The sun was rising to its highest point when they started driving again. Laurie let Derek take over the driving; even behind her glasses, bits of her vision kept blurring into harsh whiteness.
Laurie felt the hum of the gremlin’s engine and tried to sleep. It was no good though; it was just too hot and she couldn’t get comfortable.
Laurie kept her eyes closed and tried to sit still. She was getting more and more paranoid about the helicopters. It would take a drive of a full hour before they got to the back road; and the suspense was killing her.
The worst part was knowing that she wouldn’t be able to see the helicopters before they were right on top of her. She strained her ears for the sound of helicopter blades; while hoping the whole time that she wouldn’t hear them.
After what seemed like a few days, she shielded her eyes and looked at the clock on the dashboard. It told her that half an hour had passed since they had set out. “Where are we?” she asked Derek
“We’re in the desert” he said
Laurie nodded and tried to remember the desert from when they had driven down; it had been clear that night and in the pale moonlight she had been able to see to its very edges. She carefully opened her eyes a crack, and then shut them again; all she had seen had been painfully bright light on both sides while she travelled down a plain black line.
More time passed.
Laurie was sitting perfectly still. There were little beads of sweat all over her, and she wasn’t sure how much was from the heat and how much was from the knowledge that there was nowhere that they could hide the car if a helicopter passed over them.
More time passed.
Laurie could feel her neck getting sticky; she wanted to scratch it, but didn’t dare.
More time passed.
Laurie heard Derek take a sharp intake of breath. “I see a chopper” he said.
Despite everything Laurie opened her eyes; then slammed them shut again. “Where?”
“In the distance” he said, “It’s just a dot. Damn it; we were so close!”
“How close?” said Laurie
“Almost on to the turnoff”
“You’re insane! We’re not going towards that thing!”
Laurie knew that she had to get Derek to see sense fast. “We can’t outrun that thing,” she said, “If we turn around and try to run it’s only going to catch up with us. We have to get to the turnoff and hope that it doesn’t spot us before then.”
There was silence from Derek’s side of the car; then Laurie felt the revs climb a little higher.
“What do you think is the range is on one of those thing’s scanners?” Derek asked
Laurie didn’t answer; she didn’t know either.
More time passed; and with each breath that she took, Laurie expected to feel the first bullet biting into her.
Laurie counted the seconds of her life as they ticked away; and then, to her enormous relief, she felt the car take a turn without slowing down.
Laurie breathed out and felt a smile forming on her face. “Did we make it?” she asked; barely able to believe it.
Derek made a noise in the back of his throat, “We’re on the turnoff” he said.
Laurie felt like hugging him, “We made it,” she said, “We’re safe!”
Derek said his next sentence very slowly. “That helicopter should have been able to move a lot faster than it did.” He said.
“It was searching” said Laurie; who didn’t think that this fact was worth mentioning.
“It didn’t look like it was searching” said Derek, “It looked like it was herding.”
Suddenly Laurie’s world was all sound. There was the sound of rotor blades, and the sound of screeching tires, and then a sound like heavy rain on a tin roof, and then the sound of something going wrong with the engine, and then the sound of the Gremlin leaving the road, and then the sound of crunching metal.
Then there was only the sound of silence.