Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chapter 18

Chapter 18

Nope. Have a bag thrown over their heads and being brought to an undisclosed location was still not as glamorous as they’d thought about in the movies. At least this time, though, there was a little more comfort about it.

Last time, when James Franco’s men and those two creepy twins threw bags over their heads, they didn’t know where they were going or what was going on. The last image either of them saw was Tyler being led away by Izzy then the sounds of Evie hitting someone hard, which kind of made them glad they weren’t around to witness all of that. This time, however, they knew where they were headed: Right towards Nicolas Cage’s secret lair in New Orleans, then of course, certain death.

Keep in mind, they weren’t comforted by the destination, but at least this time by having some idea where they were going, which provides a lot more comfort in the long run. Nor did it explain why, once again, they were having bags thrown over their heads. At this point the figured it was probably some kind of power play.

“Hey, Mars?” Kaplan asked a little before the crossed over in the Louisiana. Of course, they didn’t know that, to them it was one dark blur.

“What’s up?” 

“Are we bad ‘Chosen Ones’?”

That was a difficult question. On the one hand, it took them all of four minutes to get captured, and they hadn’t made it as far as the other two. On the other, they weren’t dead yet, and they hadn’t turned evil and tried to join the bad guys. So it was a tossup and Mars helpfully put that information out there.

“Yeah,” Kaplan responded, “I guess you’re right.”

“If it helps,” one of the voices they recognized as Not Elizabeth so it had to be Poe said, “the previous two guys spent three days stalking the lady we’re sacrificing and trying to liberate her, only to find out that she was doing the whole thing willingly.” 

It helped a little, but mostly Poe didn’t want Mars and Kaplan to head to their deaths thinking they were complete failures. No one really deserved that.

“See... we don’t suck, totally,” Mars responded.

“Thanks,” Kaplan responded. “Of course, Mars...”

“What’s up?” Mars responded.

“It’s just a shame that while we don’t suck at saving the world, the same can’t be said for these two when it comes to tying knots.”

Mars heard a door open and then a tug at his shirt, followed by the scraping of asphalt and grass while he rolled. The bag was ripped dramatically off his head while the moonlight was temporarily too blinding, but the fresh air felt surprisingly good. He looked up to see Kaplan standing there, shirt ripped but otherwise fine.

“How did you--” Mars looked at Kaplan’s wrists, which were unbound, “You’re not a wizard are you?”

The moment was ruined by the tires of Poe’s car as she pushed the brakes all the way to the floor. It skidded slightly before coming to a complete, smoky stop.

“Hey, let’s explain all this while we’re running.”

It had been Elizabeth who insisted on taking a few of the lesser known roads on the way to Nicolas Cage’s secret lair. The highways, while easily accessible, were full of cops that might question as to why two men were tied up in their backseat, or just random bystanders that might question the exact same thing. It was also Elizabeth who insisted that her father took her sailing every weekend, so she knew how to tie a knot, and she wasn’t going to let Poe tell her what to do. However, it was Kaplan who realized if he held his hands just right, he could wriggle out of them.

Because they were on back roads, the pair managed to slip into the forest near the road before the two women were even out of the car. Normally, running into a forest in the middle of the night with no equipment when they weren’t even sure of the state they were currently in would be recommended, but at this point they were just happy to not have bags over their heads.

“We... are... we... going?” Mars huffed. Running was difficult with his hands still tied behind his back. 

Kaplan didn’t know, either, other than, “away from the women attacking them.” He tried to express this, but tripped over a rock and faceplanted.

“Get up!” Mars stopped and hissed. He could hear twigs snapping. Kaplan was unresponsive. He shoved him again with his foot, this time leaving a big muddy footprint on his back.

“KAPLAN GET UP!” Mars could see that he was breathing. He looked around nervously for a few minutes. 

Mars weighed his options. By his calculations, it would take only about another minute for the two women to find them.... stealth hadn’t been their biggest priority in escaping. And since he wasn’t a robot and hadn’t run from people in terror since the fifth grade when he accidentally scuffed up Ronnie Tuscero’s new shoes, he didn’t realize that his calculations were off and he only had about 30 seconds before they burst through that series of bushes and were on them with God knew what weapons. 

Actually, it was probably tasers again. And he wasn’t looking forward to having more tasers shoved in him. 

Mars slipped around the nearest tree, arms still behind his back, carefully trying to formulate a plan. The air around him was hot and sticky, which, for Louisiana, actually was cool considering the temperatures the day before. He just wouldn’t describe it as cool. The moonlight tried to shine down through the trees, so he could barely see anything. This worked to his advantage, as he could clearly see when Poe got closer, holding a tiny flashlight.

Mars never could be described as a “big guy”. Always small for his age he was always picked last. Even after his last growth spurt, which left him even skinner and ganglier for some reason, didn’t add much weight to him. Which was fine by him, because he never had much interest in contact sports.

However, he was fairly certain that by slamming his body into Poe, who was a clear head shorter than him, it would knock her down long enough for him to get some kind of upper hand. Then he could deal with Elizabeth on different terms when she burst through in just a minute. 

Mars waited for her to come across Kaplan and spring into action. Poe knelt down for a second and felt for a pulse. Then she stood up straight and starting swinging her flashlight around. Waiting for her to turn her back to him, Mars charged at her with all of his might... and missed.

He never did have any interest in contact sports.

Poe, hearing the crunching of leaves, twigs, and other dead things that populated the floor of forests, spun around to watch as Mars tripped over Kaplan’s currently splayed leg and tripped in front of her. 

Unfortunately as she spun, she managed to trip over the same rock that Kaplan had discovered with his own legs, bringing her face down on the back of Mars’ head as he attempted to correct his mistake and stand up using only his core since his hands were still behind his back.

The result was something like a headbutt. It was somewhat successful for Mars as he received the desired effect of knocking Poe off her feet with the added benefit of bloodying and possibly breaking her nose. It was unsuccessful in the sense that it caused Mars to lose his balance temporarily, collapsing back to the ground. It was at this moment that Elizabeth caught up to Poe.

Elizabeth didn’t pause to see if her partner in crime was ok. She figured the casual swearing as she rocked back and forth on the ground ensured that she was at least alive, and probably not really ok. The bigger threat, or so she thought, for the moment was Mars, who was struggling to stand up with his hands behind his back and his head now throbbing.

Focusing on these two things was a mistake, mostly because she didn’t see Kaplan standing up. She also didn’t see him pick up a tree branch. And she did, however, see the tree branch as it smashed her right in the face, giving her a bloody nose to match her partner’s. 

Mars managed to struggle to his feet, “You ok?”

“Yeah,” Kaplan replied, putting what had been an ordinary tree branch until a few minutes ago up to his shoulder like a club, “I think we did good.” 

“So... do we leave them here?” 

“I’ll be honest with you, I’m still sorta new to all of this so I’m not sure.” Kaplan smacked a mosquito.

“A lot of bugs. Seems like it would be kind of mean to just leave them sitting here.”

“Plus, it’s not like we know the way to Nicolas Cage’s secret lair.”

“We only really need one of them for that.”

“JUST TAKE US BOTH, YOU IDIOTS!” Elizabeth yelled, voice muffled by her hands which were currently holding her nose.

“I don’t know that I like taking orders from the bad guy, to be honest with you,” Mars responded. He also didn’t like the fact that Kaplan hadn’t untied him yet, but that was another fight.

Mars and Kaplan stared down at the two women for a moment. Both were happy in their own way that for the first time in two days, they would not be the ones with the bags on their heads.

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