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Doctor Dread


Chapter 3

When we got back Doc Dread was out front loading up the Charger. He nodded to us as we got closer.
“Sparrow will be up in a moment, he’s just finishing off downstairs.”
I nodded and shot Venus a sideways look. I could see she was getting twitchy, obviously wanting to be with her sister.
“Go on,” I said “I’m sure she’ll be glad of your company.”
She gave me a grateful smile and ran inside, almost knocking Sparrow over as he came out. He shot her a faux-annoyed look and walked over to the car, sniper over his shoulder.
“How is she?” I asked as he loaded his sniper into the car.
“She’s doing fine. I’ve stitched her up, most of her injuries where flesh wounds so she should be up by tomorrow.”
“Good, we may need her soon. Get in, I need you to drive. Doc, keep that bazooka close, who knows what’s gonna happen here.”
It was a surprisingly quiet trip into town. Most people where shut inside, staying out of the way of any random faceless patrols. They like to catch people off-guard and punish anyone who the find out when they are around. The only people you see around at this time of day are the agents, and that usually means a gunfight.
We entered Monroeville about half an hour after we set off. There aren’t that many road signs up and only the faceless have access to maps but you can always tell when you enter Monroeville. It seems to suddenly get darker and colder, the buildings become ruined and graffitied. The faceless don’t come down here if they can avoid it, so the halos do what they want. A few streets in after you enter Monroeville you can start to see the Hell House. It used to be a shopping mall before the war apparently and it dominates the skyline around here. Luckily for us, the Halos aren’t all that active during the day, otherwise we would probably be dead by now. I checked the cars transmitter. We should have got a signal by now; we were tuned to the right frequency. Either something was blocking our signal or something was stopping Ruby-Star from transmitting. That thought made me feel uneasy. It was bad enough having to come out here at all, without the added bonus of not being able to find what we were looking for. Just then Sparrow stopped quite suddenly. I turned round to see what was wrong. He pointed down a side street. I could see a person walking down the street towards us.
I nodded to Doc Dread and we both got out. Now we were closer I could see it was Ruby-Star, but there was something wrong. I couldn’t see anything but it felt weird. Then I saw it. In the shadows and in the buildings, shapes where moving. She was being followed. Doc Dread had noticed as well, he gave me a look and nodded in the direction of the closest building.
“We need her to get here quick or we’re gonna have a hell of a time getting out of here.”
I nodded in agreement. This was a tense situation. Ruby-Star was obviously unaware of the danger she was in. Just then she lifted her head, as if she had only just noticed us, and started waving. Rather stupidly Doc Dread started waving back and shouting.
“Get out of there, you’re being followed.”
No sooner had the words left his mouth the ally exploded. Halos burst from every window and every door of every building. Ruby-Star took a backwards glance over her shoulder and ran. Me and Doc Dread grabbed our blasters. I got the closest Halo straight out, in the head. I could hear the sound of blasting from behind me, which must mean that Sparrow had the sniper out. Ruby-Star was getting close, but it didn’t look good. We we’re outnumbered at least 20-1. Then I saw Doc Dread run forward out of the corner of my eye. Three Halos fell as he ran towards Ruby-Star. What happened next was a blur. We broke and ran. I don’t remember much until we reached the car. I remember looking back and seeing Doc Dread, Ruby-Star and about 200 Halos running after me. Sparrow had the car moving when I got there. I grabbed Ruby-Star’s hand and pulled her in, but Doc Dread was out of reach. Then it happened. I heard a shot and Doc Dread fell forward, his hand still outstretched. It all seemed to happen in slow motion. I felt a lurch as Sparrow accelerated away, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the crumpled form on the floor that had, a few seconds ago, been my friend.
Time seemed to go very slowly as we tried to make our escape from Monroeville. I was only slightly aware of the sun setting on the horizon as we screeched out onto the main street. We were all silent. There wasn’t really much to say. After a few minutes, Sparrow slammed on the brakes and swore loudly, taking me and Ruby-Star both by surprise.
“What! What’s wrong?” I exclaimed. Then it hit me. “Shit.”
“What is it?” Ruby-Star asked incredulously. She looked worried.
“We’ve exceeded curfew,” Sparrow explained. “We can’t get out of the city. The radiation shields have densified so as not to let any of the animals in or any of the people out.”
“We’re gonna have to find some-where to stash the car.” I said, half to Sparrow, half to my-self. I didn’t like the idea of being stuck in town after-dark. Agents usually like to roam the streets after the sun has gone down.
“There’s an alley over there” Sparrow pointed to this small side street a few hundred yards ahead of us. “Looks quite quiet, we should be able to hide it down there until the morning.”
I nodded. It did look like our best bet. We couldn’t afford to be driving round any longer than we had to.