I waited until after midnight, and as quietly as possible left her cabin, sat on the front porch and pulled on my boots. Moonlight helped the first hours I navigated the forest. By the time I reached my dark blue electro, the sun began to rise. After reinstalling the chips and fuses I removed and took with me when I left, the electro started and I drove cautiously to the highway.
The first thing I discovered was that the police roadblock was gone. I went as far as the bridge, and stopped abruptly. Two patrol cars were in the river, nose down windows under the fast running water. I didn’t investigate but reversed, turned around and drove into the town where I’d lived for more than fifteen years.
The streets appeared deserted. Windows in stores and houses like unblinking eyes of creatures haunted by disaster. I drove as far as the hospital and there discover the rotting stacks of bodies. I parked across the parking lot and climbed out, stood on the hot pavement.
There was little smell, but the sight fired bile up to fill my mouth. I couldn’t begin to describe the horror. I swallowed hard, and leaned over slightly fighting the urge to vomit, which was when I heard a whistling sound burrow past my left ear. Then the boom of a fired weapon before a second round clipped my left shoulder. Blood sprayed in front of me, my blood. The pain was delayed by the shock of being shot.
“Shit,” I said quietly as if afraid the shooter might hear I survived. The third shot blew out the windshield and I knew I had seconds to live. I dropped to the ground and crawled toward the electro. A bullet bit into my side. Now lying face up on the ground, I heard my own gasping as I fought the fear and pain.
There wasn’t a fifth shot. Yet, I thought and rolled over, again gasping as quietly as possible. The electro was close enough to touch, but I could not stand. After what felt like an hour, I had one hand on the doorjamb, pulled my way up and into the vehicle. When I was in the seat behind the control wheel, I used both hands to get my legs where I needed them, got my right foot on the pedal and jammed the accelerator to the floor. As I did a fifth round pinged the control wheel, sending shards of metal and plastic into my hand, nearly severing a finger.
Then the electro actually lifted as the four wheels dug in and threw me against the seatback. As I flew past the sign at the entrance to town, that normally thanked visitors for visiting, I saw it had been replaced with a bounty sign: fifty thousands credit for the death of Stanton Wilson. Proof is required.