American Chimera – 15.4

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Smoke and a ceramic “crack” woke me back up. I grabbed onto the flannel shoulders of Mr. Potter and kept going. I couldn’t let Dani down.

Dani.

I fell back down and looked up to the bus. Spider’s legs stuck out the hole from which Mr. Potter had been extruded, but Dani was still in there. “Dani!” I screamed. I tripped over Mr. Potter and tried to make my way back to her. “Dani!”

She was stuck behind the door. The little hole through which I’d crawled was big enough for a human to shimmy through, but her body shape was too different from ours. Her legs moved back in and pushed against the door. The metal bent a few more centimeters than I had been able to acheieve, but it wasn’t going to be enough. Even if she rolled the entire door up, her round abdomen was going to be a difficult piece to fit.

She poked her head out of the opening she’d created. “Don’t you come closer! Get away from here – get up to the road and flag down Mama and Daddy!”

“No! Dani, let me help!”

I screamed when the lithium batteries exploded and cracked. More fires started, which opened even more battery compartments. I could feel the intense heat even from where I sat next to Mr. Potter.

“Go git Mama and Daddy – they’ll have bolt cutters or somethin’ to get me out! Hurry!”

What…what else could I have done? I crawled up the hill, using roots and small trees to pull myself. I don’t know how long it took me, but it felt like forever. Had her parents already driven by? Had I failed?

I reached the gravel road. A couple drops of blood drained from my forehead. I remember crying, unable to do anything other than lay just off the side of the road and wait.

I saw the headlights of a couple bicycles and waved my hands maddeningly. “Help!” I screamed, not caring even if this was some crazy murder rapist. “Help!”

Dani’s parents pulled over to the side of the road, tossing their bikes down. Janie came over to me and took out some cotton bandages from her bag. “Oh, Stacy, are you ok?”

Brett looked over the edge of the embankment. “Holy shit.” He grabbed some tools from his saddlebags and slid down the hill faster than I’ve ever seen the man hustle.

I pointed down the hill. “She’s stuck,” I managed to get out.

“Brett’s going to go get her.”

“Fire.”

“It’ll be ok.”

Janie held my head to her lap. I don’t remember much after that – it didn’t take too much longer before I passed out.

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