February 19th, 1955
It only took a few minutes of asking to learn that the V8 Death Car did a stunt show twice a night, at six and eight. It was half past seven when we learned this, so we made our way over to where the diver of the car had his tents set up. His little camp was on the very edge of the whole affair, tucked back against the tree line a half mile from the airfield.
There was a truck and trailer, and a pair of tents, but not much else. Knowing we stood out like sore thumbs we ducked into the trees, and lurked there, watching the camp. After a few minutes a gaunt man exited one tent, walking over to the second. Pulling wide its flaps it revealed the grill of a pristine ‘34 ford. It was rodded up, but it was clearly the same type of car that the infamous Bonnie and Clyde had driven. It was a beaut, all smooth lines and chrome, with a wicked flaming paint job that must have cost a mint.
The man climbed in and the car rumbled to life. It was loud, almost too loud to stand. I glanced at my watch, it was five to eight. The man was going to start his show. It looked to Damon. He nodded.
The moment the tail lights had faded, we we sprinted into the man’s camp. I was first inside his main tent, but Damon was barely half a step behind. It was dim inside, with only a single lantern turned way down low to provide light. There was little to see though. There was a cot, and two large chests. One of them had a padlock.
“Don’t look,” I told Damon, and with a grunt I slammed the butt of my gun against the lock. It broke open, and I tore it to the side.
I almost cried. Your demons, they come back. They had dug a hole in my heart, planted a seed, and watched to see me crack. And I had been cracking into shards for years now.
But seeing Angela Adams in the trunk, tied up tight and gagged, but still alive, it healed the biggest and deepest of those cracks.
I leaned in, and started helping her out of the chest. Her eyes were wide with fear. I tried to calm her, speaking softly. “I know you’ve been hurt along the way, but baby, that ends today.”
Damon was with the girl, getting her medical attention. I though was racing towards the airfield. I vowed he wouldn’t get away this time.
There was the squall of mic feedback for a moment in the distance, then I heard Christina’s voice come over the speakers.
“Thank you all for coming out! We are The Passionate Crimes, RocknRoll for apocalyptic times! I hope yall enjoy our tunes, and the little show the V8 Death Car is gonna put on for us!” The sound of the band firing up with one of their originals ‘RocknRoll RocknRoll’ was joined by the scream of the Death Car’s engine.
Cursing I ran flat out. On one level I knew that Christina was safe, but the thought of that madman being anywhere near my girl…I almost lost it.
Someone had taken a series of ramps and flaming hoops, big enough for a car, and lined them up and down the air strip, and it was through this that the ‘34 was making its way at breakneck speed. I was forced to stand at front of the crowd, waiting for him to come to a stop before I could try anything. He was moving far too fast to try and stop.
I was a ball of nerves, and felt ready to explode at any second. My hand was on the butt of my pistol under my coat, and I was gripping it so tight I thought my knuckles might split. I was cranked to eleven, and ready to roar.
After an eternity that might have only been a couple of minutes, the car screeched to a stop, slewing dramatically sideways. It was my time. I raced out onto the track, ignoring the cheers of the crowd. The man had stepped from his car, not having seen me yet. I pulled my gun.
The cheers started to become screams.
“Stop right there!” I yelled. “We freed the girl you bastard!”
The man turned, his eyes questioning at first, as though he could not understand what I was saying, even though he clearly heard me. Then it all clicked, and his eyes went wide as saucers. He dove back into the car, and slipped it into drive, flooring it.
He was headed straight for the stage.
I had time for one shot.