Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge: Car Chases

Bethany didn’t want to retire and they all knew it. It was a good thing her years in the field made her into one hell of an actor. Faking smiles was second nature to her. She had been faking and perfecting her current mask for nearly a month. That was when she was told they believed she was too old for her job.

Of course they’d never say it quite like that, instead they tried to dazzle her with a generous severance. It was generous, she had no issue with any of that. She had an issue of being told when she would have to accept their generosity.

She knew, at sixty-eight years old, she was as sharp as ever. She also knew there was no way of changing their minds. The government couldn’t have a sexagenarian out on important missions. To them she was a feeble granny, that could die at any minute while holding important, sometimes downright damning information.  She had been a thief, a spy and a killer for her country and this was the thanks she got. She couldn’t help but feel like an old mare being lead to the glue factory.

Now she had to sit and fake smile while her replacement, Constance Weatherly, prattled on about how Bethany Frost was her inspiration for going into this line of work. Connie had no idea what her job was and what she’d be asked to do. Frankly, Bethany didn’t think Connie was going last very long before she either resigned or got herself killed. Connie seamed like an okay girl, but she was just a girl, rather prim and prissy. She’d never make it through her first gunshot wound, at least mentally.

Connie introduced Senator Burton, who Bethany had never met, but far be it from her to tell a senator he wasn’t invited to her party. There were cameras and it was an election year after all. Voters loved when someone pinned a medal on a hero.

Of course, Bethany was no hero. Her duties were not heroic in nature but it’s how they chose to frame it now that she was being thrown out on her ass. There were no real records on the things she was asked to do. That of course was why the packages were so good. The government didn’t want their trained assassins going freelance for extra cash. Granted she was an anomaly, she was the first to actually reach retirement age. All the more reason she thought to keep her on.

Senator Burton took the podium and Connie sat back down. Ever the perfectionist she popped back up to fix the microphone and then her head exploded. Bethany saw the bullet enter from one of the floor to ceiling windows. She knew Connie wasn’t the target, the Senator was, her obsessive need to touch everything was her downfall.

Bethany was on her feet faster than any of the other agents in attendance. She shoved the senator to the floor by the back of his head. As another bullet popped through the window. This time glass rained down as the window shattered.  The good news was the shooter was a lousy shot. Bethany thought if it had been her, she would’ve got him on the first try regardless of Connie’s head.

Bethany helped Burton roll under the table to further shield him from the would-be-assassin.
Bethany’s heart was pumping and she felt more alive than she had in a month. She rolled over to Connie and realized the naïve girl was not carrying her weapon. Bethany cursed herself for listening to her director, who said she needn’t carry her weapon tonight.
She stood and watched two agents helping Burton roll of the stage on the other side of the banquet table.

“Anderson,” Bethany said. The taller of the two agents looked at her. “Gun, now.”
There was no argument from Anderson, she knew there wouldn’t be. She hopped the table and landed like a cat on the floor beside him. Anderson handed her his gun and she was off.
She knew exactly where that bullet had come from and she was going to get the son of bitch who ruined her party. It was the best gift she could have gotten.

Outside the building she surveyed the street in front of the Speedman Convention Center. She found what she was looking for almost immediately.  Bethany ran to the curb where the driver of the car was waiting for the light to turn green. She knocked on the window, the bass from within rattled glass while the dull thud of a techno beat spewed from the car’s speakers.

The driver was a male in his mid to late 40’s. He was the type that she knew she’d find being that the Convention Center was surrounded by the clubs and restaurants guys like this went to hit on younger men and women. He’d flash his fancy watch and gaudy jewelry and promise them a ride in his fast, cherry red car.

Not tonight asshole.

“Get out of the car.”

“Screw you, you old bitch.”

Bethany took a deep breath. She didn’t want to shoot him, she didn’t have the time.

“This is official government business, I am commandeering this vehicle.”

“Like hell…ah ah.” Bethany had reached in a grabbed a handful of his greasy chest hair. She was prepared to pull the bastard straight out the window but he gave in and opened the door.
Bethany pulled him away from the car and hopped in. He was saying something but she had already taken off. She needed to get a few blocks over to the Nixon Building. It was the only building where that shot could have come from.

She made it over quickly and without incident. Now the fun began. A man was being herded toward a black SUV. This was her guy. She counted four suspects in all, one in the driver’s seat and the three getting in. It took off.

The chase was on and that suited her just fine. The quartet in the SUV were fast but Bethany’s commandeered car was faster. The car handled like a dream and slid through the street like a puck on ice. The SUV was bulky and didn’t make turns well. These guys were amateur hour. That was a disappointment.

They began to pick up speed and she assumed they spotted her. It was confirmed when one of the suspects leaned out the passenger side window and shot out one of her head lights.
With one hand on the wheel she pulled Anderson’s gun from her belt leaned out and punched a hole in the SUV’s back window. It was heavy glass but not entirely bullet proof. She thought about another shot but decided against it. She had no ammo for a reload.

The SUV hopped the curb, newspapers and coins flew in the air as they drove through a blue newspaper box. She followed them up onto the sidewalk. It was a busy sidewalk and if she were a typical law enforcement agent she might have given a damn. But she wasn’t and she didn’t.
People began screaming as people are apt to do when avoiding being mowed down by two vehicles in a high speed chase.

The SUV made it to the end of the sidewalk and hung a sharp right. Bethany almost thought it was over as the SUV looked to be teetering. It wasn’t enough to flip it though, back on all fours it continued on.

The corner was no trouble for her. Now came police, sirens and lights were coming up from behind her. She was hoping the agents back at the Convention Center had gotten their heads out of each other’s asses and let the police know she was in pursuit.  They hadn’t because a police officer in the lead car took a shot at Bethany. Crooks in front Cops in back, this was turning out better than she ever expected.

Bethany suddenly jerked the wheel to the right, turning into a side alley. She laughed as the police cars flew by the mouth of the alley. She didn’t stop. She heard the rattle and clank as she took out a row of aluminum garbage cans, dragging some of their contents along with her.
When she made it to the end of the alley she was just in time to see the SUV.

She couldn’t believe her luck , now being pursued by the police, the SUV tried her trick and turned down another side alley. Here Bethany waited for them and just as the nose of their vehicle came into view she jammed on the gas and rammed the car into the SUV’s side.

The SUV slammed into the concrete wall across from the alley where Bethany awaited her victims. Sparks flew as its metal dug into brick and mortar. The driver was attempting to just drive on but Bethany wouldn’t allow it. She kept the gas down on the floor and the rubber from the tires began grinding into the pavement. The smell was foul but exhilarating.

Bethany leaned out her window, took aim and shot the man in the passenger seat who was aiming his gun at the front of her car. It was a kill shot because Bethany really didn’t know any other way to shoot.

The back seat window slid down and the barrel of a shot-gun poked out. Sparks flew from the barrel as her windshield was pelted by buckshot.  Her visibility was limited by the broken glass. The SUV had now stopped trying to move forward so Bethany took her foot of the gas. She leaned out her window again but was hoisted out by the collar of her dress.

She found herself in the meaty hands of one of the suspects who must have climbed out the back hatch without her noticing. She wasted no time in burying the toe of her shoe in the man’s crotch. She pulled her foot away as he let go but instead of stepping back she did it again, using the momentum built up with the first kick. Now she allowed him to grab at his no-doubt ruptured balls and slide to his knees on the pavement.

She couldn’t kill this one because he could be the shooter and they would need him alive. Instead she kicked him with the flat of her shoe slamming his head into her stolen car. His head bounced back and took him all the way to the ground. Two down two to go.

The other two scrambled to get out of the SUV. The driver took off down the alley, but the one in the back came after Bethany. She ready herself for another fight but was stopped by the booming voice of a police officer.

“Freeze, both of you, hands where I can see them.”

“Officer I am a federal agent and these people attempted to assassinate Senator Warren Burton this evening.”

“She’s lying,” said the man next to Bethany. “I’m a Federal Agent and I thank you for your assistance.”

The police officer looked as confused as Bethany felt as the man slowly pulled his wallet from his pants pocket. He flipped it open, and sure enough he had a badge and ID similar to Bethany’s own. Another thing she was told she didn’t need anymore. The bastards had set her up. Her generous severance was supposed to be an assassin’s bullet.

Bethany kept her voice low, “If you four are what the agency’s bringing in after I’m retired,” She put extra emphasis on that word, letting the man know she knew what this was all about. “this country is fucked.”

“Did you really think they were going to let you live?” The man was smug, but also kept his voice low.

“Darling, do you really think I’m going to let you?”

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