Kobra has to run...
Sabbath’s hideout was a ramshackle hotel that dangerously leaned to the side, as if the slightest breeze would send it crashing down into the deep ditch that it stood by. Some windows were missing and had been replaced by wooden boards cruelly nailed into the frames and out back was an outdoor pool, but the water looked so polluted that nobody dared dip a finger in it. The path that led up to the door was bumpy and some of the slabs were jutting out of the ground at awkward angles. Nearby was a small farm house; the same farm house Haru wanted to meet Party at. The farm house was where Jet Star spent most of his free time when he wasn’t hunting down Dracs or being hunted down by Dracs.
The farm was quite worse for wear; the once white washed walls had turned black in some areas, and the withered remains of climbing ivy streaked the walls with harsh dark lines. But to Jet, it was perfect. He had patched the fence up with wood he had salvaged on raids and even darned some of the furniture. He had vowed that one day, when this nightmare was all over, he would refurbish the whole cottage and live there, safe and sound.
What he loved most about the farm was the stables. The half standing shed could house up to five horses easily, but so far he only had one. Nico was a black and white marked stallion with a white mane, black tail and a fear of everything. Jet had found it wandering one of the used-to-be fields out back, starving and half-dead. He’d nursed it back to health himself and couldn’t bear the thought of losing the stallion, so he had kept it secret; nobody knew.
Jet Star rubbed Nico’s neck lovingly before pulling the belt tight around his muzzle, the horse grunted and shook its head as it became used to the sensation of something on its face. Jet admired his handiwork. The bridle was made of old belts welded together and fit perfectly and a loop of tough leather provided good reins. He smiled and wiped his hands on his jeans then undid the bridle again. Nico snickered gratefully and nuzzled the curve of Jet’s neck. Jet ruffled his mane, filled the trough with bread he had saved back from his own breakfast and topped the bucket with water that ran from a tap just outside. He locked the gate up and left the farm, a satisfied grin on his face as he did so. A grin that fell slightly when he saw the Death Machine pull up around the back of the hotel. He jogged down the dirt track, the buckles on his biker boots clanging noisily.
Fun Ghoul slammed the car door, his eyes covered by dark sunglasses and he was wearing clothes Jet had never seen before. He waved, “Hey, dude!”
Jet slowed to a halt next to him, “Where’s Party?”
Fun tilted his head to the car, “He’s sleeping.”
Jet picked up his walkie-talkie and clicked it on, “Sabbath, they’re here.”
Sabbath didn’t reply, but Jet knew he was on his way. He looked at Fun, the question he’d wanted to ask most burned in his throat, “Kobra?” He said, “Where is he?”
Fun laughed slightly, “Don’t I get to sit down first?”
Jet bit his lip, “Oh, right, sorry.”
“Hey, it’s cool- I promised I’d tell you, didn’t I?” He looked through the window at Party the looked back at Jet, “You wanna help me wake him up?”
“Nah thanks, I like my head where it is.”
Fun giggled, “Okay, well, I’ll meet you inside.”
Jet turned and, despite the warmth of Fun Ghoul’s smile, he knew the answer to his question was going to be bad.
Kobra burst out the front door, his heart racing as he ran, tripped, stumbled. His mind was a blur, he felt sick, weightless. But he had to run. He didn’t care where he ended up, as long as it wasn’t here. His stomach burned angrily and he ignored it. Dust kicked up beneath his feet.
“HEY!” Came a shout.
“Oh Christ,” Kobra panted, she had seen him, seen him running.
He was a dead man.
There was a roar as an engine pounced into life, but he didn’t dare look behind him; he didn’t want to see. Up ahead there was a ridge where the ground rose to meet the sky and there was a long, thin winding path cut into the face of it. He darted up it, gasping for breath and sure that no vehicle would brave a track so narrow.
Suddenly he fell, his foot sliding off the edge of the path as a large chunk gave way. He cried out, pawing with his hands to prevent himself tumbling off and plummeting to the ground far below. His palms were scraped and raw and his throat was blistered from lack of oxygen. And, although he shouldn’t have, Kobra looked down. He was hanging by his hands, his feet swinging. The height was sickening and made his head spin. He heard the engine cut out below him, he braved another glance. A motorbike pulled up, tail spinning to a halt. The biker removed her helmet; Haru.
Kobra immediately clawed at the ledge, trying to find a foothold in the rock. He caught one and heaved. The rock crumbled and he breathed a curse but, to his relief, he managed to crawl back onto the track. He willed himself to run again, resisting the urge to curl up and cry. He heard Haru crying out to him, telling him to stop. Fumbling, he snatched the gun from his pocket and gripped it tightly, the weapon slipping in his sweaty palm.
“Be aware of your surroundings,” Party had once said, “One look could be the difference between life and death.”
Kobra gasped, drinking up air as much as possible; the oxygen was starting to thin out. Perspiration made his brow slick and he slowed ever so slightly, his eyes lapping in the details. There was a thin ledge to the right, so narrow he would have to side step across it. He looked behind, Haru wasn’t even halfway up yet, but at the speed she was running at, he didn’t have much time.
He stepped out onto the ledge.
The hair on the back of his neck stood on end, goose bumps rippled his arms; every part of him screamed that this was too dangerous. He took another step. And another. And another. The small platform at the end came closer. His heart slithered into his mouth.
Almost there. Almost there.
Just one more step.
He pounced onto the platform, looked back at the perilous ridge and laughed. Laughed.
“Oh Jesus, what the hell was I thinking?” He chortled; tears of both pain and sheer relief stung his eyes. He didn’t notice that he’d dropped his gun.
Nor had he noticed the gun aimed at his head.
Haru bounded past the ridge; she knew Kobra had crossed it. Her eyes blazed with fierce determination; Kobra may think he knows the desert, but not as well as me. She could cut him off easy and there was no way he could run as fast as her. She ran straight on, her feet pummelling the ground and her body streaking past. She skidded around a corner and bolted up a slope to find open sky. She smiled and made to fling herself off and land right in front of the Killjoy when she saw something that made her stop dead.
It was faint, the brown rope blending in well with the dusty pathway, but it was there. She saw Kobra running towards it, she tried to call to him, make him stop, but it was too late. His foot snagged the rope and he tripped before being snapped back, the snare snatching his feet from under him and he flipped upside down, yelling in surprise. Haru made for her belt and flicked out her knife.
“Well, well, well, what do we have here?”
Haru looked down.
A man had sauntered into view from what appeared to be a cave cut into the rock face. He was tall, much taller than Kobra, and much taller than Haru. He wore a BL/ind uniform that, somehow, was still immaculately clean and down his right hand was a long rigid scar. Haru breathed in tightly, it was Marco Dixon. Marco was a viscous killer, not as good or as clever as Haru, but he was good enough. She had to make a plan fast, or Kobra was a dead man.
She watched Marco as he prowled, prodding an angry looking Kobra with a small blade.
“You let me down, right now!” Kobra squeaked his face reddening from the gravitational pull. Marco laughed and pressed the blade harder. Kobra yelped.
Haru had made her assessment; she could take him down. She put the knife sideways in her mouth and backtracked quickly before running full pelt and leaping off the edge. The ground rushed up to meet her and the wind rushed in her ears. She landed in a neat, cat-like crouch and sprung up, blade in hand. Marco spotted her and grinned, “Haru!” He grunted and bowed his head slightly, “Such an honour.”
She returned the greeting, “Marco, long time no see.”
“Are you here to help me?” He asked, gesturing to Kobra who was now grunting furiously and straining to reach for his gun that was just out of reach. An idea sprang to Haru’s mind.
She strode over to the Killjoy with what she hoped was a look of menace on her face. It must have looked intimidating because his eyes widened and he froze. She kicked his gun away, “That’s a nice looking catch you got there, Marco.”
Marco poked Kobra in the ribs, “He’s a bit scrawny though...”
Haru knelt down and, whilst Marco wasn’t looking, she whispered in Kobra’s ear, “Play along, trust me.” He nodded his head stiffly and she leaned back, letting her knife dance harmlessly across his jaw, “Such a pretty face,” She mused, “Should I mess it up? Would you like that, Killjoy?”
Kobra shook his head sharply, “No... Don’t...”
Haru arched her eyebrows, either he was a really good actor or he was genuinely terrified. Marco stood back a bit, a smile playing on his lips as he watched Haru scare his prey. She pressed the knife to the tip of Kobra’s nose, “How ‘bout I cut this pretty little nose of yours off?” Kobra’s eyes widened, “Oh God, no! Please!”
Haru winked at him and stood up, wielding the blade, “Well, I’m sure there are other things I could cut off if you want your nose so much. This perhaps?” With a sweep of her hand, she sliced the rope in two.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Marco roared. Kobra fell harshly, hitting his head on the floor and groaned painfully. Marco lunged, taking Haru off her feet. He was stronger than she had anticipated; her chances of beating him had dropped. He slammed her against the wall and she screamed her back jarring and shards of rock scraping her arms. She kicked at him, her arms pinned awkwardly behind her body, and she hit his shin. He snarled angrily and punched her in the face. White lights exploded across her vision and, before she could recover, he grabbed at her throat.
“How dare you make a fool out of me?” Marco roared and pressed harder, constricting her windpipe. His eyes were like fire, rage channelling straight through them. She couldn’t breathe. She grabbed at his wrists, clawing at them like mad but his hold didn’t falter. Darkness ate at the corner of her vision. She was going to die. She was going to die.
There was a bang, loud and harsh and Marco’s grip was released. Haru hit the floor, coughing and gasping, her eyes burning with tears. She looked to find Marco in a heap on the ground, his eyes open and staring and a river of red flowing from the back of his head. She looked up and saw Kobra standing a few feet behind, his arm still raised and his gun grasped tightly in it.
He turned the weapon on her.
Haru screwed her eyes shut and waited for the gunshot.
The shot never came.
Kobra stood over her, a hand reached out and waiting. She stared at it a moment then took it. He pulled her to her feet, an unreadable expression on his face. They held hands a little longer than intended, then Kobra snatched his away and stalked off, back to the ridge.
Haru looked back at Marco’s dead body then back at Kobra. The question suddenly wanted to rear its head again; Why?
So sorry about the delay, I've been very very busy this week but, hey, at least I updated? The next chapter will be up soon where Haru finds that her plans are not going the way she expected. But in the meantime, let me know what you think! :)
R&R please! :D
- Sara xoxo