This is an excerpt from Chasing Bedlam, which hasn’t been edited. I’m still finishing up the manuscript, but wanted to share part of the adventure. Feel free to check out Crossing Bedlam by clicking on the cover. Only 99 cents!
“Hey, look! There really are tumbleweeds around here!” Lloyd shouts as he veers the Humvee onto the highway. He honks the blaring horn to scare several smaller cars out of the black and red vehicle’s path. “Sorry about the music selection. I didn’t expect so much country pop considering the horns on the hood and what I had to scan for the doors to open. I’ve heard of eye, voice, and fingerprint scanners, but this one was just . . . how does that not chafe? Uh, you’re really quiet over there.”
“Shut the flying, ultimate fuck up, Lloyd!” Cassidy explodes while repeatedly punching her companion in the arm. The car swerves from the assault, so she stops and kicks the glove compartment until it opens. “I was in the middle of something when you barged in. Katie was going to send us replacement gear if we killed Roman. Apparently, he made a deal with the Twins to eliminate her in return for the medicine contract. Now, my baby is gone and we’re in the doghouse with our most powerful ally.”
“I’m sure I can smooth stuff over with her when I explain the situation,” the black-haired serial killer promises while placing the quarterback’s severed head on the dashboard. Distant glints in the side view mirrors make him smirk, the collection of polished fenders getting closer by the minute. “Look, we weren’t going to get anywhere with that bastard. If we betrayed Katie then he’d expect us to do the same to him. If we stayed loyal then we’d have to fight our way out anyway. I merely cut out the boring middle of that situation and skipped right to the carnage-fueled escape. Thought you’d be happy about getting to let off some steam.”
“I am, but we have no weapons.”
“Pretty sure that sentence is illegal in Texas.”
“Well, Texas can go to hell.”
“Flip that stained backseat and say that again.”
Cassidy crawls into the back and lifts the cushion to find a collection of firearms and explosives that rival the one she lost. “Thank you, Texas. I take back everything bad I’ve ever said about you. Put down the back window because I have a pretty sniper rifle to enjoy and it sounds like our new friends have arrived.”
“Not yet because I want to do something first,” Lloyd declares, waving for his companion to return to her seat. He clicks a button and grabs the severed head, which he coats with petroleum jelly. “Don’t want to know why this is in here. Yay! My first victim has his sunroof open. Take the wheel if cruise control isn’t as great as I imagine.”
Lloyd opens the window as a dark green sedan comes along their side, the people inside scrambling to get in position with their guns. Several beer cans are tossed out of the vehicle, all of them bouncing into the other pursuers that are hanging back. With whoops and shouts, the drunken locals come within view of the driver’s seat and freeze. All they see is the severed head of the quarterback on Lloyd’s body, which gradually turns toward them. A wild cackle bursts from the macabre sight, the sound stopping abruptly when the Humvee bounces over the remains of a shredded tire. Brandishing a lighter, the serial killer sets the stolen head on fire and hurls it into the open sunroof. Screams and flailing ensue before the sedan becomes an inferno and flips over the divider.
“Was any of that necessary?” Cassidy asks while she crawls into the back. Readying the sniper rifle, she licks her lips and waits for the rear window to open enough for her to shoot at the other cars. “By the way, what makes you think we’ll find the jeep like this? Cami has a few days head start and we’re fucked if we pick the wrong direction. I still don’t think the Miami drug cartels are involved.”
“Of course they are. Why would they get mentioned to us if they weren’t part of our new adventure?” Lloyd asks as he keeps the car steady. He reaches to the passenger chair before remembering his paintball gun was in the jeep. “I miss my toys too. Look, we’ll get our stuff back because we’re the good . . . heroes . . . The cameras are on us, which means we’re the ones who will win.”
“Unless the script says we die.”
“Like that would happen in the second story.”
“It’s so wrong that I take comfort in your delusions.”
“Glad to be of help. Oh, and say no to crack, young lady.”
“Stop staring at my ass.”
“Not my fault you’re sticking it into the front. Is that one of my thongs?”
“Please don’t make me throw up back here.”
Three shots ring out from the Humvee and shatter the windshield of a jeep, the driver slumping against the wheel. The vehicle rolls and takes out two more enemies before a heavily armored truck smashes through the obstacle. Aiming for tires and anyone foolish enough to lean out of their car, Cassidy continues firing until the clip is empty. Unsure of where the extra ammunition is stored, she grabs a shotgun and moves to one of the side windows. Flicking Lloyd on the back of his head, she gets him to open the window and move the Humvee closer to the armored truck. Stretching her arm and exposing herself, Cassidy fires at close range and takes out the driver. She ducks back inside an instant before the truck falls over, the blue-painted side missing her face by a hair.
“I have good news and bad news,” Lloyd announces from the front. Seeing a motorcycle on their left, he bashes into it and hopes it is actually an enemy. “The bad news is that this thing sucks on gas mileage and speed. So we’re going to get swarmed and probably run out of gas if this takes too long. There are some extra tanks in the back, but I doubt either of us could refuel in the middle of this mess. On the plus side, we won’t be in trouble with Katie if we can take out that monster truck.”
Cassidy looks back to see a gigantic vehicle crush several smaller ones in its path, the truck designed to look like it has feathers. A yellow beak has been built into the grill and a tail-shaped solar panel comes off the back, the device made useless by a coating of paint. Flags with drops of water and oil depicted on the white background are fluttering from the roof. Standing between them, Roman Puntus bats at the banners before ducking back inside. Still yelling at whoever is driving, he returns with a rocket launcher, which he fires without aiming. The missile sails over the Humvee and destroys an abandoned car, the smoking remains raining on the highway. Many of the pursuers pull back to avoid getting killed by their own leader, but they remain close enough to take advantage of any opportunity.