything remotely valuable; the rest held so much rubbish. Tab decided to cut her losses and leave. I followed closely behind, lingering because I felt we had overlooked something of interest. Back in the tunnel, Tab's duffel bag snagged onto a jagged piece of metal. She pulled free without damaging the bag or its contents. After a trickier crawl throught the crushed vehicles, we finally came to the leg of the journey where the path veered off into the two other alternatives. I contemplated whether or not I should take Tab to the container with the immigrants. The site was ghastly and I didn't think she'd take it all too well. But then again, I felt really sorry for them. I can only begin to imagine the Hell those people must've felt inside that screeching metal death trap. They deserved a proper burial. I entertained the notion until Tab goaded me further. The thought soon drifted away with the strenuous crawling, now harder due to the baggage and exhaustion. I could see the crevice where Tab and I had entered through. A very weak drizzle left a glossy rendering of the outside world. I could best compare it to looking through eyes soaked with tears. Tab joined me, wrapping her warm hand around my fingers. Standing inside a dreary dock while rain soaks the clothes isn't an ideally romantic scenario but right here, right now, I felt more connected with Tab than ever. I wanted to tell her I love her. I refrained from doing so to conserve the placid ambiance. Tab tightened her grip and forced me to the ground. A car sat idle at the far end of the dock. Its taillights two angry, red rectangles. From afar, the vehicle looked like a squat creature with smoke streaming from a pipe. In my imagination, monsters smoke from pipes. The eyes went off as soon as another car entered the area: Jose's Altima. He rolled in with his music thumping against his windows. The monster came to life, ramming Jose's right side with its trunk. It pinned the Altima to another container. Several armed men exited and opened fire on Jose. I pointed Tab to the crevice. She looked at me with pained, frightened eyes. The gunfire briefly made the details more dramatic. The driver pulled away from the Nissan. The men approached the car and dragged out Jose. They stuffed him in the trunk and sped off, leaving us in a confused daze of adrenaline and shock. Behind me, I could hear Tab's muffled sobs. I took her into the crevice to get away from the rain which had begun to come down with more force. Tab's eyes fought a losing battle against exhaustion; I draped my hoodie over her and gave her a package of heroin to use as a pillow. The grenade rolled out of her bag. I picked it up again, turning it over as I did last time. It had to be a tear gas grenade. Why else would it be shaped like a can? For a fleeting second, I thought I heard the sound of another vehicle. I settled when I realized it was simply the thunder booming overhead. Tab had already gone to sleep; I could see her chest slowly rise and fall. Tired, I lay my head on her breasts, using them as pillows. She woke with a start, then put her hand suggestively close to my groin. The temptation hit hard, but I wasn't really in the mood to have sex with Tab in a heap of toppled shipping containers. Of course, I didn't protest when her hands unbuckled my pants nor did I when her hand found the intended target. I didn't put my foot down when I met her warmness. I just wasn't in the mood. Even if I just so happened to nibble softly on her ear lobe. We were done by the time another car pulled beside the totaled Altima.

''Sleepy Lady!'' The driver called, an old woman by the sound of her voice. Tab ran out from cover and entered the car. I followed closely, sitting with her in the backseat.

''Ranger.'' Tab said.

''Who's the guy?'' she asked facing me.

''Pet Dragon.''

The old woman, Ranger apparently, nodded. She put the car in gear and drove away from the depressing dock. The boardwalk beneath us rhythmatically thumped alongside the pattering rain and the occasional thunderclap. I watched the lightposts streak by like comets of lazy, yellow light. Inside, the only sound was Ranger's stereo playing death metal at a very low volume. The outside's light shined in at regular intervals, allowing me to steal glances at the driver. Maybe it was the bad lighting but she looked cute. The years only managed to give her dimples at the corners of her mouth; her eyes, with trace amounts black eye shadow adorning them, had been worn down from a light blue to a fresh grey. They were straining through the curtain of rain cleaving onto the windshield, unyielding to the wipers. I might've overestimated her age; I'd place her around 50-ish, now I'd say early 30s. She caught me staring at her. I ducked and pretended to be surveying the car itself.

She looked out her other mirrors, ''We're being followed.''

I turned to see out the back window. Tiny holes started exploding all over it. Cracks spread like splintering spiderwebs all over the dilapidating glass. I huddled over Tab, covering her from the flying shards. Ranger swerved as her back tires exploded. Sparks started shooting from the bare rims, turning the car itself into another one of the psuedo-comets. Our pursuers, two large SUVs, drove alongside us. Several gunmen rolled their windows down to fire upon us. Ranger slammed her brakes, continued into reverse, and crashed through guardrail. The rimless car caught no traction on the muddy slope so it slid until it hit the shrubbery. I almost threw Tab out the door as we made a break for it on foot. Ranger was right behind us when they opened fire from above. The hail of bullets impacted the frail woman, tossing her violently to the ground. I pulled Tab away and towards the dense bushes. I backtracked after realizing I'd left the heroin in the car. Tab took a hold of my sleeve as I pushed my way back. A bullet whizzed past my ear like an angry mosquito. I let Tab take me away from the fire squad. Thorny bushes dug at our clothes and scratched painfully at our exposed flesh. Tab's pace quickened even as the bushes got thicker.

''We're far enough.''

She doesn't respond.

''Tab.''

She continues.

''Tabitha!''

She snaps back into reality.

''You OK?'' A question I realize is perfectly idiotic. She looked past me and at the flashing lights of the muzzles. Jose was gone, Ranger was gone, and now the heroin is gone. Penniless and at the end of our ropes, I realized just how hopeless the situation was. I couldn't protect myself or, more importantly, Tab. She knelt at my knees, digging through her own clustered backpack. She handed me a gun, a CZ-75. Its cold, metal weight reassured me, jolting my mind awake. I took Tab through the least dense path. After a minute of trudging through the thorny bushes, we stumbled upon an empty road. A single stopsign, defaced by the local hoodlums, silently guarded the desolate intersection beside one solitary lightpost. The road we were on disappeared into the distance like the bisecting road, which, if followed, would lead you under the bridge supporting the highway. An unfortunate driver decides to heed the signal. I approached him while shooting out his windows. Using the gun itself, I busted the driver's side window and firmly pressed the barrel to his temble.

''Get the fuck out,'' I commanded softly.

He scampered through the car and fell out the passenger side, on the shattered glass I assume. He sprinted away as if he could outrun my bullet. I didn't shoot though. Tab emerged from the darkness and sat in the passenger seat. I also entered and drove away from the soon-to-be-declared crime scene. My headlights cut through the darkness as I drove through a night which, in retrospect, could've ended differently. Tab's safe now. That's all that matters.


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