Judgment Day: Part 32
Part 32 of my increasingly incoherent novel from years ago.
Molly didn’t hesitate. She raised her gun and a screaming, rattling barrage of bullets tore into creature. Azizi and Martin had joined in. Molly slammed backwards while Daryl stumbled to his knees, covering his head. The creature’s head cracked backwards, a spray of grey-green blood exploding into the air behind it. Then it was over, the rocketing gunshots bounced across the mountainside and into the distance. In the silence, Daryl listened to his heart pounding in his head. Azizi, breathing heavily, stood in place. Molly was on her back, unmoving but eyes wide open.
“Well,” Martin said, “That’s better than a cup of coffee.” He turned towards Molly, “Sister, you took a tumble.”
* * *
Back in the mansion, in the office off the kitchen, Martin stood with his back to his friends, looking out the window at the Jeep idling in the ditch. Daryl and Molly sat together on one side of the desk while Azizi perched on the windowsill, watching the road, sipping from a can of root beer.
Molly shivered, leaning close to Daryl. Almost without thinking, he wrapped his arms around her and held her close, the armrest of the chair biting into his side.
There were as many answers lying dead on the lawn as there were in this office, but one thing was certain. The creatures knew where they were. Daryl focused on the feel of Molly’s body against his, her warmth, but it was doing nothing to fix the morning’s madness. It was doing nothing to set his mind at ease, or calm the chattering voices. Who was this Dr. Whittier, now? From the beginning, he had felt that there was more to this situation than they knew. Now this message, if it could be called that, had landed on their doorstep. But, friend or foe, there was no way to tell. What step to take next was impossible to judge. They were all well out of their element and as far from sanity as they could possibly get. If this was some crazy dream world, then they were firmly locked into it.
“I don’t want those things to attack us again. I watched them kill all those poor people from the subway. They’re too strong. They’re…” Molly’s voice was faraway, pitched low, shuddering in the room. “If they know we’re here, then we need to be somewhere else.”
Martin nodded. “ All this does is convince me, girl. I want to see what’s going on.”
“Bethesda.” Azizi muttered.
The large, affluent suburb of DC. That’s what the creature had said.
“You’re serious?” Molly moved away from Daryl, staring incredulously at Martin’s back. “We have to get out of here. Go to an island or something…these things are hunting us.”
“There’s more to this.” Martin said, turning. “What if this Whittier is trying to help us? If so, why? How do they all know us? If there’s something bigger going on here, do you think an island will really save us? How did they know we were here? I don’t think it’ll matter if we’re on this mountain or under a stone in Guam.” He sighed deeply, “Look, I’m not crazy. You’re right. An island sounds good to me. But I don’t think we can run from this.”
Martin shrugged, “Call it boy’s intuition.”
“There’s no such thing.”
“We can at least look,” Azizi said. “We can slip through the cracks and see what’s what, then run.”
Molly shakily reached into the pocket of the jacket Azizi had given her and pulled out a bottle of Aleve. She shook three pills into her hand, dry swallowed them, then put her hand against the bruise on her head. “We should run,” she said softly. “We can’t go to the city and sneak around. These damn things are watching us,”
Martin cleared his throat and continued, “I’m going.”
Daryl was feeling shaky and nauseous. “If they’re shadowing us, watching us, then why are they screwing around? Why not just come and get us?”
“They’re either fucking with us.” Azizi’s voice was low, “Or they’re afraid of us.”
“Okay,” Molly said, nodding. “Fine. We check it out. Just that, backroads in, stay low, then we get the hell out of there. What happens if we run up against a bunch of them?”
Daryl jerked and stared incredulously at her.
Martin laughed, “We’re not just going to go down there with pea shooters.”
“Semtex.” Azizi said.
“That’ll mess up their day.”
“Now, hold on!” Daryl said, standing up. “You just said we should get out of here.”
“They’re going!” she replied, finally. “What are you going to do, drug them?”
“And we don’t need plastic explosives.” He said to Azizi.
Azizi grinned, “We’ll make a show when we get there. Make sure they’re really afraid of us, just in case. Make them think there’s more than four 20-something slobs wandering around.”
“Wait, you just went from observing them back to Martin’s stupid offensive plan.”
“Oh, did I?” Azizi played innocent. “Look, we can set a timer. Have it happen hours after we leave. Bethesda, without people, is a maze of buildings and alleys and crowded streets. A dead city of a million can easily hide four of us. We observe, then we make a statement. A statement that can have the same effect even though we’ll be several hundred miles away. It has to be done. These things aren’t out to mindlessly rip out our insides.”
“In life,” Martin said, “You are either the hammer or the anvil.”
“Goethe?” Azizi asked.
Daryl shook his head, “The Prisoner. Episode 10.”
Molly looked from Martin to Daryl, finally she sighed and rolled her eyes, “Okay. We stay together, we go well armed and we take notes. Then we clear out before they surprise us again and we keep going. Deal?”
“The girl’s on board!” Martin said triumphantly.
Daryl sighed. Death was inevitable, he supposed. Why not go ahead and enjoy the last days, then?
“Agreed, yes?” Azizi said, leaning towards Martin, “Do as the girl says.”