Jess took a deep breath and forced herself to move on. She knew the streets, knew Brooder’s chances facing the gang alone- but that was what he had agreed to. He’d bought her and the others safe passage quite possibly with his life.
If she stayed, she would be just one more casualty. She was halfway down the next block when the shooting started again.
Jess gripped her clutch tightly as she called into dispatch. “Dispatch- this is M1-7, show me code-5 one block east of last location."
“Dispatch, copy M1-7- don’t stay out too long.”
Jess nodded, then answered. “Copy Dispatch, M1-7 out.”
She clicked the microphone off , forcing herself to think. There was nothing she could do that wouldn’t involve setting herself up as a target. She pushed the bike backwards, step by step trying to get as close to the corner as she could.
If he could make it to the corner....
She had almost given up hope when she heard a chopper somewhere nearby. Looking up she saw the red tell-tale light heading away- towards the hospital. She looked around and activated her radio.
“M23-7, this is M1-7...”
Jess began to wonder how many calls she’d missed and whether or not Terry was even available, when his voice came on the radio. “M23-7 go.”
“Terry, switch to tactical.”
She switched her radio over and waited.
“M23-7 here, what’s up Jess?”
Jess paused as she heard more gunfire behind her....
“Terry, you still got any friends at the ‘Wagon?”
A slight pause, “what do you need?”
Jess shook her head. “An air-strike... seriously- I got a man pinned down, wounded... I know they can’t pick up... but... can you get someone to give me some cover fire?”
Jess waited as the radio fell silent. She closed her eyes as she realized the gunfire had slowed down- and that it sounded like most of it was coming from far down the street- where the gang had been.
‘Please, don’t let this be too late... come on... come on Terry...’
It seemed like forever until a voice came on the radio. “M1-7, this is DocWagon 443, what is your location?”
Just like that. Jess smiled. “I’m at Lenore and 9th, copy?”
“Copy that M1-7, be prepared- we are only authorized for one run.”
“Thanks guys, I owe you one.”
“Meet us at O’Grady’s when this is all over and we’ll call it even,” the pilot answered. “Stand-by.”
“Copy,” Jess answered. Now- all she needed was a miracle.
Darkness. Quiet, unassuming darkness. And he was alone. For the first time in his life, he was alone. No one to bother him. No one asking him to kill someone. No one at all.
You are never alone.
No. Darkness was quiet. He did not hear that.
You cannot deny me. I have always been here.
No. There was only him. No one else.
So much ego. So much anger. That is why I let you go.
“Wolf!” he heard himself say. “Is that you!” The sound echoed.
“You abandoned me,” he said, looking for the source of his anger. “Just when I needed you the most.”
I did not abandon you. You are filled with too much anger. You were never meant for me. But for another.
“There is no more. I am my own man. I will follow no more of you or your kind!”
It is not your choice. It is your destiny. But you are not the same as before. You have changed. Too much.
“And you’re not going to help me, are you? Then to hell with you!”
Anger. But there is hope. There is someone who will return you to what you used to be. You will find her.
“Who? Wolf! Answer me!”
But nothing answered. It was just quiet darkness again. Except for the storm.
Storm?! But there couldn’t be storms here. Wasn’t he dead?
Then he felt the wind- blowing hard against his skin, and the thunder as it echoed down the street.
Disoriented, he forced himself to move. ‘Chopper.’
A burst from the Chopper’s forward mounted guns confirmed it was no hallucination. The next question was ‘how,’ but Brooder was already reacting to the change in circumstance. He peered over the remains of the car and saw the gangers diving for cover.
He looked at the Blitzen, so close and completely out of reach. He looked towards the corner and saw the shadow of a bike.
“Dammit LT!” he heard her yell. “Move it!”
Brooder winced as he forced himself to stand. The last bullet had hit hard, he needed help and he needed it fast. ‘Help is around the corner...’ he told himself. ‘Just.. have to make it there... ‘
He forced himself to move, concentrating on his goal he ignored everything else. The pain, the gunfire, the chopper-- nothing else mattered. All he had to do was make it to the corner.
‘Move,’ he told himself. ‘Keep moving...’
The gunfire had died behind him. Either the gang was gone, or they were still recovering from the chopper. It didn’t matter. All that mattered was putting as much distance between himself and them. ‘Keep moving.’
He froze as he heard the shouts behind him. They were still there, still waiting and the chopper was gone. ‘30 yards more... Keep moving...’
Someone yelled behind him, firing. “You're gonna die Law Dog!”
Ahead of him he could hear a motorcycle engine. “Come on LT...” the voice was muffled... of course... Jess... wearing a helmet.
‘20 yards... 10...’
He could hear the bullets as they ricocheted off the bricks alongside him.
Then he was around the corner.
Jess allowed herself a brief sigh of relief as she felt Brooder settle in behind her. “Hold on,” she urged. She could tell by the way he moved he’d been hit.
‘Bullets only hurt as long as I let ‘em...’ he’d said.
‘Or until there are too many of them to ignore,’ she thought to herself.
This wasn’t going to be easy, but there was no other choice. She shifted into first and moved out, intent on putting as much distance between them and the gangers.
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