The monster truck fished-tailed as Kyle slide over from the passenger seat while grabbing Avera’s shoulder with a sharp tug.
“What are you doing?” Avera shouted over the roar of the steam through the triple stoked boilers that fueled the turbine engine. She overcorrected without taking her foot off the petal, sending them into a series of spins. The vehicle lifted up onto two wheels, threatening to roll over completely before slamming into the side of MacSweeny’s with a metal crunch. With a free hand, she fought back at Kyle.
“Taking over, before you get us killed and because you aren’t allowed to drive,” Kyle said as they scraped along the side of the building with ear piercing protests from the truck. He got a good grip on the girl and pulled her from the driver’s seat as he slid behind the wheel in one fluid motion.
“Not fair! I was here first.”
“That doesn’t mean you get to drive,” Vicky called out from the back as she finished the final pieces of the 52mm Springer Blast-lock rifle.
Avera crossed her arms and scowled from the driver’s seat before her face lit up with a renewed smile. “It was wise to put me on the offensive team. Is that for me?” She had twisted around to crawl into the back with Vicky.
“Hang on back there,” Kyle announced as they drifted around the corner of the building into one of the open lots. “I’m going to try to catch up.”
“No, you gave it to me, use your own,” Vicky braced herself and loaded the weapon as Avera slide across the truck bed.
Avera stood up, anchoring herself to the truck with a small amount of Thread. “I forgot my doormats.”
Vicky rolled her eyes. “I’m sure you’ll think of something that will probably almost get us killed.”
Ahead of them as they came around another corner, spewing smoke and steam, another monster sized truck re-appeared. It had managed to continually stay just ahead of the trio and out of decent range. They had already lapped the building once with Avera driving. She had managed to keep it grounded, much to the surprise of the other two and not surprised that they had nearly died 18 times.
“If it gets airborne, it’s going to be harder to catch, Kyle,” Avera shouted through the little window.
In front of them, the other truck drove up onto the barrier wall. Vicky took a shot, forcing it back down onto the ground. The truck wiggled into a fishtail, locked the left side tires and swung through a sharp u-turn. Its engines roared and came barreling straight back towards them.
“Evade! Evade!” Vicky shouted.
“Hit it! Take it out!” Avera shouted.
Kyle slammed on the brakes into a sideways drift as the enemy truck passed in front of them by two inches. Avera threw a fireball that clipped its rear bumper before rolling along the ground into several parked vehicles and exploded. When the smoke cleared, it had left a crater with the remains of the vehicles deep inside. They bounced along with the shock wave into more poles, transports and MacSweeny’s. The wall crumbled and collapsed into a shower of brick, rebar, and dust. Their quarry shot off down the parking lot and around another corner.
“I missed!” Avera panted and slumped down into the seat.
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were still trying to kill us, not it,” Vicky said after shaking the daze out of her head.
“She is trying, she’s just a bad shot,” Kyle said, opening up the all the valves to max pressure. “Hang on!” The tires locked and they swung around to pursue. Vicky leaned in the rear cab window, resting the front of the Springer out of the web straps that made up the windshield and waited.
Both vehicles whipped around the corner of MacSweeny’s at the same time. Kyle maneuvered the truck into position. Vicky fired.
A black ball of anti-light appeared on the ground in front of the left tire of the target which expanded into a 15-foot sphere of swirling inky iridescent colors before vanishing. It sliced a gaping hole into the parking lot, water pipes, vehicles, and light poles. The truck had managed to dodge just in time and now making a break for the roof of MacSweeny’s.
“You’re a bad shot too! And you wasted a number five!” Avera coughed, becoming active again.
“I blame Kyle.”
“I’ll allow it,” Kyle danced their truck up on two wheels in a sharp turn throwing the occupants in the back nearly out of the vehicle. “Hold on!”
“A little sooner,” Vicky shouted.
In front of them, the escaping truck roared as it reared up onto its back tires to land its front tires on the wall. All four wheel spun as it got a grip and then drove up the side of the building.
“These things can do that? Why can it do that? Can we do that?” Avera crawled over Vicky to get back into the cab.
“You’re the one that said it was trying to get airborne, how should we know?” Vicky shouted. “What’s this?” Avera had dropped a number eight shell into Vicky’s hand in the tussle. “You really are trying to kill us.”
Avera smiled. Vicky shuttered.
“Here we go,” Kyle announced as everything tilted at a crazy angle then completely vertical as they raced up the side of MacSweeny’s to continue the chase. As they crested over the edge, their enemy slammed straight into their exposed underside. Instead of landing on the roof, they flew out over the parking lot in a slow end over end flip. The first bounce slammed was cushioned by the tired, the second bounce crushed in the cab and then rolled into the barrier wall before coming to a stop.
The second truck had managed to land wheels first but now hissed copious amounts of angry steam from several places.
Avera kicked off the door and swung herself up and out of the smashed truck, running back to where Vicky had landed when thrown from the back of the truck. She helped a dazed and bleeding Vicky to sit up. Kyle crawled out of the windshield and sprawled out on the ground.
“Ow,” Kyle said. “Are you two all right?”
“I am,” Avera said.
“Did you know that… that…” Vicky slurred. “Crystal will get it. Crystal. She’ll… get it.” She stared through Avera unfocused, “what’s happening?”
“That’s not fine, can you help her up?”
“Nope, my arm isn’t working.”
Kyle rolled over to take a look at the girl, “That’s because your arm is broke.”
Avera gave her arm a surprised stare, “I was wondering why it hurt.”
The other truck rumbled back to life and peeled away from the group.
Avera picked up the nearby Springer rifle with her good arm and held it in her outstretched arm.
“Avera! Don’t…” Kyle tried to stand up
The world grew dark around the fist-sized beam of eye-searing speckled white light that erupted from the end of the rifle. The bar of blinding light danced wildly around as Avera’s arm shook under the recoil and strain, neatly slicing through the parking lot, the far barrier wall and even a chunk of MacSweeny’s. Gouts of fire quickly followed behind in the beams wake. The beam came close enough to the target to cause one of the wheels to explode. The whole shot took an eternity to unfold in under a second.
The wheel on fire, the monster machine spun around and took off through the now gaping hole in the barrier and was gone.
Avera dropped the gun. “I missed.”
“That’s not even remotely close to a one-handed weapon, Avera! What in the world made you think you could fire that thing one handed and not miss?” Kyle shouted from behind her, still laying out on the ground.
“It was getting away!” Avera said hotly.
“You gave it an escape.”
Kyle managed to get up and limp slowly over to the two girls and gave them a quick inspection.
“Let’s get you both to the infirmary. Can you walk, Avera?” Kyle picked up Vicky from the ground.”
“I’m fine,” Avera stood up and wobbled. Her eyes rolled up, and she collapsed into Kyle’s arm.”
Kyle sighed and announced to no one, “That would have been helpful a minute ago.” He slung Avera’s limp form over his shoulder into a fireman’s carry and then cradled the smaller unconscious Vicky in his arms. The parking lot stretched out to double the normal distance back to the Market as he began walking.
DAMAGE WAS SUSTAINED. WILL YOU CARRY ME AS WELL.