One gun: That's all I had.
The cop Travis Parker--my dead friend John's brother--had given me the weapon before he let me out the police station door. By freeing me, Parker helped me realize I wasn't crazy.
I figured the government, the Air Force, and the creatures who'd scraped their claws across my windows nightly for weeks were somehow working together. Parker may not have swallowed my story about monsters, but he knew something big and horrible was happening to us all. The plane mechanic suicides at Hill Air Force Base were just side-effects of a greater problem.
Limping along on the byways and back roads of Layton, Utah, I could tell the gun Parker had given me was a 9mm by its weight and size. One pea shooter and my two legs wouldn't keep me alive against an army of flying monsters and Homeland Security agents for very long. I needed a vehicle and some bigger weapons. My house had those things. No matter what, the cops wouldn't get a chance to arrest me again. I'd die shooting like a spaghetti western outlaw. And at least I'd have a fighting chance with my own stuff.
My gut cringed as I imagined government issue M-4 rounds riddling it. Pain and I were gonna be close friends before too long.
The Layton cop shop wasn't far from my house. I knew going back home was stupid. Detective Parker had warned me not to make dumb mistakes, but I wasn't stealing anything or drawing attention to myself. I just needed my stuff. Anyway...that's how I convinced myself going home was okay.
The FBI and Homeland Security would be looking for my Chevy truck, but I didn't have another. I planned to drive east into the mountains, maybe near Bear Lake or Idaho, and ditch the vehicle once I got somewhere safe. My legs were old and creaky. I hadn't worked out since my twenties. No way was I gonna run from the law on foot or stick around Layton and lay low like Parker had suggested. The more I walked, the easier it was to convince myself that I should risk going home.
The trip to my house took about an hour. My right knee and hip griped with every step. By the time I reached my neighborhood, early dawn had already cast a pale blue light over the lawns, landscapes, and cars. Warm light shone from house windows as the neighbors I didn't know prepared for workdays.
I would never be like those people again. The world had collapsed-in on itself. Monsters and conspiracies were real. I was in the center of it too. Frequent teenage blackouts had left huge blank spots in my memory. When I stared into the darkness of those empty spaces, I felt like the answers to my questions about suicides, alien creatures, and the Air Force were looking back at me. But the thought of going too far into that abyss scared the hell out of me.
As I looked around at the suburbs I'd called home for half a decade, my surroundings seemed suddenly strange. I felt like an outsider.
When I turned the corner to street 2410, I noticed an unmarked, black Crown Victoria idling in front of my house. The car lurched toward me before I had a chance to duck behind a nearby brick mailbox. I reached for the pistol beneath my shirt. The Crown Victoria's tinted window came down to reveal Parker's exhausted and wrinkled mug.
"You're an idiot," Parker said.
"I know," I said. "I'm sorry. I needed my truck, and my...my guns."
"Right. I figured you had to be some kind of backwater, podunk redneck with that hick accent," Parker said, looking disappointed and mad. "Get in the car."
I shook my head. "I'm getting my stuff."
"You dumb cracker. The feds will be here any minute. Do you have any idea what I went through to convince them you escaped?"
I started walking toward my house. Parker backed up the car, put it in park, and got out. "I might as well arrest you right now and save my job," he said.
I shrugged. "Do what you gotta," I said, hand still on the pistol. "I'm not some spring chicken spy killer. This aint the movies. I need things from my house to survive." Parker squinted at me.
Dirty Harry, I thought. Then the theme to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly went through my head. I tried not to smile. A grin might've made him mad. After five seconds of sizing up me up, he said, "You understand that, if you weren't my friend's brother, you'd either be in custody or dead right now?"
He stared at me, red-eyed and digusted, before saying, "You're not going inside. I'll get your things What do you need? The feds are on their way."
I said, "Fine. I need all four of my guns from my bedroom closet. Ammo and a big hiking backpack are in there too. I got a bug out bag too. Stuff as many boxes of rounds as you can in it. What do you want me to do while you go?" My aching legs longed to sit down.
"Get in the passenger seat of my car and keep down," Parker said. "If you see a vehicle coming, curl up below the dashboard as best you can." He glanced at my paunch as if he doubted that could happen.
"Alright," I said, but Parker was already sprinting toward my house. He wore a white polo shirt and khakis. I could tell he liked to buy his clothes a little small to show off his barrel chest and biceps, but he ran stiff and slow like me. He paused to look at the dark green stains on my porch. The bodies of the flying monster's I'd killed before dawn were gone. Whatever had removed the carcasses couldn't hide their smears.
Parker took out a vial, scraped some of the green stuff off the porch, and went inside my house. The door wasn't locked. I opened the passenger side door of his car and stepped inside the vehicle. Sitting down felt good. Two minutes went by before I looked in the rear view mirror and saw a black SUV with tinted windows creep around the corner. I ducked under the dashboard as best I could.
The SUV slowed down as it passed Parker's Crown Victoria. I hugged the glove box and contorted my legs to duck a little further below the dashboard. Parker's windows had very dark tint, so I felt safe enough to peek over the dashboard and watch the SUV pull into my driveway next to my truck. Parker was still in the house.
Three guys and one woman, all in black suits, got out of the SUV. One guy was blond and heavyset. The other two men had dark hair. One of the dark-haired fellas was built like a brick shithouse. A brawl between him and Parker would've made for some expensive dental work. The other dark-haired fella was skinny and sleek like a runner. The woman was old, but she died her hair red. She wore flat, brown shoes that reminded me of my elementary school nurse.
The woman was in charge. I held my breath so I could hear her giving the other agents orders through the window. She told the blond guy and the brick shithouse to go inside and find Parker. Then she got real quiet and glanced in my direction. She whispered something to the skinny guy. They turned their feet toward Parker's car.
"Damnit," I said, getting up into the passenger seat and banging my knee on the dashboard. "They see me." Pain skittered up my leg.
The agents drew their weapons as I crawled into the driver's seat and hit the gas pedal. The skinny guy hopped on the hood of Parker's Crown Victoria to avoid getting pinned to the SUV. The woman stepped aside and popped off a couple shots, which shattered the passenger side window. She took cover behind the SUV. Still ducking down, I knew she couldn't hit me from that angle.
I put the car in reverse and backed up. The skinny agent fell off the hood. Two more shots rang out before I got up the moxy to look over the dashboard and out the windshield. When I peeked out the window, I saw Parker standing over both of the Suits, who were lying ground. The woman was face down in an expanding puddle of blood, which had begun to flow over the curb and into the gutter.
Parker ran back into my house, grabbed my gear and weapons, and came outside. I won't lie. I considered stealing his car and leaving him right then and there. This cop was lethal enough to take out four armed government agents without hesitation, but he was also my only ally. The government agents--or-whatever, were willing to shoot without asking questions. Parker had training beyond these people's abilities. He wasn't just an ordinary cop. I needed his help to survive. Now we were both outlaws, and--despite my old bones, smoker's cough, and beer-boggled mind--he needed me too.
Parker opened the car door, threw my pack and guns inside, and sat in the passenger seat. "Go," he said. I swallowed and looked over at him. Wide eyed and trembling, he stared back at me. "Go now," he said again. I drove east toward the foothills. The new day's sun had begun to rise like a halo.
The Escapee and all other materials on Tim's Blog are copyrighted by me, Tim Miller. Please contact me via email regarding publishing or redistribution of stories or blogs. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story can be read as a stand-alone narrative, but it's also a chapter in a blog novel. If you'd like to read the other stories in this growing book, please click on the links below.
Chapter Seven: The Hunted
Chapter Nine: The Mercedes Man
Chapter Ten: The Shooter
Chapter Twelve: The Yehasuri
Chapter Thirteen: The General
Chapter Fourteen: The Wendigo
Chapter Fifteen: The Librarian
Chapter Sixteen: The Suburbanites
Chapter Seventeen: The Paralibrarian
Chapter Nineteen: The Captive
Tags: gun cop agent federal government homeland security army alien beiing homeland security shot layton utah suburb
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