Fall of the Risen – Week 20 – Clark
Murray stood inside the massive garage, with a sea of cars and trucks behind him, arms stretched wide and a smile on his face normally reserved for fathers with newborn babies.
“Well?” he asked. “Anything here going to do it for you?”
I walked to the nearest pickup truck and inspected it. It was older than the ones we’d been finding. Its body would be a little more rigid, but it would probably have less power.
“You’d just let us take a vehicle?” I asked.
“What the hell am I going to do with a hundred cars?” Murray asked.
“Look!” Gianni called out, running over to a black 2-door similar to his last one. “It’s the sport model. It’s got 97 more horsepower than mine.”
“They only made 114 of those,” Murray said. “Last time I checked, there were only 70-something left. That was quite a few years ago.”
“Looks like it needs some bullet holes,” I said.
“Don’t joke about shooting a masterpiece,” Gianni said, pointing a finger at me like an angry mother. I chuckled and moved down the line of trucks.
All the vehicles seemed to be sorted into categories. Sport, utility, luxury. Macadamia was a collector of all types. There were cars that most people wouldn’t be able to afford if they lived three lifetimes. Then there were others that even I had owned at one time or another.
I spotted something in the far corner, covered by a large sheet and walked over. It was low to the ground, but wide and long. I thought maybe it was a chassis for a sports car or something.
When I lifted the sheet, I saw the vehicle was complete, but very odd. If I fit into it—which was a big if—I’d have to practically lie down, and it didn’t look like I’d be able to see.
“Murray,” I called. “What the hell kind of car is this?”
“Ah,” Murray said, walking over. “That’s the schlepper.”
“Yup. Prototype Mr. Macadamia had developed. It has its flaws, but… well, it has a lot of flaws.”
“It might serve, though. I’m looking for something tough. Something that can ram at high speed.”
“Well then,” Murray said with a big smile. “This isn’t what you want at all. She tops out at 8 miles an hour, on a good day. It was built for torque, not speed.”
“What good is that?”
“Pulling power. Dragging things. Hell, if there was a trailer big enough for the titanic, this baby could pull it.”
“Does it still work?”
“Far as I know.”
Daffodil was walking the rows of cars, but not looking at any of them.
I walked over to him and waited until he looked me in the eye.
“Something here is going to work,” I said.
“I know,” he replied.
“We’re going back home, and this time, we’re going to get in.”
“Probably best if we wait until daylight,” he said.
Murray was thrilled when I asked if we could stay the night. He led us back through the maze of the underground vault until we reached a hallway with doors on both sides. Each door led to a room with a bed. A real bed. Meant for sleeping. It hadn’t even been two weeks since I left my bed back in Sisco, but I felt like I was trying a bed for the first time in my entire life.
Sleep came easy. Too easy. Being underground made it feel like it was the darkest part of the night all the time.
It still felt like the middle of the night when I woke up at 1 in the afternoon.
Murray, Gianni, and Daffodil had already left their rooms.
I stumbled through the hallways, got lost a half dozen times, and eventually found my way to the garage. Murray was whistling as he finished tying the schlepper into the back of an oversized pickup truck.
“Morning, sunshine!” he called. “More like afternoon, I guess.”
“Uh…hey. I sure appreciate you letting me have this. I’ll find a way to return the favor. I promise.”
He nodded and continued his work.
Gianni and Daffodil were nowhere to be seen. The black 2-door Gianni had been drooling on was gone as well.
“Murray, have you seen my friends?”
“Gone,” he said, without looking up from the rope he was tying. “Left early this morning. The normal-looking one left with my car. I’d be mad, but doesn’t seem like anything is worth anything anymore.”
I had grown lax on Gianni. Once I thought about it, it was more surprising that Gianni hadn’t left earlier. Hopefully he had no plans of going back to Sisco, but there was nothing I could do about it even if he did. I didn’t really want to have to fight him. As much of a pain as he had become, I had started to like to guy. A little.
“What about Daffodil? Uh, the strange looking one.”
“Didn’t even see that one leave. One minute he was standing behind me, the next, I turn around and she’s gone. Is it he or she? Ah, hell. That person is gone.”
That was more disappointing. Despite all the threats, I had hoped he’d stick with me through whatever. I needed his help. Instead, he stuck around hoping that I’d change my mind about going back to Sisco. Now that I had the means and the intent, he took his opportunity to hit the road.
I let out a sigh and looked at the truck Murray was packing up.
“It’s going to be a long ride home,” I said.
“We’ll find a way to pass the time.”
I smiled. “Are you coming with me, Murr?”
He shrugged and avoided eye-contact. “It’s either that or stay here in this big empty vault by myself.”
“Okay. Let’s go to Sisco.”