Just Passing Through

Submitted into Contest #131 in response to: Write a story about a group of sisters, or a group of brothers.... view prompt

15 comments

Fiction Drama Adventure

Billy lurches free and swings around the alley at a dead run. The two cops tear past Jake and disappear after him. There is only the rough drone of the idling cruiser at the curb.

Jake sets himself in the car and eases himself beneath the wheel. He shuts the door. He sits there for a moment, engages the gearbox, and pulls away.

Jake drives to Sixth Street, heading south and then onto the bridge. The radio crackles, and a voice says, “Car eleven.” He turns left at the interstate towards the end of the bridge and past an abandoned cola factory. It looks like a rotting arena with graffiti splattered  all about it, and it leans like an old silo. 

He heads down Sandy Boulevard toward the river. The radio fizzles and crackles, “Calling any car in the Pearl district towards the light rail yard. That’s car eleven’s area. Come in. There's been a disturbance on Sixth  and Glisan."

Jake drives along the lamp-lit street. There’s no traffic. The lights from the crawfish house come up along the left and then the darkness of the golf course. The radio says, “Car eight. Car eight.” Jake turns off down an old ferry road-going slowly. The car rocks and bumps along the ground.  

The headlights pick up a couple of deer that freeze like concrete lawn figures. The still and slithering river moves past the grass, and there’s a sparsely lit silhouette of the city above. The headlights fail somewhere over the river in a shear pearly smear. 

Jake brings the car to a stop and shifts it into neutral. He pulls the hood latch under the dash and walks to the front of the cop car, and raises the hood. He comes back to the front seat and sits and removes a shoelace.  

He looks out over the river and the city. A fawn hops slowly through the gauzy mist and eases gradually into the darkness of the trees. The radio crackles. “Car eleven, what’s going on down there?”  

Jake gets out, walks to the car’s front, and bends into the motor compartment. He pulls back the throttle mechanism, and the motor rises to a groan. Jake ties the throttle linkage with the shoelace and fastens it to the fuel line, where it enters the pump. 

Flames blast at the end of the tailpipe. Jake climbs in and pushes the clutch to the floor, and shifts the lever hard into second. There’s  a squeal between the gear teeth. Both of the deer disappear  into the darkness.  

He eases off the seat and stands with his left foot on the ground and the right to the clutch, and immediately he leaps back and slams the driver-side door shut. For a moment, the cop car doesn’t move. The tires keep spinning in the grass as clods of dirt thunk and rifle off the spinning rubber and into the dark. Then it settles at a slight lean, dashes back once more, and with a squall of mud and grass scurries out across the field.  

The cop car goes hard and fast, the headlights rigid and tilting. It tears across the field and cuts through the river’s edge willows. It flies into the water with two large wings of spray that seem salty white and fans twenty feet upwards into the air. The cop car is far out into the river when it comes to a rest, and the headlights begin to fade into a murky gray, and they go out.  

Jake can see a dark mound of it for a while, and it slowly subsides and is gone. He squats in the grass and looks out. There is no sound of any of it along the river bank. After a while passes, he rises to retrieve his brother.

Billy comes with his back to a brick wall. His feet are wide as the officers approach. He doesn’t speak a word. The first officer swings at him with his club and Billy smacks at it.  It lands like a dead slab of meat in his palm. The policeman swings again, and Billy’s hand folds over the club this time. The officer has the leather lanyard attached to his wrist, and Billy flings him sideways and slams him against the wall. Then he jerks him to his knees and begins to strangle him, and another officer lands upon Billy’s back and forces him to give it up.  

Billy kicks him back, and a cry of sirens is nearing in the streets. An able officer stands around, but Billy seizes him. The officer troubles reaching for his gun, but a car is now pulling into the alley in a blinding spray of lights. The seized officer gives up trying to get his revolver, and he tries to hammer away with his club at the cropped skull above him, and his hand and arm are slick with blood.  

Men run in the alley, and Billy stands lumbering in the lights like a colossal movie monster. The revolvers in the narrow alley crash like mortars. The bullets explode and whine and skitter, but before they get a precise aim, Billy’s knees go under him, and he collapses and flails his arms at the trash cans at the alley’s narrow mouth.  

The officer who opens the police van’s rear door closes his eyes. He has no time to fend or hide. Billy’s boot catches him in the throat, and he goes to the pavement without a cry. The other officers receive Billy with slapsticks. His eyes are enormous and crazed, and his jacket is spongy with blood.  

He launches himself upon them like an untamed jungle cat, taking him to the ground with them. They drag Billy bleeding and senseless to the tank. His feet scuff behind. His bearers bleed, and they curse him with every step they take. They pull him to an iron cage and let him fall face down on the concrete.  

-

Officer Jones  walks in with a fresh cup of black coffee. The jailer locks back the hall door. He has a great ring of keys fastened to his belt with a chain.  

“Quincy,” says Jones.

The jailer turns.  

“Yeah,” he says.

“You let me know when we get word about his brother.”

“Sure will, Jones.”

Jones nods and sips at a styrofoam cup. He works his right fist open and shut and rubs his palm on the side of his trousers.  

Billy lies  with a fever. Nothing in the cell but himself and a rusty drain. The headache from the whiskey pounds his brain with thuds and thumps.  

“You were just about the drunkest being I ever witnessed,” says Jones.

“What are you  doing with me? What happened?”

“Take it easy there, bud.”

“Well, why? I’m just fine.”

“You’re quite the monster. Still looking for the car your brother stole. You beat up a lot of our men last night. A lot of cops got hurt on account of you.”

Billy carries a rank odor and tries to stand. He leans towards Jones and rests his aching head on the bars.

“Just letting our hair down. Sounds like you guys were at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

There’s a moment of pause as they regard one another.

“Letting your hair down? Ha. You weren’t walking straight.”

“I was walking just fine and minding my own business before you guys came along. Jake was drunker than I was.”

“Thought you said you boys were just passing through?”

Billy smirks.

“That’s Jake and I. Passing through like a hurricane.”

“Maybe so, but now you both are wrapped up  in a heap of trouble.”

“You know who my brother is?” 

“Yeah, we know who he is.”

“Then you also know I’m not going to be in this cage for long. He’ll be coming for me.”

“We figured  as much.”

Jones sits and kicks his feet up but the lights cut and he’s startled into a straight standing posture.

Billy begins to laugh.

“This is officer Jones, we need all available men immediately at the precinct. I repeat, we need…”

Power generators cut with an audible oooohhhhm.

I wouldn’t worry too much, officer. We’ll just be passing through.”

February 03, 2022 19:16

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15 comments

Graham Kinross
08:11 Feb 26, 2022

Your prose is very poetic. There was great action in this as well. Thanks.

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Dustin Gillham
21:15 Feb 26, 2022

Thanks, Graham. I'm grateful you enjoyed it.

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Tricia Shulist
21:01 Feb 06, 2022

Interesting story. Thanks for this.

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Dustin Gillham
21:22 Feb 06, 2022

Thank you for reading, Tricia.

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Chandler Wilson
02:51 Feb 06, 2022

Powerful writing. I certainly enjoyed the story! My only suggestion might be to leave some of the details to the readers imagination. But, I, by no means qualify as a legitimate critic. Keep writing and I ’ll keep reading. 👍

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Dustin Gillham
19:55 Feb 06, 2022

All criticism is legitimate! I think I did a little bit better with what you suggested on my newest submission "The Devil Among Them." Thank you for reading, Chuck.

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Gip Roberts
18:39 Feb 05, 2022

It felt like I was being given a whirlwind tour of the city by these brothers, and I could feel the adrenaline rising as I dodged bullets watching Billy get apprehended. Knowing Jake will be coming for him makes for a nice cliff hanger at the end. Good job.

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Dustin Gillham
19:52 Feb 06, 2022

Thank you, Gip. Working on writing some page turners. I'm grateful for your compliment. I'm honored you took the time to read my story.

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Calm Shark
23:43 Feb 03, 2022

I loved reading this story about two brothers, which I like! I also had an idea with this prompt but it never came to me. I really like how you describe things and your prose which I want to get better at. Thanks for sharing!

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Dustin Gillham
02:14 Feb 04, 2022

Thank you, calm shark. I'm grateful you took the time to read it and that you enjoyed it. I too am trying to get better with prose. Also, I'm trying to push myself in differant genres. I'm honored by your compliment.

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Calm Shark
04:56 Feb 04, 2022

You're welcome and if I may ask. I asked this with many other writers. What is your process when making your story? I am just wondering. I just want to learn how people do their stories.

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Dustin Gillham
14:47 Feb 05, 2022

Good morning, friend. I think that different people go about it in different ways. My process is a little different. I like the feel of actually writing with a pen. Usually, by the time I submit, I have brainstormed, written a draft in a journal, typed it out, then edited it. I never try and do these 3 or 4 parts on the same day. I don't like hitting a wall and beating myself up, which happens sometimes, with no progress. Plus, it bugs me when I submit something that I really think could have been better. If anything, I would hope to...

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Calm Shark
15:03 Feb 05, 2022

That is true, Dustin. Thank you for responding to my comment. Have a good day.

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Dustin Gillham
19:51 Feb 06, 2022

You too. I'm grateful for your comments! :-)

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W.D. Pierce
15:55 Feb 08, 2022

I really enjoyed this paragraph: "The headlights pick up a couple of deer that freeze like concrete lawn figures. The still and slithering river moves past the grass, and there’s a sparsely lit silhouette of the city above. The headlights fail somewhere over the river in a shear pearly smear." Great description and I really enjoyed the dialogue at the end!

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