Chapter 29

Copyright© 2010 by Michael Wolfam

The concrete tunnel ended abruptly. "Now what, Grannie?" Liv asked.

"Look above your head, there's a rope. Just give it a yank." Liv jumped up and grabbed the thin white rope. There was a clicking noise, the ceiling swung open, and a wooden ladder dropped into the hole.

"Was your dad batman? What is all this?" Finn asked. There was no way this day could get any stranger. He was running for his life, armed to the teeth, in an underground tunnel with a girl from high school and her grandma. And they said being a civilian would be boring.

"I found this escape tunnel after your dad disappeared." Grannie paused to catch her breath. "I was cleaning the safe and accidently hit that button. When he built the house, he must have dug a trench between it and the garage. The sidewalk runs right over it. He even made concrete planters to help cover the tunnel." Sadness filled Grannie's voice. "They better not mess with my damn geraniums."

Finn paused at the bottom of the ladder and aimed his P-90 at the darkness above. "Cover me, I'm going up."

"Okay, but turn your flashlight off. We don't want to give away our position." Liv crouched down and aimed at the square opening with her assault rifle.

"Yeah, good call." Finn climbed up cautiously then scanned the shadow filled garage. There were tool chests, machining tools, car parts and furniture, but no movement. He looked back in the hole. "All clear," he whispered, "come on up."

First Liv, then Grannie climbed out. The sound of machine gun bolts slamming back and forth punctuated the eerie night. They could hear bullets tearing through wood and glass.

"They must have suppressors on their guns," Finn whispered as he crept over to one of the windows facing the house. "That's why we can barely hear the gunshots." He slowly raised his eyes to the glass. The carnage was astounding. There were about twenty shadowy figures lined up, blasting at the house. Though their weapons were suppressed, faint muzzle flashes flickered in the darkness. Finn dropped back down and reported the scene. In the faint glow, leaking through the garage windows, he could see the look of sadness on the women's faces as they contemplated the destruction of their home.

"A car accident, huh? I wasn't born yesterday, Olivia Tuyen Driscol. What did you do this time?"

When Grannie resorted to using her full name, Liv knew she was in serious trouble. She could hardly blame her, this time. "I saw some guy get murdered and then some other guy chased after me.

"Is that all?" Grannie demanded.

"Oh, and I killed one of their guys ... by tricking him into driving off a cliff!"

The gunfire abruptly ended and Liv crept over to the window to investigate. Through the partially frosted glass, she could see two men approaching the house. They climbed on the porch and heaved something large through the broken kitchen window. They ran away from the house and joined the other men. One stepped away from the group and tossed a small object at the house. Seconds later, flames appeared in the kitchen window of her childhood home. "Motherfuckers." Liv jumped up and raised the assault rifle to her shoulder.

Finn yanked her back to the ground before she could open fire. "You wanna get us killed? There are way too many of 'em. They look like professionals, too. I bet they've got another team providing cover somewhere out there. At least, that's how I'd do it. We could take a few out, but once they figure out where we are, it's gonna be over real quick. Our only chance is to hide here and pray that our dear and fluffy lord keeps us safe. Got it?"

Liv hated his logic. She wanted nothing more than to strike out. All she wanted was to get this vicious group off her back. The AR-15 clutched tightly in her hands provided the simplest method of achieving that goal. She and her dad had built the assault rifle together, and now she desperately wanted to use it to strike back. The ferocity of the fire turned night to day, casting a red glow over the interior. It looked as if they were refugees in hell's garage.

Liv wanted to get back to the way life had been less than twenty-four hours ago. Back to her boring waitressing job. Back to driving her crappy Porsche and, most importantly, back to living in the house her dad had built.

"Come on, Finn. Can't I kill at least one? They're burning my Playstation. I had like 800 bucks in games, and I'm gonna lose all my saved progress!"

"Look, I'll buy you another Playstation if you just keep your head down." Finn tried to comfort her. As he looked over at Liv, he noticed a familiar shape, lit by the eerie, red glow from the burning house.

"Hey, is that your dad's old Starfire?"

The distraction was a welcome relief. Liv turned her attention to the old car parked in the center of the garage. The 1962 Oldsmobile Starfire convertible had been her dad's baby. Powered by the famous Skyrocket V-8, producing 345 horsepower, it was the ultimate cruiser. The convertible was candy apple red, with a white stripe running down the side and a white canvas top. Four headlights were set in a massive chrome grill.

In the red glow, the Starfire looked positively evil to Liv. "Yeah, that's it. I don't drive it much, but I like to start it up every now and then. Keeps the fluids moving. Not really my style, but it's actually pretty fun to drive, for an old car."

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