Friday, June 13, 2014

Flash Fiction Friday: The Chase

(This is a true story.)

I had the cruise control set for five miles per hour over the 70-mph speed limit.  And I was bored.  The interstate highway was long and straight.  Ahead to the south I could see the next small city that the interstate cut through.  I planned to stop there and get a drink and fill up the gas tank.  The needle was brushing the E.

I saw the police lights on the northbound road.  There were a lot of them, I realized, three cars running with red and blue lights flashing garishly even in the bright afternoon sun.  I wondered if there were an accident somewhere behind me or maybe they were just late for a donut run . . .

Then I saw the car they were chasing.  It was a older model sedan, so beat up and indistinct I had trouble identifying the make and model (and I know cars).  And I realized I was watching a real-life car chase.

The sedan was slowing, I could see.  I watched, fascinated, my cruise control still on, still driving on mostly auto-pilot.

The sedan was trying to turn at a cross over, the type labeled "Authorized Vehicles Only."  Even I could tell he was going too fast.  The car turned, slid, clipped a reflector and with a crunch of gravel flipped off the cross-over road and into the median where the loose dirt and weeds flipped the car over more. It tumbled over three times, popped up into my road, the southbound road.  I realized it was going to hit my car.  I braked and tried to swerve right to dodge it but it was too late.  The car, upside down, slammed into the rear left fender of my car, spinning me around at something like 70 mph.  My car flipped over, spinning down the highway.  The world went crazy as my seat belts held me tight against the seat.  I let go of the steering wheel knowing I could do nothing and that, if hanging on to it, if it spun suddenly it could break a wrist.  I was just a passenger.

My car landed on its wheels, the engine incongruously still running.  I was dazed, almost unconscious.  I felt wetness on my scalp and reached up to touch it.  My hand came away bloody.  I thought I was going to pass out.

The gunshot woke me up.  I turned toward the sound and saw a man beside his wrecked car shooting at police cars that were screeching to a halt.  I decided I needed to duck but the seat belt still held me.  I reached for the release but couldn't find it.  Blood was getting into my eyes.

I felt and impact as a bullet hit my shoulder.  Crying out involuntarily in pain I grabbed at the injury only to feel more blood, more pain.  The car was also burning, I realized.  I tugged at the seat belt, feeling the flames and heat get closer . . .

The cops zoomed by on the northbound lane.  I thought this was not a good time to be daydreaming at 75 mph.  I hope the cops were on a donut run, not heading for an accident.  I kept driving.

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