The Bible Runner: Chapter 3

Chapter Three

There was nothing I loved more than bucking the GPF’s rules and regulations, being out after curfew was one of those things I did regularly. Not to mention that I loved the rush of adrenaline that charged through my system when I traced from place to place. For the record let it be known that a Trace is running a known safe route through the area to reach a destination. Not to say that safe routes are even possible anymore but thus far things had been drama free, but then when you run through a no-mans land you’re not inclined to run into any unexpected action.

Running I suppose was the one legal thing I preferred to do more than anything else, it allowed a sense of freedom. Behind me I had put a few miles between the Drones and myself and had left the mechanical voices that would cause all kinds of grief far in the mental rearview mirror. If you hadn’t figured this out yet the world is one where the freedoms once offered by The Constitution are not still in effect. Bad things have happened and those freedoms were buried long ago along with many of the people who loved them so much.

Currently my eyes are scanning ahead of me taking in this old industrial district, the wild is slowly taking over again and thanks to a crumbling wall I have to alter my path. Darting to the right I try to be careful, there’s broken masonry everywhere and one false move will quiet the Cicadas. Right now those bugs are like an early warning system, if I don’t set them off someone or something else out there just might. Pausing in the frame of an old window I scope out the area ahead, I haven’t been using a flashlight so my eyes are as receptive as they can be. Ahead of me beyond a wide field of swaying wild grasses is The Eleven, the huge white screen what’s left of it anyway stands like a monolith of a forgotten era. Movement.

Someone is nearing the old ticket booth, if the light of the moon hadn’t reflected off something I would have missed it entirely. Reaching down I pluck a dandelion, this one a collection of white parasol like seeds ready to fly, the wind plucks them away one by one and they are blown back behind me. Good thing because with all the tension and running today my body odor would be a dead giveaway of my position. Red light flares on momentarily from within the ticket booth but it’s quickly turned back off, the odds that it’s Jordan scouting ahead of me are in my favor. Holding my left wrist in front of my face I check out the luminescent figures, now or never I have to move in.

Ducking low I moved into the tall grass and made in the general direction of the ticket booth following already trampled paths certainly increases your life expectancy. The smell of the grasses was intoxicating, there was something to be said for real natural plant life. Certainly breaking the rules could get you in trouble but finding a secluded field, or a hidden brook was more than worth the trouble. So often in the city you’re assaulted by designer smells, synthetic scents and bombarded by personalized advertisements that it just overwhelms. I’ll take real over fake 99 times out of 100, and that one percent is the artificial flavoring in Salt and Vinegar potato chips.

By the time I crawl alongside the booth and check it out I’m not surprised to find it empty, Jordan is not one to wait in one place especially when under duress. Moving slowly forward I make my way towards the screen, it allowed for both cover and privacy the two things we both needed tonight. Under the edge of my black beanie I felt my headset vibrate, moving forward again I decided I was not about to stop and take a call, Jordan could wait it wasn’t like I was that far away. Not to mention that by answering they’d know that I was awake after curfew and know exactly where I was in a matter of minutes.

“Hang up, hang bloody up,” I muttered as I dashed low and fast across the small break between the field and the base of the screen.

Glancing up I can see the glow of her phone coming from within the lattice of girders behind the screen and then it winks out. Running hard I reach out with my fingertips as I make the top of my wall run and grab just enough of the edge. Planting my feet I pull myself up to the lowest level of girders and from there I begin to climb quickly knowing there is a platform midway up; to be honest I was hedging my bets that she’d be where I’d be.

***
The platform was enshrouded in darkness and was at least 50 feet across and a couple of hundred long, pulling myself onto it I rolled into a crouch. Everywhere I looked was inky blackness but I simply stayed where I was catching my breath and being as quiet as possible, eventually my night vision would adjust if only by a few degrees.

“He is risen,” enquired a familiar voice from the darkness.

“He is risen indeed,” I responded clearly.

The shadows seemed to unfold in front of me but it was simply limbs straightening, and a short sigh of what I assumed was relief. We both stood then knowing this place like home we were certain of where all the dangers to head bashing were located, and none were in the vicinity. This platform and others like it were used to help in servicing the screen in the days the drive in was operating that is, now they’re just used for illicit meetings. Moving in quick she embraced me, my body flinched and I felt her freeze, after a few moments I hugged her back and we both stood in the darkness holding each other tight.

“Before tonight I just figured you’d be gone, I had just assumed, you know-“

“I know,” I whispered in reply, “I think we both assumed too much.”

Silence descended upon us, I smelled her dark hair and I could feel her breath upon the nape of my neck. We just stood holding on as if we were made of dust and would dissipate at the slightest provocation, that and under any other circumstances I probably would’ve married her instead. Maybe I’m assuming too much again, but the lass was certainly a looker so I would have in all honesty popped the question. Her embrace finally ended and after a few lingering moments mine did too, we both sat on the platform, waiting for each other to go first.

“So here we are,” Jordan said quietly.

“Yup, it’s been what 5-“

“7 years 2 days.”

Turning I smiled at that, more of a smirk as I only felt one corner of my mouth rise.

“So what’s shaking besides you being a fugitive and all-“

My arm rang out in pain, as she smiled right back at me, the woman moved like a Cobra, I’d never figured out how she could punch that fast.

“It sucks, yes even worse than being a Christian named Damian.”

“I’m sure it does, so why don’t you tell me what’s got the GPF and all up in a tizzy?”

“I can tell you it has to do with information-“

“You’d better tell me a fair bit more than that.”

“The less you know the better.”

“Look, Jor, I would be sleeping at this very moment in my own bloody apartment if not for you running pell mell right back into my life. Now I will help you as a good, most excellent even friend, but I will not be denied information.”

Looking up at her I saw her face scrunch up, well if she didn’t like it tough, my company rules certainly did not apply in cases of aiding and abetting a fugitive. After a few more moments of thinking she finally pulled open a pocket on the front of her jacket and pulled out a flash drive.

“You have a playback device?”

Nodding I took off my pack and unzipped my main pocket, I carefully pulled out my netbook and set it down on the platform in front of me. Quickly I hooked up a USB 3.0 mouse and flipped the cover back, the screen flared to life and it seemed bright as a signal flare. Jordan simply handed me the drive and that was enough to get me focused again, the light from the monitor was barely a dent in the night all things considered and no one knew we were out here.

Plugging the drive into a free slot I waited a moment for my netbook to recognize it, and then selected the open as folders selection. There was a lot there on the screen but it didn’t make a lick of sense, all of the folders were numbered not named and there were a great many.

“What is it?” I asked genuinely unsure.

“I don’t know.”

“…you don’t even know.”

“No, you see it’s not mine.”

“Then whose is it?”

“One of their couriers, he was dying and thrust it into my hand.”

Something didn’t make sense here but the main problem was that she had managed to pique my interest entirely in a matter of moments. That meant of course that I needed to find out as much as I could about everything I didn’t know yet.

“Did this poor sap say anything?”

“That it had to get out.”

“Curiouser and curiouser.”

“You’re asking for another dead arm.”

Moving the mouse I was about to click on one of the folders when I realized I could no longer hear the Cicada’s, the loudest silent alarm ever and the one I really hadn’t wanted to go off. Slowly but carefully I closed the lid on my netbook and, then I slid the proto-laptop into my bag and began to pull the zippers closed. The crack of small twigs underfoot might as well have been gunshots but apparently those converging on our position didn’t really care one way or the other.

The zippers met and I quickly shucked into my pack fastening up all the buckles, the sounds of the approaching footsteps was suddenly drowned out by the sound of twin turbine thrusters. Moment’s later lances of illumination began to play over the intricate framework of girders; those came from the twin spotlights on the craft that was now complicating our chances of escape. It was what the GPF called a T.R.O.S.S. drone, a low slung wide wingspan, aerial surveillance craft. The problem was it was more like a Kestrel in agility but then you couldn’t call it by an innocent naming acronym, which by the way stood for Tactical Response Observation Surveillance and Safety. Basically it was a spy in the sky and what it tracked generally had a much-abbreviated life span.

Touching my headset and holding up four fingers I asked her, “You on two?”

Checking the buckles one more time I watched as she changed the channel selector to four.

“On two.”

“In case we get split up we’re going to Lindell’s.”

“Cool. So what’s the plan?”

“I’ll settle for survival.”

The odds were horrible; we had who knows how many foot soldiers coming in, and at least one drone causing all sorts of ruckus. Perhaps our best option was to use the mayhem to try and cover our escape, if we could retreat to the old Industrial Park we might be able to loose them. Sometimes that first move can make the difference between life and death, often taking too long to choose that first move forces your hand. Glancing down I saw the first of the GPF ground pounders swarm in through the entrance below, their flashlights swept the area. And at that I sprinted along the platform twenty feet above their heads and hoped they would engage in pursuit rather than fire, I knew there was a service ladder at the far end of the platform if I could just make it there.

There was no way I could think about Jordan she’d have to pull her own ass out of the fire, I was scampering up the ladder. Unlike the movies bullets don’t spark, but I could hear them zinging off the metal lattice that surrounded the ladder and that was more than enough to get me both worried and even more motivated. My vision tunneled I had no choice now but to go up to get out, my eyes were formulating a trace out of there even as I neared the terminus of the ladder.

As I pulled myself onto the smaller service platform I took a few short seconds to take in the route to the rear door. Luxuries would have to wait I had no choice but to just bomb it, my heart was pounding in my ears as I took off running again, my hands flashed in and out of my field of view as I sprinted across the crosshatched metal flooring. Coming to the nearest railing I vaulted over it caring not for planted hands or extra flourishes on this occasion it was all about economy of movement. I landed on the catwalk and ran feet pounding once again the bullets chased me along like a swarm of killer bees and I hit the door at the end.

The landing was clear once the door had brushed the lone GPF soldier off his perch and over the railing, I didn’t really get a chance to admire his express trip to the ground. There wasn’t much time and I concentrated on that as I slid under the railing myself and using a series of drop, grab, release maneuvers soon found myself on ground level. There was no time to ascertain whether the GPF man was dead, the T.R.O.S.S. could come around the corner at any moment and I really wanted to be under some kind of cover before then.

My pulse was pounding as I quickly glanced over everything; there in the middle distance were some exposed large bore sewer pipes. Now I had no choice whatsoever, that was my only option, and it was totally in the wrong direction. Right now though as I darted off the only direction that mattered to me was any direction that might lead to safety. There was pursuit now I could hear them, and since I could hear them I didn’t even bother looking back they would either catch me or they wouldn’t. Eyes front as they used to yell at me, and it was then that eyes front revealed one major problem, a large fresh chasm that must’ve formed in the earthquake the other night yawned in front of me.

Glancing up and to the left I saw something metal and accordion like and I jumped for it my hands outstretched.

To Be Continued…

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