Pursued - Chapter Two
Pursued – Chapter Two
Eradication steers the older sedan toward the school. The demigods rock from side to side in their seats as she hits the entrance a little faster than needed. They motor along the building, passing the huge cement steps at the front of the school. She takes her foot off the accelerator as the car slows to turn right. Eradication takes note of the heavy iron gates, intended to separate the parking lot from the playground, standing wide open with the chain dangling impotently from the bars, absent of a lock.
“She should be here, right?” Keening asks as they travel the side of the building.
“She wouldn’t just leave, would she?” Hellbound asks in reply.
“Shut up!” Eradication snaps, turning off the car’s lights and rolling down her window as they roll to the back of the building. The four of them sit motionless in the car, as their eyes adjust to the sudden darkness as Eradication kills the engine.
“Where the fuck is she?” Desolation asks, rolling down her window as Keening and Hellbound exit the car from the backseats.
“Pandemic!” Keening calls, with no response.
“Panda-bear,” Hellbound shouts with a lilt, making it sound like a question.
“Come out, come out wherever you are!” Desolation shouts, as she opens her door and steps onto the blacktop. But again, no reply.
The three outside the car experience momentary night-blindness as Eradication unexpectedly flips on the high-beams to light up the entire playground.
“Hey!” she calls out for Pandemic as she exits the car. the single word echoes like a gunshot against the stark brick wall of the school, causing the other three to startle. They all stand there, unintentionally holding their breaths, waiting for any sound. “Fan out,” Eradication orders after a moment of utter silence.
“What are we looking for?” Desolation asks.
“Anything,” Eradication answers, as they all begin a slow walk forward, scanning everywhere for any clue to Pandemic’s location.
“Over here!” Keening shouts, rushing over to the hopscotch squares. “Is that…?” she asks, pointing to the ground.
“Her phone,” Hellbound finishes for her, as she bends to pick up the object.
“It’s hers,” Eradication confirms, after Hellbound flips it open and the screen blinks to life.
“She wouldn’t just leave it here,” Hellbound says.
“Not when it still lights up and shit,” Keening adds.
“Where is she?” Desolation asks, scanning the outer-reaches of the headlights for any sign of their friend.
“I don’t know,” Eradication answers absently, staring at the glowing phone in Hellbound’s hand. “Check her last text message,” she tells her.
“It’s the one you sent,” Hellbound answers after a second of thumb flipping.
“Do you guys smell that?” Keening asks, her nostrils flaring. They all stop and sniff the air deeply.
“Smell what?” Hellbound asks.
“Burnt skin,” Eradication replies, looking around more intensely.
“And cooked ozone,” Desolation adds, subconsciously stepping to place her back to Eradication’s as they search the playground in a slow-moving circle.
“Where the fuck is she?” Hellbound asks, her tone revealing her growing concern.
“Do you think those cops we passed have her?” Keening asks.
“I doubt it,” Hellbound answers.
“Why?” Keening asks.
“Because they were alive,” Hellbound answers.
“Everyone get back in the car,” Eradication orders with a hiss, carefully backing her way to the driver’s door of the car while watching the windows of the school.
“What the fuck is going on?” Desolation asks in a whisper, mimicking Eradication’s caution.
“Just get in the fucking car!” Eradication snaps, pulling the door open and dropping into the driver’s seat, slamming the door behind her.
“We’re not just leaving?” Keening asks, being the last one to close and lock her door.
“Well, she’s obviously not here,” Desolation replies.
“What are we going to do?” Hellbound asks, peering out her window and into the darkness as Eradication cranks the engine to life.
“First, we’re going to the police station to see if they’re holding her,” Eradication answers.
“We need to rescue her,” Keening says.
“More like rescue the police from her,” Eradication replies, dropping the car into gear as the gravel begins to crunch under the tires.
“What if she’s not there?” Desolation whispers to Eradication.
“Let’s hope she is,” she answers.