Heavy Metal Hell

 

Heavy Metal Hell


 

By Daughter of Theon


On your journey cross the wilderness
From the desert to the well
You have strayed upon the motorway to hell

Chris Rea-Road To Hell (Part1)

 

 

 

There was at least one thing to be grateful of, the fact that the big Volvo had power steering and an automatic box, otherwise he doubted he would be driving.  Not that he would be driving for too long, too much blood outside of a human body was never a good sign...neither was the lack of pain.  Pain is the body’s way of telling you not to be so bloody stupid...this much damage with this little pain was not a good sign.  He was sure he was dying, but that was immaterial now, the only thing that permeated through to his brain was to get away from those blue flashing lights in the rear view mirror.

 

There had been more complex jobs that had gone sour; this though was a monumental fuck up.  They had been waiting for them and despite the fact that they had never used guns there had been an armed response team there.  They had been too quick on the trigger too, far too quick.  Someone had been feeding them information, duff information at that.  That again though was beside the point, the police were now after him and he was stuck at the arse end of Birkenhead...all for fags.  Well they said cigarettes were bad for your health, now he had proof that they were...though the bullet in his belly, the one that had killed his brother, was likely to be the thing that killed him.  The Johnson brothers, joined in death as they had been in life and birth.

 

This was not his area.  He had scouted around when the job had been decided upon, but he didn’t know the streets instinctually.  That was just another element of this job he had been suspicious of, working in a strange town, working far away from home.  Not that it was far, only fifty miles, but there was a world of difference between Birkenhead and Manchester.  Here there was water on three sides and that severely reduced his options.  He needed to get home, to streets he had used to screw with ‘The Bizzies’ since he was thirteen.  No one knew them better and no one had, had a better run than him.  He was a legend, a hero for those who followed in his footsteps...and even if he couldn’t escape, where better for a hero to die than his kingdom, and in the heat of battle?  What was the point of growing old and dying in some nursing home, dribbling in your food and unable to control your body, dependant on others for everything?

 

To die in battle was the far more glorious ending...to die behind the wheel.

 

A sharp right hand bend brought him back to reality; brought his mind away from dreams of dreams of glory, back to the realities of the chase.  The car held the road despite the speed, effortlessly navigated between the cars so thoughtlessly parked.  His mind was now in gear giving him an advantage, running a few hundred yards in front of the Volvo...VW Golf coming out of a junction on the left, ease up on the power swing around it and foot down again...pedestrians on the left, they may just be stupid enough to step out.  The night was to his advantage too; the streets quiet and the lights of his unwanted escort clearing what few cars remained.  He had to get out of this fucking town though.

 

It had to be the motorways M53 to M56, M63 and then home, once he was on his home ground he knew he could lose these bastards.  They were cowards; if the chase got a little hot for them, they would soon back off.  That was their weakness, they couldn’t take it to the limits; they wouldn’t push it that little bit further.  Then he could get some help; there was a vet he knew who was very willing to earn a little extra, working on humans as a sideline.  Fifty miles though, fifty miles open and exposed on the motorways; that would be the tricky thing.  Every cop with a car would be on his arse; every one of them would want a piece of him.  Two men dead though might just make them think twice, they were both dead he was sure of that.  The human body doesn’t take that many rounds and survive; it doesn’t lie on the floor in such an unnatural position either.  With two men dead, neither armed, they might just be a little jittery about killing the third...if he wasn’t dying already.  His belly felt strange, uncomfortable but not painful.  He knew he was hurt badly, but there was no way he would let them take him.

 

He took the roundabout the wrong way, causing a Fiesta to take avoiding action.  Now though it was a straight road to the motorways, then he could relax a little, there he would be safe in his metal cocoon.  He turned up the heater and switched on the radio to try to drown out the noise of the sirens behind him and Meatloaf sang about the future with a modern girl.

 

Girls, yes there had been girls in his life...a status symbol in his youth, something to be used as he grew up.  Now though he had little need or desire for a woman in his life, too much going on to take the time, besides there were far more important things in life, cars for example.  A woman would be an additional complication, something that could and would be used against him.  It was almost as bad as a drug habit; it was something that could get you killed.

 

A sharp left hand turn brought him back to the matters in hand.  It almost felt like his guts were falling out.  The bullet had hit his brother first; it was probably spinning when it hit him.  He wondered how bad he was torn up underneath his blood-soaked t-shirt.  He was in a car though, the police were following him and the adrenaline would keep him alive, alive long enough anyway.

 

The Morton Spur was a long straight before the carriageway swung around to the right to join the motorway, he used it to the full, flooring the accelerator and seeing the two cars in the rear view mirror begin to recede.  Not that that would last for long.  These were just the local panda cars, not designed for pursuit; soon they would be after him in proper cars.  Then the test would begin, driver against driver and as yet all who had challenged him had failed.

 

They would fail again too.

 

The car clung to the road on the long sweeping right-hander that brought him round onto the motorway; his belly though felt like it had other ideas.  It was straight roads from here on in, until he got back on his own ground, then it didn’t matter if he was shot, drunk or wasted...there he was king, there they would never take him.  He reached forward and tried to turn the heater up, but it was at maximum already, so instead he switched on the fan trying to make the heat within the car circulate...it drowned out the noise of the engine, a noise that was so comforting and reassuring.  He hesitated a moment and turned the fan down to low and the radio off, letting the noise of the engine and the road sing to him.  He was at one with the car; it was an extension of his body rather than something he used.  That was where he was different, that was why he was unstoppable for they who followed him lacked this bond.

 

He glanced up at the rear view mirror; one set of blue lights was far closer than the others.  This was it, the challenge had begun, it was now driver against driver, machine against machine.  From here on the numbers on the speedometer meant nothing, all that mattered was maintaining the distance between them, keeping in front of those who would catch him and lock him away...again.  That was the most difficult thing, despite the fact that by choice he lived his life in a wheeled metal cocoon, the claustrophobia of a cell was something he could not bear again.  Not that he would worry about that tonight, he had never been caught on the road...he was the eternal champion of the highways. 

 

Well, fifteen years at the top was an eternity when so many died so young.

 

So many preferred the sports cars; Porsche, Lamborghini, TVR and Ferrari’s would pull their strings.  Not for him though.  He wanted something solid around him, something that said more than just speed.  Mercedes, BMW, Daimler and now even Volvo were the names that inspired him, not toys to play around in, but serious cars with serious muscle.  A fibreglass sports car could be knocked from the road so easily and was such a fragile thing.  Heavy metal took a pounding and still kept moving.

 

The blue lights were flashing close behind him now, they had accepted his challenge and it was now time for the contest to start.  He responded by pressing the accelerator to the floor, feeling the surge of acceleration that the power of the big car allowed.  For a moment or two the lights again dropped back, then the distance between the two cars stabilised.  He drifted across the lane slightly, his right-hand wheels touching the reflective studs designating the boundary between the lanes, he let it rest there, the vibration and noise talking to him almost as much as the sound of the engine.  Ahead there was a lorry, large and lumbering, he swung out in plenty of time to avoid it and had soon left it far behind, its lights receding in the mirror until finally they were lost. 

 

Eventually everything was lost in a rear view mirror.

 

He shifted slightly in his seat, keeping a firm hold on the wheel and trying to find a more comfortable position.  Reaching forward again he jiggled with the heater trying to get some heat into the car, hoping to warm up even if it was just a bit.  Behind him the police car had now been joined by a second, the two of them would now start trying to get in front of him.  If a third arrived they would try to box him in, bringing his speed down safely and the game would be over.  Well it would be over if it was a sports car, if it was a toy car, a rich man’s plaything.  This car had weight, this car had power and he would use that force, to its full advantage.  Any that dared get in his way would be smitten. 

 

He liked that word smitten, his mother had been very religious, always reading ‘The Scriptures’, smitten was one of her words far better than the alternatives, more final more righteous.  The sinners were not killed; they were smitten...she had actually believed all that crap although it hadn’t stopped her drinking herself to death.  The priest who had buried her had called her a god-fearing woman...was it god she feared or life?  She had paid off god, what little she had going to the church, those that were left behind, his brother and him, left to survive however they could.  That was one of the reasons he avoided drink and drugs, like religion it was an illusion of escape nothing else.  As her liver had quit and the jaundice took hold, yellowing her skin and eyes, she hadn’t noticed, for by her side she had her friend, Vodka; and in her heart she had her saviour Christ.  Both of them had fucked her over, neither had provided the love that she needed.  Who knew if there was a god, if there was then he was not to be found in Manchester, he had forsaken the place.

 

Or had he forsaken the whole fucking planet? 

 

Could there be a god with all the shit that went on?

 

He didn’t know, he didn’t really care, religion was for those who were unable to cope with the stark realities of life...religion was for those too weak of mind, or feeble of body.  

 

Rather like the drugs...

 

He didn’t mourn his brothers’ death, not because of shock and not because of the events going on around him.  He didn’t mourn his brother because he mourned him many years before, when he first started his adventures with The Dragon.  ‘Smack’ was too innocent a name for such a destructive force.  He had watched his brothers’ decline, impotent to do anything to change the course that he had set for himself, unwilling to let him walk the path alone.  Too many ‘Smack-Heads’ turned to petty crime, burglary, mugging and other such crimes to support their habit...none of these was a worthy challenge and all of them hurt the innocent.  Crimes against companies, especially those who exploited man’s weaknesses were a more acceptable path so it was bookies, the fags and booze.  It could be said that his own habit, his love affair with cars hurt people, but he had his own rules.  The car was never wrecked, intentionally, if possible it was left secure and with a full tank of gas. It was a strange morality for a thief, but it worked for him.  He satisfied his brothers’ habit by making sure that he had the money he needed...and as he did so, he satisfied his own addiction.  Besides the bullet that killed him, these times when they were the wrong side of the law were the only thing that his brother had ever shared with him.

 

The game had started, one of the police cars drifting over to the right-hand lane.  He responded, shadowing its movements for a second before swinging back the other way, just to remind the second car.  When the roads were busy it was easier, other cars limited the options of the pursuers, this though was a more pure test of the skills of the drivers.  The car on his right edged closer again and again he moved to shadow it, the distance between the two cars reducing to a matter of inches, a distance that was being covered by the vehicles many times over in a single second.  He swung the car over just a few feet, a most definite action to those who followed, telling them that if they did decide to overtake it would come down to metal against metal. The police car dropped back slowly.

 

“Pussies,” he shouted at their reluctance to take up the challenge, “Fucking pussies,” despite the discomfort it caused.

 

The quality of those that chased him reflected on his skills, there was little pleasure to be gained if the opposition were incompetent.  This time though they did have an advantage, maybe this time it would be a more even contest.

 

Ahead in the headlights, he could see patches of mist, not particularly thick, just blurring the edges of reality outside the car.  It gave the world a surreal quality, not that it needed it; the world was unbelievable enough without this latest twist.

 

The police car on his right tried again, edging forward, the speeds preventing any swift move on him.  His attention though was on the car on the left, it had positioned itself before the car on the right made its move.  He shadowed the car on the right, all his attention though on the car on the left, it moved and he responded hard keeping himself in front of it.  In committing himself to the car on the left, the one on the right took advantage of the situation taking the lead of the three cars that though would be a momentary thing; he wasn’t worried.  The car on the left continued moving closer, the two cars hoping to restrict his movements.  It was now close enough in his rear view mirror for the headlights to be lost.

 

He touched the brakes, the car behind responded by dropping back slightly.  He touched them harder and the distance between them suddenly diminished.  He could see the car wiggle as the driver fought to retain control while braking hard.  Then it dropped back, left far behind in a matter of seconds.  He floored the accelerator again, his attention fully on the car ahead of him.  It was following the usual routine, trying to slow down the chase, trying to control the situation.  He swung left then right and the car covered him in both directions.

 

That was to be expected though...

 

He slowed and the car in front slowed too, thinking that they now had control.  He glanced down at the speedometer, it had now dropped below a hundred miles an hour...now was the time to use his power, now was the time to use force.  He floored the accelerator again, not looking for a way past the police car. 

 

They felt they were dominant in this situation, they were so very wrong.

 

The car surged forward, closing the distance in seconds, the impact as the two cars met jarring his abused body.  He groaned in pain; his belly hurt now, it hurt a lot, but that was not going to stop him. 

 

Not now. 

 

He kept the accelerator down hard forcing the police car along; he could see the panic on the face of the second officer as he looked back at him.  The police car tried to respond but the Volvo kept on its rear bumper, pushing and forcing the car faster and faster.  There was the red glow of brake lights for a fraction of a second as the driver panicked and tried to slow both their cars.  The police car spun, the slightly damp roads probably saving their lives.  The car didn’t roll, there was an impact in the side of his car and it was left far behind, once again a police car was lost in the rear view mirror.  A long lefthander took it out of view and once again, he was alone on the road, if only for a short time.

 

The mist was growing thicker, distinctly visible in the illumination of the yellow neon streetlights.  It was to his advantage though; helicopters were reluctant to play in fog.  Some said ‘once they had a helicopter on you, you were fucked...’ well they were wrong.  If they actually took notice of the world, they would see that there were places that the helicopter couldn’t go especially in close proximity to a major airport.  That was what the kids today forgot, not everything was in the results.  It wasn’t just the fact you evaded the police that mattered, it was how you played the game and to play this game to its full you needed to think.

 

Thinking appeared to be something that was out of fashion.  Thinking in this world of television, alcohol and drugs was something that wasn’t encouraged.  If people started thinking they might start questioning and if they started questioning their lives then there would be anarchy.

 

The road ahead was darker now; one of the headlights hadn’t survived the tussle.  It added a new element to this darker stretch of the motorway, the darkness, the mist and him alone.  The pain was easing now; he could feel the hum of the engine through his body and the road through his hands.  He was at one with the car; the car was at one with him...no longer separate entities but a fusion.  For a second or two all visibility was lost as the mist closed in.  For a second or two he was lost to the world and the world was lost to him only the needle of the speedometer an indication that he was in any way connected with the outside world.  One hundred and twenty miles an hour it said, almost two hundred kilometres an hour, he had slowed.  He floored the accelerator, feeling the car surge again, and the mist let loose its tenuous hold.  He emerged from the unsubstantial and intangible greyness into the solid firm blackness of the night.  Up ahead were streetlights and behind was nothing.  Not that this trial was over yet, not by a long way; there might yet be someone worthy to do battle with.

 

He thundered through the illuminated section of the motorway as the mist slowly rolled down the embankments.  Far behind in the rear view mirror he could see an apparently solid blanket of mist he had emerged from.  Closer he could see the mist swirling in the vortices caused by his passing.  There was no sign of his pursuit, they were hidden from him, but he knew they were there.

 

The mist was closing in behind him as he left the illumination, apparently catching him up.  Again he realised he had eased off the accelerator, his speed had again been dropping and he responded.  The car surged forwards again and like the police, the mist was lost in the darkness of his rear view mirror.  Now he was motoring, now he was moving faster than the weather; now he was flying...on the edge of a storm. 

 

A storm would have been better, thunder and lightning, with wind and rain...that would have been a story worth telling.  Maybe next time, it would be something to plan for...an event...a spectacle...a duel...him against man and nature.

 

The darkness was comforting, despite the cold.  In the darkness, he was alone.  In the darkness, the fusion between the car and himself became complete.  It took on a new level, it was pure.  In the darkness, there were no faces.  It was machine against machine and in the darkness, he would prove himself once more.  Ahead were more streetlights; another junction in mere minutes and again the darkness gave way to the harsh yellow glow of manmade illumination.  He looked in the rear view mirror, still it was only mist behind him and again he glanced at the speedometer.  This time he hadn’t eased off, this time his foot was hard against the floor and yet the mist still gained on him.

 

He knew rationally that it was an illusion; the mist was forming across the flat plain that was Cheshire.  It was foggy here and it would be foggy in Knutsford, Congleton and Sandbach.  This was not a local phenomenon, this was nothing to do with him...yet the mist was rolling down the embankments and it seemed to reach out to grab at him.

 

The neon glare gave way to the darkness.  On either side of him were lights, lights of roads and houses on his right and the more intricate illuminations of the petrochemical plants on his left.  High above the factories a brilliant yellow flare billowed high into the air, undisturbed by winds as it burnt off the unwanted vapours.  Then it was gone, as were the houses either side as the mist swallowed them.  His world was getting smaller and smaller, but ahead the road remained clear. 

 

His options were limited and if he was honest, it looked bad, but if he was still moving, he was still in the game.  When all else failed just keep on driving.  While you were still advancing, you hadn’t lost; while you still moved, you still lived.

 

The mist was either side of him now, swirling at his passing and shielding him from unwanted eyes.  This was nothing to be feared this was something to be welcomed and if he had not been in such urgent need of attention, he would have used it to the full. 

 

That would have been a coup, to sit there quietly at the side of the road as the police went screaming past.  Now however speed was of the essence, the adrenaline induced high of the initial chase was starting to ebb and a cold knot of fear gripped him.  Death was nothing to fear as long as you didn’t know you were dying.  To be stopped suddenly, unexpectedly, that was life and death was a part of it.  To sit here dying slowly was another matter.  It would be so easy to give the wheel a little flick, to take the car into one of the pillars of an overpass.

 

Then though, he would be remembered as a fuck up, one who couldn’t handle the power or one not worthy.  If it came to it they would know he died the way he lived.  If it came to it, he would make it a death to be remembered.

 

There were many lights ahead now illuminating the different lanes and choices that lay ahead of him.  As he carefully picked his line he looked around him, one car ahead and nothing behind only the grey mist.  He swung around the elderly Ford and its elderly driver and ignored the angry gestures that the old man made. 

 

He had no hostility towards him for his rudeness; they were following different destinies and just sharing the same road for a while.  There was little reason to be upset with anyone in this world.  Whatever roads they took, however you lived your life, everyone ended up at the same destination. 

 

Some though reached the end quicker and he at least would reach his with style.

 

The mist was a boiling turmoil outside the car as he left the lights, now on a different motorway.  It was grasping at the car as if trying to slow its progress only to be torn asunder by the mass of metal...only to be ripped apart by his power. 

 

Now though a new element was brought into the game.  The one remaining headlight began flickering, plunging the road ahead into darkness and then as his eyes became adjusted to the darkness destroying that night vision with a beam of light, which reflected back off mist ahead.  Only a few feet of road could be seen, only a few feet of white line to guide him only a few reflective studs beckoning him on and on.  The car was enveloped, isolated from the outside world.  Now he was not in competition, now this was not a test of the worthy against the pretenders. 

 

What was the point of the ordeal if no one saw it, where was the nobility in a battle that no one knew of?

 

He glanced in the rear view mirror; nothing was in sight only a yellow grey blanket that smothered the world around him, only the fog that may deny him his glorious end.  His speed had dropped, it was now below a hundred miles an hour and still falling.  The beat of the reflective studs under his wheel had slowed too, coming down to a rhythm almost in synchronicity with his heartbeat.  A slow steady double beat was the only contact with the outside world and the darkness outside was now complete as his remaining headlight failed.

 

The darkness wasn’t dark though and it wasn’t featureless, his eyes began to see more.  The fog was not flat and featureless there were forms within it, huge looming imposing forms reaching to grab at the car and its lone occupant only to be transformed to swirling eddies by the power of his passage.  The car was not dark either, there was something else giving him light, an electric blue sheen over the body of the car.  For a moment, he thought it was some kind of electrical fault or something to do with the lights of the police, but then it grew in intensity and a glance in the mirrors showed no pursuit. 

 

It was St Elmo’s fire.

 

Was St Elmo’s fire a good sign or a bad sign to seafarers?

 

He wasn’t sure.

 

It hummed and crackled slightly as the car moved.  The dashboard illumination suddenly failed with a louder crackle.  Not that he minded, not that he used the speedometer for anything but keeping score.  Now though he needed no speedometer.  Who needed to tell of a car chase at a hundred miles an hour when you could tell of screaming along the road in a ball of blue flame?

 

The strange illumination added a new depth to his imagined monsters in the fog.  The shapes that had been unsubstantial seemed to take on a new solidity.  Faces and figures accompanied him on his journey into the darkness.  It had to be hallucinations caused by the blood loss, or the bullet deep in his belly.  The figures accompanying him on this journey could no longer be regarded as tricks of the light.  He had an escort winged figures, not angelic figures, but demonic in form.  Women long dead, the flesh hanging limply to their bones with empty eye sockets flew alongside his car and in the rear view mirror there was a horde of the creatures following.

 

This was a challenge worthy of him; this was a true and just test of his abilities and he accepted their challenge.

 

He swerved hard right, taking one of the creatures with a broadside.  Despite the lack of evidence for an impact the creature felt it, it shied away.  He followed it hitting it far harder, again there was no impact but the creature tumbled to the ground dissipating to nothingness with the force of its fall. 

 

Another one began moving forwards to take its place.

 

Well let them come. Let them try.  He had the power...

 

He floored the accelerator and swung over to the left, hitting two of the creatures, but a third avoided him by moving across onto the hard shoulder.  In seconds it was left behind as the car accelerated away.  He glanced in the rear view mirror; behind him the others were being left behind.  He was outrunning the demons from hell.  He had no idea how fast he was moving now; the double thud of the reflective studs had matched his heartbeat. 

 

Both were now racing at a seemingly impossible pace.

 

The glow was brighter now.  What had started as a gentle illumination was now a blinding glare.  It did nothing to aid his view of the road ahead; the light was too bright for that.  Now he relied on the feel of the wheel on the studs to guide him.  When they stopped speaking to him, for a second or two, there was panic deep in his heart.  Then with a slight turn of the wheel he felt them again and only then he could breath again.

 

The illumination ahead gave him some hope...until he saw them.  There were thousands of them, lining the road.  Be they his imagination, creatures of the mist or creatures from hell he had his audience.  As he passed through them they joined in the pursuit filling the empty void behind that he had fought for; closing the distance between him and them.  He pressed hard on the accelerator, but the car had nothing else to offer him.

 

He was plunged into the darkness again and already he could see the lights of the next junction and possibly safety.  Behind him in the last of the light he could see the creatures reaching for the car, grasping at it desperately with fleshless hands.  They might have been immaterial beings before, but now they were real, at least on some level, for he could feel the car slow.  The accelerator was having no affect, the engine straining under the unseen load.  He hit the brakes hard, the sudden deceleration throwing him into his seatbelt and bringing a moan of pain from his lips.  He could feel the warmth of the fresh blood on his trousers and shirt though the rest of him was so cold.

 

Outside the car in the half-light he could see movement his hand reached for the button to lock the doors but it had no effect.  He was surrounded, the bright lights ahead were now only a mere hint of a glimmer in the living mists that enveloped the car.  His foot pressed hard on the accelerator and the engine died.

 

For a moment he considered running from the car, but only for a moment.  The apparently unsubstantial apparitions were mere inches away only separated by the thin, now translucent, layer of glass.

 

He cautiously reached to the side window and wiped away the condensation and as one of the creatures studied him in much the same way as he studied her, for it was most obviously female, he felt no fear.  If he was dead already there was little more they could do to him.  If he still lived he wasn’t too far from death to be hallucinating like this.

 

“You’re fuckin’ Wagnerian,” he shouted at her.  “It’s the ride of the fuckin’ Valkyries.”

 

She tilted her head somewhat quizzically while studying him.

 

“What do you want?” he shouted at her.  “What the fuck do you want?”

 

She backed away from the car, as did all of them, leaving a wide space between them and him.  Ahead of him the sea of creatures parted leaving a long clear motorway ahead, with legions of them on the opposite lane and the hard shoulder.

 

“What the fuck do you want?” he again shouted at the female who had been studying him.  She performed an elaborate bow and indicated the road ahead.

 

“What?” he asked and she backed away to be lost in the masses.  He looked up into his rear view mirror, the motorway behind him was clear now and three sets of blue flashing lights could be clearly seen, though still far off.

 

“Why?” he whispered, wondering why these creatures would stop him, why they would prevent his escape.  He sat there in a dead car watching the lights in the rear view mirror gaining on him.  He glanced out of the side window at the creatures milling around like eager schoolchildren.  Watching and waiting, but for what?

 

He reached down and slid the transmission into park, his other hand reached forward, found the key and he hesitated before turning it.  As the engine caught he whispered a prayer to whatever deities caused someone to leave their keys in their car at petrol stations.

 

Glancing in the rear view mirror he could see that it was going to be close, but he now had his audience.  He slammed the car into drive and floored the accelerator and instantly regretted it as the forces pulled at his lacerated stomach.  He lost concentration, the car crossing the lanes, as pain dominated his world for a few seconds, and it was only with an equally painful jerk of the wheel that he brought the car back under control.  His arm instinctively reached across to protect his brother; as usual he hadn’t bothered with a seatbelt.

 

“If you want to ride with me you wear a belt,” he hesitated, the vacant look in his brother’s eyes bringing back a memory of something that should have been important to him.  “I’ve told you before, if you want to get your kicks with me you don’t need smack.  That shit’ll just get you killed.  It’s just you and me Bruv, we came into this world together and the only way we’re going out is together, and we’ll be fighting all the way...wont we?”

 

His brother didn’t answer; he just sat there in the seat nodding gently with the movement of the car.  There was an answer though, from behind him.

 

“The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed,” a voice mumbled.  He looked up into the rear view mirror and there defined by the blue flashing lights of the pursuit was a figure that couldn’t be there.  “I will tread them in mine anger, and will trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.”

 

“Ma?” he asked. “Is that you Ma?”

 

“And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed,” she continued, her voice slurred from the alcohol.  He could smell her now; the sickly sweet smell of perfume that didn’t quite disguise the smell of alcohol, a trace of urine and the smell of something long dead.

 

“No Ma, no, it’s not like that.”

 

“Sinners, you’re both sinners,” she screamed as she once had from her hospital bed.

 

“No Ma, you just don’t get it.”

 

The police were close now, the blue flashing lights bright enough to illuminate the inside of the car and the creatures lining the road.  The speedometer crept past eighty, the heavy and abused vehicle now taking its time to build up speed.  The cars following him split, one taking each side and one on his rear.  The one on the left he covered, until the one on his right made its move.  He hesitated a second or two, letting the car draw level and then sliding across towards them.  The impact was surprisingly gentle, some crinkling of metal, the crunch as wing mirrors were lost and the two cars sped along the road side by side.  Turning the wheel just a little bit more he leant on them, forcing them across the lanes towards the central reservation.

 

The two cars separated for a second and then the police car leant back.  This time it was a more energetic impact.  The window in the door shattered scattering glass jewels inside and out, his brother’s body fell into his lap and behind him he could hear his mother laughing.

 

Again the cars separated and he struck back with a twist of the wheel, sending the police car careering towards the central reservation in a shower of sparks.  His brother slumped forwards with the impact, catching the radio on the way and Madonna began singing about holidays.

 

“Christ no,” he said reaching down and fumbling with the unfamiliar buttons.  “Not that, for god’s sake not that.  We need something decent, something to drive to.  You know, ‘fire all of your guns at once and explode into space...born to be...’”

 

The police car interrupted his singing as the driver fought to bring it back under control.  The impact brought with it pain and memories of something he should have known.  Madonna, however, soon drove those memories away as he once again began fumbling with the buttons.

 

“In this dirty old part of the city, where the sun refused to shine.  People tell me there ain't no use in tryin',” the radio sang.

 

“That’s better,” he shouted to his brother.  “This is old shit, but its shit you can sing to.”

 

He swung the wheel over and this time the two cars met in a jarring impact.

 

“Come on sing,” he shouted above the noise of the wind shrieking through the broken window.  “My girl you're so young and pretty, and one thing I know is true.  You'll be dead before your time is due!”

 

“Hell, you’re going to hell,” his mother screamed from the back seat.

 

“We’ve gotta get out of this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do.  We’ve gotta get out of this place, ‘cause girl there’s a better place for me and you.”

 

“Come on sing you miserable bastard,” he shouted at his brother as the cars collided once more, bringing more pain.  He looked across to see what his brother’s response was, only to find the seat empty.  He twisted to look over his shoulder, to see if somehow he’d managed to get in the back with their mother.  The back seat was empty too as he knew it should be.  This was not his brothers’ battle; this was his battle. All he needed for this one last challenge was his audience. 

 

On the hard shoulder the creatures flowed down from the high embankment and fought with their kin for a place to watch him. On the deserted opposite carriageway more of the creatures crowded in so tightly that a few of their number tumbled over the barrier into the path of the oncoming cars.  He braced himself for the impact, while forcing himself to keep his foot away from the brake but the car passed through the creature, its insubstantial body rendered back to featureless mist by his passage.   

 

The car on the left began its move, accelerating to try and get past him.  The Volvo though had built up its momentum and matched the police car.  He edged over towards it and it responded by moving over towards the hard shoulder.  Behind him he could see some movement as the car from his right swapped places with the car behind him, giving another the chance to challenge him for his place on this road.

 

He swerved towards the car on his left again.  Forcing them onto the hard shoulder, where the debris from the carriageway and the creatures lay.  Neither seemed to slow them down, nor did the creatures try to escape.  They stood there, seemingly oblivious to the oncoming car, until it tore them to tattered remnants of mist.

 

“You can’t do that you bastards,” he shouted at the police.  “They did nothing to you; they’re here to see me.”

 

The police though ignored him and them, continuing their course at only a slightly reduced speed.

 

“You’re killing them,” he screamed and pointed at a mass of the creatures ahead of them and manoeuvring slightly to give them room to avoid them.  Again the police seemed unconcerned, purely intent on their objective rather than the innocent victims of their incompetent and single-minded pursuit.

 

“Bastards,” he screamed, throwing the wheel over hard and slamming into the car sending it up the embankment before they hit the mass of creatures.  He glanced into the rear view mirror and could see the car climbing high.  A glance to the right showed a police car trying to edge forward to block him, just on his rear quarter. A second car, the undamaged car that had been following behind him, worked its way around the outside of this car trying to get in front of both of them. He pressed harder on the accelerator, trying to get more from the abused car, but it had no more to offer.  Ahead of him, in his path the mass of creatures, for which he had put himself in this position, seemed to blur and become less distinct.

 

He risked taking a hand off the wheel and wiping his eyes before looking again.  Ahead of him was just mist; was it all hallucinations, the last delusions of a dying man?  Was it just his wish to have an audience that had created such creatures in the darkness?

 

To the left of him creeping its way down the embankment was just mist and to the right of him, was mist and now a police car that was inevitably taking the lead position in this chase.

 

The world faded for a few seconds as he passed through the thicker knot of mist and then cleared.  Above the stars were now bright and clear and ahead, far ahead, were yellow streetlights and far too many blue flashing lights.  This road had come to an end for him, but the game was not yet over.  He looked in his rear view mirror.  A third car, possibly the car that had gone up the embankment was behind him.  He was almost boxed in; he had no audience and this was not going to be the road to take him back to where he belonged.  He was alone, but it was not yet over.  The police car ahead of him now pulled onto the hard shoulder too, closing the box, but not completely.

 

With a gentle turn of the wheel the Volvo was trying to force through the gap left by the slower police car trying to take position on his right.  The impact at the rear made the big car swing.  He could feel the tyres start to lose traction.  He struggled with the wheel, trying to control the inevitable skid, trying to use it to break out into some space where he could, slow to turn and head back the way he had come.  Then he’d see how brave they were.  Then he’d know if they were worthy to be on the same road as him.  Would they dare risk a chase in the wrong direction down even an almost deserted motorway?  It might take longer, but there were advantages to the country roads...

 

He felt the car judder as the tyre gave out, possibly from some inherent weakness, but more likely through damage inflicted at some point in his flight.  The car jerked around at ninety degrees to its previous direction of travel, beginning the spin that by now seemed predestined.  There was an impact, as one of the police cars unable to brake in time slammed into him and the car rolled.

 

For the instant before the airbags hit him he could see the world outside tilt.  Then he felt it, as the car rolled the spin took it to a position where it went end over end and then back into the roll.  Every impact brought with it pain, pressure as the car was crushed onto him and then the heat, a burning heat.  He tried to scream but was unable and he welcomed the darkness and oblivion that took him.

 

*****

 

Time had passed. 

 

He didn’t know how much time, but there was no pain.  There was just darkness, just pressure and a warmth.  The fire must have been a fleeting thing; a flash of fuel and it was over.  Not that he was getting out; the car must be bent to an unrecognisable mess around him.  He could feel the firm pressure of the airbag and he’d come to rest in a head down position, but he couldn’t move, he could barely feel his body to figure out what injuries he had.

 

They had always said Volvo’s were safe cars and this was the proof.

 

He was alive.

 

The pressure around him increased.  They were doing something with the car and he tried to scream out that he was in here, and that he was alive, but no sound would come. 

 

The pressure ceased.

 

They must be trying to cut him out of the wreckage, he decided.  That meant the fire brigade were on the scene and those guys would have him out in no time.

 

The pressure came again.  This time worse, he could feel it on his head, pressing down harder and harder and even harder.  Something moved, something within his skull had moved and he knew he was in trouble. A skull fracture of that magnitude probably explained why he was feeling no pain, and probably why he couldn’t move or do anything and probably why he’d never do anything ever again.

 

The pressure eased again.

 

He tried to say a prayer, tried to plead with whatever deities existed not to let this happen.  To allow him to die rather than live an existence as something to be pitied, not make him live out this life dependant on others for everything.

 

No words came though.

 

He waited; then there was the pressure again.  He could feel the bones in his skull moving and then with the bright light he knew he was dying and nothing that eternity could offer could be worse than his time spent on earth.  He welcomed death, as it was his way out of the fuckin’ place.

 

He was cold. 

 

There was movement, something around him and above him that he couldn’t quite focus on...and a voice.

 

Was this god?

 

Was this the god of his mother?

 

Was this his time of judgement?

 

“And it’s another boy Mrs Johnson,” the voice said, “You’ve got twin boys.”

 

And with his last conscious thought he screamed out his rage.

 

The End


Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system