After leaving that dive bar, Clara walked for the better part of an hour down desolate streets. Something seemed off about the city. While Clara could not think of the reason why, she knew that any city of this size should be teeming with people. So why was this entire area boarded up? There were no cars other than derelicts stripped bare. Litter covered the streets and some drifted around harmlessly, carried forth by the wind.
“How could there be any part of this city so sparsely inhabited?” Clara asked.
She did not expect an answer, nor was one provided. There were other mysteries to solve before the night was done and her musings on population density did nothing to achieve her goal.
In the distance, she spotted something and initially thought it was nothing more than a trick of the eye. Was that a truck? Clara’s heart rate rose in excitement, prompting her to focus her thoughts to bring it back down to normal. It had been a long time since she last needed to manipulate her heart rate, but Clara needed to remain calm. For now.
Before she approached the vehicle, Clara kept an eye on her surroundings. All around, there were potential avenues for an ambush or ways to mount an indirect attack. There were plenty of monsters that were smart enough to lay such traps and patient enough to wait for an unassuming victim.
“Wait till they get on my bad side,” Clara said under her breath.
Her training left her with the necessary toolset to deal with such eventualities: how to ignore the cold or the heat and put mission before self, even at the cost of her own life.
“Anything that tries to fuck with me will end up having a bad day,” Clara said casually as she approached the vehicle.
From this distance, she noted that the headlights were lit and there was a ghostly glow to them. The vehicle was old, or appeared to be at least, when compared to what she saw in modern films.
Cars had been a rich man’s luxury when Clara was a child. As time progressed, they became more popular and ubiquitous. In the last decade of her life, she even learned to drive, a useful bit of knowledge for disposing of wealthy vampires and their rides.
She never expected to come across a truck that survived the Dirty Thirties. It was a real piece of work too: bright red paint, chrome buffed to a shine. This vehicle looked better than it would have off the lot.
“Now why would anyone leave something like this lying around?” Clara asked.
Clara drew her pistol and swept the truck for any potential threats. She checked the cab, the bed, and the undercarriage, all without finding anything to worry about. Clara paused, furrowed her brow, and looked utterly confused. Simply put, this was too easy.
She eventually accepted the situation based on nothing more than faith and opened the door. Since the lights were dim, Clara popped the hood latch release and went ahead to have a closer look.
“Oh my!” Clara said in awe.
Whatever was crammed into the engine compartment looked nothing like the stock engines from her time. Every square inch of space had been used up to house the engine and supporting systems.
“Someone was compensating for something,” Clara said before letting out a snicker.
Despite everything looking shiny and new, the compartment still smelled of lubricants and petrol. It brought back some great memories of having her way with men in the back of these classics. She even learned to appreciate rumble seats.
With a sigh, she slammed the hood into place. As a final precaution, she scanned the area but again, found nothing. For many, this implied they were alone, but that was rarely true.
“Too easy,” Clara said.
Clara slid into the cab as best she could. The leather of her pants clung to the seats. Clara had no choice but to chuckle, since fate managed to save her a little surprise after all.
She looked over the console and found most of the gauges and dials to be familiar. Since the keys were in the ignition, she turned the key and as expected, nothing happened.
“Horsefeathers!” Clara swore.
Thinking back over her days of yore, Clara remembered to check the choke. Her eyes scanned every feature on the console to no avail. There were no plungers or dials for a choke.
“What now?” Clara asked herself.
The last thing Clara wanted to do was push this flivver down the road until she reached a hill. While she had no specific time and place to rendezvous, Clara sensed she was needed somewhere, and fast.
“There must be—,” Clara said but stopped when an idea ran through her mind.
She pressed down on the clutch and break until both were firmly in place. In this position, her legs were strained so she fumbled around with the seat until she could reach comfortably.
She then turned the keys and felt the engine roll over. The first pass sounded laboured, as though the engine had been kept out on a frigid winter’s eve, but on the second turn, it roared to life.
“Yes!” Clara exclaimed.
When the engine began to grunt, she pressed down on the throttle, and made this engine roar once more. In that moment, Clara knew that she was going to have a lot of fun with this truck.
She released the brake, eased off on the clutch, and gave it some gas. The truck’s rear wheels squealed releasing a noxious black cloud into the air. Before Clara had a chance to smell her handiwork, the truck was already screaming down the road.
“Di mi!” Clara exclaimed. “I think I’m in love!”
Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!