I did my best to navigate through this mess, but everything was going to shit faster than I expected. I weaved between a minivan and a delivery truck just seconds before they rammed smack into one another, getting me to the final intersection before Lake Shore Drive and letting me on as I watched some of the hurried vehicles behind me crash and flip over as everyone fought to get ahead.
I could hear the strain on the engine as I got even faster, whipping around the cars in front by swiftly driving into whatever small pockets I could find and passing them up two at a time. More gas! BRAKE! Gas! Brake! Dodge right! No LEFT! Go left! Fuck!
I saw other cars trying to keep control while moving at top speed, but they didn't have the skill or the training to keep up with the rapidly scrolling pavement beneath them. They were wobbling all over the place, and every on ramp that I passed had another flood of amateur drivers trying to flee the madness! Stay alert, John! Keep an eye on what they're doing, or it's game over for all of us.
I was trying to race past a car on its left side, but then heard a loud bang as the front, driver's side, wheel blew out and the rubber of his tires went flying everywhere, leaving only a metal rim and a shower of sparks behind as the car sharply jerked over into my lane! I slammed my foot on the brake to keep him from hitting me and turning me over, but couldn't stop completely as more speeding cars were rushing up at me from behind! Switching back to the gas, I swerved right and nearly missed the car as it ran into the concrete partition on the side of the street.
Everyone was now moving into a demolition derby mentality, where cars were littered all over the place with no clear plan of action. It was then that I heard the radio again...full of blood curdling screams that sent chills up my spine. In the distance, I could see billows of black smoke coming from different parts of the city, cars completely flipped upside down in the park or out by the lake, some of them on fire. And yet, there were still more cars piling up both in front and behind me. I dodged back and forth between wrecks, the speed of my car causing the entire frame to drastically lead from one side to the other, my back end nearly fishtailing as I prayed my tires would continue to grip the ground beneath me! The road, littered with twisted metal and broken glass, I saw another car spin sideways and go into a deadly roll right in front of me! Dodge left! LEFT! My tires screamed from the effort, but thankfully they kept me going strong! ”Zkkzzzz…MAJOR outbreak in Wrigleyville….kkzzzzz...losing ground...need backup, ASAP!!!” The radio sizzled, and then another voice said, “You've got incoming! ETA...three minutes!!!” I was nearly thrown off balance as I suddenly heard the thunderous sound of low flying military choppers streaking overhead, seemingly out of nowhere! There must have been at least six of them, moving top speed, and armed to the teeth as they flew towards the downtown area! What the hell has been happening since I left the precinct???
Looking up at the helicopter armada, I almost didn't see a city bus trying to swerve back and forth on the right of me. It was too top heavy to stay the course, and I BARELY had enough time to weave into the left lane as I saw the bus tilting over to fall on its side and slide to a halt, with two more cars running right into the back of it. My car door was being scraped against the concrete separator and I had to bump another car over to get back on the street. I could hear more cars flipping over as they smashed into one another, the Drive becoming more clogged up by the second.
Don't worry, Spencer! Daddy's coming!
Explosions could be heard all around me as things got infinitely worse. I wasn't able to dodge as well as I was before, now bashing up against other vehicles during my every attempt to pass by them. And then...I heard something else on the radio. It was faint...but it was unmistakeable. A voice that I definitely recognized.
Dodge left! Dodge right! BRAKE! Gas!
I zigzagged as skillfully as I could before blindly reaching over to turn up the radio volume and tweak the knob to find the right channel. It was surprisingly clear this time. ”Logan! Come in, Logan! Talk to me!” What the…???
I swiftly darted around an ambulance that had been turned on its side in the street and saw the handheld radio almost slide right off the seat next to me. I lashed out with my hand JUST in time to catch it before it fell to the floor mats! Then I yelled out, “Sanchez???”
“Oh! So you decide to pick up now?” He said.
“What are you doing? How did you find me?” I asked.
That's when I heard Officer Frye's voice on the same frequency, “You didn't really think we were just gonna let you take an extended lunch break from work and not take us with you, did ya?”
Just then, I looked in my side mirror to see two more black undercover cop cars hitting top speed as they weaved around the cars and wreckage to pull up close on either side of me. Sanchez grinned, “You LOST us a few times back there, speed freak! Do you want our help or not?”
Frye said, “I told you...that was some CRAZY birthday cake! We need to keep Spencer safe so I can have the first piece next time!”
With all three cars straining to go as fast as possible, I let a warm feeling of comraderie wash over me as we saw the downtown Chicago skyline in front of us...blazing with smoke and fire. “It's nice to know I'm not the only crazy one out here today!” I said.
“Not by a long shot!” Frye replied. “So, you need a hand, or should we just leave you to your stunt driving exercise?”
“I'm certainly not going to say no!” I told him.
Sanchez said, “You heard the man, Frye! Let's clear a path and give him some room!” I heard their engines get even louder as they pulled ahead of me and started bullying the drivers in front of me with some serious maneuvers of their own. With heavy duty police bumpers on their front and back, they did their best not to hurt anybody, but they definitely made it clear that they needed to get the fuck out of our way before they ended up rolling over on their sides like some of the other unfortunate souls out here. Like a well practiced football team, Frye and Sanchez 'blocked' for me as best as they could, keeping them out of my path. All three sirens blazing, we pushed harder to get to the city...where things were getting much worse by the second.
“Sanchez!” Frye shouted out. “On your right!” Sanchez slowed down to keep someone else from cutting me off.
“Left side, Frye! SUV at 9 O'clock!” Sanchez replied, and Frye had to bump him off to the side to keep the lane clear.
I turned the wheel back and forth, doing my best to hold on. At one point, I think I felt the two right tires of my car actually leave the ground before slamming back down and getting right again. I saw two cars in another lane fighting for a spot...causing them to crash and flip up and over to roll right off the road! I could see more helicopters flying around the city, a harsh tilt as they circled back around to take care of the immediate threat. This didn't look good at all.
“Eyes open, Logan!” Sanchez hollered at me as a truck in front of me began to swerve back and forth as the driver began to lose control. “Keep your head in the game!”
Suddenly, I saw a few straps snap and give way...and a cluster of untapped beer kegs came spilling out onto the street, their heavy metal clanging filling the air as they bounced along violently behind their carrier. As if I didn't have enough to worry about! I dodged around the falling kegs as best as I could, but they were everywhere! My tires actually rolled over one of them, nearly launching me in the air as the entire jumped wildly from the impact.
Frye asked, “Ummmm...beer kegs don't explode...do they?” Before he could finish his sentence, two of the kegs burst wide open and were thrust into a series of insane spins as the highly pressurized beer gushed out of the metal cracks and sprayed the windshield. “Shit! Yeah...beer kegs explode! HEADS UP, people!”
I barely had time to turn my wipers on before the beer had completely covered my vision and left me trying to navigate with near zero visibility! I could hear and feel the kegs bouncing off of my hood, the headlights shattering as they slammed into me. But we couldn't stop now! I was so close! So very close.
At this point, I was able to get around the offensive beer truck, and cleaned my windshield just in time to see a MAN fly up onto my hood! The shock of it terrified me. At this speed, if I didn't kill him, I would have definitely broken every bone in his body. I instantly felt sick to my stomach. I didn't see him. Nor did I see the man that I hit shortly afterward. Or the woman after that. Then I noticed something...that stare. That dead stare. The bloodstained clothes, the soiled teeth, the murderous gaze. Looking ahead, there were tons of these people just wandering around in the middle of Lake Shore Drive! Even in all this traffic. And not a single one of them felt scared as the autos nearly turned themselves over trying to avoid hitting them. Not only that...but on a closer look, they were all wearing Chicago Cubs T-shirts, jerseys, and hats. The whole giant cluster of them. Possibly coming from the overrun Wrigleyville massacre going on right now.
Cars were running them down by the dozen, but the few that had the compassion to stop, were being dragged from their cars...thrown to the ground...and devoured alive!!! Jesus!
It was then that I heard Sanchez say, “No way! Please tell me these goddamn 'things' didn't just fuck with the World Series!”
Frye grinned to himself. “Haaaa!!! The curse continues, bro!”
Sanchez replied, “Alright...*NOW* I'm pissed!!!”
“Easy, Sanchez...” I said. “We've got civilians out here too.”
“I know, I know! But if I catch anybody in a White Sox jersey...consider them road kill!”
It was impossible to tell the hostiles from the victims they were pursuing, so we just tried to worm our way around them all. Cars were piling up left and right. I had never seen such devastation. The curves in the Drive were getting more severe as I got closer to the center of downtown. After all the wear and tear that I had been putting this cop car through over the last 25 minutes or so, I don't think I'm going to be able to handle these corners as well as I was before. Especially with all of this 'tire popping' debris in the way.
“What's the plan, John! Things are getting tight around here!” Sanchez called out.
“We've gotta get off the Drive! I doubt it'll get us around the city safely! Not with it breaking open the way it is!” I said, revving the engine to cruise past a pick up truck as it hit another car on the side of him. “Do you think we can make it to lower Wacker?”
“Don't do it!” Frye warned. “If it's as clogged up as this road to hell is...you'll be trapped down there! Sardines in a can!”
“So what's the game plan then???” Sanchez hollered, nearly running right into the back of a tow truck before skating around it just in time.
“I need time to THINK!” I told them.
“Not a luxury we've got to give right now, kid!” Frye said.
That's when I saw it. Heard. Practically felt the street rumbling beneath the car. A huge 18-wheeler truck was coming up behind us. FAST! The front end had already taken a lot of damage, seeing as the driver had been using it to smash his way through all opposition! A metal gladiator, valiantly tearing through traffic like something straight out of a monster movie. He wasn't even giving other cars a chance to get out of his way...he simply rolled right over them or knocked them off the road as if they were mere toys in comparison.
“Ummm...are you guys seeing what I see? Or am I fucked up right now?” Frye asked.
“Yes, and yes!” Sanchez told him. “He's coming hard, Logan! He'll be on top of us any minute!”
Frye had to slide into the concrete wall and fight to get back on task as fiery sparks erupted from the passenger side of his car! “Let that mother fucker PASS! Big dog doesn't look like he's playing games!”
“No can do, Frye!” I said. “If we let him get ahead of us, he's going to leave such an apocalyptic MESS in his wake that we won't be able to get around it!”
As soon as I said it, I saw the 18-wheeler tear through two more cars, ramming them in the back and causing them to spin off to the side. Another car in front of him tried to swerve out of the way, but missed the curve and rolled right off of the off ramp, rolling helplessly into the side of a tree!
He wasn't stopping. He was headed right for us. And Sanchez and Frye couldn't do a damn thing to stop him!
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