Alice ran for the car, yelling as loud as she could. All she could see where the headlights shining straight at her, and could barely hear the humming of the engine over her own shouting. As she got closer, she could see that there was a silhouette of a person standing by the driver’s side door. “Get in! Get in! Drive!” Alice screamed as she closed on the vehicle.
The figure behind the door started and ducked down into the car as Alice made it past the vehicle’s headlights and felt like she had gone blind as her eyes struggled to adjust to the sudden shift to darkness. She fumbled with the door handle, pulling it up several times before realizing that the door was locked. “OPEN THE DOOR!” She banged on the window. The person behind the wheel began laying on the horn, and shouting something that Alice couldn’t make out.
Alice’s vision adjusted enough to see that it was a woman in the car and she was pointing out the windshield. The man who had attacked her was on his feet and was turning toward her, closing the distance. The knife in his hand glinted in the glare of the headlights. Alice pounded on the glass of the window again and the lock on the door finally popped. Alice pulled the door open and threw herself inside, shouting, “Drive!” as she did.
The woman behind the wheel threw the car into reverse as Alice’s attacker reached out and grabbed the handle of the door. The car lurched backward and he was yanked off his feet, but held onto the door. They dragged him about thirty feet, but instead of letting go, he pulled himself forward, slowly. He finally dropped the knife, only to reach around and grab the inside door handle. Alice kicked at his hand and his head, but with the car moving, she couldn’t land a good hit .
The driver slammed on the brakes and the car slid in the snow. The door swung toward closing on the attacker’s arm and he slammed into the side of the car, snarling, and reached inside to grab the interior door frame. Alice fumbled with the zipper on her jacket as he reached inside. The tires spun but weren’t catching onto anything to carry them forward. Alice’s assailant heaved himself up into the open door as the driver regained control of the car and started to pull forward. Alice finally got her hand inside her jacket and brought the .45 out, holding it with both hands, she leveled it at her attacker’s face and pulled the trigger.
The car was filled momentarily with the flash and the deafening roar of the gun going off. The man went limp, falling out of the car, and the acrid smell of cordite filled the air. Alice yanked the door shut and shoved the gun back into her holster. The woman driving the car glanced over at her, her face tight, her jaw clenched, and knuckles white on the steering wheel. A tear rolled down the side of her face. She shut her eyes for several seconds, then opened them again.
Alice reached over and grabbed the woman’s shoulder. She flinched, but kept driving. Alice said, “He was trying to kill me. I had to… It was… you saw what happened.”
The woman only nodded. Alice was at a loss for words, and they sat in stunned silence as the woman drove for a few minutes before the driver spoke. “Do you need to go to the hospital?”
Alice looked down at her leg and began to feel the pain in her ribs in earnest. Her vision seemed to be clearing up, though her head hurt like hell. “I don’t know.” She said, honestly. “I need to go see somebody.”
The woman nodded again. “I think we should go to the police.” Then she added, “or the hospital.”
Alice looked up at her again, saw the tears on her face, and felt a pang of guilt. If she went to the police now, she would be in custody for god knew how long. Even if they didn’t charge her with murder, she was carrying an unregistered gun, and had a lot of other difficult to explain equipment on her. Whatever happened next, it couldn’t involve the police. “Sorry. I can’t. I have to… I have an appointment I have to keep.”
The woman glanced over at her again, opened and closed her mouth twice, and then finally said, “Where do I have to take you?”
Alice looked forward and said, “I’m still going to the same place. Just follow the GPS.” They both sat in silence again, as the woman drove. Alice tried to quietly put pressure on the cut on her leg. There was more than just a little blood dripping off the seat onto the floor. It was worse than she thought. This whole situation bad, and was going to get much worse before it got better. She fortunately had her ridesharing app registered under a false name, paid with a card linked to the same false name, but she was going to have to ditch her phone once she got out of the car. Her blood was all over here, so there would be plenty to ID her with. And the driver knew where she was headed.
“Fuck.” Alice broke the silence.
The woman glanced at her and then put them back on the road before speaking, rapid fire, like the words were all competing to come out of her mouth at the same time. “You don’t have to do this. We can go to the police and explain what happened. You’re hurt. They’ll make sure you’re okay. They’ll find that guy. I’ll tell them he was trying to hurt you. I saw it.” She paused as the car pulled over. “We’re here.” She looked over at Alice expectantly.
Alice sighed. “Thanks. I mean it. I really do. But I don’t have much choice.” She opened the door and got out. She shut the door and could see the woman in the car making a call that was undoubtedly to 9-1-1. She limped over to the door to the office building and buzzed up to Chip Ellison’s office. A moment later, a loud buzzing sound came from the door and the lock disengaged. Alice pushed through and made her way to the elevator, taking her cell phone out of her pocket, pulling out the battery and pitching it into a trash can in the lobby.
The elevator took her to the fourth floor. She was feeling lightheaded and when she got out, the hall was spinning. She shuffled to the door for Ellison’s office and knocked twice, then leaned against the wall. She didn’t realize it, but the door had opened and an elderly black man with graying hair was looking at her. She didn’t have much choice at this point, so she just said it. “My brother is Travis Levy. I need help, and I really hope you owe him a favor.” And then she blacked out.