“Alison, you have a choice,” his words rang out loud and clear in my ear. “You can go with me, or I will turn you loose and you can take your chances with the rioters and the secret police. You saw what happened to your friend just now.”
He had a tight grip on me. His right hand firmly over my mouth, and his left arm around my ribs just below my breast, a position he knew would make it difficult for me to breathe.
I could smell the kerosene on his hand and the acrid smoke of the firebombing around us with the little air I was able to get in through my nose. An image of my coworker with a bullet through her forehead came immediately to my mind.
“I’ll go, I’ll go,” I mumbled. “Just let me get some air.”
He relaxed his death grip on me. I was able to turn sufficiently to see that he was a large, strong man, not very handsome, his face had many scars, fighting scars. With a simple twist of his arm, he could easily kill me.
“Follow me,” he commanded still grasping my arm.
I suddenly realized even if I had taken the training course offered by the hospital on how to protect myself from an attacker, it wouldn’t have helped: I would have been a goner, killed while feebly trying to protect myself. In all my years at the hospital I had never come across a brute of his strength and size.
“Where are you taking me?” I gasped.
“To him,” the hulk replied. “Stop talking and come with me as fast as you can. We are going back into the hospital and out through back doors of the emergency room.”
I didn’t have a choice, he spun me around and pulled me alongside of him.
“Outside the intake doors of the ER, we have an ambulance ready to bust out the back gate of the hospital. The gate is locked, my men are ready to blast it open.”
He used his elbow to activate the ER’s main doors. A guard came at us from the security area; with one jab to the guard’s throat, my attacker disabled him and crashed him to the ground. The guard had no idea of who he was up against.
“Did you kill him?” I gasped.
“Maybe,” he said. “Don’t have time to fool around.”
The nurses and physicians were in shock at seeing what had transpired. They stepped well out of our way as we raced down the corridor to the intake area. I looked back to see a physician bending down to attend to the fallen guard.
“My bag, my bag, I can’t leave that behind.”
“Yeah, you have something we may need.”
A heavy object attached to his gun belt banged against my thigh. It was my handbag, I was relieved, I had the next in the series of cellphones in there, which he had given me, so I could call him for help.
No one followed us. The intake doors opened – another big man stood by the rear of a running ambulance.
“I’ll get in the right side, the kid will drive,” he said loudly over the noise of the idling diesel engine. Directing his attention to this second very big man he yelled, “Get her in the back and make sure she doesn’t give us any trouble. Be careful, our orders are to deliver her in one piece.”
“What’s happening?” I stammered.
“We are getting out of the Metropolis, as fast as we can, before the Woman’s Police Force catches on that we have you and comes looking for us.”
He unlatched the rear doors of the ambulance, the second very big man jumped in dragging me behind into the rear of the ambulance.
I didn’t have a chance to sit down before the ambulance was underway. We screamed out the ER intake road, then lurched over the median toward the back gate.
The second big man, attacker, or savior, I didn’t know which, held me from falling over. He pulled down seats folded against the ambulance bulkhead and said firmly, “Fasten your seat belt, it’s going to be a wild ride.”
We raced through the parking lot, I couldn’t see where we were going, only where we had been.
Our speeding ambulance came to a quick stop, tires squealing.
I heard a loud explosion, metal parts rained down on the roof of the ambulance. The driver accelerated aggressively.
“That must be the explosive destruction of the rear gate,” I thought to myself.
Bam! We hit the gate solidly. With a mighty jolt, the steel gate yielded immediately to the weight of the speeding ambulance. I was glad I had my seat belt on. We came to another quick stop. The rear door of our ambulance opened, another brute got in and lay on the floor. I surmised he was the man who blew the gate open.
“Go. Go,” the floor man screamed to the front seat occupants.
The driver activated the horn and siren, I could see reflections of the emergency lights in the windows of the buildings as we passed at great speed out onto the street.
“They sure built this one strong,” announced floor man, as he rested his head on a jump bag filled with bandages and meds. “An old 4.8L V8 engine, 285 horsepower, 295 foot pounds torque, they don’t make them like this anymore.”
In a sick way it was humorous, here I was with four nasty guys, out running many other nasty guys or gals, I am not sure which, who wanted to kill us, and one of us was talking about the size of the engine in our stolen ambulance. Gotta’ love life!
Our ambulance headed out onto the freeway. The traffic was normal for this time of day, an equal number of vehicles moving in both directions.
“Why aren’t any emergency or police vehicles converging on the hospital?” I asked.
“They are converging on the front of the hospital. The revolution has just begun. The government is suppressing the news so the public will not become alarmed and they are hoping to get the riot at the front gate under control before the public finds out. The government doesn’t want to attract attention to the hospital. But, this time, they are going to have their dirty, deceiving, divisive hands full.”
Floor guy consulted his watch, large-faced and sturdy – just like him, built to ‘take a licking and keep on ticking.’ It was an uncomplicated watch, just the basics, the dial visible in any light.
“The second and third wave of the revolution is starting now,” floor guy yelled over the roar of the speeding ambulance, directing his remarks mostly to me. “They are on the south side of town, at the Capitol, and out in the Big Glass area, which will soon get the attention of the public and the word will spread outside of the accepted government channels. The government won’t be able to contain this riot now.”
“Big Glass, isn’t that where all the medical research takes place? Why would the revolution want to fight down there?” I asked.
“Big Glass is research all right. The wrong kind, it’s where the male specific virus was developed and a sperm bank,” floor hulk replied.
“Big Glass is where the genetically engineered sperm are housed, you know, the ones that fertilize eggs with only female DNA,” he answered rather thoughtfully. “His job is to expose that program to the public, and to overthrow the current government and see to it that a responsible democracy is restored.”
“By his job, you mean the man I’ve been seeing?”
“You must be very important to him. He sent us to get you. I protested it was too dangerous an undertaking. He wouldn’t hear anything of that, then he arranged this confrontation at the hospital’s main gate, so we’d have a diversion to get you out. I have to admit, it has been very effective.”
We rounded a corner and a Hollister umbilical cord clamp dropped on macho floor guy’s chest. “Ewww,” he squeaked, brushing the clamp away.
I laughed out loud.
He ignored me and continued,
“After you snooped in your coworker’s computer, the government discovered the remnants of the selective virus study were still available on the old system platform. The government had assassins ready to abduct you both this morning at your respective homes but since the revolution foiled their plan, snipers were sent out to shoot you in the hospital parking lot. We got one sniper, but it was too late to save your friend, although it was better that she died, instead of being tortured for information. You would also have been tortured, in a very horrible way. These people are very effective; they even film the tortures and show them around to keep others from straying off the line.
I turned my head as we continued on the freeway in a northerly direction. Watching out the back windows, I saw a large billboard, the center was painted with a symbol of a woman’s snake-entwined raised fist, the political statement of the resistance. I began to know where we were on the highway, I recognized some of the exit signs as we whizzed by.
“Why are we going in this direction and for that matter, where?” I asked nervously.
“We are going to leave the Metropolis through the North Quadrant, then ditch this ambulance and take our own Humvee out into the unregulated territory. They won’t follow us, too dangerous for them, our Minute Men snipers pick them off from long distances. Plus, the government is almost out of money, they conserve their resources by policing the Metropolis. If they find out we have you, and we are getting out of town in this
ambulance, they will launch a missile from a drone to blow us up.”
The hulk sitting next to me turned away from floor man and addressed the men in the front, “Yo, were you able to defeat the GPS and the transponder?”
The right-hand man turned, looked directly at me and explained what we were up against. “I cut some of the wires to the electronics that were obvious, I doubt if I got them all. We’ll ditch this vehicle once we get through the old border crossing in the North Gate, which has never been well supervised. It’s unlikely the government could arrange guards on such short notice, they need the ‘manpower’ to defend themselves against the revolution. In the event they were able to recruit loyalists at that off ramp, we have our rapid-fire Uzis’ – they will die. Simple.”
The thought of the automatic weapons sent shivers down my spine. “I don’t like guns,” I stammered. He stared right at me as if I was the reason people were going to die. Maybe we are all going to die; I don’t want to, especially before I can see him one last time: goodbye my friend. My face screwed up and I began to sob.
“Look lady, I know this is hard on you. You must really have a hold on him. I have never seen him so determined to get you back safely. He didn’t want to sacrifice you to the government. We are very good at this, it is what we do. Killing is part of our game, kill them before they kill us.”
I turned my head to face my rescuer. He went on to explain. “You know how Old Farm Rd. feeds off the highway? And then where Old Farm intersects with Old Pond? I have a Humvee under a bush pile on the Old Pond road. The three of us will get out about a half mile from the road intersection and walk through the bush to its location. Loverboy here, has volunteered to act as a diversion.”
“Why him?” I asked the hulk who was busy unlatching my handbag from his gun belt. “Why don’t we just ditch this ambulance on the other side of the border? We can all walk to the Humvee together.” I sounded as if I knew what I was saying.
The hulk pointed to the driver. “Loverboy has made up a plan, it’s his to carry out. He thinks if they send a missile and take out the ambulance they’ll assume they killed all of us. He will slow down, jump out of the ambulance, leave it running in auto drive and it will continue moving up the highway. He’s a fast runner and he’ll then run down the Old Farm road and meet up with us at the Humvee.”
I had stopped crying to listen and looked over to see the driver in the front seat. Loverboy, if that was his real name, was a teenager, thin and frail, his acne didn’t have time to get better, he was that young.
I took a chance to speak, directing my words to Loverboy, “Is it really all right with you, did these men twist your arm?”
“Ma’am, it’s okay. I may be young, but I’m part of the team. Don’t you worry about me, Ma’am, I can take care of myself.”
I turned and sat staring into the back of the ambulance. “Strange, this vehicle’s sole purpose is to save lives and now, to kill.”
“I know what’s on your mind,” the hulk said. “No one wants a revolution but we tried to negotiate a condition where the current government would concede control to a newly elected democratic government with all new people, a balance of men and women this time. But they didn’t want to give up the power and affluence they had gained and told us they would hunt us down and kill us, which, as you know by now, they are in the process of doing. They never realized he had a second plan in the event they wouldn’t agree.”
“Who is he?” I asked. “Is he that powerful that he can start a revolution?”
“Yes he is. I’ll tell you more later,” the hulk answered, this time in a softer and more concerned tone of voice.
Loverboy slowed down and took the Old North exit ramp. At first, I thought we would just drive off without incident, then I heard the men in front talking.
Right side man instructed Loverboy, “Looks like they stationed Loyalists along the exit and closed it with cars. Pull up close to them and slow down a bit; I’ll shoot them up and they won’t know what the Saint Mary to do. Ram the blockade! Now!”
We slowed, I could see out the windshield that a group of women were carrying rifles and standing in front of cars.
Right side man pulled an automatic weapon into the opened window; he raked the front scene with continuous gun fire. Half went down from his shots, the rest fired back. The women in the street quickly took cover behind the stopped cars on the highway; it did them no good.
Loverboy hit the accelerator and slid down below the dash with just enough height to see where he was driving. Several shots from the loyalists penetrated the top of the windshield, ricocheting wildly into the back of the ambulance, which then rammed the parked cars, spinning them out of the way and tumbling the Loyalists onto the highway.
Loverboy drove clear of the carnage, then swerved to the right, the hulk opened his door and jumped out. In a walking crouch, he fired automatic weapon bursts into the collision site on the ramp.
He systematically shot and killed the women who were still living after the initial fire fight and collision, including a woman who put her hands up in a sign of surrender.
He walked among them administering a coup-de-grâce to the head of each of them. After plucking a radio from a dead woman’s hand, he walked backwards, facing the wreckage with his weapon ready.
“You murdered her,” I screamed out, while floor man held me down. “She tried to surrender!”
“Lady, that was no woman.”