Preview Rough Draft Chapter for Evade Part III — Derek Barton 2020

Craving to see what’s in-store for you (and Lindsey and the others from Evade Part Three)?

Here you go… Enjoy!!

Twin embers opened before us, hunting in the pitch dark. The glowing orbs were frenzied but not yet looking in our direction.

Another four sets of eyes appeared, joining the others. The Seekers were about thirty yards ahead, at the intersection of a fork of subway tunnels. They had their backs to Sasha and I, crouching and peering down the length of the tunnels. Our escape was to the left but obviously blocked.

Behind us, we escorted a young tween, Bethany Phelps, her elderly guardian, Kenneth Gerard, and a fellow detective, Detective Josh Matthews. They hadn’t seen any of the Seekers as of yet.

Or experienced the supernatural taint the Seekers carried about them.

We ordered them to crouch and stay hidden under a rickety set of steps leading up to a catwalk storage built along the tunnel’s ceiling while Sasha and I scouted ahead.

My watch showed it was 6:25 PM. Only twenty minutes had passed since Commander Hoyt Leoi shouted through his radio at them when they were behind their makeshift barricade. “Detective Korrey. Come in.” His voice was a much calmer and steady tone than when I spoke to him after the earlier explosion. It seemed he regained some of his composure.

“Commander Leoi, I’m here,” I replied to him, trying to match his even cadence.

“A beige and metallic gold Chevrolet is coming south, down York Avenue. Its pace has slowed — they may be looking for the gate entrance to the property. Do any of the 27th Crew own or drive a gold Chevy Caprice that you know of?”

I remembered this was Detective Matthews’ personal car. He must’ve taken it to avoid any suspicion when he drove Bethany and Kenneth to our location.

“They are with us. I instructed Detective Matthews to come here as he has vital information I need. Pass this along — he is not to be fired upon!” 

“Am I to understand he has information that cannot be told over the cell phone or even the classified radio lines?” Leoi’s attitude and condescending tones had also returned.

“Commander Leoi, do you have anything further to report or do you remain in Green Status?” 

A bit of a pause — maybe to do some meditation or breathing exercises? Finally, he replied, “No changes to report. I will let you know when the car is at your tunnel entrance. Over.”

Three minutes later, he called back and said Detective Matthews was parked near our tunnel. Sasha and I raced out in the dark to escort Matthews and the civilians back to our makeshift barricade. 

We hadn’t anticipated the Seekers would find a way to get behind us without being detected.

Sasha, a slim black woman with her hair pulled tightly back, leaned in close to my face and whispered, “There’s another one, hiding by the pile over there. Do you see him?” She pointed.

The tall stature of a man stood motionless apart from the others, but his eyes were partially concealed by his coat hood.

“He makes six then,” I answered. “Officially, we’re out numbered.”

“I’ve got maybe seven or eight rounds.”

“No. We don’t need to shoot them.” I was put off by her quick response to kill. “We don’t have any idea how many are around – it will only alert them to our position. I think we can do this a better way. Go back, tell them what we are seeing, and keep them quiet where they are. I’ll distract and lead—”

“I’m faster. I should lead those damn things away.”

“You are faster. That’s why I want you to take the group to safety. They haven’t even seen anything like these Seekers before. They’ll need your prodding for sure. Your speed and actions could be critical if you’re needed immediately.”

I kept an anxious eye on the affected humans. They were restless and seemed to sense our presence somewhere near them. From what I detected, the search party of Seekers were led by the tall man, joined by two adult women and three teenagers of close age. I worried about the speed of those teens.

I continued to spell out my plan. “I’m going to run past your position, back down the tunnel. Remember the stack of oil barrels? I’ll hide behind them and loop back. But, once we clear the area, take everyone as fast as possible to the barricade. Understood?”

She shrugged but not overly enthusiastic. 

“I’ll give you time to get back to them now.” I stopped and gripped her shoulder. “Do not kill anyone, okay?” I left her with that and inched forward, using the darker shadows of the wall for cover.

Now, as the prospect of facing the six supernatural Seekers alone hit me, the moldy walls closed in on me. The idea was beyond daunting and my legs trembled as my plan grew weaker in my mind.

It was time, stalling and worrying now was pointless and even dangerous. I jumpstarted my efforts by kicking over a rotting wooden crate in front of me. With amazing agility, they spun and charged all together toward the sudden noise. I bolted down the tunnel with a paranoid certainty the Seekers were right on my heels. They barely huffed with their exertion.

The stack of oil barrels I mentioned before were barely visible and highlighted only by a dirty skylight ahead. I zipped in around the barrels and stood silently with my back to the cold metal containers. This section of the tunnel had been a small hub and a single-track platform. The Seekers came in mere seconds after me.

They gathered in the center of the intersection and hesitated, listening for which direction I went in.

I heard a soft hiss through clenched teeth. The Tall Man started to lead the group down the single-track. As the last of them climbed off the platform, a crash of metal and curses echoed along the tunnels. I recognized Detective Matthews’ voice. He must’ve tripped over something.

It was enough…

I leaned over, spying into the dark subway. The gang of Seekers were once more huddled together.

Shit!! Sasha’s group was definitely heard, soon to be hunted for again.

Tall Man pointed and three of the Seekers went back to the platform ladder. He split the group as he vanished with the others into the shadows still pursuing my presumed trail.

I shot out and took a winding tunnel left of the oil barrels. The three hissed and howled at my fleeing image.

This unknown passage grew suddenly dark as we ran further away from the skylights. Growing blind with each stride, I dug into my pocket, scrambling to pull out my cell phone. I managed to punch the flashlight symbol on the phone and its brilliance lit up the way. The light bounced, shadows leaped and danced as I thrust the cell out before me.

Our training in the police academy as rookies and other courses we took along the way for field experience ingrained in us a strict discipline to focus only on the path ahead and keep your emotions buried. It applied to either case of when you were the hunter or the prey being chased. However, fear and panic coursed through me. My thoughts lost in a jumble of chaos. I had no idea what they would do with me if I were caught.

Their footfalls and the scrapes of their shoes or boots clearly informed me of their hot pursuit. And they were gaining…

My own footsteps were louder now as I splashed through large puddles of water, recent storm runoff. Slick mud at the edges of the water nearly took my feet out from under me and I slid with my momentum into a bank of slimy walls. I bounced and continued to look for other doorways, tunnels openings or even catwalk stairs to find a place to hide. Anything.

My flight ended abruptly as the tunnel curved to the far left and narrowed considerably.  A set of wire fences were erected and chained shut to prevent further trespass. Beyond the fence was a large chamber used to hold piles of garbage and storage for what look like torn-out subway chairs. I shoved my phone back into my jeans and launched myself high onto the fence. Climbing toward a narrow opening at the top, I wanted to get over it and lose the Seekers among the piles.

As I hefted my right leg over the top, my jeans suddenly snagged and tore at the cuff as it caught the edge of the fencing. A woman in her early twenties, skinny and with pale blonde hair leaped up and clasped a pair of ashy hands on my left leg. The heat from her hands baked through my clothing as her eyes blazed bright staring at me. A need or deep craving floated in that penetrating stare as she leaned back, using her weight to haul me back over to their side. The other two joined her on the fence and climbed toward me.

Desperately I leaned with my own weight the other way, my body precariously hanging in balance at the top.

Riiiipppppp! The cheap jean’s material gave way, releasing my right leg and sending me diving toward the ground on the other side of the fence.

I screamed in sheer surprise, braced for the impact only to have the wind blasted from me as my shoulder hit the ground. I exploded through the rotted floorboards and fell another fifteen feet or so to the subway level beneath. I saw a brief flash of light from a hanging lightbulb. My plunge continued as my weight crashed through another level of ancient wood flooring. I was diving headlong into the depths of the subway system!

I never saw the next floor as my vision and the world around me were eclipsed and swallowed in total darkness.

On a positive, I didn’t feel the impact either.

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