Chapter 36 Venus Is Coming

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Dahl —Tuesday, 4:27 AM

The five us a squeeze into Nightmare's hardtop—him and Bravo in the front, me squished between Ti Guy and Belle. Rubber tires smoke while Ti Guy rubs my cropped head like I'm a cat. Belle grips my arm and lays her head on my shoulder.

"Thanks for the save, fam. You guys are looking extra this evening in those executioner masks."

Nightmare tilts his head, navigating us towards the highway, "We'll always come for you, brother. We passed your wreck—wasn't sure how much of you there'd be left to save."

Belle's hands tighten like a python along my arm. Her eyes close.

"Dahl, lemme know if I pass the turn off. We're gonna slide down on these guys at the work site."

Feels like wakin' from a coma. Somehow I knew that's where we were going. The grey highway stretches through the night, like a snake chasing the high-mast lights like its scared of the dark. I remember Gomez and Pixie.

"Bring me up to speed, I don't even remember wrecking."

Nightmare shakes his head and groans.

Belle whispers in my ear, "They both at the site, not answering... It might be too late for a rescue —may only be revenge left." She kicks the back of Bravo's seat, "What's it say on that scrub's phone?"

Bravo's face lights up as he digs in, "He's received a few texts telling him where to go. His last text was about—'icing Dahl in a minute'. Hilarious..."

"Reply," Nightmare snaps, "I just one-eighty-seven'd all the bees. Maybe they're dumb enough to buy it."

A lightning flash strobes clarity along the pitch-black forests lining the highway as the thunder replies overhead.

"Oh my," Bravo raises the bloody phone to Night then back to us, revealing the smiley-face reply, "These ignoramus have bought it. They've no idea what's approaching!"

"THEY'RE OUT OF THEIR LEAGUE, EH!" Ti Guy roars in my ear and slaps my bruised shoulder.

The horizon lights up like someone turned on a light switch to engage three more lightning bolts. Storms like this are the climate's new norm—but they still feel strange to me. The thunder connects above like stereo surround sound as the hail hits. Nightmare activates the wipers, but we have to slow. It's like being in a car wash.

"Turn left here, bro."

I'm not sure how he hears my squeaking voice against the rumbling weather, but he does. He and shuts the headlights to ghost in. My head turns to Belle's gentle fingernails under my chin though I can't see her face in the dark.

"Your chart said your blood had alkaline poisoning, that you're pituitary glands were flooding hormones and pheromones into your system. Those pesticides are cancer, baby."

"I just want everything to be okay, then we'll bounce and do whatever you want. I hear Yukon is cool this time of year."

"Don't worry, Dahl, I have plans for us..."

A coo from Ti Guy captures my attention, "Dahl and Belle! Whhaatt??"

I hear a gun head slide as Belle chambers a round.

"You found Mr. Hallo in the wreck, eh?" I assume.

"Oui."

A smaller flash lights the car from within.

"They've responded," Bravo dictates, "Baron is happy, he's travelling from Timmins to transfer the funds to Mayhem."

"Nah, bro, that's..." Nightmare waits for the drowning thunder to pass, "that's perfect. We're gonna serve our guest a little beehive surprise. Send a screenshot of that Rembrandt..."

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