“Yo, Joaquin, ain’t we waiting for the cop?” Nightwave joined him in his stride.
“Told you she would be a no-show,” Cosma threw mockingly. “Poor baby is too scared of the Nightprowlers.”
That resulted in a snicker from Quake and an uncomfortable head scratch from Kid. The boy liked Betty and Joaquin thought it might be a little more than just a friendly thing. Joaquin’s eyes turned to slits but he remained silent. His impulsive reaction was to think Betty had ditched them, gone to Massey. The thought that made him bite his lip was that Betty had been caught. She hadn’t picked up the phone when he called, hadn’t done that the second and third time either.
Choosing to ignore the first and pursue the second thought distracted Joaquin from the task at hand. If she was in danger she could use their help but securing Miles Jensen was equally important and they had only one chance at that. Then again the prospect of Betty captured and tortured frustrated him deeply. Joaquin chased those demons away. The dome of the place weighted on him filling him with regrets and doubts. It amounted feelings atop of him, tightening his chest with the responsibility of someone’s life lying in his hands. This church was a quiet torturer itself. Joaquin set his jaw firmly waving a hand, the decision made.
“Naw, we go. We got this.”
They looked suspicious together so they moved separately through the bustling chatter of the city, its wet grimacing face stretched to sharp outlines, skyscrapers lost amidst low rolling clouds, the only things see-through – the tall glimmering lights, promises written in nostalgic neon, pop colors spilling through the old cowboy with the cigarette and down the length of the “ladies” in drag. They rejoined in the dark where there was nothing above a whisper, no color but that diluted grey that reflected their figures in dusty car windows, in pools of rainwater eagerly savored by grey dogs with yellow eyes sniffing their true purpose through their dark clothes.
At the interception location there was a sense of vastness; low buildings, modern shacks drenched in dark, concrete ambitions sprung from the ground soon to house businesses; tall smokeless chimneys loomed in the background close enough to breath in the poisonous smoke they puffed out lazily into the starless sky. Joaquin closed his eyes taking in the ambient atmosphere, the stretching night cool and quiet save for the distant rumble of the departing storm. Postcard scenery, eerie and calm drenched in the dull glow of buzzing lights. The asphalt was slick, the moist in the air still detectable, a refreshing sensation against his skin. He opened his eyes and pointed one long finger north.
“Tha’s where the van would be comin’ from. I want eyes on it before it hits that curve and comes swingin’ our way. Kid, get up on that building see if you got a clear vision.”
As Kid, with his backpack holding a baseball bat in place, began climbing up the front skeleton of an unfinished construction doing fast rounds on the makeshift pull up bars, Joaquin turned to Quake, Nightwave and Cosma.
“As soon as Kid gives the signal I wants you two ready to jump the van once Quake flips it like a pancake.” He received their nod of approval.
“No problem mijo. They’ll feel the night close to their hearts,” Nightwave sniggered.