Title: Elevated (Elevated Saga #1)
Author: Daniel Solomon Kaplan
Published: September 23, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
The engine cranks and coughs but quickly stops.
“Alright Julie, not now,” Aaron says.
He tries again. The engine stammers. Dead.
“Come on!” Aaron says, twisting the key harder as if to force the car to life.
“Come on, Julie!” I shout out.
Aaron gives me a befuddled expression.
“What, only you can call it Julie?” I ask.
The car springs to life right as I pick up my phone. Aaron tears out of the space. Maddock is near the exit.
“Hey, Zach,” I say over the phone. “We’re following Maddock right now. He’s in a white car headed out of the parking lot.”
“Alright,” Zach says. “En route.”
Maddock pulls out of the parking lot and turns onto the main road. Thankfully, he heads away from the city. Less traffic. It’ll be easy to keep up. The car swerves and Aaron races ahead, pinning my body against the door.
“How close do you think I should follow,” Aaron says.
“Not too close, don’t want him to be suspicious.”
Maddock’s car careens down the road. Aaron speeds to catch us up.
I turn the phone to speaker. “You nearby, Zach?”
“Getting there. Haven’t had much practice yet with these wings. Technically shouldn’t even be flying yet,” says Zach. “You’ve reached the rain?”
Right as Zach finishes his sentence, our windshield fills with raindrops. The pouring rain cuts our visibility in half.
I speak into the phone. “We’re headed down Gardenview, away from the city.”
“Gardenview,” Zach says. “That’s the wide road right?”
“You gotta be kidding me,” Aaron says.
Maddock swerves and changes lanes. Aaron begins to turn but quickly snaps back as a minivan pulls up from behind and speeds past us.
“I hate manual steering,” Aaron says.
My voice shakes from the sudden lurch. “Yes, Zach, it’s the wide road. Do you see our car?”
“Are you behind the lemon colored minivan with horrendously tacky luggage on top?”
“I see him.”
“Right. Just stay with him.”
“I’ll do my best,” Zach says. “The rain’s clouding my view.”
He’s not kidding. The rain pelts us so hard that Maddock’s car nearly disappears in front of us. Aaron cranks the wipers full blast. They struggle to keep up with the downpour. Thankfully, it shouldn’t be a problem to keep up with Maddock. We should be on this road for a while. There aren’t any major roads until after the next few miles of forest. Just have to stay with him.
“He turned his left signal on,” Zach says.
“Where is he going?” I wonder aloud.
“Left apparently,” Aaron says.
A small dirt road on the left winds into the woods. What could be back there?
“Hey, Zach, see anything off to your left from up there?” I ask.
“Trees. Loads of trees,” Zach says.
“I don’t know about you,” Aaron says as he yanks the steering wheel, careening us down the narrow trail. “But I’m glad we brought him along.”
We bounce around like ping pong balls as the car bumps over the unpaved path. It’s clearly not designed for Aaron’s little car.
“Great!” Aaron says. “Can’t imagine he won’t figure out something is up now. Who else goes down this road?”
Maddock takes a sudden sharp turn to the left. Aaron jerks the wheel, tossing me to the side and sending my head smack into his shoulder. I yelp in pain.
“Sorry,” Aaron says.
My eyes hurry to reclaim focus. Maddock’s car is out of sight down the winding road ahead. I scan through the hammering raindrops, but the interference from them prevents me from detecting his car. We follow the curvy path in and out of the trees, hoping we can catch up. Then the road forks.
With no time to decide, Aaron charges to the left. He slams on the accelerator but Maddock’s car has vanished. Nothing around but trees and the occasional trailer home.
“You have him, Zach?” I ask.
A horrific sound of yelling comes over the speaker, followed by the sounds of wings flapping and Zach gasping for breath. Then comes a strange noise.
“My apologies,” Zach says, panting. “Duck flock.”
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