This story is by B. Shaun Smith and was part of our 2016 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the Winter Writing Contest stories here.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Nick pulled his truck to the side of the road, just east of Interstate Twenty-Five. He had just come from McDonalds. After taking a sip off coffee, he reached for the bag with his sausage biscuit, when the door to his truck opened. A blonde woman with a gun pulled herself into the cab.
“Do what I say Nick!”
“What do you want?”
She pulled a piece of paper from her pocket. “Drive to this building.”
He looked at directions, knowing where to go. He started the truck and headed down the road.
“How do you know my name?”
“We know all about you.”
“You’ll know who we are soon enough.”
Oh god! Not the Horseman!
Nick braked as they approached the frontage road, turning north onto it. He glanced at her.
“Just drive the truck.”
He turned west onto San Antonio, passing under Interstate Twenty-Five. After a few blocks they were fifth in line from the light at Jefferson.
“What do you want from me?”
“I’m more interested in your truck.”
“It’s just dry ice!”
“No more questions.”
The light turned green. Nick took a right onto Jefferson. Then a quick left onto Hawkins.
“There,” She pointed with her gun to a warehouse. “Back up to the loading dock and leave the truck running.” They were in an industrial area of the city.
He did as he was told. She motioned with the gun for Nick to get out. She followed him.
“Just keep doing what I want and you will get out of this.” She hissed at him.
Horseman do not leave survivors!
She motioned the gun toward the door as they went up the loading dock stairs. He opened the door, going into the darkened warehouse. There were pallets with cardboard boxes scattered around. Nick then noticed the two bodies near the office at the back. Both men.
“Yup, some dead people. Into the office.”
He saw three more bodies as he entered the office. All women. Gunshots to their bodies. Their hands had been zip tied behind their backs. Some papers were scatted on the floor. Nick then saw a metal canister on a table. It was about a foot in diameter and two feet high.
“Load that into the back of the truck.”
Nick picked up the canister. It was heavy.
What the hell is in this?
He carried the canister back to the loading dock. She pushed the door up to the trailer. He stepped past her into the truck.
“All the way to the back. Keep being a good boy.” She smiled at him.
When he set the canister down, a small door popped open on top. He opened it to reveal a timer counting down. Was just a couple seconds under twenty minutes.
It’s a bomb!
He pulled his gloves from his back pocket. He put them on, picked up a block of dry ice and threw it at her. She took a step back, avoiding the block like it was acid. He then slammed her body into the warehouse garage door. She dropped the gun. He kneed her in the stomach and bounced her head into the garage door. She crumpled to ground. He kicked her in the head.
Not in my city!
Nick retrieved the gun, tucking it into his waist band. He searched her pockets. Only finding a cell phone and three sets of large zip ties. He secured her hands behind her back. Then dragged her into the truck. He checked the timer on the canister. Less than eighteen minutes left. He set the timer on his smart phone to match the countdown. He closed the back of the truck, hopped off the loading dock and pulled himself up into the cab of his truck. Dropped the gun on the passenger seat. He put his truck into gear, tearing out of the warehouse parking lot.
As Nick drove back up Hawkins, he dialed 911.
“Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?” said a woman’s voice.
“There is a bomb in the back of my ice truck. I was forced to put it there. In less than maybe seventeen, sixteen minutes it is going off. I’m going to try to get it north of Albuquerque. I suggest you do everything to get people off the interstate.”
There was a pause from the 911 operator.
“ARE YOU THERE?” Nick shouted into the phone.
“You need to take this seriously. The Horseman are involved! If this thing goes off and I don’t make it, look for a warehouse near Hawkins and Jefferson. There are five bodies in it. Hopefully some answers. I have got to haul.”
He checked the countdown on his phone. Less than fourteen minutes. He was already back on Jefferson, nearing Paseo Del Norte. He turned right onto Paseo. Then he neared the interchange with Interstate Twenty-Five. Once heading north on twenty-five, he checked his phone again. Eight and half minutes left. Nick noticed there were fewer cars on the interstate. Aa he neared Sandia Casino, he knew where he wanted to take the truck. About a mile past the Casino, he drove the truck down into a wide arroyo.
Nick kept the truck going until it got bogged down in the sand. He hopped down from the cab and began running back toward the interstate. He checked his cell phone, seventy seconds left. He was almost to the interstate when the alarm on his phone went off. He dove to the ground.
“THIS IS IT!” he yelled to himself.
He waited for the bomb to go off. Nothing happened. He looked at the screen of his phone. It had been at least two minutes from when the bomb was supposed to go off. He got up and began walking back to his truck.
Is the bomb a dud? Maybe it is biological? Chemical? What the hell am I doing?
Nick approached the back of his truck. The engine was still running. He shoved the door up on the trailer and stood there staring into the back of the truck. Blocks of dry ice were now littered around the floor.
He climbed into the trailer. The woman was still unconscious. He went by her to check on the canister. The timer was at zero. He went back to the woman, slapped her across the face.
“WAKE UP!” he shouted. He slapped her again. This time she woke up.
“What is in the canister!” he demanded.
She ignored him.
With his gloves still on, Nick picked up a piece of dry ice. He held it in front of her face.
“This is negative 109 degrees Fahrenheit. It can kill skin cells and feels like grabbing a hot pan without an oven mitt. NOW TALK!” He applied it to her stomach. She started to squirm away and yelped.
“Start talking or its going down your throat!”
“It’s synthetically made blood. The canister has samples. I was robbing that facility, which was operating in secret.”
“Made without stem cells. No stem cells equal’s no controversy.”
“So, this is like some kind of corporate theft?”
“You needed my truck to keep the blood cold?”
“Yep. I was going to let you go. Then blow up the facility. Make it look like the Horseman did it.”
“They derailed a train in Vancouver last week!”
“Perfect opportunity to blame it on them.”
He stood up and began putting blocks of dry ice on her.
“Stop! STOP IT NICK!” she yelled.
He ignored her pleas while he covered her body in dry ice. When he was done, he got out of the trailer and pulled the door shut. It muffled her screams and kept the blood cold.
Nick could hear the sirens approaching. He went back to the cab and climbed in. He picked up his McDonalds bag and began eating his sausage biscuit. He took in the Sandia Mountains, knowing he would be asked a lot of questions.
All for blood!