Chapter 50 - Tearing Up the Greens
I awoke to a lab filled with choking, cloying smoke. The screaming was real, higher pitched, a woman. She shrieked as if she’d lost her mind and then just gurgled quietly. I looked around for Apoc, but he was still on the table stretched out. He was blurry, and my eyes refused to focus. I felt like I’d hung upside down my head pounding with blood. My head was so full it felt like it was going to explode. Just then a crash to my left, it sounded like the building was going to come down. Ceiling tiles floated down and bits of ash swirled. Glass beakers were shattering somewhere.
Red appeared out of the smoke with a rolling audio visual cart. He stopped at Apoc’s table and lifted him gently on to the cart. Apocs head and legs dangled over the edge. I was going to kill him, I crouched muscles bunching, ready to spring. And then he loaded up the saline solution and hooked it to the cart. Then he turned and motioned to me bringing the cart over.
“C’mon girl. We gotta get outta here.” Red said. I blinked as I adjusted to the reality that he was helping.
I jumped onto the floor and landed on broken glass. Bullet holes riddled the walls, blood spatter here and there. Two burning lumps that I didn’t want to examine too closely - reeked of burnt flesh even through my clogged nose.
Red stopped and kicked the DVD player off the bottom of cart. “C’mon.” He said helping me on to the bottom shelf.
I stepped gingerly onto the cart and he moved with surprising speed over the floor and through a hole in the wall he had just made with his now wrecked Ford pickup. There was a groundskeeper golf cart in the bay, and Tank sat expectantly in the front.
Red loaded Apoc and his saline into the mini truck bed on the golf cart. I climbed on gingerly and turned immediately to removing the glass in my foot. Red threw his jacket over us and climbed in... The tires screeched on the cement as he dropped the pedal to the floor and the electrical motor whined up to full speed.
We rolled out and immediately took a left towards the next building. Sirens wailed in the distance. Red and blue lights flashed on the front side of the building. The go cart had no lights and Red hit a small curb in the semi-dark but it was enough to send us all airborne for a moment. I almost swallowed the glass fragment in my mouth.
We landed with a thump and screech of rubber as we bottomed out. Then he stomped the pedal again and we flew across the grass. Red hunched over the wheel desperately peering into the dark. He was avoiding the lights along the walkways which meant that he was unable to dodge the minor bumps in the rolling grass. I looked back at the building and saw a pair of headlights bouncing wildly and turn straight towards our trek through the dark.
I yelled at Red, well chuffed. He turned and saw the lights coming towards us. We’d never outrun that truck in the go cart. Red swerved back to the right and headed towards the closest building. The truck was bounding over the lawns and sliding through the dips, but it homed in on us. We’d never be able to take the incline of the stairs. Red threw the cart to the side and managed to squeeze the cart into wheelchair ramp on the front of the building. We scraped the sides but he didn’t quite make the 180 switchback turn halfway up and we clanged into the railing. The truck finally arrived at the bottom of the wheel chair ramp of the building and ran into the railing of the ramp bending it in. We had no way back down, the only way now, was up the ramp. The truck backed up, saw where we were headed and began to climb the steps. Red drug the cart along the railing, but it finally screeched by. We zipped up the rest of the ramp with the truck rocking and scraping up the steep cement steps. We cleared the top just moments before the truck, and turned right into the open center breezeway of the building.
The truck jumped at us only to get tangled in the bike rack we dodged around. We sped through the center of the building and out the other side of the building. This time Red didn’t bother with the wheel chair ramp.
“Hang on!” We hit the steps full speed, scraping and dragging, I was pretty sure we’d just bent the axle, but the wheels were still turning. We flew into the grass once again the electric motor whining as we angled left towards the center of the campus. The truck bellowed behind us, having bent the bike rack to it’s will with a shriek. The tires squealing in frustration as they were finally set free.
Red cut to the right as he crested a small knoll. I was looking back at the truck which had just launched down the stairs and roared right for us, and the turn flipped me out of the back. I landed in a pile at the bottom of the knoll, next to the small wall around the quad. Disoriented I tried to stand but my head was still spinning. I could see the trucks lights streaming over the top of the knoll. Any second it was going to fly over the knoll and roar down on me. I looked and saw the cart disappearing to my left. Just then the lights turned and the cart was lit up in the glare of the truck. The truck’s tires screamed with anticipation. Without thinking I bounded to the top of the knoll.
‘I’m here you fucks! Right here!’ I shouted. Of course, the words were only in my head, all they heard was angry barking. I saw Red turn in his seat. He immediately spun the wheel to the left. Somehow the back end spun on the dewy grass and he’d completed a 180′ bootlegger turn and was headed back for me. The truck cranked to the left as well but it was coming much faster, it’s light back end slid out to the right and into a light pole with a crunch. It’s aluminum base creaked and leaned over, the bulb extinguishing with a loud pop as it hit the ground. The trucks tires spun and it bent free.
Red cranked the wheel and got onto the sidewalk that ran into the quad on the other side of the low wall. I hopped up on the wall and waited for my ride. The truck tried to cut Red off, but didn’t see the low quad wall until it was too late. The truck punched through the cement a good four feet, but the metal beast couldn’t move after punching through the stone and breaking it’s bones. The air bags had deployed with a loud bang.
I hopped into the go cart. Red glanced back with a smile. “You, are amazing.”
As we rounded the next building we had to stop to keep from tangling with some fire trucks that were racing past on the long curving street that led to the biology building. As soon as the red flashing lights had passed. He zipped across the road and slowed to climb up the curb.
We were again flying across the grass. The random tree root or chuck hole were thankfully the only bumps. There Red saw what he was looking for, Greek Row. Ticking them off he pulled in near one that obviously had a party in full swing. Cars lined the street, music and light throbbed from the windows. A couple stumbled out to their car, and began to make out, so drunk he would probably fall asleep before getting into her pants, I thought absently. No birth control necessary, lack of self control or knowing one’s limits strikes again. And the good news is she wouldn’t have to make up a story to tell her friends about how drunk she was tonight...
Red stopped next to a dark blue passenger van. Doors were open so he loaded all three of us inside. “You three stay quiet, I’ll be back in a few minutes.” And he zipped away again on the go cart.
Apoc lay on the first row of passenger seats. Tank had taken shotgun. I had moved into the second row, but now I squeezed around the side.
Apoc was still just sleeping, I told myself. I just hoped that we hadn’t injured him further with the wild bumper car ride. I sat and listened to him breathe. His breathing was even and loud in the quiet van. Tank didn’t look at me but I could still smell that he was scared, of me? Of losing Red? Abandonment issues? Who knows?
Suddenly I heard Red outside the van, and someone was with him. “I’ll bring them back inside once I’ve moved it over there out of the fire lane.”
“I don’ see a fiurre lane.” Someone slurred.
“Son, get back inside you’ve had way too much to drink to drive it. I’ll move it for you and find you inside in a bit.” Red said helpfully.
“Fiinne. Jus’ be careful. Is that a dog in the fron’ seat?”
“You must be drunk off your ass son. I don’t see any dog. Must be a great party! Sigma Chi forever!”
“Siguma Kaaaaa!” which trailed off as he ran away to rejoin the party.
Red got in jingling the keys. He fired up the van and pulled away just as the biology building thumped the air with a gigantic fireball. The low rumble continued like a rolling earthquake. I swear it got a resounding cheer from the party and the music went up a notch in volume.