Fiction: Afterlife Volume 2 (Chapter 33)

by Mike Monroe on September 5, 2016


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Afterlife is a sci fi/western action serial published every other week. Join us in a post-apocalyptic journey through a future where life has become little more than a struggle for survival. However, where there’s life, there’s always hope.

Read the previous chapter here:

Afterlife, Volume 2, Chapter 32


Nat and his deputies attack a dam in the mountains and Shelly comes to their aid.
Warrick Baines is told of Anna Ballin’s whereabouts.
Mark Gonzalez executes his wife for being a spy.

Find the Volume 2 Table of Contents page here.

View the Volume 2 Character Profiles here.

View the Map here.

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Afterlife, Volume 2, Chapter 33

The Crosshairs Saloon was mostly empty, as it was late afternoon and the lunch crowd was gone, but the evening crowd hadn’t yet arrived.  The poker game hadn’t started yet, and the only three people in the place when Shelly walked in were Basil Simmons, Alicia the waitress, and one male patron Shelly didn’t recognize.  This was the first time Shelly had been to the Crosshairs since her big argument with Bobby, and she was hoping to be there when Bobby got off work.  She’d also wanted to talk to Juan, who she hadn’t seen in days, but he wasn’t there.  Shelly made her way to the bar and sat down.  Basil approached her from behind the bar with a knowing smile.  “Hi, Shelly.  Long time no see.”

Shelly smiled back.  “Hi, Basil.  Yeah, I’ve been staying with Sera the past several days.  Been training hard with her.”

Basil nodded.  “It wouldn’t have anything to do with Bobby, would it?”

Shelly noticed Alicia looking in her direction.  The Latina waitress had a very noticeable black eye.  Her arms and legs were also bruised.  When she noticed Shelly looking back at her, she looked at the floor and made her way back towards the kitchen.  “Maybe a little,” Shelly said.  “Has Bobby been in here lately?”

“Every night except last night,” Basil said.  “Look, Shelly, you all need to talk.  This has been goin’ on long enough.”

“I know,” Shelly said.  “That’s why I’m here.  What about Juan?  Isn’t he playing piano today?”

“We haven’t seen Juan in days.  It’s starting to get worrisome.”

Shelly frowned.  “I hope he’s okay.”

“So do I,” Basil said.  “With all the craziness goin’ on around here lately, who knows what’s goin’ on with him?”  Shelly noticed him glancing at the silver star that was pinned to her white tank top over her left breast.  She’d been wearing tank tops lately to show off her new tattoos, along with the muscular arms they covered.  She was in better shape than ever.  She’d been working hard on her body, doing chin-ups, pullups, pushups, sit-ups, and running among other things, and she really wanted to show off the progress she was making.  She’d always been pretty, but now she was leaner and meaner than ever.  “So Nat deputized you after all,” Basil said.  “I didn’t think he liked woman deputies.”

Shelly grinned.  “Well, I bailed him out and he returned the favor.  I actually start tomorrow.  He gave me the badge today, though.”  She was hoping to talk to Bobby before she actually started working with him.  Hopefully he’d show up soon.

“Okay,” Basil said.  “Good luck, then.  You want anything to drink, Shelly?  To celebrate?”

“Not yet,” she said, looking back at the kitchen door behind the bar.  “Maybe I’ll just get a salad for now.”

“Any of Madge’s famous five alarm ghost pepper chili?”

Shelly shook her head.  “I’m not really into spicy food.”

“Your loss.  Anyway, I’ll put the order in.”  Shelly nodded as Basil made his way to the door that led back into the kitchen.  She turned to notice the man at the bar smiling at her.

“Want some company?” he asked nervously.

She smiled back.  “Not today.  Sorry.”  Shelly still had it, even with the scars on her face.  She wondered how Bobby was going to react when he saw her.  He’d tried to talk to her the other day at the dam, but she wasn’t in the mood.  She was still angry, but once Nat made her a deputy, some of her anger subsided.  Hopefully now that she was a deputy, Bobby would go along with it.  Shelly didn’t need his permission.  She did want his support, though.  Especially if their relationship was going to continue moving forward.  And if not?  Shelly started thinking of Juanita Ricardo for some reason.  She remembered when Juanita had taught her to shoot in Primrose, and she remembered sharing a room with her in Carpenter City.  Though she was with Bobby at the time, Shelly couldn’t help but notice Juanita’s beauty.  She closed her eyes and pictured Juanita’s face: her big brown eyes, full lips, and long black hair.  Shelly stifled the thoughts.  Juanita was with John Bernard, even if he did have a habit of cheating on her, and besides, Shelly loved Bobby.  She really hoped they’d find a way to work things out somehow.  She wasn’t going to stay with someone who didn’t support her decisions, though.

Shelly started feeling sick to her stomach.  She thought maybe it was the stress.  For a few seconds she felt like she was going to throw up.  It went away and came back again and she looked at the door to the kitchen wondering when Basil or Alicia might reemerge.  Maybe some soda or something would help.  The feeling went away again and the saloon doors swung open.  Shelly’s heart fluttered a little as she thought maybe it was Bobby.  Instead, three men in leather and metal armor walked into the room.  One swiftly drew a laser pistol and shot the other patron in the head before he could react.  His body slumped off the barstool and onto the floor.  Shelly went for her own laser pistol when someone grabbed her from behind and pulled her back up against the bar.  A muscular arm was around her neck.  She tried to reach back but couldn’t reach far enough.  One of the men who entered the saloon rushed up to her and grabbed her laser pistol.  She kicked him in the crotch with all of her might and he slumped over as she continued reaching back for the man who was choking her.  “Get her legs!” one of the men shouted.

One of the men ran up to her and held her legs down.  She tried to pull away but couldn’t budge.  The man who’d taken her gun punched her hard in the stomach and the man choking her let go.  The other two men near her held her up as the fourth man, a tall, muscular man with curly blonde hair, drew a long, slender knife and walked towards her.  Shelly tried to break free of the grip of the two men holding her, but she couldn’t.  The bald man behind the bar was now pointing a laser pistol at her head.  “Move and I’ll blow those pretty brains out.”

The man with the curly blonde hair chuckled.  “You idiot.  Brains ain’t pretty.  They’re all slimy lookin’.  Besides, she ain’t that pretty anyways.  Look at those scars on her face.  How’d you get those scars, Scarface?”

Shelly tried to break free again from the men holding her but it was no use.  “I was with your mom last night.  She’s a little rough down there, know what I mean?”

The blonde man punched her hard in the face.  “Shut that mouth, bitch.  I know you killed a bunch of our guys yesterday.  You thought you’d just get away with that?  Well, Beretta wasn’t too happy about it.  So he sent us to give you a little talkin’ too.  We got the waitress, the cook, and the owner of this place in the back.  I’ve got two guys tendin’ to them right now, so don’t think they’ll be able to help you.”

Another man walked in through the swinging doors and threw two bloody heads onto the floor.  One was John Bracken’s.  He was the deputy who was supposed to be patrolling the town outside.  The other head belonged to Juan, the piano player.  Shelly felt sick to her stomach once again.  “I’m gonna kill all of you.”

“It certainly don’t look like it now, Scarface,” the blonde man said.  “I’ll tell you what is gonna happen, though.  We’re gonna run a train on ya.  Me and my friends here.  And we’ll call some more of our buddies.  How would you like that, Scarface?  We can put a bag over your head to hide the scars.  Ever had thirty men at once?  We’ll use you like a ragdoll.  And when we’re done with ya, we’ll leave ya for the vultures.”

She shouted and tried to break free again.  She tried to kick the blonde haired man but he backed up and laughed.  “Oh, yeah, bitch,” one of the other men said.  “It’ll hurt so good, you know?  Want us to make it hurt so good?  You’ll probably like it.  Huh, Scarface?”

Shelly looked at the bald man behind the counter pointing the gun at her head.  He was laughing, not paying attention.  Shelly lunged forward with all of her might and kicked the blonde haired man in the crotch.  He leaned over in pain and before Shelly could react, the three other men on her side of the bar pulled her back once again.  The blonde haired man looked at her angrily and his long, thin blade shot out at Shelly’s face.  He stabbed her in the right eye, and when he pulled the knife out, Shelly’s eye popped out with it.  The blonde man laughed as he held the knife with Shelly’s eye skewered on it.  “You was ugly before.  Look at ya now, Scarface.  There’s a big bloody hole where your pretty blue eye used to be.”

Shelly shouted and broke free of the three men with all of her strength as she felt the blood trickle down her face.  The bald man fired the laser at Shelly and it just grazed her right ear.  She high kicked above the bar, knocking the gun out of his hand.  She turned to see the other four men coming towards her and swiftly kicked one in the face, crunching his jaw and sending him sprawling.  Another man lunged at her and she ducked under his attack and punched him hard in the stomach.  She spun and kicked another man in the face, knocking him into the bar where glass shattered and wooden barstools clattered.  She punched another man in the face twice with lightning swift movements.  Then, she blocked the blonde man’s punch and kicked him in the stomach, sending him to the floor.  She noticed a laser pistol on the floor and quickly picked it up.

Three of the men were writhing in pain near Shelly so she shot each in the head in turn.  The floor was now a bloody mess.  The bald man behind the bar was fumbling around for his weapon.  Shelly leaned over the bar and shot him in the head, and his body thumped to the floor.  The blonde haired man rushed at her and pushed her into the bar, knocking the gun out of her hand.  She stumbled, keeping herself from falling as she knocked over a barstool, and turned and roundhouse kicked her attacker in the face, sending him spinning into a nearby table.  Shelly growled and pounced on top of him, wrapping her hands around his slender neck.  She squeezed with all of her might as he kicked and flailed, writhing on the floor as he kicked over a nearby barstool.  Shelly’s grip was too tight, though.  She watched his frightened eyes as blood dripped down on his face from the empty socket where Shelly’s right eye used to be.  He gasped violently for air as she squeezed harder and the flailing and kicking reached a crescendo until the man stopped moving.  His eyes turned red with blood.  Shelly stood, sobbing as she picked up a laser pistol, wiped some of the blood off her face, and walked towards the door to the kitchen.

She kicked the door in to see two startled IAO men standing with Basil, Juanita, and Madge with their backs to the wall near a black industrial range.  Shelly quickly fired two shots, hitting the two IAO men in the head.  Blood splattered across Madge’s face and the cook started shaking.  Alicia was looking at Shelly with a horrified expression like she expected Shelly to shoot her, too, but Basil was looking at her with concern.  “You need to get to the doctor,” he said.

Shelly nodded.  “Yeah.”  She turned and walked back out of the kitchen, making her way to the saloon doors.  She walked slowly, shaking from adrenaline.  She barely noticed the pain from her bleeding eye socket as she walked out into the street and headed towards Doctor Dayton’s office.


General Rodriguez’ tent in the resistance army’s camp near Vulture’s Pass looked much the same as it had in North Point, large and olive green with a noisy generator running near the back, but for some reason there were many more guards present near the entrance.  Six men stood guard and two had repeating laser rifles.  Paul Jacobs wondered what the reason for the extra security was as he ducked into the tent.  Inside, the same two men he’d seen last time were seated at a plastic table, and the same lamp in the shape of a naked woman shined soft light throughout the tent, but General Rodriguez’ medals were missing from his chest.  He was dressed in tan pants and a tank top which showed off his hairy arms, though Foxtrot was dressed in his usual tan uniform.  There was no alcohol present, and General Rodriguez looked dead serious as he looked over a map spread out across the table.  He glanced at Paul as he entered the tent.  “Good, you’re here.  Have a seat.”

Paul nodded and saluted the two men and they saluted back.  “Yes, sir.”  He pulled up a chair and sat near the two officers.

“So Captain Frank Waters has informed me that you believe Tom Rivers allowed some of his men to die.”  General Rodriguez frowned as he looked at the map.

Paul nodded.  “Yes, sir.”

“But then,” General Rodriguez said, “on your last mission, Captain Rivers informed me that it was you who left your position and were partially responsible for another pilot’s death.”

“I was trying to save Captain Waters,” Paul said, “but I did ignore direct orders and a man is now dead, so I do expect to answer for what I did, sir.”

“You will,” General Rodriguez said.  “Captain Jacobs, I know you traveled with Alex Harris as part of his personal guard and were privy to classified information.  Some information in particular is more sensitive than ever now, given recent events.”

Paul glanced at Foxtrot, who was looking at him with a serious expression through his glasses.  “What information is that, if you don’t mind my asking, sir?”

“Several members of the resistance leadership have been assassinated,” General Rodriguez said.  “Members of the Lead Council, of which I am a member, as is Alex Harris.  Heather Cylburn, Barney Chambers, Elias Long, and Glen Stratus were all murdered.  Along with the death of General Crenshaw and Abby’s killing of the spy Judith Israel, that leaves only five of us left.  Four really, since Abby’s gone rogue.  Four left out of what’s supposed to be twelve.”

Paul frowned.  “Are Alex and Abby all right?”

General Rodriguez shrugged.  “Abby, as I said, has gone rogue and no one’s heard from her.  As far as Alex goes, he’s been on a dangerous top secret mission even I don’t know much about, so who knows?”

“What about Mavery and Big Ed?” Paul asked.  “They were traveling with Barney Chambers.  Any word on them?”

“I don’t know,” General Rodriguez said.  “I haven’t heard anything.  So anyway, we don’t know who was behind the killings.  It could have been the IAO.  Could have been Rennock’s people.  That’s the reason for my extra guards, though.  It seems someone’s targeting lead council members.”

Paul nodded.  “So I hope you don’t mind my asking, sir, but does this have anything to do with my situation?”

“I trust you,” General Rodriguez said with a smile.  “You come highly recommended from Alex Harris, who I trust with my life.”  His smiled became a frown.  “But I don’t trust Tom Rivers.  Never have.  He’s an arrogant jerk.”

Paul smiled.  “I won’t say that I don’t agree with you, sir.”

“I want you to continue flying with him,” General Rodriguez said.  “See if you can get to the bottom of this.  Keep your eyes and ears open.  And report back to me when you can.”

“Yes, sir.”

General Rodriguez looked at him gravely.  “I won’t mince words, though.  There will be an investigation regarding your involvement in the death of Roger Allen.  And I’m afraid there will most likely be a court-marshal.”

Paul frowned.  “Yes, sir.”

“But for now, you’re free to go,” General Rodriguez said.  “I want you to continue flying since you’re on a special mission directly from me.  In public, we’ll chalk it up to bureaucracy, but in reality, you and I will know the truth.”

“Thank you, sir,” Paul said with a slight smile.

“Now.”  General Rodriguez’ frown turned to a smile.  “I know you aren’t a drinking man, but once Colonel Fife and I are done planning our next moves, I’m going to be having a poker game with some of my closest friends.  You’re invited, of course.  There will be women along with the liquor, as always.”

Paul nodded.  “It does sound like fun, but I’m afraid I need to get going.  I need to get my rest, sir.”

“Suit yourself,” General Rodriguez said.  “That’ll be all, then.”

Paul nodded and saluted the general and the colonel, who both saluted back.  “Have a good evening.”  Paul ducked out of the tent and made his way through the sandy dunes towards his own tent, his mind on Captain Tom Rivers and what their next mission might be like.  He was also thinking about Alex and Abby, and his friends who were with Alex, along with Mavery and Big Ed.  He knew they were all in danger, but with all of the recent murders, things were hitting close to home.  The moon and the stars shined down, the only audience watching Paul walk back to his tent, as there was little movement in the camp.  Most of the men were asleep.  It was time for Paul to join them if he could.


Abby looked down into the bag of diamonds once more as it rested on the metal shelf.  “We’ve finally hit the jackpot.  Not as much as Black Rock’s going to be, but a sweet haul, all the same.”

Della nodded as she stood beside Abby, dressed in drag as she always was during their robberies.  “How much do you think it is all together?”

Abby looked at the bag of gold, the briefcase full of bonds and notes, and the diamonds.  “Maybe ten billion.  I don’t know for sure.”

“Sounds pretty good all the same,” Della said as she grabbed the heavy bag of gold and the briefcase full of bonds and notes.

“Well let’s get up there quick,” Abby said, grabbing the other bag with the diamonds, “before all hell breaks loose up there.  The last thing we need is another incident.  The enforcers are definitely going to notice when we take a sum this large.”

Della frowned.  “From here on out, I’m not sure if we’ll have a moment of peace.  They’ll be looking for us with everything they’ve got, honey.”

“It’s all right,” Abby said.  “I’m used to it.”  She left the vault with Della and they rushed up the stairs that led into the office behind the teller windows.  The employees were still on the floor, as Ace stood in the doorway between the office and the lobby holding his double barreled laser rifle.  Annabelle was in the lobby with an RLR, just in case things got a little hairy.  Ace and Annabelle and the other bank robbers were starting to attract more attention from the authorities according to some articles Annabelle had been reading, so she wanted to be prepared just in case.  The lobby floor was covered with patrons lying on their stomachs.  Most looked very nervous, but none seemed to be causing trouble.

Abby and Della carried the bags into the lobby, which was a cavernous room with marble walls and gold trim.  Sunset City wasn’t a huge town, but this was Rennock’s largest bank in the region near the border at the western end of the Disputed Lands, so he decked it out with extravagance.  “Okay,” Annabelle said when she saw Abby and Della.  “Let’s get the hell out of here before the Remingtons get here.”  She was referring to the Remington Detective Agency, whom local businessmen had hired to put an end to Ace and Annabelle and their gang according to the articles.

“We have you surrounded.”  The authoritative voice came through a loudspeaker outside the bank.  Abby looked out through the barred front windows to see five black hover cars parked outside.  Enforcers were rushing around behind the cars and there were two men in white suits.

“Too late,” Ace said.

“Come out quietly and we’ll take you in,” the voice said.  Abby noticed it was one of the men in white suits holding the loudspeaker.  “Fight and you’ll most surely die.”

Annabelle winked at Ace.  “Hostages,” she said.  Ace nodded, slung his rifle over his back, and lifted two frightened but well-dressed women up from the floor by their arms, one blonde and one brunette.

“We now have snipers on the front door,” the voice said.

Abby glanced at the revolving door.  It was narrow.  Only one of them would be able to go through at a time.  While she was thinking, Annabelle began firing through the barred front windows, dozens of shots per second, and people in the lobby started screaming as the glass shattered.  Some stood and they were taken out by lasers firing inside the bank from outside.  Ace rushed in front of Annabelle with the two hostages and Della and Abby came up behind them.  “Please let us go!” the brunette hostage shouted.  “I have kids at home.”

“It would be a shame for them to lose their mother,” Ace said.  He pushed the two women forward as the four bank robbers huddled behind them.  Annabelle fired barrages of lasers out from behind Ace as they moved forward.  “We have to go through the front door,” Ace said.  “There’s no other way.  The windows are barred.  It looks like it’s atlantium, too.  Annabelle’s lasers aren’t cutting through it.”

“I’ll have to get a nanogun for the next one,” Annabelle said, referring to an experimental weapon that very few people actually owned.  Nanoguns fired millions of nanobots which could eat through pretty much anything.

They pushed their way to the door and the firing stopped as the men outside waited for their exit.  “Well, say your prayers,” Ace said.  “This could very well be it for us.”

“At least I’m dressed for it,” Della said.

“What do you mean?” Abby asked.

“Well if I’m going out, honey,” Della said with a grin, “at least I’m going out in style.”

“I’ll run out first and fire at them with everything I’ve got,” Anabelle said.

“Really?” Ace asked.  “You aren’t a superhero, dariln’.  Shouldn’t I go out first with the hostages?”

“No!” the brunette hostage shouted.  The blonde woman was just huddling nervously.

“Astute observation,” Ace said, “but if I’d wanted your opinion, I would have asked for it.”

“Maybe we should all go out at the same time,” Della suggested.  “Firing in all directions and then maybe it’ll confuse them.”

“The door’s too narrow,” Abby said.

“I know,” Della said.  “I didn’t mean at the same time, exactly.  But as close to the same time as we can get.  Like all run out as fast as possible one after the other.”

“I don’t know,” Ace said.  “I like the hostage idea.  Only wealthy people keep their money in banks these days.  Rennock’s men won’t fire on wealthy people.”

“Please don’t do that,” the brunette hostage said.

“Maybe we could give her a gun,” Annabelle said, nodding towards the brunette, “and push her through, and while they’re busy shooting her, we’ll all run out behind her.”

“No,” the brunette said.  “I’m sorry.  I’ll keep my mouth shut.”

“Or her, maybe.”  Anabelle nodded towards the blonde.  All the blonde hostage could manage to do was whimper and shake her head.

“Or give them both guns and push them through,” Ace said.

“Really?” Della asked.  “You’d give them guns?  What if they shoot us?”

“I’m just thinking out loud here,” Ace said.

“Well, we don’t have all day,” Annabelle said.  “They might come in here with who knows what kind of weapons.  They’re probably moving guys up to the windows to take us out as we speak.”

Ace nodded.  “It’s now or never.”

“So what are we doing?” Abby asked.

“I’ll run out first and sort of push the hostages towards them,” Ace said.  “Then Annabelle comes out firing her RLR.  Then Della.  Then you, Abby.  And we all run in different directions.  Then, at least maybe one of us will get away.”

“That sounds like a terrible idea, honey pie,” Annabelle said.

“Well there isn’t a plethora of options here, pumpkin,” Ace said.  “We just need to do something.”

“I’ll go out first,” Annabelle said, “and take out as many as I can.  Then you come out firing.  Then Della and Abby.  Leave the hostages here they’ll just get in our way.”

“That sounds like a good idea to me,” the brunette hostage said with a grin.

“First we kill them, of course,” Annabelle said.  “Then we leave them here.”  The brunette’s grin quickly disappeared.

“We can’t kill the hostages,” Abby said.  “What’s the point of that?”

“Are we really putting this much thought into this?” Della asked.  “I mean, they’re going to probably kill us no matter what we do.  Let’s just all just run out shooting and get it over with.”

“Just because we’re most likely all going to die,” Ace said, “that doesn’t mean we should intentionally commit suicide.”

“There’s always a right way and a wrong way to do things,” Annabelle said.

Ace shook his head.  “There are always more than two alternatives.”

“And you’re the cheater who finds them,” Annabelle said with a grin.  There was a loud twang and a deafening pop.  Then, parts of the bank’s front wall began to crumble and cave in.  Abby was flung to the ground.  The ceiling was cracking above her.

“Everyone out!”  Someone shouted and people started rushing outside though large holes that had appeared in the front wall.  Chunks of marble started falling from columns that had been holding up the ceiling.  The bank patrons who’d been on the floor were all rushing out.  In the chaos, Abby ran out with them.  Ace, Annabelle, and Della were nowhere to be found.  Still holding the bag of diamonds, Abby ran past what was left of the mangled, smoking black cars.  Body parts and blood cluttered the street as people slipped and tripped over them, stampeding out of the bank as the ceiling caved in.  Abby quickly ran down an alley, still not sure what was happening.  She drew her laser pistol and turned a corner when she was face to face with a man with a silver star badge over his left breast and a laser pistol at his side.  She shot him in the face and he fell backwards to the ground, blood pouring out of his head into the sand.

Abby hadn’t even realized she’d pulled the trigger at first, it had happened so fast.  She stood over the body, her mouth open as she thought about what she’d just done.  He had a laser pistol.  He probably would have shot her if she hadn’t killed him.  It was in its holster, but if Abby would have went past him, he might have killed her.  He probably knew what was happening.  He probably knew she’d just robbed a bank if he was the town’s sheriff.  Abby looked down at the body, unable to move.  There was nothing she could do to take it back now.  In the chaos, she’d just killed a man in cold blood. She looked up to see a woman staring at her in shock from across the street.  A hover car pulled up.  “Come on!” Digits shouted through the open window.  “Get in!”  Annabelle opened the back door of the hover wagon and Abby got in, throwing the bag of diamonds in ahead of her.  She slammed the door shut and Digits took off down the main road out of town. Della was next to Annabelle in the back seat and Ace was in the front passenger seat. Everyone appeared to be unharmed, but Abby didn’t want to know what had happened to the two hostages.

A laser blast hit the back of the hover car and it jerked to the side a little.  Abby watched pink laser blasts go past as Digits went faster.  Annabelle broke the back window of the car with her RLR and started firing behind them.  Abby noticed several cars following.  There was a roadblock ahead where several more black cars were parked and a man in a white suit stood with several enforcers.  They drew laser pistols and fired as Digits took a sharp right into an alley.  This didn’t feel like before.  This town had been ready for them.

Digits made a sharp left and drove out of town and into the desert.  Dunes whizzed past so fast they were a blur.  Abby looked behind her to see more cars than she could count in the distance behind them in pursuit, the town behind them as a backdrop.  Annabelle fired more shots, taking out a car here and there, but it wasn’t enough.  “This is why I wanted to retire,” Ace said.  “I knew this would happen one day.”

“But it’s so much fun,” Annabelle said.  Digits pushed the car to its limit and it started shaking.  Abby noticed rocky badlands up ahead.

“Maybe we can lose them in there,” Della said, pointing towards the rocks.

“That’s the idea,” Digits said with a grin.

The car shot into the badlands, zigzagging through rock formations.  Digits drove into a gorge and the rocky bottom came at them in seconds, but before they hit, the car leveled out and whizzed past the cliff walls. Digits followed the canyon for a while and Abby looked behind them to see the cars still following in the distance through the canyon.  “They’re out of range of my RLR now,” Annabelle said.

“We have to go over the border,” Digits said as he drove.  “Rennock’s men will probably have to turn back until they can get permission if they don’t already have it.  We’ll still have to deal with the Remingtons, though.”

“That’s better than nothing,” Annabelle said.

Digits pushed the car harder until it exited the canyon.  They were surrounded by dunes once again as Digits turned a sharp right.  He went down into the valley between dunes and weaved in and out of the valleys, going over dunes from time to time to see if they were still being followed.  There were still several cars in the distance.  “Get used to this,” Annabelle said with a grin.  “This is probably going to be how our lives are from here on out.”

“Hopefully here on out lasts a while,” Della said.

Abby frowned as Digits continued driving.  “So what happened back there?  At the bank, I mean.”

“I had a couple of concussion grenades I saved for a rainy day,” Digits said as he drove.

Abby nodded as she looked back at their pursuers, who seemed to be losing ground a little.  Would it be possible to lose them after all?  Immediately after Abby had that thought, they appeared to gain ground once again.  Maybe her mind was playing tricks on her.  She decided the best thing to do would be to look forward and imagine they were just traveling through the dunes as usual with no pursuers.  Abby’s mind drifted to the sheriff she’d killed.  He definitely would have killed her.  It was self-defense, even if he was just trying to do his job.  It was hard for Abby to relax in a shaking car with the noise of the wind rushing past the broken rear window.  Abby wondered if she’d ever be able to find sleep again as the hover car rattled over the white sands of the desert.



Continue on to the next chapter:

Afterlife, Volume 2, Chapter 34
Mavery gives Big Ed an ultimatum.
Alex Harris goes through a transformation of sorts.
Nat and his deputies shoot it out with the IAO.


Find the Volume 2 Table of Contents page here.

View the Volume 2 Character Profiles here.

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Mike Monroe

Michael Monroe was born in Baltimore, MD and has lived there most of his life. He’s a poet and fiction writer whose preferred genres are Science Fiction and Fantasy, and he’s always had a thing for Allen Ginsberg and the Beats. His poetry has been published in Gargoyle Magazine, nthposition, the Lyric, Scribble, the Loch Raven Review, Foliate Oak, Primalzine, and various other publications.

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