The car slowed down inches away from my feet and the passenger door was kept open for me to jump in. I leapt into the reclined seat and the door closed itself as we took a hasty turn. I readjusted the seat to make me seem more alert and fastened the seat belt before I rammed through the windshield ahead.
“Get your phone out and call Cole and Fisher. Give them the same instructions that I told you. We don’t have time to stop.” Neil did not flinch as he shifted the gears to the highest one. I felt the car vibrating more than necessary with the immense power that had been developed in the engine.
It took me longer than necessary to dial the numbers as the car only seemed to speed up after every turn. I kept one hand on the dashboard as I spoke on the phone.
Neil’s identity was hidden by a pair of sunglasses and a cap that made it all the more difficult to recognise him than it usually does due to his generic features.
We had almost taken a turn to Cole’s house when I was instructed to open the back door. Cole’s tiredness was visible through the fogged up windows as he yawned.
“Jump, you idiot!” Neil’s voice echoed through the empty street as Cole leapt in. Cole closed the door just in time—just before the abrupt turn that would’ve caused him to fall out.
Cole’s Batman pyjamas would’ve been the highlight of a conversation if it wasn’t for the gravity of the situation that was still unknown to us. We kept silent as we headed for the next house in line.
Fisher did not need any extra instructions as he followed the protocol—if Neil comes with a speeding car, you jump in, no questions asked. The car seemed to be speeding faster than its capacity and we waited for Neil to notice our questioned expressions before any of us told him to explain himself.
“Are you going to tell us what’s going on?” Cole yawned twice through the sentence. He seemed to be getting comfortable in the backseat.
“Cole’s right. Tell us what’s wrong? What did you do this time?” My voice seemed hushed for a situation like this.
When Neil didn’t answer right away, I tried to look back to see if anyone was chasing us.
“No! Don’t turn back. Just trust me. No one turns back.”
We kept our heads straight as Cole started to drift off to sleep. Fisher shook Cole’s shoulders and muttered curses in Spanish—the only words he knew in that language.
Neil waited for a straight patch of road. “I stole something.”
Everyone was left gaping. “What did you steal?” Cole took the initiative to ask—he was completely awake now.
“It wasn’t something big. It’s a weird looking bottle-type thing. I didn't know that it was their prized possession.”
“Why would you even steal that? And why have you gotten us into this?”
“Come on, guys. I need your help. Also, my phone speed dial had your numbers flashing so they think that you guys helped me do this. I’m trying to save your lives.”
“No, you’re trying to kill us by driving into that pole.” I turned the steering wheel around, causing the car to drift a little and then stabilize.
None of us spoke for a couple of minutes. The night breeze seemed to drop in temperature every second, causing me to shiver as the air blew through the open windows. The street was dark, but I didn’t dare to look back for anything chasing us.
We were speeding across the bridge when a set of headlights illuminated our car. Someone was close. Neil rammed the gas pedal and the car roared. Neil cursed as he drove the shuddering car.
“Wait, this is not your car. Where did you get this?” Fisher—car obsessed that he is—guessed it by the throttling of the car. Neil had always been too lazy to get its carburettor fixed, causing his car to never be able to prove its glory.
“I found it lying.”
“Outside their house.”
“You mean you stole the car from them?”
“It’s their fault. Who leaves their car unattended with the keys left dangling in the car.”
“You moron! You stole their car.”
“Alright. I did. I didn’t have a choice. My car refused to start. It was more like an exchange. I left mine there. In that case, they aren’t actually missing a car.” This would’ve been funny in different circumstances but at this moment no one seemed at all interested in jokes.
The power of the other car seemed more than the car we were currently using. I guessed it to be a SUV as the headlights seemed higher than a sedan. It was getting closer to us. None of us dared to look back after the firm instructions of them being dangerous.
The sound of the car seemed to be moving from the middle towards the left side. Neil didn’t notice the closeness of the car and he kept a steady pace.
I turned my head slowly towards the left, looking through the rear view mirror. A black SUV was approaching us at a much faster rate.
“We need to speed up.” My words were almost dissolved by the sounds of the two cars but Neil heard it. He stepped on the pedal but the car was already at its maximum.
The SUV was almost at our left side and the windows rolled down and we saw a barrel, pointing straight at us. Fisher screamed, grabbing Neil’s attention and he hit the brakes.
The car slid across the road with the sudden break in speed. The tires could not grip on the road, causing it to lose balance. Neil kept his hand on the steering wheel, trying to find a grip on the road but failing. The car spun off the road and into the grass.
It was then that I noticed and we had already driven away from the city and were somewhere else. The grass was taller, the visibility was only for a few feet.
Neil reversed the car to find a way out. The car rammed into something behind and gave its final roar. The car stood still, dead. We looked at each other, Neil’s teeth chattering as the headlights emerged from ahead of us.
We knew this was it. We had no escape.