I know this is early, but I will probably be busy tomorrow. My son turns 5, so here we go!
If you missed part one, go here, then come back.
Bright lights, white walls, the safe room. I could hear my assistant shouting.
and then I was back in the store. Had I just dreamed that? Was is a hallucination brought on by stress? My bracelet glowed yellow now, the dim glow indicating that I had some connection with the device, a weak signal. Not enough to get me home safe. But it was nice to know that people were trying.
I discovered that my idea was not original, the bikes had been ransacked, only the smallest of child’s bikes remained,tumbled on the floor and crushed underfoot by an earlier stampede.I managed to find a bike in the back of the store. It was not a display model, it was banged up, with a warped wheel, but it would have to do. I dragged it outside and set off along the street, following the path of abandoned cars.
In a little over an hour, this city was going to go up in a wall of flames. The mortality rate would be low, people had enough of a heads up and got out of the city early enough, but if I wasn’t gone be then, I would be one of those statistics. I pedalled on, zigzagging between cars. My knees screamed at me with each turn of the pedals, my hands throbbed as they held the handlebars, but I knew I had to push on.
At least there wasn’t much traffic.
The downtown streets had a numbing sameness to them, void of people they were void of personality. The stores were empty shells, without purpose or meaning. I grew numb, desensitized, watching only the pavement just ahead of the wheel, scanning for glass or other detritus that would ruin my fragile transport. A dull sound made me look up, just in time to see a bat swinging at my head.
I spun the handlebars of my bike and ducked, deflecting much of the force of the blow, but it was still enough to knock me from my seat. I sprawled on the ground, knees and hands once again taking the brunt of the pain.
I rolled away from the bike and got up quickly to spot my attacker advancing. He was dirty and dishevelled, long hair matted and tangled,twisted into his beard. His clothes were filthy and torn, his shoes were held together with tape.There was a cold, calculating look in his eye, though. I had a bike, he wanted a bike. He also had a weapon.
The bat swung through the air at me. I ducked backward, feeling it the wind of it on my face.
“You should just walk away, man,” my attacker said to me. “Just walk away and you might live. I just want the bike.” He twitched and juddered as he spoke, shoulders jumping and popping, the bat danced in his hand.
“I give you my bike, I’m as good as dead. Why didn’t you leave with everyone else?” I took a careful step back, trying to get out of the range of the bat in case he tried to hit me again.
He stepped forward, not letting me go far. “Didn’t know to go, was underground. In the subways. More of us there. Lots and lots. But now I know. Gotta go.” He held the bat over his head and swung down, I just managed to dance out of the way. His face flashed with pain as the bat crashed against the pavement, the impact must have hurt his hands and wrists. I lashed out with my foot, kicking at the bat.It hurt a hell of a lot, but the bat went soaring out of his hands, I could hear it clatter and roll away behind a car. He grunted in surprise, but spun on his heel and aimed a punch at me. It wasn’t hard, but in my condition with was enough to knock me down. My head cracked against the pavement. Everything lost focus. The man was on top of me now, I could feel his weight on my chest, his rotten smell filled my nostrils.
“Stupid fucking prick,” he shouted, pushing his face into mine. “All you had to do was give me the bike. Just the bike. But no, you had to be a prick!” He started punching me, blows smashing into my face and head. I could feel blood pouring out of my nose.
And that’s when I winked out of existence.