Deleted Scene – Dylan Linwood Bites the Dust, Again
(Clair and Jesse are chasing the dupe Clair didn’t shoot in the last deleted scene. They’re heading to a rendezvous that was deleted in later drafts.)
She couldn’t see the actual bike in the darkness ahead and she couldn’t hear it over the shrieking of the motors beneath her, but the red dot had reached the road leading into the old airport’s access road.
Jesse braked sharply and they skidded after it. The engine snarled and they launched past a handful of old buildings and through a dense thicket. The road was bumpy and Jesse drove without consideration for comfort. Clair shook and hammered and didn’t dare let go.
On the map, the red dot was maybe fifty meters ahead, slowing to take a final right-hand turn.
Another text came from Q.
“I have air traffic in your vicinity.”
With it, a new red dot appeared on the map. It was to her left, moving much more slowly than the bikes. She looked up and couldn’t see anything through the trees. No way of telling what kind of traffic it was. She couldn’t hear any kind of engines over the whining of the bike.
Then they were slowing for the final bend themselves, and Clair flinched at the distant crack of gunshots.
Jesse turned on the bike’s headlights. The bike straightened, rushed forward. The light was dazzling. Clair squinted, saw a confusion of painfully defined shapes ahead. The WHOLE gang scattering from their bikes. A body sprawled on the ground. Someone holding an automatic rifle, swinging to target them, muzzle flashing.
Jesse clicked off the headlights and jerked the bike right. Shots followed them into the trees, tearing wood to splinters. The bike tipped, slid. Clair’s leg was dragged along the ground, painfully twisted. The bike came to a halt against the base of a tree, engine whining and dying. Jesse cursed and kicked. The weight came off her leg, and Clair was able to slide out to freedom. The air was full of dust, ozone and the smell of shredded vegetation.
“Are you hurt?” asked Jesse.
She shook her head. Her leg was tender but she could crawl.
More gunshots, from two locations. Clair chose the closest. The hatch in which she’d stowed the extra ammo was fortunately on the upwards-facing side of the tipped bike. She retrieved the second magazine and crept forward, pistol at the ready.
Flashes came directly ahead. The gunman was aiming up again–shooting at the air traffic, whatever it was. That was how he had known to come there, she guessed. He hadn’t been tracking Clair or any of the others. They were genuinely off the grid. If they could get rid of him before his reinforcements arrived, they could go back to ground and disappear again.
Clair reached the tree line, peered warily out into the open space. The gunman was crouched beside his bike, using it as a shield. She followed the line of his barrel and caught a dark shape wheeling silently against the sky, camouflage-stars rippling down its sides.
She ignored the shape in the sky and concentrated on the gunman. His right foot and left shin were visible under the bike. This she could do in good conscience. She lined up, made herself still without consciously thinking about it, and fired.
The first shot hit the dirt next to the tire. The second caught him midway between the ankle and the knee, prompting a cry of pain. The next three of her bullets hit the bike and sent sparks flying from its insides.
Then she was moving. The gunman was down on his side, firing along the ground to where she had been, not caring if he hit the wheels of his own bike. She crawled through the undergrowth, keeping her head down. Bullets whizzed by her, sending leaves raining down all around her.
An answering tattoo of gunfire came from the far side of the clearing. Ray, she assumed, or one of the others. Maybe even Gemma from the service road. If the gunman wasn’t tracking them, he wouldn’t know how many of them there were. He had come to shoot down an airplane of some kind and found himself in an impromptu ambush.
The erratic tattoo of gunshots petered out. Clair dared raise her head. The gunman was down, sprawled on his side in a growing pool of blood. The bike had tipped over and onto him, starred with bullet holes.
A new electrobike whined out of the darkness. Clair stood up, favoring her twisted leg. It was just Gemma, speeding in to join the others coming one by one out of the trees.
Clair ran to the body. The gunman had been hit multiple times. His clothes were soaked with blood and his visor was covered from the inside. He hadn’t been a tall man, whoever he was. That he had the same build as Dylan Linwood didn’t mean anything, she told herself.
Still, she bent down to tug his helmet off.
“Don’t,” said Gemma, jogging up behind her and pulling her own visor up. “Now’s not the time.”
“You know who this is?”
“I know that it doesn’t make any difference.”
“It makes every difference, if it’s true.”