Categories > TV > Invisible Man > Busman's Holiday

Part 3

by OneEye 0 reviews

For the Invisible Man, even a simple vacation can go horribly wrong.

Category: Invisible Man - Rating: PG - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Bobby Hobbes, Claire Keeply, Darien Fawkes - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2006-07-20 - Updated: 2006-07-21 - 2419 words

Part 3

Darien Fawkes lay on his stomach, peering over the top of the rise. In the clearing below, bathed in the fading afternoon sunlight, a dozen decrepit cabins sat in a semi-circle. A larger building stood in the center, with half a dozen jeeps and SUV's parked behind it.. All of the buildings were showing sign of neglect; two of the cabins had collapsed completely and the others were visibly sagging. The place looked like an old summer camp, but it had obviously been abandoned for years, maybe decades.

Careful to be as silent as possible, Darien stretched his cramped legs. Spending two and a half hours hiding behind the back seat of that SUV, with four armed men and one scared teenager only inches away, had left his muscles and joints in a state of revolt. Listening to those Neanderthals describe in graphic detail what they planned to do with their prize once they got her here had been enough to drive him to the edge of insanity, without the aid of quicksilver. Somehow he'd kept himself from killing them all. One positive side-effect of his brushes with quicksilver madness was a much firmer grip on his everyday temper these days.

Once they'd arrived, he'd followed the group discretely to the cabin where they tied the girl up, sticking around until he was sure they weren't planning to make good on any of their threats right away. They talked big, but Darien had seen dozens like them in prison. Big mouths on the outside, but no action to back up their words. He privately thought they'd all have to get a bit of alcohol in their systems before they'd have the nerve to actually do anything.

There was a man outside her door standing guard, preventing Darien from effecting an immediate rescue; the other three bandits had proceeded to the larger building where exuberant shouting greeted their entrance. From their conversations in the car, Darien had the impression that the whole group numbered between ten and twenty.

How the hell did I get myself into this mess?
Darien wondered. I'm supposed to be on vacation.

His stomach growled. It was late afternoon, now, and all he'd eaten today was a light breakfast. He wished he'd thought to grab something to munch on at the store before he'd rushed out.

Out of nervous habit, Darien peeled back his watch band and looked at the tattoo again. Four of the ten segments were red. About three days until he'd need his shot, or just eighteen minutes of quicksilver use, and the nearest batch of counteragent was five hundred miles away. Beautiful. /Guess I'll just have to rescue the damsel in distress the old-fashioned way/, he mused ironically.

Darien decided he'd just have to cross his fingers and hope nothing befell the girl before nightfall; once it was dark, he'd go in and try to break her out. Darkness had served him well in the past, long before he'd ever had the option of invisibility.

Hours later, in the faint light of the quarter moon, Darien finally picked his way quietly down the hill towards the campground. After several hours of observation, he still hadn't figured out how to deal with the guard outside the cabin. They'd rotated the assignment every couple of hours, so he couldn't count on the guy falling asleep. Approaching from the front, even quicksilvered, was out of the question; the tall, dry grass would give him away with every step.

/Oh, well/, he thought, /we'll burn that bridge when we come to it/. Darien circled through the woods and approached the cabin from behind. Once there, he paused for a few moments to make sure no one had noticed him, then looked up. Light from inside the cabin shone out through a window just above his head. The window itself had long since shattered and the frame had almost completely disintegrated, leaving just a square hole in the wall.

With the grace of long experience, Darien jumped up, grabbed the bottom edge of the opening and pulled himself up. /Gee, and I thought I was through scaling buildings and sneaking into places through the back door/, he thought with a silent chuckle.

Once inside, Darien crept across the room carefully, instinctively avoiding loose floorboards that would creak and give him away. In the far corner of the cabin, the girl lay on a filthy army surplus cot, her wrists tied to the frame above her head. She appeared to be asleep, though the tear stains on her face testified to her terror in the preceding hours.

He started across the room towards her, then froze. Raucous, drunken voices and laughter filtered in from outside, getting louder by the second. /Crap, /he thought, sometimes I hate being right.

The voices got closer, and gradually Darien could make out words.

"Still say I oughta go firsht," slurred one voice. "I'se the one who grabbed her."

"Georgie," responded a second voice, "You couldn't get it up without a jack. There's plenny to go 'round. Wait yer turn."

The heavy tread of many booted feet sounded across the porch outside. The girl on the bed started awake at the noise. She instantly spotted Darien standing in the middle of the room, but before she could cry out he put a finger to his lips and disappeared.

Stunned by the vanishing apparition, the girl barely noticed when the door slammed open and half a dozen drunken louts wandered in, making lewd comments and disgusting noises, egging each other into a gang bang.

Knowing he was burning quicksilver minutes he couldn't easily spare, Darien didn't hesitate. Taking three steps across the room, he grabbed the heads of the two in the lead and slammed them together as hard as he could.

The other four saw their companions fall, but they were so drunk they just laughed at the pair's apparent clumsiness. Darien repeated the trick with the next two in the group.

The last two were standing too far apart for the same treatment, and the danger signals were starting to flash through their sodden brains. Fortunately for Darien Fawkes, even stone cold sober opponents rarely knew what to do against an invisible man. Grabbing a rifle that had dropped from the grasp of one of the fallen men, Darien used the butt end to club the last two into unconsciousness.

He looked up to see the girl staring at him. Or rather, at the gun that was apparently floating in midair. Shedding the quicksilver, Darien dropped the gun and moved towards her. She cringed away as he crouched down beside her.

"Shh," he whispered, repeating the gesture for silence. "Don't worry, I'm one of the good guys."


"Darien Fawkes. The 'what' is a bit complicated, and we really don't have the time at the moment."

"But how did you..."

"Short answer-a bit of science and a lot of bad luck. Now, you want to stay here and wait for the next batch while I explain everything, or shall we make a break for it?"

At the mention of others, the girl shook off her shock and confusion and nodded. Darien found a large knife on the belt of one of the unconscious figures nearby and started cutting the ropes binding the prisoner. "You have a name?" he asked as he cut, taking care to avoid nicking her wrists.

"Rose," she whispered.

Within moments, Rose was sitting up, rubbing her wrists where the ropes had chafed. "So," she asked, "now what?"

"We hot-wire one of their cars and get the hell out of Dodge. I have to confess, though, I have no clue where we are. I wasn't exactly in a position to watch the road on the way up here. We'll just have to head downhill and hope we find a town before we run out of gas."

The getaway was going without a hitch, right up until the last moment. Darien and Rose jogged across the compound towards the makeshift parking lot. Darien chose a vehicle with an unlocked door and a full gas tank, then set to work on the ignition wires, feeling a bit nostalgic. This was how he'd gotten his start, after all-boosting cars for a weekend joyride. Until one day when he was fifteen; he'd tried to swipe a cool car and been caught in the act by the cops. Amazingly enough, though, the owner of the car had saved him, claiming he was her nephew. The woman's name had been Liz Morgan, and once the cops had gone, she'd asked if he wanted a few pointers. The rest, as they say, was history.

Suddenly, in a shining example of bad timing, a man staggered out of the main lodge door just as Darien touched the last wires together and revved the engine. For about five seconds, the drunk stared blearily at them through the windshield of the vehicle. Then, as if a spell had been broken, Darien slammed the car into reverse and the man started shouting for help from the others. Within moments, the chase was on.

Darien careened down the winding mountain road away from the camp, pushing the vehicle as fast as he dared in the darkness. He was at a disadvantage, he knew, because he had no idea where he was or where he was going, and he was unfamiliar with the terrain. Their pursuers had no such difficulties. Apparently there had been a few in the crew still fairly sober, if their driving was any indication.

One point in his favor, however; Darien had grown up on roads like these. Back when he was Rose's age, he and John had had crazy competitions with each to see how fast they could take the curves through these mountains without plunging over the side. It had been a while since Darien had tried it, but apparently his reflexes still remembered. He couldn't seem to lose the car that was following them, but it wasn't gaining much ground on them either.

That is, until fate threw them a left turn. And a right turn.

They lost precious seconds at a T-intersection while Darien tried to decide which way to go. Veering left at last, he found that he'd lost his hundred-yard lead and had their pursuers right on their tail. Darien pushed the accelerator down a fraction more, riding the ragged edge between speed and control. Rose was huddled down in the passenger seat, eyes clamped shut, right hand holding the door handle in a death grip. Darien wanted to reassure her somehow, but couldn't spare any attention from the winding road.

Glancing in the rear view mirror, he spotted the barrel of a rifle emerging from the passenger window of the vehicle behind them. He swerved just as the gun flashed, and heard the bullet impact the back of the car instead of the tire they'd probably been aiming for.

For a moment, the road emerged from the dense forest onto a clear ridge. Glancing down the slope, for just a second Darien could see the lights of several towns scattered through valleys below them, before they plunged back into the trees.

He managed to avoid the second rifle shot by pure luck and heard the bullet once again punch a hole in the tailgate. Then Darien tried to swerve a third time, but wasn't fast enough.

Between the high speed and the wild careening around curves, Darien later realized he was lucky he didn't roll the car over when their tire was shot out. As it was, however, they did end up skidding off the road into a shallow ditch, coming to rest abruptly against a fallen tree.

As Darien drew his face out of the airbag, he heard the other car screech to a stop about fifty yards up the road. He looked to his right; Rose looked dazed, but appeared uninjured.

He knew they only had seconds before their pursuers made it back to them. Placing one hand on the girl's arm, he said, "Stay here, and keep your head down," then threw the door open and rolled out onto the ground. Since the chase had begun, Darien had had to suppress his fear, to keep the adrenaline spike from turning him involuntarily invisible. The control was almost instinctive now, after months of practice. Now, however, he released that control and quicksilvered in record time.

One thing he had to say for quicksilver, it was almost as good as night-vision goggles. He could now clearly see two men walking carefully towards him along the road, carrying their rifles at the ready.

Thinking quickly, Darien reached out and quicksilvered a rock about the size of a grapefruit. Then, weapon in hand, he clambered up onto the road and met the two young thugs halfway. He knocked the first one out with no problem. The second, seeing his partner fall, started to panic and swing his rifle around, looking for a target. In his panic, his finger tightened reflexively on the trigger just as Darien's rock hit his skull.

Rose, crouching terrified on the floor of the car, heard the shot and then heard Darien scream in pain. Without thinking, she rushed out of the car and onto the road. There she saw two camouflage clad men lying sprawled on the pavement. Darien was there too, rolling on the ground and moaning in obvious pain, his left hand clutching at his right shoulder..

Rushing over, she placed a hand on his arm and asked, "What happened?"

Through gritted teeth, Darien managed to say, "Guy got lucky...." Rose could see a dark stain slowly spreading under his hand. Her panic rose up in her throat, but the first aid classes she took the previous summer told her what she needed to do. Grabbing a bandana from around the neck of one of their unconscious pursuers, she applied pressure to slow the bleeding.

Some minutes later, she and Darien both noticed a sound approaching at the same time. Several vehicles, coming fast. They looked at each other and Darien said, "We need to get out of here."

They struggled to their feet. With Darien leaning on Rose for support, they ran towards the vehicle that had been chasing them, hoping to appropriate it for themselves. Before they could reach it, though, three more cars came screaming around the corner and caught them in their headlights.

"Into the woods!" Darien yelled. "Run!"

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