“Drive In, Bleed Out” by Scott Selden
Branches scratched at my face as I pushed through the brush, and a warm trail of blood crept down my cheek. Curses sounded from not too far behind me, as did the thuds of heavy boots running through the woods. The bay of a hunting dog echoed, twisting around the trunks. Bad news. Can’t hide from a good hunting dog. I ran, trying to navigate the roots and uneven ground of the damp forest, the satchel over my shoulder slamming into my back with every step. The warm smells of earth and blood clogged my nose. I considered dropping the bag, but only until I felt the weight of the pistol in my pocket.
I burst into the open at a flat-out run. Rows of short metal poles stuck out of the ground in orderly lines, each topped with a small speaker meant for a car door. A hundred speakers stood alone in the field, casting parallel and overlapping shadows in the moonlight, each a gravestone to B movies and slasher flicks, to humid Friday nights spent feeling up a girl in your backseat. A decrepit junker was parked next to the weedy road leading out of the drive-in—barely more than two paths of dirt. Maybe it would be gassed up and ready to go, spared from the wind, rain, and thirty years of disuse. I didn’t hold my breath.
Barking dogged me as I wound through the speakers. A black and tan had fought free of the trees and had me in its sight, paws accelerating seventy-five pounds of muscle straight at me. Its handlers were nowhere in sight, having been easily outpaced. Quick as I could, I fell to a knee, dropped my bag, and drew my pistol. By the time I could chamber a round and take aim, the dog was only a few feet away.
The dog leapt.
I pulled the trigger, and a loud crack took all the life out of that poor dog.
Unfortunately, the bullet hadn’t taken away the dog’s inertia—its bulk crashed into my chest and face. I felt something go in my nose, pain and blood blooming in equal measure, and abruptly I was on the ground. The smell of gunpowder, iron, and wet dog smothered me as I pushed the coonhound off my chest. Pain in my right side told me that a few of my ribs were cracked. I desperately needed a breather, but the retort of the pistol had hurried the deputies combing the woods, and their shouts were getting closer.
I picked up the bag and limped toward the car, gritting my teeth and tasting my own blood. Maybe I could find an old bottle of booze and make a quick Molotov. As my hand closed on the door handle, I heard the grind of tires on dirt. Two cruisers careened down the overgrown path to the drive-in and slid to a stop, flinging pebbles and clumps of soil. The doors flew open, and two police officers exited from each car, pieces drawn.
I dropped down, putting the rusted car in between the guns and myself. The strength of my heartbeat rattled my teeth. I leaned my forehead against the cool metal of the abandoned car. My ribs ached, and I spat out blood.
“Drop your weapon, and put your hands up! Now!”
“Yeah, hands in the air!”
But I knew better than that. I had a dead dog, a dead sergeant, and a bag of $75,000 in stolen cash to my name. If these police officers didn’t revenge-kill me for the cop with a hole in his head, I’d get the chair. No doubt about it. My life would end with the harsh sting of lightning in my veins. More shouts from the woods surrounding me. And no chance of running with busted ribs.
“Okay. I’m coming out.”
I managed to pull the trigger once before they returned fire, and I felt the sharp punch of bullets in my chest. Five of them. Six. The seventh took me down. From the ground I saw the body of the dog I killed, its eyes a mournful brown. Dead eyes. I stared right back.
SCOTT SELDEN graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2013. After working in a school in the Caribbean, he is now working towards a career in the writing field. His work can also be found in The Offbeat.
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Posted: Jun 22, 2015
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