Her head slammed against the car door. She balanced in time to get thrown into the seat.
The BMW zoomed at a breaking speed, cutting past cars and zoning into unprecedented passages like it was an everyday happening. Colt was taking it all with ease, his only tense moment being when he checked mirrors – rear and side – and found Mason on his trail.
A churning consumed the linings of her stomach. She propped forward, only to heighten the upheaval within.
“Can you … slow for once?”
Colt accelerated. “We’ve got a chase to win.”
Kim fumbled for the armrest, the airbag, something to stabilize. Sirens sliced through the air. Colt maneuvered them past a coaster, six circles of light illuminating their path. Kim was thankful the glass was wound almost up.
Colt glanced back and mumbled.
Ahead, a gridlock loomed. Colt showed no sign of stopping. Kim turned. “You aren’t doing what I think.”
“I am,” Colt said, eyes straight.
“Are you insane?”
Colt drew the speed down. “No.” The car lurched forward. “Take a nap.”
They were almost at the jam.
A cyclist, lips parted, turned at the sound of the bleeding tires. Kim could swear he was wishing Colt – them – luck.
Her eyes trapped close. She heard metals grinding, bodies scattering, and a heave.
In a wink, they were coasting along I-78, hindered by no vehicle, laughing at the little stunt.
“That was fun. Good job Colt.”
Kim was surprised at the compliment, but the effects on Colt was in a grand style.
“You slept through it.”
“I was asked to.”
Colt reached for the wristband on the dashboard, wound down the glass, and disposed.
“Didn’t you want a stop to, you know,” he lifted two fingers to describe, then stopped, “purge.”
Kim cowered. “I do.”
They rode for a minute, headlamps off, before Colt pulled a sharp exit off the interstate. Kim was prepared for the abruptness.
“What’s going on?”
“You need a stop. You get a stop.”
There was a chirp, a short clang, and Kim was outdoor, drawing up sorts of waste that refused her bidding. She remembered they’d missed out on the steak. Steakhouse.
Half a minute later, Kim straightened. Colt was waiting with a bottled water. She rinsed her mouth – the corner of her lips, the space between the incisors, the bed of the molars, the palate above the tongue, – and spat out.
Colt was belted when she finished. He turned the ignition and drove straight.
“Where are we headed?”
“There’s something I need to prove,” Colt replied.
“Think we lost them?”
“Mason?” And Colt raised his head at the rear mirror, though nothing was conspicuous in the darkness. “They are cats in a rat hole.”
Kim yawned. She desired a healthy ravishing meal and a good night sleep. She deserved a spot on her twenty-two month velvet amber couch, with Blink close by. Not that it was in the close future.
“No.” Colt chuckled. “Why am I highly priced? Besides the password?”
“What do you think makes up Kim Burton, the real you?”
Kim felt her face was clamped against a hot steel. Kim Burton. It’d been eons.
“Every individual should be composed of their present, and maybe, future.”
“Yeah,” Colt said. “Means everyone is a blend of the past, present, and future.”
He said no further. She demanded nothing more. The trigger of her past was sufficient weight to bear for the night, sufficient longing to quench her appetite.
Kim lolled, closed eyes, and yawned. “This is about my past?”
“Maybe,” Colt said, one hand off the wheel. “A fragment.”
A fragment was sufficient to send her doing spins on a candlestick. In Kim Burton’s life, each phase was broken into fragments. Take one fragment, and you held data as much as two thousand gigabytes, each housing information with roots deeper than a national upset. Plugged into a computer, the speed of processing would in short crash the system.
That she was composed of such only worsened her frailty.
Colt leveled the glass on her side. A rush of cold breeze warmed her cheek, drawing her out onto a serene evening where all was perfect.
She was on a deck made from heavy log, like timber, along with a host. There were laughs, jokes, and tales. The place reeked of burnt sulfur. Wine and dishes from variant tribes flowed. She assumed they were headed for the other side of the world.
A deafening blow descended, provoking a disturbing quiet. Stooping, she covered her ears, expecting the thunder strike. Streaks of light pierced into her eyeballs, permeating the closed lids. Her eyelids fluttered open and shut. Too bright was the light.
She opened the left and shielded it. A figure was walking towards them, so radiant that for an instant, she didn’t register he was on water. The lights disappeared. She attempted making out his face and got blurry images. The figure smiled.
Her words surprised her.
“Daddy… Daddy, is that you?”
The question rung into the sea.
“Wake.” A light whisper. “Wake.”
Windshield. Stable wipers. Lips. Transition. They’d made a stop again.
“What’s up?” She dragged the question.
“Nothing,” Colt said.
Nothing was something. A lot of things.
They were rolling along a gravel path that made sounds like clogs in wheel or hammer hitting iron sheets.
Kim caught traces of a roof. Thatch. The building came into full view. Their destination was a barn stacked in the woods. Colt turned left, switched on headlamps, and parked them meters from the barn. He alighted, closed the door gently, and without a lock, headed for the barn.
“Do I get to come along?”
The agent gave no response.
Kim hopped down, did as Colt had, and followed. They reached the concrete front which was surprisingly rid of dry leaves. She glanced back while Colt did a thumbprint. A faint moon lit the world behind. She made out pine trees among others, and nothing else.
She would have to recheck at daytime, assuming they spent the night.
She turned. The inside was as clean as outside. Colt switched on no lights. Working with a pen lamp, the agent made a four’ o clock. He signaled when he found his search – a silver digital object shaped like a Baxi Box.
Kim walked stealthily after him.
“About to find out.”
A cyan screen fitted the front of the box. Colt tapped buttons quickly. A log of information manufactured, obscured under a sign-in.
Hesitating, Colt typed his detail. The screen produced a small green circle under the sign-in. Kim counted, heart panting. She thought it strange that she was bothered. She had to be bothered. The green circle continued rolling. She found her fingers clasped, teeth biting on her lower lip.
Colt was a block.
Another voice, remote and killing every optimism, filled the barn.
“Access has been denied. Access has been denied.”
Unwilling, she probed. “What does that mean?”
“I’ve been deactivated,” Colt said without turning.
She didn’t have to ask again. She did anyway. “Trouble?”
“I don’t know, Kim,” the agent said, standing. The lamp reflected a nervy face, veins along his chin.
He stepped past her.
“I really do not know. The last time this happened, the agent didn’t see another daylight.”
Kim’s heart did a shutdown.
Afterword: So, I found this apt picture of a barn online. Also, for those who have wondered, Armastus is an Estonian word meaning Love. Thank you all for reading. Do visit again.
In case you want to read the first three parts, here are the links.