As usual, here is your warning that this story has cursing, sex (not graphic), innuendo, and violence. It’s my Rated-R action adventure called Derailing Bedlam. This is the fourth outing (third official) for Cassidy and Lloyd, so feel free to click on one of the two covers to see how it started. Each one is 99 cents!
“Tanks! That crazy woman has a squadron of tanks!” the serial killer screams as he checks the mirrors. He gulps down a lump in his throat when he watches the seven armored vehicles follow them onto the highway. “To be fair, I should have seen this coming considering the destruction. Still, we don’t have the firepower to take them on. Do we? I mean . . . Those are fucking tanks!”
“I know what the fuck they are!” Cassidy shouts as she lights a fuse. Hurrying to the dome, she watches the cage doors continue to bounce behind them until the bumper is blown off by a thin explosive. “That plan would have worked if we were dealing with smaller vehicles. Let’s look on the bright side. We’re faster than them and tanks aren’t very precise when moving. If they stop moving then get my baby off the road and into the trees.”
“Don’t think it will be that easy,” Laurencia announces over the screeching megaphone. The crime boss waves from the largest tank, which has a minigun mounted on top. “You’re probably thinking you can outrun us. Well, I’ve had my armada outfitted with more than the big guns. The old rules don’t count towards me, you ugly turds.”
Bullets riddle the earth as the tanks open fire and the jeep swerves from side to side. Not wanting to waste a lot of ammunition, Cassidy grabs her sniper rifle and stretches out across the length of the vehicle. She pushes open a hole in the back and puts the weapon through until the scope is against the side. Sliding a panel lets her see the enemies without being exposed, but the jeep is moving too much for her to get a clear shot. With a sharp whistle, the mercenary gets Lloyd to drive straight and quickly fires at one of the tanks. The man behind the minigun slumps over and another hurries to take his place in a way that tells her they have been trained to replace each other immediately. Two more bullets destroy the weapon and Cassidy moves on to the next one to do the same. A loud boom stops her from taking out a third, the jeep veering off the road to avoid the blast. Taking a final look, she is unable to locate Laurencia, the crime boss having been replaced by a muscular man. Doing her best to aim while Lloyd avoids another mortar, the mercenary manages to damage the minigun and scares the gunner back into the tank. She is surprised to see the man come back out, but he is looking down and speaking. Once he is standing clear of the hatch, a hand comes out to shoot him in the head and his body topples onto the treads.
Cassidy is about to tell her friends about what she has seen when the jeep makes a violent turn to the right. Scrambling out from under the seats, she is sent flying against the side when Lloyd turns left to get back to the road. A tank is only a few feet away, the enemy vehicle having burst from the trees in an attempt to ambush them. The long barrel swings to follow the jeep and they can hear people inside preparing to fire as soon as they have a clear target. Turning on the CD player and skipping to a rock violin song, Lloyd mockingly waves out the window as if asking their pursuers to pass them. The serial killer makes a sharp turn that threatens to flip the vehicle, two of the tires leaving the ground when he makes a full U-turn. He goes completely around the tank, which cannot rotate the turret fast enough to keep up. Stomping the gas pedal to the floor, Lloyd thunders down the road and keeps on eye on their enemy. He goes off the highway as soon as he sees the barrel pointing at them, the blast punching a large hole in the pavement.
“There’s probably more surprises ahead,” Cassidy says as she checks Cola. Hearing the man snore, she pats him on the head and goes back to her seat. “Something doesn’t feel right here. I can see Laurencia following us to Grand Aquae, but why did she show up in Eau Clair? You think she has a spy on the train? That sounds like a problem for later. Although, it is strange that she has ambushes prepared along the exact route we took up here and would probably take back.”
“I don’t know, but I wish my scalp would stop itching,” Lloyd mutters while touching his head. He can feel a bump that was not there before, the patch oddly warm and seeping a little blood. “Kid, can you get a look at this bug bite? I didn’t have it until this chase started. Hey, isn’t that where Laurencia hit me?”
“Fucking hell,” the mercenary replies, grabbing one of her friend’s smaller knives. Checking his head, she finds the bump and can barely make out a blinking light beneath his skin. “You got tagged by a tracer. Nasty technology that bounty hunters were using a few years back. My mom looked into it, but the bug starts causing trouble and reveals itself when the associated scanner gets too close. The side-effects aren’t fun. Warmth, itchiness, seeping blood, memory loss, blindness, erectile dysfunction, colonic eruption, and burning nipple discharge if I remember correctly. Don’t worry, Lloyd, because that last one is only for women.”
“As if that’s the worst off that list?”
“Yeah, I guess you would worry more about the erectile dysfunction.”
“Among other things.”
“There’s also a one in fifty chance that it explodes and pulverizes your skull.”
“I like both of my heads to remain unharmed, so get it out!”
Cassidy sighs before sliding the knife under Lloyd’s skin and carefully pries the device out of his skin. “Impressive that you were still able to drive while I did that. Thankfully, these go just under the surface, so they’re easy to get out. To be honest, I didn’t even know what I was doing, but it all worked out. Now, what are we going to do about all of these tanks? We can’t lead them back to Grand Aquae.”
“Actually, that’s probably our best bet,” Arethusa interjects while pointing at the portable radio. Once she is handed the device, she pulls a piece of laminated paper out of her bikini top and turns to a station that is spitting static. “Grand Aquae puts out advertisements all day and they’re on nearly every channel. Once we get close enough to hear one, I can use the radio to send a message. It may be a waterpark, but King Grannus has made sure that we are prepared to defend ourselves. Judging by our speed and location, we should be within communication distance any minute.”
A low beep draws everyone’s attention to the dashboard where a blinking light warns them that they are running out of gas. Muttering a curse, Cassidy hurries into the back and digs out five-gallon container. She waits for Lloyd to pop the gas tank before flipping the dome open and climbing onto the roof. Pulling a cord from inside the groove, she winds it through her swimsuit since she is not wearing anything with belt loops. As she slips over the edge, the mercenary fires a few shots at the tanks to keep the gunners away from their weapons. With her legs spread and feet braced against her baby, Cassidy gets the gas can into position and uses her stomach to keep it in place. Knowing that she is a sitting duck and the jeep cannot swerve with her outside, she draws both of her handguns and fires at any sign of movement. Whenever a bullet goes down a tank barrel, the large vehicle slows down for a few seconds, so she continues aiming for the difficult target.
“We’re out of the red, kid!” Lloyd shouts from inside. Spotting a tank lurking in the trees ahead, he whistles and waves his hand out the window. “I don’t know how long I can keep her steady. A new friend is about to introduce himself. Where’s a giant robot when you need one? Probably Japan, but I digress.”
“Do what you have to do,” Cassidy replies while clambering onto the roof. Dropping the container inside, a sudden turn sends her tumbling over the edge and leaves her dangling dangerously close to the wheels. “I’ve got a hold of the rail and a wedgie that will take days to stop feeling. Give me a minute to detach myself and climb in. Think you can keep this side of the jeep away from the tanks?”
“I made the call. Told them we have a sea turtle situation,” Arethusa announces as she rolls down the window. Catching Cassidy by the arm, she helps the mercenary to safety an instant before gunfire hits the side of the jeep and a few bullets hit the ceiling. “Sorry about that. I thought getting you in quicker was worth the risk of opening the window. At least nobody got hurt.”
“My butt would argue that point,” the other woman quips with a smirk. Once she is detached, Cassidy hurries to close the window and dome. “How long will it take for King Grannus to send help? We’re probably twenty minutes away from Grand Aquae, so I can’t imagine his forces are coming any time soon. Really depends on what he has. Hopefully, it’s something fast like motorcycles.”
“Maybe he’ll release some ancient sea monster that people love saying the name of for some reason,” Lloyd suggests as he swerves around the latest ambush. Having moved too slowly, he cringes at the sound of a tank tread skimming the back of the jeep. “Looks like we lost some of the lights back there. Hey, is it possible that he has some jet fighters? Not sure what else would make a streak of white in the sky.”
“Oh, it looks like he took my message more seriously than I expected,” the mermaid whispers while crawling into the front. Reaching out to the steering wheel, she gently eases the jeep to move further away from the highway. “We might want to get a little more distance. He only had our radio position to work from, so we’re still in danger. The engineers haven’t perfected the missile system yet and it isn’t like we get many chances to test it. Come to think of it, I don’t think anyone has ever called in a sea turtle situation before. I mean, how often do you run into one tank, much less a bunch of them, these days?”
“Are those nuclear?” Lloyd asks as two more streaks appear in the air.
“Not to my knowledge.”
Before the serial killer can voice his concerns, the three missiles hit the ground between the jeep and the tanks. The terrifying explosion sends waves of dust in every direction and the force rattles the smaller vehicle. Unable to see ahead, two of the faster pursuers tumble into the steaming hole while the rest come to an abrupt stop. The charred remains of one tank can be seen when the smoke clears, the ambusher having been directly under one of the projectiles. Being far enough away to avoid getting flipped, the jeep is able to continue on its way and leave its pursuers far behind. The worst of the damage is that all of the glass inside the vehicle has shattered, including a few bottles of alcohol that Cassidy hoped to trade for supplies. With a high-pitched siren erupting from the main tank, the rest of the armada make a steady retreat back to Eau Clair.
“This isn’t over!” Laurencia shouts over her megaphone.
“I’ll avenge my family!” Parker angrily interrupts.
“I’ll have a large pizza with sausage, but not the porn kind,” Lloyd replies over his own megaphone.
“Really?” Cassidy asks with a sigh. Taking the device away, she hands it to Arethusa and goes to the back to checking the damages. “This is going to take so long to fix. I just finished the last round of repairs too. Any chance you have a talented mechanic in Grand Aquae that can get this done in a day?”
Arethusa scratches her head and goes through a mental list of her coworkers until a name pops into her head. “We just got a new guy out of Colorado. Kind of young, but knows his way around vehicles. Think his name is Grease or Reese or something. It was the strangest thing too because he came with a large folder of requests. Not from him, but all these people who demanded that he work here. He should be able to help. I’m sure both of you can do a few hours of labor to get the parts.”
“Everyone happy now?” Lloyd spontaneously asks, slapping his hand on the wheel. Meeting his companions’ blank stares, he shrugs and goes back to watching the road. “Never mind. So, can I be a mermaid too? I think I have the hips for it.”