“My car’s being stolen,” he yelled toward the phone. “Like now, like I’m on my bike chasing him right now. I’m behind him and I can still see him. Get the cops!” “Yessir. Appropriate steps are being taken even as we speak, sir. Sir, do not approach the stolen vehicle,” the operator warned him. “The driver could be dangerous.”
Sam gaped at the phone. “Ya think? Get me some help!” He looked up to get his bearings—just in time to see that the Camaro had braked at a stop sign, almost immediately in front of him. He didn’t slam into the rear bumper, but he did hit it hard enough to end up on the ground, the bike lying on its side and spinning its front wheel. The car took off again. Only slightly bruised, determined and undaunted despite the 911 operator’s warning, he picked up the bike, climbed on, ascertained that it was still functional, and resumed pedaling madly. Throughout it all he had never let go of the cell phone.
As if to remind him of the fact, and of his resolve, the emergency operator’s voice sang reassuringly out to him from the tiny speaker. “Sir, sir—we’re trying to trace your call. Are you all right? Sir?”
At the speed he was going he needed both hands to steer. “Cops. Now,” he barked at the phone before sliding it, still on, back into his jacket pocket. He didn’t need to make small talk in order for the police to be able to trace him. He needed all the wind he could spare to keep pedaling.
In smaller communities, industrial and commercial centers are not as far from residential areas as they are in a great metropolis. Still, the chase had covered enough ground so that by the time the Camaro busted the lock on the gates to the old cement factory and materials storage yard, Sam was pretty well winded. It was a relief when the Camaro entered the yard and finally slowed down. Hopping off the bike, he stowed it carefully out of sight and followed the car on foot. Disappearing briefly behind a slow-moving train, the Camaro emerged a few moments later. For the first time since it had awakened him and pulled out of the family driveway Sam had a good look at the front of the vehicle.
There was no one in the driver’s seat.
As he tried to digest this impossibility, arguing that surely he had not seen correctly, that it had been a trick of the darkness, the car cruised slowly around the corner of the abandoned factory. He followed with care, making sure to keep out of sight while bearing in mind the emergency operator’s warning. The driver could be dangerous—except there was no driver. That, he reflected a little unsteadily, could also be dangerous. To his state of mind.
It got worse when the car, its outline muddled by distance and darkness, appeared to change its shape and stand up.
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