Backup?

Hide and Seek Chapter 40

Francis eased off the gas and rolled the car smoothly around the corner, one hand on the steering wheel and the other agitating the butt of her pistol. The residential street that emerged in front of them was lined with cars, parked along the sidewalk in front of the small city lots with dry, patchwork lawns. There were a couple of green vehicles, but one was a big truck and the other was a sports car.

“Same rules as before,” Francis told Griff while her eyes scanned ahead, looking for the target. “You do not shoot unless someone else does first. I could probably get in a lot of trouble for letting you carry an active firearm at all right now, so don’t be stupid.”

“In that case,” said Griff, “maybe I shouldn’t—”

“Nuh uh, you’re carrying it,” said Francis, “and you’re going to be ready to fire it, too, if you have to. Screw protocol. If someone puts a bullet in me, I want to go out knowing there’s at least some chance they’re going to get one back.”

Glancing down at the revolver in his lap, Griff felt a thrill go up his spine.

“Now,” continued Francis, “where did our friends end up?”

“Two are inside already, one of the houses on the right, just up ahead. That one, I think,” said Griff, pointing out a little two-storey home with beige siding and white doors. “The driver’s on the move, heading away from us. He should be visible, but the only moving car I see is that red one a couple blocks off.”

“I see it,” said Francis. Then she smacked the steering wheel. “That’s the car! It’s the same one, it has to be. Look at the shape of it…”

“It feels like he’s in there,” admitted Griff, “but the car we saw was definitely green, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, but think about who we’re dealing with. We don’t know even half of the abilities we’re up against. Not much of a stretch to believe they’ve got someone who can change something’s colour. Kind of lame, really, compared to what you and I can do.”

“I guess,” said Griff. “Are we going after him?”

Francis tucked the car into an open patch of sidewalk in response, a couple of houses away from the one Griff had pointed out. “Why chase after just one target when we’ve got two holed up right here in front of us? Two birds in the hand, right?”

Griff nodded. “Fair enough. So now what? Do we have backup nearby?”

Backup?” Francis spat the word out as if it tasted bitter on her lips. “What good has any backup done for us today? Did any backup help us chase these people down? How quickly did that backup respond when we were inches away from having someone stumble over us among the wreckage and put bullets in our brains? How well did our backup defend us from the ambush on the highway? Where was our backup when that freak waltzed in and killed my sister?”

Griff shook his head. “But that wasn’t really—”

Francis cut him off. “Forget it. I’m not in the mood to sit around and wait for some clumsy badge-flashers to waddle over and screw everything up some more.” Eyes flashing, Francis grabbed her cell phone and hit a speed dial.

“Then who are you calling?”

Someone answered. Francis said, “This is Petzschner. We’re going to need some cleanup on Belmont Avenue.” Then she hung up and kicked her door open.

For the first time, Griff wondered whether the grief and stress might have been too much for this ice-cold rock of a woman. She was cracking. This was crazy! He reached out and grabbed her arm. “Francis, please, wait.”

She roughly shoved his hand away. “I don’t think so.” She tucked her pistol inside her jacket. “Right now, Griffin, like it or not, we’re the best option we’ve got. Besides, when these people hear all the sirens, what do you think they’ll do? Right now they probably don’t even know they’ve been followed.” She winked and stepped out into the street.

Griff sighed and sank back into his seat. Well, shoot, he thought. That… actually kind of makes sense.

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