A piercing creak and ungraceful slam of the metal and glass door heralded the return of the salesman. "We'll give you our special finance plan with a rather reduced interest rate-"
"I'm paying by check. There will be no need for monthly payments."
"Oh," the salesman replied, his mouth hanging in a tight O. "Well," he recovered : "I'll throw in dent-proofing and an air freshner if we go up on your bid 10%"
Stanton rested his chin on his thumb and forefinger in thought. They had offered the airfreshener for free. This was hardball: this or nothing, he surmised. Not a bad deal, though. Slowly raising his gaze to meet that of the salesman, he replied: "It's a deal."
The salesman, of course, was frightened.
Nighttime is the only time to drive, Nephlyte thought, his eyes scanning the empty road. His foot sank further on the gas pedal. The rpms increased. Merging onto the highway, he stepped on the clutch and shifted into fifth. And stick is the only way to drive. He cruised at 75 for a time, just getting used to the feel of the seat beneath him, and fiddling with the stereo system he had installed. Radio channeles blipped and fuzzed as he searched for something to fit the mood. Hearing a familliar chord, his fingers stopped dead on the dial. Van Halen. Perfect. He increased the volume and his speed. Next to him, a teenager in a white Camero eyed his car. "You wanna race, eh?" Nephlyte crooned, almost laughing in his elation. "Let's race, then!" He turned his head, and stared directly into the adolecent's beady green eyes and spiked black hair. A Barbie doll hung limply from a noose on his rearview mirror. At least the punk has taste, he mused with a curl of his lip. The kid looked smug. Nephlyte placed his foot further on the pedal, and took the car for a real ride.
Music bounced off the seats, windows and through his skull. But that did nothing to silence the fears in the back of his mind. He knew that Beryl would need that crystal to ultimately consumate her conquest. But not if he got it first. . . then perhaps he could always feel as free and powerful as he did now, with the engine growling in front of him, and the shining tics of the lane dividers flashing past him like so many shooting stars. But first things were first: he had to survive. He had to figure out how to get energy more efficiently than Jedite. His eyes flicked across the rearview mirror. That kid was still after him! "My, what energy that urchin has!" he chuckled. Just then, a vision of the stars flashed in his mind. They blazed and aligned themselves, telling him . . . everything . . . He could get more from this kid than Jedite could from twenty. He just had to get him really angry. Not hesitating a second, Nephlyte swung the steering wheel to the right, flinging the car into the next lane. He jammed his foot on the brake, slowing the car drastically. Behind him, he saw the kid scream and curse as he too braked. He changed lanes. Nephlyte sped up. He played chicken with his victim, inciting fear and rage from within him. I only have to touch his car . . . how . . .? He pondered. He continued to play his car game. He slowed, swerved behind the Camero, and came up as close as he could to the left of the other car. He rolled down the window, as did the teen. The kidstared at him, wide-eyed.
"Shit man, what the hell are you doing! You're fucking crazy!"
He slowed a little, matching pace perfectly with the other car. He reached an arm out to grab the door. almost . . . there . . . "Kid, you wanna play? Show me what that thing can do, eh?" Ahah! He marked it. It was tainted now. "You think that you're hot stuff, eh?"
"Hey man, get the fuck off the road!"
Nephlyte rolled the window back up. Just a little more playing before the fox would eat the mouse. He cut the kid off, and he responded by turning on his floodlights. Nephlyte squinted and cursed. He swerved out of the lane and dropped back beside the kid. The young man's face was flushed with fear and anger. Nephlyte could taste the adrenaline in the air. He met the eyes of the teenager with a meaningful stare. He was such an bright young man, obviously oblivious to his own talents, or at least he thought nothing of them. If he wanted to waste his talents, noone would miss him. Nephlyte laughed at the thought. Well, he would at least make his death spectacular. "Draco!come forth!"
The mark glowed, and with a flash of light, a scaled creature of muscle and
sinew burst from it.
It wrapped around the car and faced the young man through the windshield. He
screamed in horror,
and the monster stole almost every ounce of energy he had as he let it loose in
a torrent of abject
terror. Nephlyte slowed and started to pull to the side of the road. The kid's
arm clung to the
wheel, and as it jerked with numerous convulsions which seeped from the
absolute terror in his
soul, the wheel swung sharply to the left. As the last of his energy escaped
him, the boy
watched the lightpole loom forward. In one instant, the dragon was gone, and
at the side of the road, watching the scene unfold. The car smashed into the
and folding under the impact. The metal twisted, and the trajectory of the
collision sent it on
a spin before it landed on it's back and exploded in a hellish orgasm of noise
and fire. The heat
of it rested on Nephlyte's face, the inferno's orange light highlighting his
auburn hair and
roiling across the side of his car. Holding the energy in his cupped hands,
excitedly until it built into a roar of thrilled laughter. Next time it would
be more simple,yes. The rules changed. It was all a game.
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