I heard a mechanical roar and the Lamborghini slid to a stop next to the now-burning remains of the portico. The passenger door sliced up into the air.
I didn’t think, I just jumped in and onto the white leather seat through the narrow opening. The door sills were huge on this thing and the roofline so low you sat in it in a reclining position, almost lying down. There were no back seats. Graham was at the wheel grinning at me.
“Thank heaven for TM 31-210,” he said calmly while manipulating the gear shift. “And the idiot left his keys in the car. You might want to close your door, sir.”
It took me a moment to figure it out, but there was an opening near the bottom of the door so I pulled on it and the door swung down and closed.
The destroyed portico was blocking us from going forward. Graham was manipulating the gear lever between the seats.
Immediately the car backed up at an incredible rate of speed and Graham was saying, “I always wanted to try a bootleg turn.”
I didn’t know what he meant but he turned the steering wheel rapidly with one hand while jerking the gear stick with the other. The car’s nose swung around the rear of the vehicle with a protesting howl of tires, effectively and very quickly turning it around. Graham hesitated a moment while he worked the gear lever again but finally he apparently got it in the right position and the car growled almost angrily as it shot forward.
Clipped to the visor was a black plastic box about the size of a paperback novel. In the middle was an oval white button almost as long as the box was wide.
“I hope this thing works or this is going to be a real short trip,” Graham growled as he pushed the button.
The steel gate started slowly opening.
I couldn’t see out the back of the car very well because the rear window was a tiny slit so I didn’t know if Deimos was chasing us.
The gate was maybe half-way open when Graham squirted the Lamborghini through. The car seemed to be extra wide but somehow he made it fit. He turned in the narrow street, tires squealing, and shot down pavement. The car made a sound like lions purring very loudly growing to a howl just before Graham would shift gears.
“Damn,” he exclaimed, “this thing is stupidly fast.”
I then noticed there was a right-hand outside mirror which few American cars had. I looked in it but didn’t see any pursuit. Maybe we were home free, I thought.
That’s when the fire surrounded us.
“Holy hell!” Graham screamed but he didn’t slow down as he raced up the residential street, the fire dissipating as he wove in and out of slower cars. And that was all the other cars on the road.
“Where you going?” I yelled.
Fire hit the car again. Graham looked up out his window and barked, “He’s on a carpet, following us.”
“Can you lose him?”
“I can’t go fast enough on these streets.”
Graham was heading south into the city and traffic was getting thicker and that was slowing him down.
“How do you open this damn door?” I asked.
“Pull that handle, I think,” Graham said, indicating a chrome bar near the front of the door. I pulled it and it came out a bit, but the door opened and swung up. I looked for something to hang on to but there was only the slick leather seat. I leaned out as far as I dared on the wide sill, the wind hitting me in the back of the head. I could see Deimos on one of those exquisite Oriental rugs behind us. He looked angry.
I assumed any attack I made on Deimos would be ineffective but I had to stop him.
I shot an airbolt at the rug. It worked, the fabric started ripping and fraying from the impact. But Deimos kept chasing us.
There was a bright actinic light and I heard an explosion in front of us.
“Hang on!” Graham yelled and I felt the car swerve left, almost throwing me out onto the rushing pavement. I grabbed the door and pulled it down as I fell into the seat. Graham was passing a blazing Volkswagen Beetle. Whoever was in that car was burning alive.
“I saw a bright flash and that car exploded!” Graham said as he dodged another Beetle, this one just moving slowly.
“Deimos,” I growled.
“Why doesn’t he just do that to us?” Graham yelled, turning the car right to go down a larger and wider street. Luckily it was not as congested and Graham sped up.
“He doesn’t want to hurt his car,” I speculated. “He’d rather kill innocents than hurt his precious inanimate possession.”
The brilliant light flashed again and I saw lightning, so thick and blue it seemed to be a solid thing, hit a car in front of us and then arc over to another. Both exploded and the one on the right swerved out of control toward the Lamborghini.
I don’t know where Graham learned to drive but he made the Lamborghini slide sideways and it just clipped the burning sedan, spinning the other car around and causing an ugly ragged ridge of aluminum along the right front fender of the sports car. Wasn’t sure if I imagined it or if I heard Deimos roar in anger. As we passed the sedan I thought I saw people’s heads inside, burning. I had to not think about it before I vomited.
This had to end. I opened the door again and shot another airbolt at the carpet, aiming for the edge. Another rent started in the fabric and the rug began to unravel. I shot a lightning bolt, not as powerful as Deimos’, and it lit the rug on fire. Deimos didn’t seem to notice or care.
Again a bright light and another explosion, this time a truck.
Graham yelled, “Hang on!” as he swerved the car left. I grabbed the door but my feet swung out and hit the asphalt. My weight made the door start to close. Graham turned right suddenly and that caused me to flop inside the car head first and face down. My head was almost in Graham’s lap. The door knifed into my legs. It hurt but I ignored it as we passed the burning truck on our left side.
It seemed to take me forever to pull my legs in and shut the door.
“Thanks,” I said. I assumed he had made that sudden right turn to get me back in the car.
“Don’t thank me, thank Isaac Newton.”
I had no idea why he said that.
Another car in front of us exploded. Graham dodged left, almost slamming me into the door. “He’s going to kill more people,” Graham cried angrily.
“I know,” I growled. I opened the door yet again and leaned out. Deimos’ rug was not burning anymore but was nearly in tatters and I was surprised it was still holding his weight. I shot another airbolt at it and it flew apart from the impact.
For the first time Deimos looked scared as the rug fell to pieces under him. He was slammed face first to the pavement and rolled several times. I didn’t know how badly he was hurt and I didn’t really care. Just before he passed out of sight I saw him sit up and give us a seething, angry look. His face looked like it was made out of bleeding raw hamburger.