Bullets shattered the back windshield of the Tahoe, but I had already been ducking down in the front passenger seat.
“What part of lose them was unclear to you? And you’re still going the wrong way,” I shouted, peeking over the back of my headrest. “You girls okay?” I asked, loud enough for the Reds to hear me over the sudden street noise and roar of our engine, let alone the van chasing us. They nodded, slowly climbing back into their seats from the floor.
“I know I’m going the wrong way, but I had to go the wrong way to lose the first two vans!” Alucard snapped, tires squealing as he jerked the wheel to avoid another barrage of pistol fire. “You didn’t have to break his damned arm! We could have just agreed to disagree.”
“They surrounded me! All while you stood there doing a whole lot of nothing!” I argued.
“It’s what weregorillas do when threatened! And you told me you needed a driver, not a thug!” he shouted right back, turning down a side street to get us going in the right direction.
Bullets sprayed the buildings beside us, their shots going wide as we changed course. “In my world, they’re the same thing!” I snapped. “Just drive. Lose them. We’ll sort this out after we escape the angry monkeys,” I growled.
He just shook his head angrily, glancing in the rearview constantly, trying to predict their shots and keep us bullet-free. I turned around, watching the van chasing us. It seemed to be getting closer, and I could see a man leaning out the car window. “Tory is going to be so pissed. We’re going to be late,” Alucard whined.
“No, we’re— Ah!” the man had pulled out a shotgun, aiming it our way. “Get down!” I shouted at the teenaged weredragons in the backseat, and let off a few shots from the pistol in my fist, trying to deter the van. The man ducked back inside instantly. One of my shots went wild, but one struck the front wheel, blowing their tire – just like in the movies.
The chasing van lost control and swerved right into the only parked car on the deserted street. I grunted satisfactorily, trying to both hide my astonishment, and maintain my devil-may-care reputation in front of the Reds. “Okay, you can get up now, but be ready to duck again.” I changed my voice to the Count from Sesame Street. “Because like Sparkula said, there are one, two, three vans of gorillas chasing us! Muah, ha, ha, ha.” They just stared at me, probably not getting the reference.
“I do not sound like that,” Alucard snarled. “And don’t call me Sparkula!”
I chuckled, searching the floorboards now that we had a moment of respite. “We’re not going to be late to the Gala. I have a—” I cut off, staring at the floor in disbelief. “Shit,” I whispered, quickly leaning over the center console to check the floorboard in the back. The Reds moved their feet, confused looks on their faces. Nothing.
“What are we going to do when the other two vans find us? Hmm?” Alucard persisted. “You know they’re circling the block. This is their neighborhood. And what the hell are you looking for?” he hissed, annoyed that I seemed to be ignoring him.
“I must have left it at the office,” I said, feeling like an idiot.
“What are you talking about?” he yelled, eyes scanning the streets as we zipped by.
“My satchel. Our way out of here.”
“Your man purse?” Sonya asked. “I saw it on the table. You left it there when Greta began showing you those pamphlets.”
“Religious tracts,” Alucard shuddered, saying it in the same tone someone else would use to describe a platter of steaming dog feces. Because he was a vampire. Although the whole religious thing didn’t seem to bother him as much anymore, he’d still been zapped one too many times by them. Because vampires and religion got along like a dog peeing on an electric fence.
“It’s not a man purse,” I argued, pulling out my phone to call the office. “It’s a satchel.”
A harried voice answered the call, sounding annoyed. “Grimm Tech.”
“Greta! This is Nate. Did I leave my satchel there?” I asked desperately, fear clawing at my insides. The contents of the satchel were unstable. Lethally unstable.
“Your man purse? Let me check,” she responded. Alucard burst out laughing.
“You are literally the only one who calls it that. Just admit it,” he said. Then he jerked the wheel hard to the right – almost making me drop the phone – and ducked into an alley. He had flipped off the lights before we even stopped. A van flew by on the street where we had just been, racing towards their stranded pals, most likely. I flashed him a smile as Greta came back on the phone.
“You left it here on the table. Yahn said he would take it to you at the Gala after his dance class in the old warehouse district. The Gala I’m trying to get ready for. The one you are supposed to be hosting…” her annoyance was blindingly obvious, because Greta didn’t waste time on feelings. At least not when it came to me. “He said he called you.”
“Dance class,” I repeated dumbly, but my fear was slightly diminished by relief, because at least we were in the old warehouse district. “Okay. Thanks, Greta. See you there,” I blurted, hanging up as she began reprimanding me about something else.
Because fear still gripped me. Yahn was just walking around with my satchel? Did he have any idea what was inside? One wrong move and he could blow up a building! I quickly scrolled through my phone, Alucard tapping the steering wheel anxiously.
“We can’t just sit here, Nate. They’re bound to find us. We need a way out. Now. Or we’re going to be late to the Gala,” he warned. “Or dead. I would rather get dead than be late,” he added. The Reds chimed in their agreement from the backseat.
I saw the missed call, and realized my phone had been on silent. I immediately dialed it back, ignoring Alucard. “Fucking wizards,” he muttered as I waited for Yahn to pick up.
“He’s carrying around a freaking bomb, man!” I snapped. Alucard’s anger evaporated.
Yahn answered. “Ya, this is Yahn,” he said in a thick, cheerful Swedish accent.
“It’s me, Nate. Hey, did you pick up—”
“Master Temple! Alriiight!” he shouted happily, voice laced with enthusiasm, happiness, and unicorn farts. His accent was so strong, so flamboyant, and so overly enunciated, that it was sometimes painful to talk to him for very long. He was Greta’s grandson – a foreign exchange student – and she had convinced me to hire him as an intern for my new company. “I toe-tah-lee have yer man purse—”
Even the Reds burst out laughing at that.
“Satchel, Yahn. Satch—” I cut off my argument abruptly. “Never mind. Where are you?”
“Just leaving dancing class, we are putting on this show, and like, it’s going to be toe-tah-lee awesome and stuff!” he answered, excitedly.
“Address. What address?” I pressed.
He told me. Alucard pulled it up on the screen, face going pale. It was back the way we had come, right through gorilla territory.
Yahn began speaking into the phone again, but I interrupted him. “Yahn, listen. I need you to get my… purse, and wait outside by the curb. Be very, very careful with the bag. Don’t jostle it. We will be there in,” I glanced at the GPS unit, “two minutes. Be ready to jump in. Fast.”
He was quiet on the other end of the line as Alucard put the car in gear, backing up quickly and turning around. “Yoo want to, like, give me a ride and stuff?” he repeated, almost whispering, but sounding as if he had won the lottery. “That would be toe-tah-lee cool!” he squealed, piercing my ear canal with Swedish cheer. “See you soon!” and he hung up.
Alucard shifted back into drive, shaking his head the entire time, but he took the first left, running parallel to the street we had originally been on, sending us straight back to monkey-town. “This better not blow up in our faces, Nate.” He realized his words after the fact, and shot me a sickening look. “Figuratively or literally, I guess.”
“Just drive, Glampire. And avoid the weregorillas, or I’m blaming it all on you.”
The Reds clapped in the backseat, as Alucard pressed the gas pedal harder.
“Call me Glampire all you want, but just remember which one of us has a pet unicorn…” he offered casually. The Reds sniggered in the back seat as I bit back a growl.
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