Day 6

Prompt: Use the following sentence as the start of your entry: I heard the car door slam and immediately looked at the clock.

 

I heard the car door slam and immediately looked at the clock. The gasoline wouldn’t last forever. By my estimate, we had 20 minutes to get this transport HMMWV ready. There was a moment of silence, the six of us trading eye contact. Brian took a deep breath.

“Okay,” he said. “Robbie, get to work on the engine. Carl, help him out. Jen and Ash, get all the scrap metal you can from this place. Blake, help me start welding some defenses on. Kevin will buy us all the time he can. Let’s make it count.”

I nod at Jen, heading toward the outpost door. We pause, mentally preparing for the carnage that’s inside. Jen opens the door and we head inside. Josh’s body is stuck against the far wall, organs rhythmically dripping down the wall with a sickening squelch. I swallow, looking away, focusing on anything but his bisected face.

The cabinets are metal. I tug the doors off, working as quickly as I can. They’re heavy as I drag them back through the door, making a neat pile for Blake and Brian to pull from. They’re fashioning a frame, tying what looks like old, steel rebar together. Jen throws down more metal cabinet doors, tugging my arm.

“Help me with the fence outside,” she says.

I balk for a moment, afraid to go out, afraid it will be outside. In the end, I follow her, desperation outweighing what feels like better judgment. It’s quiet except for the distant whine of a car. Kevin. I say another prayer for him, him in that ridiculous sports car he insisted on bringing to the outpost inspection. How strange it is that him showing off might be what saves our lives.

Jen hands me a pair of wire clippers, and I get to work clipping sections of chainlink free. We collect enough to cover the front window of the HMMWV. I give a glance back, watching the cloud of dust I assume to be Kevin move through the practice zone. Please, baby. Don’t die on me now.

Blake and Brian have finished mounting the frame when we enter the garage. Masks down, the blue arc of the welder is blinding as they patch the holes in the sides. They move to the far end of the vehicle, letting Jen and I start tying down the chainlink over the cracked windshield. I look at the clock again. 6 minutes.

The HMMWV’s engine roars to life, making us all jump. Robbie grins sheepishly, holstering his wrench. Palpable relief washes over our ragtag gang. Brian and I lift the garage door, giving Carl the room he needs to get the bulky vehicle out. I stand on the edge of the vehicle, waiting, watching Kevin’s dust cloud. He’s heading back toward us.

Robbie lays on the horn, shaking the roof of this old testing site. In the distance, Kevin honks back twice. I nod at Jen, and we raise our makeshift spears. We’ll only get one chance to make this work. Robbie guns it, heading straight for Kevin.

My hands itch with sweat. I tighten my grip on the steel pole. In the distance, I can see Kevin now. He’s leaning out the car, that thing close on his heels. My heart beats out of my chest as the gap between us closes. We’re so close to winning. It all comes down to this.

Kevin is ready to jump, a brick on the accelerator like we’re in a goddamn action movie. I close my eyes, taking a deep breath. I hear Jen yell as she throws, her makeshift spear arcing through the air as my eyes open. It hits that thing in the arm, knocking it sideways. I steady myself and throw as hard as I can. Time slows to a crawl, the spear flying in slow motion, slamming into the monster’s side. It crumples with a screech, the sound akin to concrete in a woodchipper.

Kevin is almost at us now as Robbie slows the vehicle as much as he dares. I hook my leg under the seat as Jen holds me, my arms stretching out to catch Kevin. He jumps, slamming into me and knocking the wind out of my chest. I wrap my arms around, ducking my head as we tumble into the vehicle. There’s a cheer as Robbie guns it. Kevin pulls the door closed as we speed off into the Nevada desert.

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