Chapter 20 – Revenge
“I’m so sorry,” said Chase. “He’s a monster. But I’ll get even with him. I’ll get him eventually.”
“Slow down,” I said, braced against the dashboard, scrabbling for my seatbelt. “Put your seatbelt on.” He was driving like a maniac.
“He never pinned me,” said Chase, grinding his teeth. “It’s a question of how low you’re willing to go, and no one’s ever willing to go as low as him.” Which father was he talking about now? In some perverse way, were they both the same to him?
The car raced upward through the gears. I tried attaching Chase’s seatbelt. He rocked in his seat, rejecting restraints.
Probably not a good time to bring up what we had just seen, right now, when I was in fear for my life. Before my eyes danced raucous headlines; framed gothic visions of Mom and Annika viewing my shattered corpse. How could they know that before my death my body had been stolen, my shell invaded by hermit crabs and passed around like an intoxicant? If I had been beamed into outer space as an alien plaything then what was left for me? Who was I now? Could I ever get myself back? I had never felt so separate from Chase; with this dissonance our flying must become destructive and destroy us both.
My panic boiled into words. “Tell me it’s not real! The sex tape he showed us?” Corso’d deliberately banished our souls, disinvoked the spirits he had no use for…
Chase turned to me the stricken face of a drowning man going down for the last time.
“Of course it’s real,” he said. “Don’t you see it explains everything? Sexsomnia. I knew it was something like that. If you flood the hippocampus it can’t make any memories to retrieve. He did always want to be the only brain in the room.”
“You mean…he rufied us?” I was as disgusted at myself as at Corso. Madder, if anything. I knew Corso was a snake. Why had I taken the chance when deep inside I could see perfectly well how dangerous he was?
“He must have used something extra to jumpstart the acetylcholine flood, to overcome sleep paralysis. Maybe propanolol. That’s been found to erase adrenalin-fueled memories. We were sleepwalking.“
“This is your fault,” I yelled angrily, bracing my body against the tinted window. “You led us there; we were lambs to the slaughter.”
“You’re right.” Chase looked sadly at me with terrible eyes. “It’s all my fault. They always say they’ll let you go if you bring another one. I’m a hellhound. Someone better put a stop to me.”
But he was also putting a stop to me…Obviously a very bad time to stage a fight — angry, scared, insulted as I was.
“Don’ t you see at least it’s the evidence we’ve been looking for? But to tell them we have to survive. If you don’t slow down Corso will win.”
Once again I’d found the magic incantation. Our speed slackened. Then Chase said, “I can’t slow down with that guy on my tail.”
I checked my side mirror. There was a silver car right behind us as if hooked to our bumper. At first I thought it must be Cutter Farrell looking for payback, refusing to give up, then I saw the unmistakable grinning face extend outside the window a long, black gun.
“Oh, my God, it’s Bex!” I cried. Who let Bex in? Who was allowing Bex to steer? It could only be me.
The shot was synchronous with a muzzle flash and Shelby’s back window exploded. A tree flew up suddenly in front of us. Panic clogged my brain to slow motion as I tried working out the problem. We flew all right; separate and upside down. I felt my own teeth shatter as they telescoped into the dashboard; Chase shot through the windshield like an astronaut and the whole back of the car reared up to flip us over. Tree branches grasped me upside down and warm blood flooded my eyes. I heard rather than felt the bones in my body dissolving; veins and sinews shredding, yet somehow I was speaking.
“Wake up.” I pleaded. “Hold me.” The part of myself that Corso didn’t want was talking to the spark of Chase’s essential self as we struggled back to life.