Jim Clark ran down the street as fast as he could. He needed to find a safe place to hide and call the Sheriff. He doubted that the tiny local police force could do much against the General and his army, but someone had to stop that madman at the Town Hall, and he didn't have a better idea.
His biggest problem was the trail of blood he was leaving behind as he ran. He had cut his hand on the broken glass while climbing out the window. He took a mental note to petition the Mayor to have all the windows refitted with safety glass, in case such an incident were to happen in the future. Then he shuddered at the thought that he might need to save the town twice. He thought he now knew how action heroes felt in sequels.
He ran past a number of closed shops when he saw Bill Samson's ice cream truck parked in front of the post office. He crawled under it and took out the General's smartphone. He entered the number 1234 when the device asked for a PIN. Once the phone was unlocked, he dialed the police.
It took twenty seconds for the phone to display an error message. He tried again but couldn't get through. He pocketed the smartphone and took out his own cell phone instead. Once again, he couldn't connect to the police. For a moment he felt stupid for not trying to call the Sheriff the first time he saw the soldiers, but then he concluded that it would not have mattered: the soldiers must have done something to shut down communications in Black Lake, and surely they did that before they set foot inside the Town Hall. He put the phone away and buried his head in his palms.
Gabe London rode through the streets of Black Lake on his motorcycle. The General's men were way behind him in a truck, but he was confident they could track him by the sound of the Runamok Arrow. Besides, he didn't need them. The Gabe London never needed anybody's assistance, least of all against an unarmed desk monkey that was stupid enough to leave a red hot trail to follow.
Gabe felt in his element. He finally had something worthwhile to do. Up until now he had been relegated to the role of a glorified tour guide for the Wild Boys, a role that a smartphone and a GPS map could have easily filled. Yet the General had felt like he needed a local with combat training to guide him through the perils of Con County, and in that sense, he chose well with Gabe London. Who better to keep him safe than the best mercenary ever to come out of Greenwell? Why, there was no one better anywhere in the whole world.
The escaped man was as good as caught as far as Gabe London was concerned, so he might as well have some fun. He took his eyes off the trail of blood and made a sharp left turn to a side street, then took a right, rode into an alley, and bumped over a trash can. He knocked over two others on his way out of the alley. He smiled when he returned to the street, but the smile quickly disappeared when he saw that there were no more bloodstains to follow.
He braked and turned back, rode up the street, and looked for a place where the runner might have jumped a fence. Instead he found the trail again just behind an ice cream truck with the words Samson's Cones painted on its side. This baffled him. No one could be that stupid.
He removed a hand grenade from his vest and pulled out the safety pin with his teeth. He turned back to the ice cream truck and rolled the grenade under it, then he rode past it and stopped at the end of the street.
Jim Clark nearly soiled himself when he saw Gabe London on the motorcycle. He hoped the lunatic mercenary wouldn't see him under the massive ice cream truck, but all his hopes shattered when he felt a small hard ball touch his thigh. He glanced at it and saw a metallic pineapple. His eyes went wide and he rolled out from under the truck and made a run for it.
At the end of the street, Gabe London watched in satisfaction as the grenade destroyed the ice cream truck. The vehicle went up in flames and blobs of ice cream rained over the area, some of it landing on Gabe's motorcycle. He stuck a finger into the pile on the Arrow's steering handle and licked it.
`Pistachio. I love pistachio!' he said. He leaned forward to consume the entire pile when he saw the figure beyond the smoking remnants of the ice cream truck. He started up the motorcycle and rode straight for him.
Jim heard the sound of the Arrow and frantically looked for a way out. He ran back up the street only to find himself facing a large truck turning into the street. He did the only thing he could and turned back, running straight for the ice cream truck.
Gabe London steered well clear of the flaming wreck and went right past him. Jim was half blind in the smoke, and did his best to keep himself away from the flames, and his mind off of how pissed Bill Samson would be when he found out about his ice cream truck. When he ran out from the smoke his face was covered in soot. He sprinted down the street, his lungs and muscles aching from the exertion. He stopped at the end of the street, stood there panting, and frantically looked around. He saw lights in the diner just down the street to his right.
Gabe London turned around and rode past the burning ice cream truck again. He stopped at the end of the street and fixed his gaze on the runaway. Jim was half way to the diner. Shark's Fin, the glowing sign atop the diner said. Gabe shrugged and slowly rode towards it. The truck of the Wild Boys turned the corner behind him.
He waited for Jim Clark to reach the diner before he accelerated, then he rode as fast as the Arrow would go and braked right in front of the diner. He put one foot down on the pavement and drew one of his pistols. He took aim at Jim, who at that point was standing just beyond the window of the diner, trying hard to catch his breath so he could explain to the handful of people in the diner that they needed to call the Sheriff.
`Fun's fun, but a job's a job. Sorry, pal,' Gabe said.
For more, please proceed to the novel Shadow Of Con City.
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