Flat and straight for forty miles, the highway cooked and shimmered under the noonday sun.
The Crown Victoria blasted south down Interstate 25, the parched grass and sagebrush a blur, Phil Broadspire shouting into his cell phone.
“There’s …they’re huge. Oh God….Giant black bats chasing me…. No, I’m not yanking you. These huge black bats.”
His voice rose to a scream.
“Big. . . Black. . . Bats. A whole bunch of ‘em. Flying. Behind me. I can’t shake them.”
The Crown Vic was up to ninety five, lurching from lane to lane when Broadspire looked over his shoulder.
“They’re getting closer. Jesus, a great big one’s in front!” Sobbing. “It’s gonna get me.”
He threw the open phone on the seat. Pulled out his Glock.
“It’s too close….I have to kill it!”
He slammed on the brakes. The car rocked forward, tires screeching, skid marks snaking down the highway. Cranking the wheel, he swung the car broadside and stopped. He threw the door open and started firing.
Screeching, “Die, die fucking monster!”
The Peterbilt bore down on him, its driver madly honking, down shifting, brakes locked. Bullets slammed into the grill, steam starting to billow back, Broadspire still firing as the truck barreled into him and the Crown Vic with a huge bang.
Broadspire’s final scream was lost in the boom of the initial impact. The semi rode over the car crushing it and Broadspire into a tangle of metal and pulped flesh. The wreck screeched as it was dragged on the pavement. The gas tank ruptured, split open, gushing gasoline. Sparks from metal on concrete ignited the fuel and the tangled mass of metal and rubber became an inferno.
The Stoughton trailer jackknifed, the tandem wheels slewing, the rear corner smacking the burning wreck like a baseball bat. Flaming pieces were hurled across the median setting the brittle grass on fire. One wheel, its tire trailing smoke, sailed like a Frisbee from hell into a middle-aged couple on their way to Sturgis on their Harley. A young family, farther back in the northbound lanes, watched horrified as the bike and its passengers were thrown sideways onto the pavement and then tumbled and rolled into the ditch finally coming to rest against a barbed wire fence.
The conjoined Pete and Crown Vic blazed on. The roiling black cloud rose into the cornflower blue sky.