"-What?! -What 're 'ou doing down 'ere, Tracy an' Dustin?!
" Mrs. Essex called down the stairs, mouth agape and completely shocked.
"-Wait -Wait -Wait! We can explain!" Tracy stammered, as Dustin leaned up, a horrified look on his face.
"-Why 're 'ou two laying there?!-" She shifted her gaze towards Dustin's wrists, and her eyes widened in realization.
"-Oh god, 'ou two 'ave been..." Jake's mom was at a loss for words, a horrible thought crossing her mind.
"-What?-" Dustin franticly fumbled as he searched himself, and held up his handcuffs. "... No, it's not what it looks like..."
"-I -I can't be 'avin' 'ou two... Experimenting- down here... What ever will 'our parents think!?" Mrs. Essex cringed and looked away, trying hard to not think about it.
"-What?!... N- No!!!" Dustin went red as he shook his hand in defense. "-Then it's really not what you think!!!"
"-Oh, god..." Tracy scrambled away from Dustin as fast as she could, and she threw a glare at Jake's mom. "-What is wrong with you?!"
Linger droned on upstairs, adding to the stressed and frantic atmosphere.
"-Don't try t' play jest wit' me, I know what kids 'our age do!" Mrs. Essex glared at them. "... Now I 'ave to call 'our parents-"
"-Mum!!! Fo' th' love of god, quiet dow-!" Jake screeched to a halt as he ran into the kitchen behind his mother. "-Oh, fuck!"
"-Ay!!" Mrs. Essex instantly whipped around. "-Jacob!! What 'ave I told 'ou abou' using that kind 'f language!?!"
Dustin jumped to his feet and darted towards the gound level window.
"-Wha-? Goddammit, Dustin..." Tracy muttered, and ran after her hasty companion.
"-Sorry mum." Jake said plainly, and put on a cute smile.
"Well, Jacob Essex, we'll 'ave this conversation la'er..." Jake's mom muttered, crossing her arms, and turned around.
"-Wh-? Dustin!! Tracy!! Get back o'er 'ere!!" She raced down the stairs.
"-Shit!" Dustin exclaimed as he realized that the window didn't actually open, and was probably too small to fit through.
"-What 're 'ou doing?! 're 'ou that afraid 'f 'our parents?!..." Mrs. Essex stopped in her tracks, paused, and turned back up the stairs. "... I'm calling them right now..."
Dustin glanced over his shoulder, and started franticly searching the cement walls for something in particular.
Tracy ran to the other windows, and tested each of them. "... They don't open!"
"... They don't have to..." Dustin grabbed a white wire from the wall, and leaned in to snap it between his teeth. He tossed the newly loosed end to the side, and darted to the nearest window.
He pulled his elbow back, and rammed it at the glass with all his might. A dull thud and a bruised joint later, Dustin pulled his arm back. "-Ow! Crap..."
"Yeah, McGyver makes it look so easy, doesn't he, tough guy?" Tracy quipped, tapping her foot.
"-Yeah, yeah, whatever, find something to break this freakin' glass..." Dustin rubbed his wounded limb.
"-Bollocks! 'he phone's not working..." Dustin heard Mrs. Essex say upstairs.
"Hmm? What was 'hat abou' language, mum? I didn't hear 'ou..."
"-Jake, I said we'd 'ave this conversation la'er!... Where's my cell phone?..."
Dustin smirked, knowing Mrs. Essex's efforts to contact their parents were in vain, and ran to a toolbox he spotted. He rummaged through it as fast as he could, and pulled out a wrench, the next best thing since he couldn't find a hammer of any discription.
"... Right, let me handle it..." Tracy went behind Dustin and reached over his shoulder to steal the tool from him. Dustin turned around, irritated with her, but let her try it anyway.
Tracy wound her swing back with her good arm. With a mighty swing, she smacked the glass, and only a dull thud reverberated rather than a shatter.
"... Yeah, let you handle it." Dustin took it from her grasp.
"-Ay! I had it! That fuckin' glass is just bulletproof, or something..."
"... Bulletproof? Really? That's a stupid excuse, even for you..."
Tracy opened her mouth to respond, and Dustin smashed the glass without a serious problem.
"... Asshole." Tracy muttered.
"... What th' bloody 'ell?..." Mrs. Essex said upstairs. "-Was that a bleakin' window?!"
"-Ok, crawl through!" Dustin told Tracy as he darted back to the toolbox like a spooked animal.
"-Dustin! Aw, fuck..." She muttered, and looked at the opening. "I can't fit through that!"
"-Yeah, you will." Dustin replied, occupied with his search through the tools.
The basement door flung open once more.
"-Ok, crawling! Crawling!" Tracy panicked, fumbling as she tried to squeeze through the small window frame.
"-'ou kids 'ave smashed my window?!" Mrs. Essex blared as she ran down the steps. She spotted Dustin as he let out a yelp, and scampered away towards the window, small hand-tool in his grip.
"-An' 'ou 're petty thiefs?!"
Dustin panicked, and pushed Tracy's legs through the window hastily as she let out a welp.
"-What in th' bloody... Stop! Get back 'ere!" Jake's mom called out as she darted for them.
Dustin jumped to the side, knocked over a stack of cardboard boxes into her path, and fled back to the window. She nearly tripped as she fell directly into the trap, and Dustin took the extra second to leap into th window, and Tracy pulled him through.
"-Wha -What's going on!?! Get back 'ere, Tracy and Dustin!!! Get back o'er 'ere!!!" Mrs. Essex called as Tracy and Dustin sprinted outside, through the Essex's front yard, to freedom.
Dustin ran as fast as his legs would take him, leaping over the curb and out into the road.
"-Dammit, the FBI's going to see us here, Dustin!" Tracy grabbed his shirt collar and pulled him with her as she darted for the shrubbery a few houses down the block.
She threw him into the bush as they got close, and she forced herself into a slide inside.
"... For fuck's sake, don't throw me into a bush again!" Dustin scolded her, rubbing his neck.
"-For fuck's sake, I saved your ass!"
"-For fuck's sake, I didn't need saving!"
"-For fuck's sake, you did!"
Dustin paused, trying to catch his breath. "-For fuck's sake... For fuck's sake!"
Tracy chuckled a bit. "-Lame..."
"Whatever..." Dustin said, and leaned back, catching his breath.
The duo took a deserved break, sweating, panting, and generally recuperating for a few minutes. The silence was a jarring change, and neither of them spoke for a while. Tracy rubbed her bad arm, all the running had reopened the wound.
"... It still hurts?" Dustin asked, breaking the silence.
"Yeah. Stupid thing's keeping us back," She gestured to Dustin's hands. "-Like those."
Dustin smirked, and pulled the tool he nicked from his pocket.
"Yeah. Should work with the chain links here..." He fumbled with it for a moment, before realizing it was impossible for him to do it himself.
"-Help me out..."
"-M'kay. Whatever you say." Tracy grabbed the cutters and snapped the chain with a clink.
Dustin streched his arms out for the first time in almost twenty hours, and sighed. "... Finally."
"Yep. Now if there was just someway to heal my freaking arm..."
Dustin smiled for a moment, but frowned again when he twirled the cuffs around his wrist. "... This could be a problem."
Tracy shook her head. "-Fuck it. We can deal with it later. Relaxation is our top priority..."
Dustin readjusted himself in the rather space filled bush, pushing a few branches from his face. Tracy sighed, exhausted. So much adrenaline, no rest. For the next few minutes, Dustin decided, nothing was going to happen.
"-Dustin?! Tracy?!" A familiar voice called from the sidewalk about fifteen meters away.
"... Aw, shit..."
Dustin got up and peeked out the bush, annoyed. Jake walked rather aimlessly around looking for them, carrying Dustin's backpack over one shoulder.
"-The fuck, Jake, get over here!" Dustin stage-whispered to him.
"... Dustin? Why the hell 're 'ou in that bush? There's a better 'ne o'er there..."
"-Just shut up and get in! You're going to get us killed!"
Jake crouched and crawled into it as commanded, and squeezed himself in. Spaceous for two, crowded for three.
"... What the 'ell did 'ou guys do if 'ou're worried fo' 'our life?!" Jake freaked out.
"-We didn't do anything, but the FBI thinks we did." Dustin answered, trying hard to remain in the shrubs cover.
"The FBI? Crap... How can 'ou evade them?"
"-Catching the real killer." Tracy jumped in. Dustin gave her a look.
"What?" Jake asked him.
"... It's not a person. A smartphone app is killing these people."
There was a moment of awkward silence.
Jake burst out laughing uncontrollably.
"-Quiet! You're going to get us caught again, dammit!" Dustin muttered.
"-S -Sorry! That's just... Brilliant! Oh- ho... Fuck! That's bloody brilliant..."
Dustin turned his head. "... Wait, what? Do you believe me or not?!"
"-Sorry!... Oh, it would just be... fucking min' blowin' if that was true! Sign me up!"
"-Sign me up! I go with ya, I wan' t' see a murderous app!"
Dustin threw Tracy a confused look, and she shrugged her shoulders.
"-Fine. Sure, you can come along. Just know what you're getting in to..."
"Trust me, I know!..." Jake smiled.
He was going to get them killed, he was sure.
Dustin walked into a mostly empty parking lot, wearing a long, grey trench coat and a baseball cap to cover his face. He pulled out his phone, it's screen shining through the nighttime darkness.
It should be somewhere out here.
He glanced around. Nothing he was looking for. He continued through the lot, stopping every so often to check his surroundings. Downtown Heartfield was nothing like downtown Chicago. Lucky for Dustin. Less cops to worry about.
He looked up at the lone, flickering streetlight up above him. It's constant buzzing was the only thing cutting the otherwise peaceful yet deadly atmosphere of the lot. Or perhaps it was magnifying it. Dustin couldn't quite tell.
Near the top of the post, Dustin spotted a white-cased security camera. He blinked. Just what he needed. He paced around the base of the streetlamp, checking for something in particular. He casually leaned in and lightly tapped the metal pole. It reverberated with a clean ping, coursing up and down the pole.
Dustin leaned against the base of the lamp, out of the recording device's sight, and typed a few things into his phone. A second later, a screen-feed of the camera's sight materialized onto it. He swiped left and right to swivel the camera a bit, and found what he was looking for.
He double tapped, and the feed fizzled out to white-black snow. Dustin stuck his hands into the pockets on his trench coat and walked slowly towards his destination.
"... And here you are. I've been looking for you everywhere." Dustin said when he arrived, in a deep, mono-tone voice. He had to show he could roll with these things.
He walked up, and put his hand on the hood of the 1982 Pontiac Trans Ams that waited for him there.
He paced around it. No one, as expected. He pulled out his phone. No tracers it could detect. He walked to the driver's side, and opened the door. The key sat on the seat, just as he had arranged.
He sat down, and put the key into the ignition. He turned it, and the car roared to life. He lowered his eyebrows, slowly pulled the bandana he wore around his neck up over his nose, and put it into drive.
The car revved, and the tires squeeled as they burned rubber. Dustin pushed the gas further and engaged the clutch, and the car shot forward on it's short journey to 60mph. Dustin turned the steering wheel, and the car spun it's back end around as it skid sideways to a halt.
It handled beautifully.
Dustin put it into park, and turned the ignition off. He slowly climbed out of the car, and stood up, tire-smoke rising behind him, as his coat flapped lightly in the breeze.
"-Nice going, balding the tires like that." Tracy said, walking from the shadows of the edge of the lot.
"... What? That's how cars are driven." Dustin said in his mono-tone voice.
"-Oh damn, Dustin! That was amazin'! Fuckin' epic, 'ou could say!" Jake said, running from the darkness.
"'Fuckin' epic'? How about, 'wanna-be'?" Tracy scoffed.
"... What's the matter, Tracy? This is just who I am... I am... The vigilante." Dustin stared off into the distance.
"-Cut that out. I can hear Jake going all gay for you."
"-No I'm not! It's just 'hat damn cool."
"Whatever." She flicked her hair, and Jake diverted his gaze to her instantly.
Dustin pulled his bandana down, and cleared his throat to get his regular voice. "... Alright. We got our first set of wheels, finally. One step closer to finding the culprit."
Tracy nodded. "Yep."
Jake threw a fist into the air. "Yeah."
Dustin smirked. "-Then let's get going."