At All Costs

“Sometimes it really is a matter of life and death.’

I wrote this story for the following prompts.
Sadje’s What Do You See – Image credit; Oleksii S @ Unsplash
Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge — Cautious – Pretentious – Callous
Your Daily Word — Syncopate
Fandango’s One Word Challenge — Imposition

At All Costs

At All Costs

“Kill him!”

Three men dressed in black overalls and Kevlar armour ran toward him. Each baring a Heckler and Koch MP7A1; an ultramodern assault rifle with a syncopate barrel, laser sight, and a lot of bullets.  

Hugo glanced back through a cloud of breath steam, “Sorry for the imposition, lads!” he yelled as he adjusted the long, heavy metal box in his arms and fled into the science lab’s icy car park.

Reaching his Landcruiser 4×4 he jumped in and dumped the box across the back seat’s footwell. Keying the ignition, he gunned the engine. Accelerator to the floor, handbrake up, he screeched and slid the vehicle around in the slushy remains of the snow. Gaining traction, he roared toward the gate.

A fusillade of rounds stitched into the Landcruiser.

Hugo swore under a barrage of shattering windows and flying metal from the obliterated bodywork. Glass daggers lacerated his face as he spun away from the gunmen.

There was no use being pretentious or cautious. That box contained a death sentence. He had to get it to safety.

The guards who had so readily let him in the gate; we’re barring the way.

Hugo punched the horn and increased his speed.

Both men jumped aside.

With an explosive bang, the large car annihilated the gates in a shower of sparks. The left wing mirror and headlight became projectiles but the car was through.

The gates vaulted the car and clanged down behind it, as Hugo tugged the steering wheel and skidded the car into a right turn.

“Phew, okay. Now to get this box of hell to safety,” Hugo kept the speedo as high as he dared on the icy road. Making turns at seventy miles per hour was reckless but he had no choice.

Even as he made it through the first mile, his rear window vanished under the staccato hammering of bullets. Two Mercedes SUVs in hot pursuit.

Foam erupted from the driver’s headrest and a bullet seared Hugo’s temple, crazing the windshield as he ducked and whipped the car into a left turn.

“Callous, twats!” he grumbled at the feeling of hot blood oozing from his collection of wounds.

Behind, both chase vehicles rounded into view and accelerated.

Hugo blew out an icy breath with his eyes on the traffic ahead. He pulled into the oncoming lane to overtake a lorry. A gritter truck, with its yellow lights flashing, was bearing down the lane.

Both Mercedes followed.

Hugo accelerated at the yellow lights.

The gritters horn blared.

Bullets raked the Landcruiser’s body, tearing into the headlining and roof.

Hugo saw the end of the lorry coming. Read the gritters number plate and jinked the steering wheel hard left.

The gritter truck sheered off the Landcruiser’s remaining wing mirror.

Hugo swore as he felt the heat of the lorry’s grille. The car ploughed through a cloud of rock salt and then his tires left the tarmac.

Bang!

A Mercedes slammed into the gritter truck and somersaulted into the snow-laden trees.

Hugo caught a glimpse of it slamming down as his own car fishtailed in a mortifying wave of ice and earth.

Shifting down, he worked the pedals and steering wheel like a man possessed.

Just as the end loomed in the form of a road sign, traction returned.

Hugo drafted the car back onto the road obliterating a series of orange road cones blocking off a flooded area of the road, turned into a sheet of ice.

Crunch!

The second Mercedes rammed him from behind.

Hugo felt his wheels skating on the ice. Wrestling the car under control, Hugo braced for another hit.

It came

Hugo’s skull cracked the headrest. His rear lights exploded under a horrendous groan of bending metal.

The Landcruiser slowed, smoke billowing from the hood.

Hugo looked to his right.

The Mercedes was alongside. Its driver sneered as he made to ram his opponent. A gunman aimed his rifle from the rear seat.

Hugo flipped them off and braced himself.

Muzzle flash.

Hugo ducked as his remaining windows shattered. Pain flared in his shoulder. His fingers instantly numbed as a bullet burrowed through flesh.

The Mercedes swerved.

Hugo braked — hard.

He grimaced through bloody teeth as the impact sent his world spinning.

The Mercedes ploughed into the hood and flipped into the air.

Leaking fuel ignited in Hugo’s vision with a dull Woomph as he held on for dear life.

The Mercedes detonated as Hugo’s Landcruiser spun through the flames and crunched to a stop against a flashing sign.

‘WARNING – Road maybe Icy.’

“Now, you tell me!” Hugo coughed hauled his body from the remains of the car and retrieved the box “I’m not telling the hire company about this!” he muttered as he took in the mangled remains of the Landcruiser. He slumped against the nearest tree and sighed. How long he sat there he didn’t know.

“Hugo!” a man’s voice.

“Hugo!”

“Over here,” he replied.

“Did you get it?”  he appeared wearing a black winter coat.

“Oh, don’t ask if I’m okay, will you!” Hugo allowed the newcomer to help him stand.

“I can see you look like hell, didn’t need to know anymore.” The man smiled.

“You know for a friend and partner, you suck, Tzolkins!” Hugo laughed before breaking into a coughing fit. “The box is there.”

“Nice work,” Tzolkins ducked under his good arm and helped him walk to a waiting car. “Let’s get that safe and you some help.”

“Thanks,” Hugo slipped into the car and dozed off from the pain before it had gone more than a few hundred yards.

The End


Don’t forget Holly Ward investigates, Stolen Treasures is out on Amazon now!

A recent bank robbery. A saddened man. A coded message. Can they all be connected?
Young Sleuth Holly Ward is determined to help the man. It’s not long before she too comes under assault from a group of dangerous individuals. In the face of intimidation, abduction and even murder can Holly solve the clues and catch the criminals before she becomes the next Stolen Treasure?


Thanks for reading my friends.

There’s more in the Poetry CornerPoetry Nook, and the Short Story Collection

Have a great day!

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