This story is for Chuck Wendig’s terribleminds FridayFlashFiction that he set on july1, 2011. The challenge for the story was to “set it on the fourth of July, take the fourth of July, and muddy it up. Show how long the shadows are on this hot summer holiday.”
I Pledge Allegiance Louise Sorensen July4, 2011 735 words
“Daddy… Dad… wake up… we gotta go. It‘s the fourth of July. Hurry, Dad,“ Mikey shook his father awake.
“Wha..? Steve Scryer opened his eyes wide, looked at his watch and took a deep breath. He leaped out of the single cot, pulled on his pants, sat down, almost didn’t bother with socks, then put on a soft wool pair. Tied the laces of his hiking boots with care.
He stole a quick glance through the curtained window. The grimy glass showed darkness, one street light working, empty streets.
”Pick up your gear, son … let’s go.” They crept down the back stairs of the old house they’d been squatting in for the last year. There was no noise; Steve had nailed and glued all the squeaky stairs shortly after they arrived.
“Remember, be very quiet,” he whispered to his six year old son, as he took his hand in the back alleyway. They drifted past backyard gardens, savouring the smells of freshly turned black earth, ripe strawberries, freedom.
“How much longer, Dad?” Mikey said as he walked, his little legs struggling to keep up.
“Two more years. Just two more years son, and we can settle down… live like normal…. like ‘most every other American. July the fourth will be just another day.”
“No daddy… I meant, how much longer ‘til we get there today? I’m thirsty.”
“Just a while longer son.”
They reached the rusty old car in a few minutes. Steve felt his chest loosen a bit, it was still here. Settling his son inside, he gave him a bottle of Fruity Juicy. He pulled apart the branches that had partially concealed the car, got in and started the engine. It was dead quiet. He eased it out of its hiding place under the trees.
They made it to the city limits before hunters lurking behind the ‘Welcome to Mabrey’ sign gunned the motors of their souped up pick-ups and shot out after them. Steve pressed his foot on the accelerator.
“I guess the jig is up again, huh Dad?” Mikey laughed, sticking his hand out the open passenger window.
“Pull your hand in Mikey, and hang on.” Steve yelled at his son, as he leaned forward over the steering wheel to see ahead and held it tight.
Rifle shots exploded like fireworks. Steve missed his wife Gabby more than ever at times like this. She would have enjoyed riding shotgun once again. He prayed to whatever hell she was in for a few more minutes. Just a few more minutes and they‘d be home safe.
He took a curve too fast and almost lost control. The miles blurred by. Sweat rolled into his eyes and he swiped his sleeve over his face. His turn came up, he jerked the wheel to the right, released the gas, let it skid, then straightened it out and accelerated. The foothills were close. The hunters were closer. He could hear their whoops of triumph. He floored the gas; the accelerator hit seventy, eighty, eighty five miles per hour. Perfect. It was unlikely any of the pursuers would hit the right speed they needed to get over the ramp and the trench beyond.
“Hang on Mikey” he yelled again and glanced over. Mikey had braced himself on the door hold on one side and the safety harness on the other. His pale blond hair was blowing in the gale coming through the open window, and he was screaming with laughter.
A hell of a way to run a country, thought Steve as they roared up the makeshift ramp, sailed over the gaping truck trap, entered freefall and crash landed on the other side. He thanked all his lucky stars and stripes for the Super Duper Anti-Trooper Shocks, cast a quick look behind to see the first truck enter the pit, and then floored the gas pedal again in his final run. Bullets ricocheted off his back windows.
“They’re not using very good bullets, are they Dad?” Mikey shouted above the noise of the roaring engine and the flying gravel.
They made it to the safe zone with seconds to spare, and Steve slammed on the brakes as the large wooden gate was pushed closed behind them.
He looked for the sign that said, “Dissidents” and followed the lane to parking. They were just in time for the barbeque.