Monday, August 10, 2015

The Fugitive Pair - Chapter 7

< Chapter 6                                                                                                        Chapter 8 >
White-hot fury burning through him, Matt is ready to shoot a man in cold blood.

I felt a sharp pain in my wrist and the gun fell from my hand, stopping me from killing the mewling little man quivering before me. My head snapped up and I saw a blonde woman standing over me. I gave into the white hot fury coursing through me and rose quickly. Before she could react, my left hand snapped out and grabbed the blonde around the throat.

“You ruined my shot,” I snarled.

The woman clawed at my hand futilely, her strength no match for mine. I tightened my grip, watching her face turn red. Grinning in anticipation, I balled my right hand into a fist, preparing to pummel her face to a bloody pulp.

Movement at my feet drew my attention away from the blonde though I didn’t release my grip. Quivering boy was slowly reaching for the gun the blonde had kicked from my hand. I raised my foot and stomped hard on his fingers. I felt bones break under my heel and thrilled to the scream of agony the man made.

Wagging a finger at him, I said, “Uh uh, no gun for you. Just lay there for a minute until I finish with blondie, okay?”

I turned back to the woman who continued prying at the hand around her throat. Finding her strength insufficient, she suddenly raked her fingernails down the back of my hand and then sank them into my arm. Pain caused me to release my grip and she stumbled back from me, drawing deep breaths as she went.

I found myself torn between pursuing the woman who hurt me and shooting the man who irritated me so badly. In that second of indecision, the woman spoke.

“Matt, this isn’t you! I don’t know what happened, but the man I married wouldn’t do any of this!”

How did she know my name? And what did she mean by ‘married’? Confusion gave me further pause, and from the far away deep back part of my brain, a memory cut through the fury. Michelle. The blonde was Michelle. The woman I’d loved forever. And I’d tried to kill her!

Then the fury welled up again. So what if I tried to kill the little bitch. She stopped me from finishing off the idiot at my feet. She hurt me! She deserved whatever happened to her.

No! No no no no no! By all that is holy, no! I felt the fury slip, lose some of its control over me. I kept fighting it, pushing and clawing my way out of the deep recesses of my mind, struggling to save myself and my wife.

“Michelle,” I croaked, “I’m losing it. Get me out of here.”

Without another word, Michelle grabbed my arm and all but dragged me toward the door. No one moved to stop us.

“Hurry! I don’t know what will happen when the anger leaves me,” I pleaded.

She shoved the door open and led me out. As soon as we were on the street, she burst into a run, pulling me toward our car. Halfway there, I lost it—the anger flowed away from me as quickly as it had come. With a sick feeling in my stomach, I realized the anger was returning to its source. We had bare seconds before the bar patrons came after us.

“It’s gone, Michelle,” I gasped. “Back to the people in the bar!”

As if in answer, a howl rose from inside the bar and, a couple of seconds later, the door burst open and men piled out. One pointed our way. “There they are!”

With shouts of rage, the mob from the bar ran after us. We reached the car and Michelle shoved me into it before diving into the driver’s seat. She punched the starter and the car hummed to life. Then Michelle stomped on the accelerator and sped down the road.

A gunshot sounded, followed by another. Michelle spun the wheel and turned down the first side street she came to. With buildings between us and the mob, the gunfire was no longer a worry. She still kept the car floored, weaving in and out of the sparse nighttime traffic with practiced ease.

“What the hell happened back there, Matt?” she asked, concern evident in her voice even as her concentration never left the road.

“I don’t know, exactly,” I replied. “I mean I know what happened, just not really how it happened. Something built up inside of me and when that guy threatened us it just burst out and I…I guess absorbed is as good a word as any. I absorbed all of the anger in the room. Every last bit of it drained out of the people in the bar and into me.”

“God above, babe! Are you okay?” Michelle asked.

“Yeah. I guess. The rage just took over and made me into a cold, calculating psycho killer or something.” My voice shook as I related what happened. I felt a shiver run up my spine when I thought about what could have happened. “I didn’t kill anyone—which is probably some kind of miracle… I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

Unconsciously, Michelle brought a hand to her throat, which was only now returning to its normal color. “It wasn’t fun, that’s for sure. But you didn’t do anything permanent. Even when I was trying to draw a full breath, I was more worried about you than I was about me.”

“What do we do now?” I asked.

“We get off of this planet right now,” Michelle answered. “Once those people take the time to think about what happened, someone is bound to think of calling Psy Corps. The reward for finding rogue psychics is big enough that they may choose to call them before calling the cops.”

“Great. Looks like I’ve ruined things for us here. Less than ten hours on planet and I’ve already forced us to dump a set of IDs and a ship transponder.”

“Hey, don’t think about it like that, Matt,” Michelle said, rubbing my leg gently. “Maybe you should think of it as a major breakthrough with your power.”

“Yeah, I’m sure there’s going to be a big call for furious psychopaths all around the Federation,” I said, my tone once again bitter. “I could set up my own crowd control business and make a fortune absorbing the anger from riots. It’ll be worth it as long as I can keep myself from killing more than five or six people, right?”

“That’s not what I meant! Take a minute and think this through. What were you feeling before you absorbed all the anger? It was something strong, wasn’t it? And you have powerful emotions when we’re making love, too. So maybe we’ve found the first part of the puzzle to your ability.”

In the distance, I heard a siren, then a second. And a third. “I guess the guys at the bar called the police. Or the bar owner did, anyway.”

“Don’t sweat it. We’ll reach the spaceport long before the cops can catch us. But I guess I should concentrate on my driving and you should get your mind back in order.” Michelle patted my arm. “We’re going to need to take off as fast as possible once we get to the ship. Can you handle that?”

“Of course. I like to think I’m at my best when you’re depending on me to get us out of trouble!” I cracked a smile, though I didn’t feel at all like smiling at the moment.

The car rocketed up the hill from the city and onto the spaceport plateau. Far behind us, flashing lights broke free of the city and raced after us. Michelle was right, there was no way they’d catch us before we reached the spaceship. Jonas and Dad also carefully selected a ship with a fast startup time and a special streamlined start up for real emergencies. This definitely counted as a real emergency!

Then we got our first look at the spaceport gate. Port security had a roadblock setup across it!

“Hang on, babe,” Michelle said, aiming for the closest thing to a gap in the roadblock. “The ride is about to get real bumpy!”

Can the car break through the roadblock? Find out in Chapter 8 of The Fugitive Pair, coming Wednesday!