From the van, the man dressed in white swung the cylinder at them swiftly, pouring forth the destructive black beam. There was no way to outrun the light.
“Down,” Pike said. “Hug the ground.”
Pike planted himself as flat as he could against the earth. The thick, black dirt smelled of jungle, which the area had been a couple of decades earlier. The right side of his faces pressed into the shells that surrounded the shrubbery. With his left eye, he followed the progress of the black beam.
It passed mere inches above Pike’s head. This close, the texture of the light was odd. It was glossy, like a sheen of oil on concrete. He hoped it wasn’t going to be the last thing he ever saw.
The black light cut through the shrubbery cleanly, raining leaves and thin branches onto Pike’s head.
He heard Jimmy Swift curse. The sound came from a few feet behind him and to the right.
“Here,” the man’s said, from Pike’s left. By pulling his head toward his chin, Pike could see the top of Smith’s head.
“Don’t let Swift get away.”
“Si.” Smith sounded happy.
“And don’t kill him.”
“At least until I talk to him.”
Smith chuckled. It was an evil little sound.
“Pike, where the hell are you going?” Swift sounded understandably nervous.
Pike didn’t answer. He crouched low to the ground and scrambled toward the road. Within a few yards, he was past the arc of the black light. The man wielding the weapon couldn’t reach Pike without cutting through his own van.
The surviving Federales found cover between vehicles and the rubble of the resort. They opened fire on the van.
Great. He was out of range of the weird ray gun, but now stray shots flew over his head.
When he reached the road, Pike moved until the bulk of the dark van was between his body and the Federales. He sprinted for the van.
The driver must have seen him. A gunshot shattered the passenger window. The bullet missed him, but small shards of glass cut Pike’s cheek and lip. He flattened his body against the side of the van. The metal hummed and vibrated from the black light weapon. Pike wondered about the weapon’s power source and how long it could fire.
A hand holding a gun poked out of the wrecked passenger window. Pike knew he was visible in the passenger side mirror, so it was only a second or two before the driver could shoot. With the black beam spewing death on the other side of the van, and the gunfire of the Federales peppering the van, Pike had few options.
Pike grabbed the hand and the gun. He pulled. The driver’s face slammed into the top of the door frame. The man was Caucasian, dressed in a white jumpsuit like the other members of the Brotherhood. Still holding the man’s gun hand, Pike drove a fist into the center of the driver’s face. The man dropped the gun and slumped back across the seat.
Pike opened the passenger door. The back of the van was filled with unidentifiable machinery. The loudest noise came from a box the size and shape of a large generator. From the front of the box, a thick silver tube connected to the base of the cylinder that fired the black beam. The second white-garbed man was focused on using the weapon to destroy the remaining cops.
“Nice suit,” Pike said. “Way to blend into the night.”
The man with the weapon whipped his heard around to look at Pike. Recognition filled his eyes.
“You,” he said.
“Me.” Pike fired the driver’s gun. The shot hit the man in the right shoulder. He looked vaguely familiar to Pike. Maybe he was an ex-Ravenscroft employee who had defected along with Jimmy Swift.
More shots poured in through the van’s open side door. The man Pike had shot was hit several more times.
“Give me the ray gun and I’ll get you a doctor,” Pike said.
“You’ll...never stop us,” the man said. Bright red stains flowered on his white uniform. He turned the cylindrical weapon toward Pike...
...and kept going until it was pointed at the bank of machinery. The black light arced from the tube and sliced through the equipment.
Pike pushed himself out of the van. He ran for the street.
The explosion lifted him from his feet and pushed him through the air. He crossed his arms over his face and tried to go limp. He struck the pavement with his arms first, then his chest. The air was forced out of his lungs. Something sharp and hot landed on his back. He had enough sense to move his hands to protect the back of his head.
Someone took him by the arms and pulled him to his feet. Pike’s vision was blurred, but he could make out the figures of Miguel Smith and Jimmy Smith.
And he could clearly see the flaming remains of the van. Most of the vehicle’s body was gone, along with the Brotherhood’s mysterious weapon.
To Be Continued
© Mark Justice 2011