Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads
They weren’t going to make it.
Not unless he suddenly sprouted blue tights and a red cape. The hope of escape morphed into despair and resignation and finally reckless pissed-off-ness. No fucking way was he going to die running. He stopped, turned, and faced the truck barreling toward them. The tires ate up the ground at an indecent rate. He clutched Isleen tighter to his chest. For her sake, he wanted it to be a quick death. No more lingering. No more pain.
That thought infuriated him. None of this was right. They shouldn’t be on the verge of death. Again.
The truck kept coming—now twenty-five feet away.
Everything slowed, happening as if through the quicksand of time. A white dandelion floaty meandered on the breeze directly between them and the truck. His heart no longer ran a staccato rhythm. Duh…dum. Pause. Duh…dum. Pause.
His life didn’t flash before his eyes. The future did. Isleen’s future. In an ethereal dream beyond time, her skin was gilded by firelight, her eyes devoid of sadness and fear, her body whole and healthy. She smiled, an expression so full of warmth and tenderness and undiluted joy that it plunked itself down inside his heart and wouldn’t leave.
He ached to create that kind of smile on her face, but their lives were over. It all could’ve gone so differently if he’d only listened to her, believed in her, found her years before now.
The air changed, displaced by the truck only a few feet from them. Heat from the engine blasted his face, smelling of burning oil, gasoline, and a scent reminiscent of popped corn. He locked eyes with the bitch behind the wheel. Her pudgy lips ripped back over her teeth in a snarling scream.
Xander knew anger—his best friends were fury and rage—but the look on the bitch’s face went beyond mere anger all the way to unholy.
The truck imploded.
The sound was supersonic, a resonation that rippled through his skin and muscle to rattle his bones and shake the earth underneath his feet. Metal and glass and fire shot outward, skyward, backward, in a near-perfect arc of destruction. Flaming debris rained around them.
He stood there holding Isleen, watching it happen, not believing the message his eyes sent to his brain.
“What the…?” The last of the truck parts hit the ground. The pieces burned. That’s all that was left—pieces. Nothing touched them, like they resided under an invisible dome of protection.
He glanced down at Isleen for an answer, but she was unconscious, her head lolling so limply on her neck that it looked as if he was carrying a corpse.