A Darker Shade of Fear - Pt 17


Here - watch THIS!
May 24, 2001
I've been dying to meet you…

Dan and the X crossed the finish line less than 2 tenths of a second ahead of ANNIL8R. The sound of both motors dropping rpms in the dead-still night air reverberated for miles in spite of the low dense fog that seemed to be lifting at the far end of the track faster than it came it. Its eerie glow in the headlights seemed to add a surreal touch to the time passing; time that may run out in mere seconds if Dan’s hastily built plan didn’t work.

And even Dan didn’t like his odds. But for Harry, the odds were getting better in spite of his surprising loss.

As Dan slowed to make the right turn onto the return lane, Harry pulled abruptly in front of the gate and blocked Dan’s access. Inside the Buick, Dan realized now that he had precious few seconds to spare. His mind raced, trying to grasp something – anything – that made sense and would allow him a chance to get away, grab Sally, and get the authorities before it was too late. For all he knew, it may already be too late for Carl and Sally both. The cold icy hand of fear crept up his spine as he sat there in the fog, his headlights on the driver’s side door of the Merc, waiting, watching to see what Harry was going to do. To his right, he could see the headlights of a pair of vehicles heading down the track toward them – in just a moment, his plan would not work at all; right now, it had a snowball’s chance in hell to work.

It was now or never – he had no choice.

“Let’s dance…” he laughed. “C’mon, Harry… let’s dance.”

Sally took one more look at Megan’s groggy form on the floor, happy that no one had tried to enter into the room, admiring her work with the duct tape she found – work that would ensure Megan’s silence for at least a little while. Peering out from around the blind, she could see Sarah talking to two people but there was no sight of Carl. Sweat beaded up on her brow; she had heard the motors go silent at the end of the track – she hoped that Dan was still alive, but she couldn’t be sure.

She crept over to the doorway and ever so slowly rotated the locking mechanism. She flipped the switch to turn the lights off in the room just before she cracked open the door. Peering out from within, she could still see Sarah’s back. She thumbed the safety to “Off” on the big auto in her hand and pulled the door back slowly…there was only one way out of the building, only one way to get to Dan and hopefully Carl, only one way to freedom.

And Sarah was directly between her and that way out…

Dan saw the door of the Marauder start to open and Harry’s leg appear beneath the opening. The door swung open more and Harry’s hand was on the top of the door now, his head beginning to rise above the window. Had Harry been listening, he would have heard the sound of the Buick’s motor drop slightly in revs as Dan pulled the shifter back into “D” from “N”. Just as Harry stood up, he had less than a second to realize that the Buick’s headlights were aimed square at him with the only thing between he and Dan being sheet metal and glass.

The Buick’s motor roared and the turbo screeched sucking in the cold night air as the X roared toward the side of ANNIL8R. Harry was nearly clear of the door now, his right hand rising above it with the big Colt auto rotating into a direct line of the driver’s side of the Buick’s windshield. His hope to get Dan to step out of the Buick was obviously not going to have a chance to work, he thought to himself.

It was all as if in slow motion… the door of the Merc swinging open more and more, Harry’s finger pulling down on the trigger of the .45, the nose of the X scant inches from the opening door, Dan’s foot harder and harder pressing against the accelerator, the brilliant orange/white flash of Harry’s gun firing… the spider-webbing of the windshield of the X, just above Dan’s face, the glass then exploding inward as the X hit ANNIL8R’s door and catching Harry squarely with the side of it… Dan saw the door collapse into Harry’s body as the nose of the Buick crushed into him as well…

He saw Harry looking coldly, directly into his eyes, the warmth of blood trickling over his face as he looked back at Harry now fatally pinned against the Merc and onto the grill of the Buick… then, he watched Harry grin as he pulled the gun up somehow and pointed it right into the broken windshield of the X. Dan saw the muzzle flash just as he tried to duck but he never heard the roar…

Sally heard the noise from the other end of the track, from the sound of the Buick’s motor racing suddenly to gunfire. The gunfire was enough of a distraction that Sarah and the two guys looked toward the nearest window and that was the break she needed. Sally bolted from room and was only a few feet from the exit when she heard someone yell “She’s out! Grab her – NOW!”

Sally knew she would never make the doorway before the guys would be on her. Her only choice was to turn and fight. With the ferocity of a cornered Wolverine, she turned, leveling the Desert Eagle in the direction of the two guys lunging in her direction.

They halted – for a moment.

“Aw, put the gun down, missy…” leered one of them. “We ain’t gonna hurt you.”

Their Jerry Springer Show qualifying grins told her better.

She spoke calmly. “Take one more step – either of you – and you’ll be dealing with a permanent limp.”

The silence was deafening. Then, the smaller of the two men decided that she was bluffing.

He was wrong.

He never even got a full step before the slug tore his left kneecap and most of the attaching ligaments and tendons away. He crumpled to the bloody floor screaming as the other man took off running, abandoning Sarah without hesitation.

“So what say YOU, Sarah? Interested in some Family Medical Leave? Come on… just take one little step and I’ll be glad to help you get those benefits that seem to be hard to come by for people of your, shall we say, ‘lifestyle’.”

Sarah backed away slowly but not before asking, “Where’s Megan?”

“She’s taking a breather right now. Something about her sinuses bothering her.” She could see the tears in Sarah’s eyes now. Obviously, Sarah did not have the spine for violence that her lover did.

Sally watched her turn and walk away then she headed for the exit. As she walked out into the air, she heard another gunshot and oddly, she suddenly felt very, very alone. The damp air brushed her cheek like the hand of death itself, cold and light. As she rounded the building, she could see the taillights of the Suburban disappearing down the track as well as those of a smaller SUV or pickup. The silence of evil was all around her and Dan was a quarter mile away. Despair gripped her strongly as she realized she didn’t have a way to get down to where Dan was – no matter his condition.

Until she saw the big bike sitting near the side of the building. She ran to it and saw the key was still in the ignition. Not even noticing that it was big Suzuki (or even caring) she straddled it, pulled in the clutch, flipped the key and saw the green neutral light and lit it off. Just as she did, she saw a young man come running toward her – it was Dustin.

“Hey lady! Where ya going with the Bike?!”

She answered him by waving bye, her gun tucked down between her waistband. All she knew was that she had to get to the end of the track to see if Dan was still alive…

Dan felt the shock in his chest as if he had been kicked by a Clydesdale. Oddly, it didn’t hurt – the bullet entering his body shoved him violently against the seat of the Buick, shattering his collar bone and coming to rest just beneath the skin of his back. His breath was coming shorter and shorter… oddly, he felt very warm but he knew that if he blacked out, he was dead for sure. Looking back out the shattered windshield, he saw Harry slumped over the mangled door of the Marauder, his right hand empty and frothy blood dripping from his lips. Dan struggled to open the door, hearing the sound of approaching vehicles and knowing that sooner or later, he was going to run out of options. As he stood outside the car, pain raced through him and he realized his left arm was totally useless. Flopping the front seat back, he reached under the small flap he had created beneath the driver’s side of the rear seat for his revolver. It was there and felt good in his hands. He had hoped to get to it before Harry made a move but that plan went out the door before he had a chance.

Grabbing the revolver (a Colt Anaconda), he stood up feeling the pain again ravage his body. He thought for a moment about whether he should make sure Harry was dead then realized that he didn’t have the time. He had to get out of sight before the vehicles pulled up.

Running on pure adrenalin, he darted over to the far side of the Merc just before the SUV’s pulled to a stop, maybe 50 feet from the X. He heard something else then as the diesel died in the night – a motorcycle at full bore, barreling down upon the SUV’s. From his hidden vantage point, he saw the headlight of the bike coming closer and watched the driver of the Suburban step out to see who the rider was. Before he could see it wasn’t who it SHOULD be on the bike, Sally had her gun aimed right at his chest.

“Mister, I don’t know who you are but unless your friends bail out of the truck with their hands up, you are going to die right here and now.”

He could tell she was serious. Sally had the headlight of the bike on Bright, blinding anyone who tried to look at her. But what she didn’t see was the passenger in smaller SUV slip his door open and step out, only because he was in her blind spot. She also didn’t see him sneak to the rear fender of the truck and raise an assault rifle aiming in her direction.

She did hear the metallic click of a safety coming off and that’s when she fired. She had one guy in her sights, she didn’t know about who might be aiming at her but by God, she was taking someone with her.

She didn’t see the man with the AR – but Dan did. Before he could squeeze the trigger he got two surprises. The first was the blinding flash of Sally’s magnum going off and dropping the Suburban driver to tarmac with a nasty groin wound that most likely would change his gender, the second was feel of a .44 caliber slug nearly tearing his right arm off his torso, spinning him around and slamming him to the ground, his Bushmaster clattering to the pavement.

Dan stood up and cautiously walked toward the SUV’s. He thought he could see someone else inside but he couldn’t be sure.

”Sally! There’s someone inside the Explorer! Be careful!”

They could hear some muffled noises, almost as if someone was trying to scream but couldn’t. As he approached the truck, Sally came from the other side, making sure the Suburban was empty after grabbing up the guns dropped by the other two. Looking in through the open passenger door, Dan saw a welcome sight – it was Carl, his hands still bound and his mouth taped over. Fear that was on his face only moments earlier was now erased by genuine gladness at seeing a friend. Dan laid his revolver on the roof of the SUV and reached in with his good hand to pull the tape off of Carl’s face.

“Damn, Danny! I thought we were ALL dead!”

“So did I Carl… so did I…”

Sally was at Dan’s side. Tears were in everyone’s eyes… Dan felt very, very tired and had to sit down while Sally removed Carl’s restraints.

“What’s that noise?” asked Carl, hearing something like sirens approaching in the night. Sally stood and looked and could see flashing lights nearing the complex and turning in. How the police found out she didn’t know – she just knew she was glad to have Dan at her side but she was very worried at the amount of blood he had lost.

“You saved my life Danny… you saved my life.” She was crying, nearly sobbing but not in sadness – perhaps in release of all the pent-up emotions.

“No baby… you saved mine” he tried to smile through the pain…


As the door of the ambulance closed, Sally sat next to Dan on the gurney, Carl at her side.

“So Dustin called the cops?” asked Carl.

“That’s what the detective said,” breathed Sally.

“I guess they had been watching Megan for some time now but Dustin was the one who tipped them off. Seems like not all of Megan’s money was clean. She had a tidy little import/export business going with stolen exotics, helped along by Harry’s connections with the underworld.”

Dan winced at the mentioning of Harry’s name.


“Yes, Dan?” She leaned over him, noting how hard it was for him to speak, partly due to the wound and partly due to the painkillers coursing through his veins.

“Harry. Is… he… really dead? This time, I mean?”

Carl answered for her.

“Oh yeah, he’s dead all right Danny boy. I watched them zip up the black body bag… after they picked up his lower legs off the ground that had been severed by the door.”

Dan winced, knowing that he had no choice but still feeling all the worse knowing that he did what he did. Tears welled up in his eyes as memories flooded back - memories of happier times he and Harry had shared - and he turned his head away from Sally. He heard the ambulance driver put the vehicle into drive and felt it begin to move forward - hopefully as their lives would move too. Still, he knew he had no choice about what happened tonight…

“Listen Danny… do you hear that?”

He turned back toward her, and saw that she was smiling at him.

”What? What is it you hear Sally?” He felt her hand brush the tears away.

“The sounds of the night before the next day of our lives Dan…. Sounds that I wasn’t sure we would ever hear again. You know, Dan – Nightsounds… the best sounds of all. All in night we no longer need fear.”

Encore!!!!! ENCORE!!!!! That was the best stroy ive ever read!!!! and i am the first to read part 17, that makes me feel special. thanks raven, now i have to go back and read night sounds lol!!
:D :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :D
You story telling was above average before but this story takes it over the top. Your story telling skills are excellent, kuddos.

Took a little time but it's worth it.

Originally posted by il_wolf_li
Hell yea!!! thanks for the story, great read....what are ya working on now?


A new series that I haven't named yet... it will be a few weeks before I post the first parts of it.

But it's even better.