Act II Chapter III
In It to Win It ~ Saliva (In It to Win It)
D: 12:23 A.M. June 24th, 2016
It had been nearly an entire week since Sam had become the way he was now. He had strangely grown almost accustomed to it by this point; it had been so long that he no longer had issues speaking or walking or really doing any task for that matter. The fact that he had nearly acclimated to his new form flawlessly and with great ease bothered him to say the least. For what it was worth, he had the support of his father and Nicky. Despite how much he had grown to his self, the public view of the victims of whatever happened to Sam was terrible.
Tensions had become quite high; Sam had been lucky enough to have been able to lay low at his father’s house without the need of having to go anywhere. In hopes to see there was any sort of help for those like him, Sam had scoured the airwaves and the other tabloids to see what was happening outside of Texas. The way the whole situation was being handled was absolutely horrendously; no one really seemed interested in helping those who had been changed. The ones around the globe that had not been 'collected' by the world governments had either been killed off by their own home communities or had taken their own life in fear of what might happen to them. Sam knew there was several out there who had slipped into hiding or just flat out ran away like a dog fleeing an abusive owner's home. He also knew that it was only a matter of time before either the government, who had seemed quite interested in 'cleaning' up whatever was happening, or some redneck vigilante discovered Sam and decided to do whatever they wished to do to him. Regardless of whatever was going on, society as a whole was becoming very jumpy and paranoid. To top things off, it didn't help that everyone across the United States were practically raiding stores for ammunition and supplies.
Now, as much as his father had advised against it, Nicky and Sam were on their way to her house to give his father some space and for some privacy. It had taken the heaviest toll on his father, who had spent the entire week sleepless and paranoid for himself and his son. He had not been to work since Sam had changed. As much as he would have hated to admit it, he needed some time to rest and sleep, and so the two left him to take some sleeping aids and an empty house to not have to worry about. Hopefully, he would actually cash in on said sleep while they were gone.
To their much of their fortune, it was very early Friday morning; the only people still out on the roads were a few people that were around for whatever late night activity was going on. They had stopped along the way to get gas from a gas station in the middle of town. Nicky got out to pump the gas and Sam sat in the car, hidden by the dark window tint of his window and in the shadow of the roof of his car. He watched Nicky walk into the store to prepay for the gas. Once she disappeared into the store, he sat wordlessly as he looked around his car at the three holed paths through his car that those aliens had shot through his car. He had filled in the holes with some basic carpenter filler. It wasn't perfect, but it did its trick. Even if it had not had worked perfectly, there were other damages to the vehicle from the same instance that were more important. Like the now somewhat loose bumper cover on the front and the scrap marks on the underside of the car from the brief airtime that it had achieved while exiting the highway.
Sam looked back to the store to see Nicky return outside as he went to pump the gas. As she placed the nozzle into the fuel, he looked away as he was forced into a deep yawn; a reflection of his own tired self. If it had not been for Nicky, he would most likely not slept at all. This was one of the many ways that she had helped. Whether he would admit it openly or not didn't matter, he did truly did appreciate it. Of course now he faced the issue of not really knowing how to show it. He was different enough now to even question whether trying the normal way of displaying his emotions would even come across appropriately in his new body.
When he looked back towards the store just in time to notice the clerk approaching the Challenger. Sam recognized the clerk, Frank Owens, who was a good friend of his father. If it had been anyone else who had worked there Sam would have already had made an attempt to escape, but if there was anyone outside of the family who would be non-hostile towards Sam's current state it would be him. As Nicky attempted to stop Frank a few paces from the pump, Sam noticed he was carrying a few boxes in front of him. Even before she had stopped Frank in his tracks, she began to give him just about every excuse to not see Sam; the catalog consisted of everything from 'he is sick' to even 'he's not even in there.'
Unable to stand by any further without intervention, Sam rolled the window down. “Nicky! It's right...”
“But Sam!” Nicky gave nervous protest.
“It’s just Frank, babe... He isn't going to hurt me.” Sam sighed.
She stepped aside and let Frank past.
“Sam? Is that really you?” He asked almost astonished.
Sam simply nodded as Frank stood before the door of the car.
“When Nick said you were pretty sick I... I had a feeling this is what she meant.”
“Yeah...” Sam sighed. “We have been trying to keep it quiet.”
“Well no shit!” Frank scoffed slightly. “With how everyone is handling all of the others? I'm not surprised...” He paused to consider. “It makes me sick knowing that people could do that to their own...”
“Crazy people make people do crazy things.” Sam reasoned softly.
“That's a crock of crap, Sam, and you know it; your like one of my kids by this point. I've always been there for you and your father and I couldn't imagine myself doing what some of these loons are doing!”
Sam sighed. “If only everyone else could share your beliefs...”
“Yeah... Well, anyway... I won't keep you any longer. You should probably get back to where you need to be.”
“Here... I threw these boxes of things together for you two.” Frank told Sam as he passed the small boxes he carried out through the window. “There is stuff like food, medical stuff, and some other things that you might need.”
“Oh... Well thanks again. We might need these.” Sam smiled slightly at the sudden gifts as he placed them in the back seat of his car.
“Anytime, Sam.” Frank stood back from the window. “The gas is on me too... If you need anything else let me know, alright?”
“Yeah... We will.”
“Alrighty then. Run along, now.” Frank took yet another step back as he watched Nicky return to her side of the car.
Sam started the car as she slid into the seat beside him.
“Stay safe, Sam!”
“Will do!” Sam spoke above the idling of his car.
Sam shifted into gear and drove to the exit of the gas station. He rolled his window up and looked both ways down the street before pulling out onto the empty road. With a full tank of gas and the good blessing of a family friend, he eased down the roads through town. Nicky had been silent for several moments before she placed her hand over Sam's hand that rested on the stick.
“I'm sorry... I slipped up back there...” Nicky admitted softly.
“It’s alright, babe... We just have to be more careful, alright?” He assured her soothingly to ease any nervousness she had.
“I guess so...” She got quiet for yet another long while as the two stared down the barren streets of the town.
“Yeah?” She looked over at him from her gaze at the side mirror.
“I love you...”
“I love you too.”
“I want you to know that if anything happens to me, I will do everything I can to make sure your OK... Alright?” Sam looked over at her.
Nicky shifted in her seat slightly. “Sam... stop talking like that.”
“It scares me...”
“Of course...” He nodded slightly as he placed his large hand on her knee. “Sorry.”
“It’s alright... You didn't mean it...”
Sam looked forward again with a smooth exhale. “It’s a nice night a drive...”
“Yeah...” She sighed. “It might be better if there weren’t cars behind us...” Nicky pointed out as she looked back to the mirror.
“There are cars behind us?” Sam asked, surprised he had not even really noticed any.
“Yeah... They turned onto the road right after we left the gas station...” She yawned softly.
“Huh.” Sam noted tautly as he moved himself so he could actually look into the mirror.
Nicky immediately sensed his sudden nerves. “What’s wrong?”
“I'm doing five under the speed limit... they should have passed a while ago...” Sam looked back at the two pairs of headlights that were seemingly mirroring his speed.
“Fuck.” Nicky cursed very nervously as she checked her seat harness.
Sam looked up ahead to the next intersection that was just a bit ahead of them. He didn't like the implication of being followed, and if he was being followed, he would rather know about it. And so he figured a simple method to test this.
“Hold on.” He instructed her as he tightened his grip on the steering wheel.
At nearly the last moment, Sam threw his right turn signal on and swiftly made the turn but a moment later. As he shifted the direction of the car towards another road, he watched as the pair of cars followed his direction. The two vehicles, a red and black colored R34 Skyline followed by a dark gray Hummer H1, matched Sam's pace and turn visibly under the streetlights. Sam gritted his jaws together and turned right onto the first road after his initial turn; once again, the vehicles stayed with Sam as he turned with no indication.
It was obvious by this point; while the vehicles were making no directly aggressive maneuvers, they seemed quite aligned on following him. Despite his rising nervousness, he wasn't going to stop for them. If anything, he would accept such a fate if they could catch him. Sam shifted into a different mindset at this realization yet he somehow returned to his calm and eased pace he had after leaving the gas station. Doing his best to play it off like he had made a mistake and forgot something, he turned back onto the road they had been on after another correction. This time they were heading back towards the gas station that they had left. And so the two vehicles continued to match his pace as he continued on down the road through many sets of green lights. Eventually they approached a soon to be red light; which was what Sam was hoping before. He stopped the Challenger appropriately at the red light. As expected, the two following cars stacked up behind him. Sam looked down each direction of the road to see only a Semi truck coming down the left road with the current green light.
“Do you trust me?” Sam asked Nicky quickly as he watched calculatingly at the truck that was soon to enter the intersection.
“Yes.” With her word, he readied himself.
At the perfect moment, Sam stamped the gas pedal down before dropping the clutch down a moment after the engine began swiftly rising to power. The tires squealed aggressively as the car belted forward in front of the truck. Nicky let out a terrified scream as the truck blared its horn as the car raced into the intersection. Despite all of this and due to precision planning, the Challenger cleared the intersection just before the truck entered the intersection. Once the car had reached most of the way through the intersection, Sam viciously turned the wheel left as he sent the car into a sliding J-turn. By the time the truck had passed through the intersection, Sam had flipped the car around towards the opposite direction and had begun fighting the pedals as the car began to accelerate past the two followers. Sam glanced over just enough to notice that the Skyline was sporting a hidden blue colored light strip.
The Challenger roared loudly down the road as fast as Sam could push it. As he roared on through the gears he had glanced back to see that the Skyline had pulled a quick U-turn after Sam. By the time that he had shifted into the third gear, the Skyline was starting to catch up. This was quite the surprise to Sam as he had never seen a Skyline with as much pickup as this one did. Despite his attempts at besting the follower at speed, the interceptor roared up behind the Challenger with quite the menacing amount of ease; it was as if it had hardly been tested. Once it had placed its clear presence behind the Challenger, the Skyline jolted forward as it accelerated it's bumper into the rear of the Challenger. Sam's car shifted harshly from the shunt enough to jar the two in their seats.
“Fuck!” Sam shouted as he quickly corrected the wheel from the shunt.
Nicky had just about lost her mind at this point. No matter how much she trusted Sam, she could not help being terrified.
“Nicky! Grab the phone!” Sam shouted as he watched the Skyline furiously turn and accelerate to the right side of the Challenger. “Call my dad!”
Nicky frantically grabbed the phone that somehow hadn't gotten thrown from the pockets of the center console. She quickly attempted to make a call. “It’s not working!”
Sam was going to raise concern at this, but stopped as the Skyline swayed over to give a grinding shove against the Challenger. With the sudden shove, the passenger windows shattered like a spider's web, causing an additional rush of desperation to pierce his already erratic state. He veered off swiftly from the Skyline as he tried to do whatever he could to get some distance from it. As he struggled for even the smallest bit of space, he looked for any road he could turn on; if he couldn't out speed the pursuer he might be able to out maneuver them. To his much in his favor, he immediately found a stable turn ahead. Even with the car on his ass, he was going to make it. He got as much space as he could before he aggressively took the left turn. It was a very hot maneuver and the amount of tire squealing that was happening as he struggled to turn and brake at the same time reflected it. The maneuver was going as planned until the Skyline, who had counteracted with Sam's movement, shoved its nose against the side of the car just behind the rear wheel; the near perfect pit stop.
The Challenger was sent into a top-like spin as the rear of the car swung around with only little traction from the back wheels. Despite the suddenness of the spin, Sam somehow was able to counter this collision. With the snap of the wheel and a swift shift into reverse, he stopped the slide just to catch the momentum of the car so that it would continue the same direction only in reverse. Unfortunately, the Skyline seemed none too impressed with this and continued to barrel towards the front of the car. Sam looked forward to watch just as the pursuer shoved the nose of his car into the front of the Challenger. The engine suddenly screamed as it struggled against the shoving that was causing it to reverse faster than the gearing would allow. Sam pressed the clutch down to save the transmission as he tried his best to see who was driving the Skyline before he would attempt to get out of this desperate situation. The cabin of the vehicle was too dark and it would be fruitless to stick around any longer to get a better look.
After a moment of being shoved around, Sam suddenly let go of the clutch pedal. As damaging as this could be to the transmission, the Challenger successfully returned to reverse as the engine continued to scream painfully at the speed it was being forced through. Unwilling to play the backwards game of shove, Sam swiftly turned the steering wheel of the car in order to get away from the Skyline. The Challenger quickly whipped around to the side of the Skyline before he straightened the wheels to catch the momentum of the vehicle to face the same direction of the pursuer. Sam then, unlike the J-turn cliché of shifting into gear to keep going with the momentum of the vehicle, shoved the gas pedal to the floor as he straightened out; this lead to the rear tires spinning in reverse against the forward motion. Once the car had been straightened out and the rear tires were pulling against the car's momentum, Sam swiftly slowed the car down with the help of its brakes. The Skyline jolted ahead of the Challenger, clearly not expecting the sudden loss in speed. Sam let the car stop before he released the brake pedal and let the still reversing tires do the work in pulling the car backwards away from Skyline which had only reached the mid-process of slowing down.
Once the Challenger was reversing at a decent speed, Sam once again spun the wheel viciously to pull yet another J-turn. The car caught the momentum perfectly just as he shifted harshly into gear; the Challenger roared delightedly as it now operated under correct operational conditions. With the car now quickly making some ground from the Skyline, Sam turned back on the main road towards the direction of his father's house. As he made the turn he was surprised to almost collide with the Hummer that had been accompanied the Skyline before. The driver of the truck even had attempted, and almost succeeded, to ram into the Challenger. Sam had managed to avoid collision however. He was fueled and locked tight on concentrating on getting as far and as fast as he could away from the Skyline. Despite all of the maneuvering and action that he had taken, it wasn't long however before the lights of the Skyline appeared back on the road behind him to continue the chase.
“Sam! The phone still isn't working!” Nicky screamed. “What are we going to do!?”
Sam grimaced as the Skyline began to start catching up to the Challenger. They would never make it back to his father's house at this pace; they needed something else. They needed to gain some attention to themselves.
“Alright! Just hang on!” Sam yelled over the voluminous engine.
Sam slowed suddenly to make a quick turn onto another road towards the center of town. Not surprisingly, the Skyline followed suit and continued on gaining ground quite quickly. Sam was going for the Police station, and he was going to take the fastest route he could while making as many turns as he could. Low and behold, this lead to a discovery of a glorious saving grace. He was able to corner better than the driver of the Skyline; while it might have not done much to gain any great distances, it helped prevent any further pit maneuvers. With every passing turn, the Skyline seem to have a bit more trouble keeping traction around the corners. The driver was starting to have difficulties as the chase continued; if Sam kept this up he might just escape.
Soon he found himself sliding the Challenger onto the roadway that was near the Police station. With every ounce of finesse he could muster, he fixed the Challenger back into stable grounds as he raced down the street towards the station. As he began to get closer to the station, he pressed and held the horn of his car down. While the horn may have blared loudly, he felt as if this wouldn't be enough to alert anyone, and so he quickly turned into the parking lot where all of the off duty cars were resting. With the Skyline in tow, still behind him as he entered the police lot, he began to drift and power slide around the maze of law enforcement vehicles. More surprisingly was that the pursuing car was attempting to follow in the same crazed path that Sam was taking.
Sam wouldn't keep this up forever, but he would make sure that everyone in the whole station knew what was going on. It wouldn't be all that hard for two reasons: The first being that the Challenger and the Skyline were making an absurd amount of noise. The second was the nearly comical fact that there were a trio of police officers standing just outside of the back door of the station watching this unfold; coffee cups firmly held in their hands that were frozen in shock. Several more officers began to join them as they exited the station to witness the spectacle. With a good amount of witnesses, Sam finished his current lap around the lot before racing for the exit.
The Challenger power slid aggressively back onto the road. Sam continued the power slide to go full 180 around the road to only go onto the other street that ran along the other side of the station. He glanced out the passenger window from the Skyline in the mirror to see several of the officers entering their cars to give chase. With their situation lit up like a stadium on a clear night, the police would now get directly involved. Now that the specific task had been completed, Sam turned down another street just in time to barely miss a Dodge Charger Police cruiser that was heading back towards the station at the end of his shift. Unfortunately, the cruiser's shift was now far from over as it, after almost being struck by two speeding vehicles, redirected his course to give chase. Sam now felt a bit more at ease with an actual set of police lights behind him besides the lonely lights of the Skyline.
Sam continued on his drastic and constantly changing path; it was successfully keeping the Skyline at a bit of a distance while letting Sam stay close to the area of the station so that the Police could get a bit more assembled. After several more passes and turns the roadway had become riddled with several Ford Crown Victoria and Dodge Charger police cruisers that were trying to do what they could to stop the two seemingly crazed cars. Eventually Sam spotted two Highway Reapers joining the chase for the two. With the pursuit elevated to an acceptable level, he slid the Challenger around a Crown Victoria in the center of an intersection as he slipped back onto the main road before belting everything they car could muster. The acceleration of the Challenger and the Skyline were too much for the rest of the police cruisers, and so they were left behind as they did their best to follow. Nothing was really seemed to happen for several long moments until a pair of law enforcement vehicles clearly were catching up to the two; it was then revealed that even the acceleration of the Skyline was no longer the greatest. It came clearly second to the pair of Dodge Viper Highway Reapers that were roaring up swiftly behind the Skyline.
The Skyline seemed to back off at the two interceptors as they shoved on madly, and much to Sam's disbelief, the two spread apart to pass quickly on either side of the Skyline. Sam growled instinctively as the interceptors blew past the car that had been following him relentlessly; it was almost if they had intended to ignore the car only to go straight for him. The two Vipers quickly charged right up along each side of him and matched his speed. Before he had even hardly the time to react, the both began to steer closer to both sides of his car; as risky of a maneuver as it was, they were clearly going to try to pinch his car between each other and forcefully slow him to a stop. With the new realization that the Skyline was with some sort of law enforcement, Sam realized this might be his last run. Who knows what would happen to him if he stopped now.
Race like it’s your last... he almost could mentally hear Ali's voice in his head.
With a swift tightening of his knuckles and a screamed word of profanity, Sam jerked the wheel to the left. This send the Challenger viciously into the side of the left Highway Reaper. With such a collision of mass, the Viper staggered slightly only to recover soon. Sam however had snapped the wheel to the right as the Challenger swayed its weight back from the shift in motion. The Challenger rode the momentum of the sway as it slammed sickeningly into the right Viper who had kept with the formation of its partner. The collision went as well as the first but the interceptor clearly had not taken the hint, and so Sam continued to riding the momentum to go back into the left Viper once again, turning the Challenger into a pinball in close proximity to two opposing walls. Each collision was could have been crippling for anyone involved, even if the Challenger and the Vipers had been reinforced for such rough situations.
After several alternating collisions, Sam screamed furiously as he saw his chance to dispatch one of the Vipers. With a final hard jerk of the wheel, he plowed the nose of his car into the rear quarter panel of the right Highway Reaper. The driver was clearly unprepared for this as his car was violently spun around from the impact. The spinning interceptor became a metal top that spun totally out of control at 165 miles per hour down the street. While Sam recovered and continued on down the less crowded road, he failed to see the spinning Viper slam through someone's fence and straight into the front of their house.
With their partner now out of action, the other Highway Reaper gave a menacing jolt of acceleration at Sam. The nose of the Viper slammed harshly into the rear of the Challenger, causing quite the shifting of momentum to counteract with. It was clear that the driver was quite blinding infuriated as he, instead of using any conventional means of Police tactics, just continued on shoving forward against the Challenger. Eventually the two cars scraped from each over enough that the Viper dodged to the left flank of the Challenger. With quite the amount of determination, the interceptor turned sharply at the Challenger's rear quarter panel for a high speed pit maneuver. What happened next was not expected by Sam. As the Highway Reaper began to turn sharply towards the Challenger, its lights burnt out and its siren chirped loudly as a spray of quite visible sparks shot out from every crevice of the hood and front of the car. As they did, the interceptor's front tires screeched as they locked up tightly, frozen in place as if the brakes had been fully applied. The Viper quickly decelerated and disappeared in the night of Sam's rear view leaving only the lights of the Skyline behind them. The way that the last Highway Reaper was dispatched greatly bothered Sam. It was totally unexpected and it only added to the complete uncertainty that he held towards this situation.
What the hell was going on?!
With the Challenger now left isolated with no Vipers to surround it, the Skyline accelerated quickly as it returned to give continued pressure on Sam; he couldn't keep this up. His hope of escape was diminishing and he figured that if he could not get away from this guy then he may as well just drive into a brick wall and end it by his own hand. He was willing to attempt to out maneuver it once again; it had worked well before, so it may be the key to his escape. Maybe he could even get the Skyline to wreck itself on something, and so he shifted the mass of the slowing Challenger around yet another corner to begin his radical path one final time.
Just like before, Sam kept as collected as he could be and was able to handle the cornering better. The chase had seemed to have been taking a toll on the Skyline's driver as well; he was starting to get sloppy and his cornering was getting more stressed. Several of his turns were close calls to the curb of the road. Sam did his best to make a path that would not only throw off the pursuer, but he also made sure to stay off any roads that the cops would possibly be on. This proved quite successful for the latter. It was a bit awkward however as Sam continued making passes. The Skyline driver seemed to be learning Sam's impulses and was starting to prepare for the turns in unison and sometimes even before Sam made them. It eventually reached a point in which Sam was begging to worry. Was he herding now being herded?
Sam took a corner hard around a post office on some small road. He almost clipped the inside curb with the front of his car. The mistake was minimal enough that Sam slid the Challenger around appropriately so that he would not lose control as he turned on the street. What he didn't account for was finding that the same Hummer that was originally with the Skyline charging down the same road towards them. He also didn't expect the large vehicle to turn sharply, exposing its large passenger broadside as it slid to a stop in front of the Challenger's power sliding trajectory. Sam, unable to change the way the Challenger was taking the turn, slammed on the brakes to stop the car before it slammed into the side of the stopped vehicle ahead.
The Challenger bogged down painfully as its tires screeched loudly as they desperately tried to halt the car. Sam was able to make quite the attempt at slowing down enough so that they didn't impact the Hummer with lethal force. The Challenger's nose did end up giving quite the shunt at five miles per hour before the collision jarred all involved in their seats as the vehicle stopped. Sam growled and swiftly shifted into reverse as he went to back up; he tried to save his error before he the Skyline reached them. However, he looked back to reverse just as the nose of the Skyline softly shoved against the Challenger's rear, leaving the vehicle effectively stuck between two vehicles.
Unwilling to face defeat, Sam quickly snatched his hand over to the side of the center console and grabbed his HK45. Nicky groaned his name in a dazed state as she watched him open his door. He exited his car quickly and drew his aim towards the Skyline. In his desperation he had not seen who had exited the Hummer, and so he was oblivious to who or what struck the back of his neck. And while there was no pain to be felt from whatever it was, he simply found himself instantly falling limp to the pavement, weapon still tightly in his hand. The last thing that he saw before blacking out was a pair of armored hooves approaching him from the Hummer.