Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Butterfly Dreams (52)

(A sequel to The Strange Story of Mr. Black and Ms Gray.)

They had died when helping thwart a plan to undermine the government of the United States. Now Ben and Susan have returned from the dead and they must bring that government down. Standing in their way are Michael Black and Michelle Gray, the bodies of whom they now occupy.
-(The Story begins HERE)-
Escape To Route 66

The transformation from the menacing persona of General Gates to a placid Vincent Addams and then back once again was, to say the least, unsettling. I recalled reading of such a dramatic metamorphosis in the classic novel, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson. The fictional Mr. Hyde, however, had had no grandiose designs for world domination.

"Wingate!" he shouted. "Grab Agent Ferrara's gun over there." When the colonel hesitated Gates glared at him, "I expect my future head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to follow my orders ... Brigadier General Wingate!"

"Yes, sir!" the man answered while snapping a crisp salute to his Commander-in-Chief.

If I'd had any thoughts before of Wingate helping us, they were quickly quashed. While it was not the time to be laughing, I couldn't help but to notice the comedic actions of the man as he scurried across the cabin to retrieve the pistol. It was clear that a promotion to such a powerful position would have him giving in to blind loyalty to Addams.

Amid the confusion of the moment Faye rushed to his side and grabbed his arm. "Mr. President ... father," she whimpered, "you know I've always stood by you ..."

"I might have raised you as my own, but you are not from my loins," he said shoving her onto the floor at Professor Jordan's feet. "Cry on your real father's shoulders."

"Leave her alone, General!" Brock O'Day shouted. He knelt beside her and took her hand in his. "Haven't you hurt her enough?"

"Ah, O'Day," he uttered with disdain. "You were once one of my loyal soldiers in Nam, but you've turned against me, haven't you? It's too bad that you learned the hard way that being married to Faye was more demanding than fighting the Viet Cong, eh?"

"Look, she's still a woman, a human being. For all her faults, she deserves to be treated as such," Brock pontificated to him. "She's my wife ... and I love her."

"Touching, very touching," Gates responded. "Very well, have it your way. The two of you will die side by side."

There was a sudden series of high-pitched beeps resounding throughout the cabin. "Jesus H. Christ!" Wingate roared. "We need to get out of here."

Gates spun around and shouted at Wingate, "What is it? What in the hell is happening?"

Wide-eyed in frantic confusion Wingate yelped, "C-4! The detonation timers have been activated!"

"C-4? What C-4?" Gates bellowed. "Wingate, what have you done?"

"Begging your pardon, Mr. President, I was following your orders." he replied.

Gates slapped his palm on the side of his forehead. "I told you that none of the passengers were to make it to this base alive. I didn't say to turn the plane into a fucking fireball!"

Nervous beads of sweat forming on his forehead he answered, "I had my men plant several charges on board before we took off from Bedford. The plan was for myself and my men to jump from the plane ... and then to blow it up in mid-air. One of men, a private, had the remote device. I gave him a direct order to use it, even if I didn't make it off the plane!"

"That didn't happen, you moron, did it? Why did he wait until now to follow your orders?"

"I ... I don't know, sir," Wingate babbled, "I don't know."

Gates swung his pistol around striking the colonel's chin. "You fool! What are you waiting for? Disarm them!"

"I don't know ... where ... they all are," he stammered. "I might be able ... to find one or two of them. There isn't enough time ... to find ... them all!"

"Damn it, Wingate," he snapped, "how much time ... is there?"

Wingate gulped but struggled to swallow, "Less than five minutes, sir. We have to get off this plane ... now!"

Baxter chortled and shook his head, "Somehow, Gates, I wouldn't feel very secure knowing this man was in charge of the Joint Chiefs." He removed something from his breast pocket and tossed it in the direction of the colonel. "It would seem that you put too much faith in ... a private. He said he couldn't kill all the people on the plane, so he handed it to me."

The device struck Wingate's chest and careened away onto the deck. "Baxter? You activated it? Have you gone stark raving mad? You've killed us all!"

"Everyone! Get off the plane! Run on the runway as far away from it as fast as you can!" Baxter shouted.

Without batting an eyelash he twisted his body in a half-pirouette and swung his raised leg in a sweeping arc. The heel of his foot slammed into the Wingate's ribcage sending the hapless colonel slamming into the bulkhead. His actions continued with a stiff-armed shove of his open palm into Gate's chest.

I grabbed Susan's arm and moved toward the door shouting as I stepped past the stunned Wingate, "You heard him! Get off the plane!"

Agents Ferrara and Landers studied Baxter for a moment and decided they weren't about to risk hand-to-hand combat with the man. They turned heel and followed my flight. Professor Jordan and Brock O'Day helped Faye to her feet and they made haste for the exit.

At the foot of the stairs I turned to see Baxter with one foot in the plane and the other on the top stair. He was shouting back into the cabin of the plane, "Forget it, David. Let's go!"

I didn't know how far we were away from the plane or how much time we had before it was blown to smithereens, but not one of us was about to look back. Everyone knew we had to run a long way and had very little time to get there.

Next to me Professor Jordan suddenly stumbled and fell onto the tarmac. Turning to help him I saw that Baxter was on my heels. Waving me ahead, he cradled the man in his arms, picked him up and quickly lurched into full gallop.

One moment the only sounds to be heard were those of our fleeing feet on the runway, in the next, the air was shattered by a series of bone-jarring explosions. The concussed air of the blasts reached us in a millisecond, knocking the lot of us off our feet onto the concrete. Behind us a fireball spewed skyward within a plume of heavy black smoke.

Baxter was the first to his feet and he bellowed, "Get up ... run! That was just the explosives. There's still the fuel ..."

His words were muted as the jet fuel in the plane's main tanks erupted. Only moments after, the fuel in the craft's wings exploded obliterating what remained of the massive plane. Super-heated by the ignited fuel, searing shock waves passed over our grounded bodies.

I glanced over my shoulder to see twin balls of fire, larger than the first, belching into the sky. It was in that moment, that I realized we were far from safe. Trailing dark smoke in their path, pieces of burning metal debris were about to rain down upon us.

Still on his feet and burdened by the weight of the professor, Baxter was already moving toward the end of the runway. "Pieces of the plane ... watch yourselves!" he roared spurring the rest of us to resume our retreat .

Like meteors, burning bits of the plane slammed onto the tarmac all around us. Unrelenting, we desperately ran the gauntlet of deadly metal fragments toward the fence and the gate looming less than a hundred yards ahead of us. The barrier marked the terminus of the airport property and beyond it lie the dead-ended stretch of the legendary Route 66.

A wad of twisted metal the size of a basketball crashed into the ground beside Susan causing her to stumble. Ignoring my broken finger I grabbed the back of her shirt to keep her on her feet even as the pain shot through my hand. She screamed when an intact jet engine crashed in our path, its impact cratering the tarmac under its weight.

A whoosh of air passed over my head. I looked up to see a piece of fuselage the size of a refrigerator door as it kited straight for an unwary Agent Ferrara. Bowled over by the twisted sheet of metal only his feet could be seen beneath it. Landers was quick to come to the aid of his partner and pulled the stunned man free.

Susan and I were the last to join the others at the fence. Baxter's ingenuity never ceased to surprise me as I watched him while he was in the act of trying to break the chain or the lock on the gate. He had picked up what resembled a piece of the strut to the plane's landing gear and was using it as a lever against the weathered links. There was a creak of protesting metal before one of links finally snapped.

Although it had been sitting there all along, it was only then that I paid any heed to the vehicle beyond the fence. Its driver extended an arm and gave a thumbs-up gesture. The passenger side door opened and a beautiful woman stepped into view.

"Looking for a ride?" beamed Michelle.

( To be continued

The Butterfly Net )



Jack K. said...

So, Michelle and Michael didn't die. Perhaps Ben, Susan, Michelle and Michael will soon be back in their respective bodies. Or, did I miss something?

It's amazing that no one was seriously killed during the aftermath of the explosion.

Hale McKay said...


Re: the explosion -

Did everyone still on the plane get off in time? and reach safety?

Like David?