Incident on a Dirt Road
By Jeff Baker
The genre, setting and object for November 2018’s Flash Fiction Draw Challenge (drawn by ‘Nathan Burgoine) were an action-adventure, a bridge and a sandbag. I wrote this one sitting around as my car was being worked on.
Jake ducked as the big man swung his fist with a roar.
“Close!” Kate said, ducking herself as what looked like a crowbar zipped past her ear.
“You got the thing?” Jake asked, flipping the big man onto the ground.
“Yes. No!” Kate said as the man jumped to his feet and grabbed the slender, wrapped package after her hand and took off running.
“Come back with that!” Kate said as she tossed a throwing star after him. The man collapsed screaming, the star embedded in his butt. “That’s mine, thank you,” Kate said, grabbing the package from the writhing man’s fingers. “How many more?” she asked Jake.
“Dunno! They’re regrouping!” Jake said.
“Then let’s get out of here!” Kate said.
The two of them ran out of the warehouse and jumped into the big Army surplus truck. Jake gunned the engine and they roared out of the parking lot into the South American night.
There was the sound of an engine behind them and the unmistakable sound of bullets hitting the truck.
“Glad they didn’t think of guns when we were back in the warehouse,” Jake said.
“I think this is a second group.” Kate said looking in the side mirror. “I haven’t seen that truck.”
“Second?” Jake said. “How many of them are there?”
“How much is this worth?” Kate said, holding up the package.
“How far’s the bridge?” Kate asked.
“About three miles thataway,” Jake said, thumbing behind him. “But we’re going,” Jake pointed ahead, “thataway.”
“What? Why?” Kate asked.
“Because it’s a lot more dangerous,” Jake said.
“Oh,” Kate said.
A bullet hit the driver’s side mirror.
“Ow!” Kate said.
“Good thing they hadn’t thought of shooting out the tires,” Jake said. “Hang on!”
Jake floored the engine. They lost the pursuing headlights in dust and distance. Ahead Jake pulled the truck behind a large clump of trees. They waited. The other truck sped past without stopping. When it was gone, Kate and Jake pulled open the back doors of the truck and lowered a ramp. Inside the truck was a small, red pickup.
“Nobody will give this a second glance,” Kate said as they climbed in the cab of the pickup. “Let’s see; keys, check. Package, check. Sandbags…”
Jake looked through the back window at the sandbags in the truck bed.
“Check,” Jake said.
“Okay,” Kate said. “Let’s go.” She started the pickup and headed back the way they came.
“Perfect distraction,” Jake said. “Lead them on a wild goose chase, change trucks; nobody’s looking for us going back the other way.”
There was the sound of gunshots behind them.
“Almost nobody,” Kate said, flooring the pickup.
“Damn!” Jake said as the pickup roared down the road, past the warehouse, the bigger truck in hot pursuit.
There was a rattling sound as they raced across the thin, rickety bridge, the truck behind them stopping at the foot of the bridge. They heard more gunshots, fading into the distance as they drove away.
“Their truck couldn’t have crossed that bridge any more than ours could have,” Jake said. “That’s why I went the other way to mislead anybody who was following us.”
“You do this pretty good,” Kate said. “For a man, I mean.”
“Who said I was a man?” Jake said. “No, I’m not kidding.”
“Really?” Kate said with a growing smile. “Well, maybe this changes everything.”