This continues an excerpt from Mad Science Institute, a novel of calamities, creatures, and college matriculation. The novel will be available 12/16/2011, but you can read the beginning here first!
Dean felt light-headed as he fumbled his fat key-ring out of his pocket while she shoved her electronic key-fob into his hand.
“Wait! What about this?” he lifted the box with the ring off the table and placed it in her hand.
“I—I’ll think about it. Let’s just get home first, okay?” She slid her hand around his neck and pulled him close for a hard, urgent kiss.
“One more thing,” she whispered in his ear. “What they want is in our founder’s head.”
“…The founder’s head? McKenzie, what’re you talking about—”
She was already out the door. He followed her, each ducking into the other’s car. They pulled out onto the three-lane arterial, she heading straight and he pulling a u-turn at the intersection.
Dean wanted to believe that the whole thing was crazy, but it wasn’t like McKenzie to act irrationally. Why would she be running from that big biker? For that matter, why would she want him, of all people, to cover for her job? And what was that business about the founder’s head?
He felt distracted and uncertain of what to do—until he glanced into his rear-view mirror and saw the huge man on the black motorcycle behind him. The danger, he could now see, was very real. He may not have understood why someone would be chasing McKenzie, but now all his worry and confusion fell away and in their place remained only clarity of purpose. He had to keep her safe, which meant he had to lead them away.
Dean slouched down in the seat to prevent his pursuer from recognizing that it was not McKenzie driving the car, and then he took a circuitous drive through the city streets. Before long, the big man peeled off and another black-clad biker picked up the pursuit in his place. The bikers, whoever they were, were taking turns shadowing him. They were pretty good at the tag-team pursuit, too. In other circumstances, Dean might not have noticed they were following him, even though they were not exactly inconspicuous individuals. He considered leading them to the police station, but he would have nothing to report—other than the big man’s lack of a helmet, they weren’t breaking any laws. As long as he had her car, he could make sure they didn’t find her, so he kept luring them on, making sure they didn’t lose him and yet not letting them get close enough to see his face.
Dean led his pursuers through the downtown streets for more than an hour. He had counted five different bikers by then, and the latest one was the most aggressive. Like the others, this biker rode a heavily customized but older-model motorcycle, but this one wore no shirt. He frequently navigated between cars at red lights to get closer and closer, until he was so near that Dean could see the large swastika tattoo over the left side of his chest.
Dean decided it was time to get a little more elusive.