Faithless…the start of Chapter Five…unedited…

I saw the gnarly black truck too late. Twilight rapidly brought about darkness, and the driver of the black truck popped on his bright headlights. Across the top of the cab was a string of Rough Country LED lights. The darkness melted away under the fervent illumination. Suddenly blinded, I yanked the wheel to the right and jammed on the brakes.

The truck rumbled by as I crashed into the ditch. Neither Lilly or I wore our seat belts. I flew forward into the steering wheel and banging my head against the window. Lilly was thrown against the glass and lay crumpled against the passenger side window, blood oozing from her head.

Down the road, I could hear the truck slide to a stop. Groaning, I pulled my sidearm and tried to focus my eyes. The driver backed up and got out. It was the blond-bearded Viking from the bus stop. He made his way to the hood of the truck.

I tried to aim but my eyes wanted to close. Lilly groaned in the passenger seat. As the man got to the corner of the hood, I fired. The man ducked and ran back to the cab. I unloaded my magazine into the truck, as he sped off.
Then, I fell into the warm embrace of unconsciousness.

An annoying beeping brought me from my restless slumber. I cracked my eyes, and green digital numbers greeted me. My ribs ached, my face hurt.

“Lilly? Where are you?”

“Sir, stay still. You’ve got broken ribs along with other injuries. Your partner is okay.”

The voice came from my left side, I cut my eyes toward that side to see who spoke to me. A pretty black nurse gave me a soft smile. Her nametag announced her as Tess.

“Where is she?”

“She’s in a room farther down the hall. Your partner sustained a concussion. The doctor is checking her out now.”

“What happened out there, Konan?”

Chief Janko walked into my room and sat in a chair next to my bedside. His walrus mustache covered his mouth, but I was pretty sure he was frowning underneath it. The nurse checked my vitals and said she’d be back to check on me in a bit.

“We were followed out to the crime scene by a big black truck. I had Lilly pull off the road and let ‘em pass. We didn’t see it anymore until almost to town.”

“Do you know who it was?”

“No. I couldn’t make out the driver because the windows are tinted dark. Plus, it was dark. He hit the brights and had a row of LED lights on the cab. I got blinded and tried to pull off the road…”

“…and ran into the ditch nearly killing you and your partner…”

“…he backed the truck up and got out,” I mumbled, as the drugs the nurse gave me tried to pull me back into the warm safety of unconsciousness. I tried to resist. “I shot at him…”

Janko watched as I slipped into slumber, and pulled out his phone. He spoke brusquely to someone on the other end, and snapped, “black truck with LED lights on the cab and dark tinted windows. Find it, and let me know the minute you have it and the owner in sight.”

Then, he exited my room. He met the nurse at the nursing desk and said, “let me know the minute my detectives are up, please. I don’t care what time it is. Thank you.”

From down the hall, seated at the back of the waiting area, Jackson Titus watched and waited.

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