9.2 Chase Scene (Foot Edition)

by Matt P.

There is a particular violence to a horse collapsing. All of that lean elegance and those long limbs are suddenly chaos and horror, whipping around unnaturally as the formerly majestic animal tumbles to the ground. Greyhounds have a similar horror to their tumbles, Walter knew. He had only seen a horse really go down at speed once, and as the bike whipped around and he brought it to a stop he was not looking forward to seeing it happen a second time.

By the time the bike was stopped he turned out to be relieved and annoyed on that account. As the horse started to go down it dissipated quickly into a splash of warm red light and sparks. That sent the Earl tumbling to the ground with all the violence and speed the horse might have saved him from, but it also meant that there weren’t hundreds of pounds of equine pain to roll over him a couple times. The Earl crashed into a mail box hard enough to make sure it could neither hold mail nor be called a box in good conscience ever again, but a heartbeat later he was staggering to his feet again. Blood ran down his face and his eyes were limned in bright anger, but he was neither dead nor incapacitated. Walter stumbled off of the motorcycle at the same time that Morgan almost flowed off, charging toward the man before he could get his feet back under him.

The Earl snarled and reached out to grab a stunned onlooker, a young girl who couldn’t have been more than eight, by the arm. But instead of taking her hostage he flung the girl bodily at Morgan who started in surprised. Pivoting she caught the girl and turned the motion in to a roll that kept her body between the girl’s and the ground at all times. When she came up she set the girl aside with a pat on the head, and then pivoted back to see Walter already giving chase to the Earl on foot into a busy street.

Their car chase had taken them from the school into the shopping district, and Walter ran over charming brick streets to chase after the man. He fumbled in his coat as he did so, grunting and trying to keep a sight of the other runner through the disturbingly oblivious crowd. Finally he got his badge out of his jacket and held it up. Between that, the taser, and his beginning to shout “POLICE! MOVE!” people finally began to notice that what was going on.

He finally caught up to the Earl in one of the sections of the market district that had a fountain in it, and thus absolutely no car traffic. As the Earl tried to duck around the circular fountain Walter had a clear shot and he took it, drawing the reloaded taser out of his pocket and firing. But the man was too on guard and dodged to one side out of the way. Catching his footing, the Earl stepped on to the fountain and bounded in to the air, coming down toward Walter fist first. Walter almost got out of the way but caught a stone-like fist in the shoulder that sent him spinning to the ground. He rolled to his feet just in time to see the Earl starting to break away, only to be pegged in the head by something.

Walter blinked a bit and looked back to see Morgan, her hand covered in red powder, standing next to one of the brick buildings that was now one building block short. Apparently she had grabbed it and chucked it, and she looked rather proud of the fact. At least until the Earl reached out and pulled a chunk of the fountain out, streaming the dust of shattered masonry, and threw it back at her. She started to dodge until she visibly realized there were still people behind her, and was forced to catch it awkwardly. It caught her in the body and grunted with the impact as something cracked audibly.

The Earl turned and fled, but not very far. His destination was apparently a small office off of the fountain that looked like it hadn’t been used since 1998. The sign was cracked and faded beyond all recognition save for one absurdly well preserved letter, an ‘O’ in green on a yellow background. He ran to the dilapidated door and reached out to grab it, yanking it open with so much force that Walter could hear the hinges strain even over the growing shouting and shock of the crowd.

The Earl looked back over his shoulder to give them a triumphant look before starting to step in. His step was interrupted as something cracked him hard in the face and drove him back in to the street with a gasp and a shriek of pain. Blood streamed down his chin from a broken nose and his eyes were crossed in confusion and fury. But the expression went blank as Gabriel Shepherd stepped out of the disused office and once more beat the Earl in the face with the shovel he was holding.