Part 3: The Chase
Claire gave Leah a slight salute and revved the engine. "Hold on boy," She commanded, pulling her goggles down and the bike jolted into action.
It was an entirely different experience flying down those streets in the light of day, scattering pedestrians and startling horses as they went. She carefully chose the less crowded avenues but in this part of the city, during this time of day, there were always folks about.
Edward pounded along after them, creating little earthquakes in his wake. Claire smiled, knowing that Leah surely must be grinning with chesire-like delight as she caused the people scatter. Screams of women and screeches of terrified horses followed them at every turn. This was turning out to be quite the amusing venture, Claire allowed herself to think.
Then, she caught sight of him — black shadow-like thing sprinting along the the sidewalk at their left. Unlike them, he was was able to skirt around the people with ease. Claire, on the other hand, had to maneuver carefully the weight and bulk of the bike through the many carts and other obstacles that littered the roadway.
Her breath caught in her throat when she saw the glint of a blade in the Leiche's hand. She ducked down low on the bike, hoping the boy would follow suit, and turned sharply down a narrow alley. Just in time, it would seem. The whisk of a throwing blade hummed past her ear and she concentrated on finding an area to open up the throttle on her bike. That was her only hope, to be able to open up the bike to its full speed.
She sighed with relief as she found an open roadway, perhaps too little too late. She caught sight of a second Leiche rounding the corner.
Where there were two Lieche, there was surely a third, and having two on your tail was never good. She prayed the roadway would stay open. The boy must have caught sight of them as well, she heard him whimper into her hair. He clung tight and she increased the speed as much as the rough roadway would allow.
As they turned another bend, she could see the port with the airships in the distance. The fourth dock in the cargo line was theirs. She aimed in that direction, thankful the city opened up to warehouses and significantly less traffic.
Leah had obviously noticed the lack of pedestrians as well. She could hear the repetitive sound of the bullets showering down on their pursuers from Edward’s gatling gun arm. A smile plastered her face and she chanced glancing back.
There they were, the two black clad monstrosities that could be mistaken for men in only the worst light. They were falling back. Though the bullets would not stop them, not until they were in pieces, the bullets wouldl help to slow them.
To her horror, though, one had leapt on to Edward. She held back the urge to turn and go back. No, Leah knew what she was doing, had known the risks. The familiar sound of the redhead's revolvers echoed against the tall walls of the warehouses. Claire concentrated on the task at hand.
They'd lost time when they'd had to veer off and take the detour down the alley. The traffic hadn't helped either. Their intended ship was already on the verge of launching. She cursed, and pulled hard on the throttle, opening the bike up to its full potential. As they approached full speed, there was an impact from their left.
The boy screamed out behind her, and she glanced over her shoulder. There, clinging to the bike was a Leiche, his empty, metal rimmed eyes staring up at them.
He gripped Sam's leg, and the boy kicked desperately, whimpering and whining.
"Your gun, boy! Shoot him!" Claire exclaimed, struggling to grab her own revolver and keep control of the bike. Finally she heard the blast of his gun, and followed up with a second shot with her own to dislodge the undead clockwork man.
The boy whimpered as he clung to her, and she shook her head, annoyed. The dock was still too far off, it would be too close for comfort. She gunned it again, only to have the entire bike nearly knocked off its axis from the other side.
This time, she had her revolver ready and planted the bullets unceremoniously between the steel rimmed eyes of their attacker, and then a third in his hand where it clung to the exhaust pipe of her bike. She then leaned as far forward on the bike as she could, lining it up with the dock.
The ship had been obviously prepared for such an emergency docking, and the lower hold was still open, even as it prepared to launch.
The bike sped over the boards of the dock, a verberating thunk, thunk, thunk sounding loud beneath them. Her focus narrowed on the hatch, knowing she'd have to aim it perfectly. The ship was already several feet from the dock. With one last pull on the throttle, she clung to the bike’s frame, praying with all her might that they would make the gap.
They launched into the air, and she couldn't help but glance down between that gap between the dock and the airship. The edge dropped off into near oblivion. There was only a sheer cliff face and a landscape, far, far below. She only allowed herself the briefest of glances, knowing she could throw of their trajectory if she shifted her balance at all.
With that thought, she stared determinedly into the hold, and let out a gasp of relief as the tires made a firm, solid, thu-thump onto the hatch. She let out a triumphant whoop, and pulled bike around to skid to a stop. They spun full circle to look out at the dock behind them. As she straddled the bike holding it upright between her thighs, feet planted on the sold surface of the ship's cargo hold, she had a revolver in each hand ready to dispatch any unwanted followers.
She stared out at Leah and Edward, crawling with black, clockwork monsters.
"No!" she screamed, emptying each revolver in succession as she did her best to pick the things off of Edward before they could reach where Leah sat perched on his shoulders. Her hands shook as she fought to reload, and aim once more. They were already too far out of range, and she screamed again, "Leah!"
The redhead, aimed those gold plated guns at the Lieche, emptying round after round. She loaded her guns with amazing speed again and again. There was nothing Claire could do at this point. She took a deep breath to steady herself.
It was then that she realized that the boy was lying limply against her back. With a practiced movement, she kicked the kickstand into place and pushed the bike up onto it. It was only after that that she turned, fearful of what she'd find.
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bit·ter·sweet: being at once bitter and sweet; especially: pleasant but including or marked by elements of suffering or regret. A collection of short stories I've written since joining Wattpad for various contests, challenges and publications. The...