Sara's Awakening Ch. 08byHelenofTroy©
Sheriff Garetty stared out the front window of the Lamesa Sheriff's Office in surprise. Coming down the highway was a familiar blue car.
"There's no way..." He stood up and walked to the window to get a closer look. The car was coming extremely fast, and the license plate was different... but there! In the front was a skinny man in a beat up suit. In the back was a gorgeous woman who definitely fit the description 'model'. "They wouldn't come back here. Not so soon."
The car whizzed by the building, going far too fast to be safe, and Bob dashed out the front of the office, heading for his car. They were making good time, but his car could go much faster than Sandy's factory default Rabbit. If he was quick enough...
Wait. Were they turning off the highway?
"Hey, Sean, I got a lead on those perps who took Sandy's car." Bob jumped into the driver's seat, but didn't put on the lights. He radioed the deputies instead, partly because he thought he'd need help, and partly because he didn't usually get to say words like 'perp'.
"Oh ya? Heading east on the highway?"
"No sir. It looks like they're going to the Walmart."
"Come again, sir? You're saying that two people wanted for murder, grand theft auto, assault and unlawful imprisonment are going to Walmart?"
"Yes. Now come on. If we hurry, we can ring 'em in and apprehend 'em as they come out."
"Can do, sir."
Bob pulled his car out of the parking lot nice and easy, no lights and no screeching tires. If this didn't have to be a high speed chase, he would be happy.
"You know, I happen to like this old suit." Merton gestured up and down at the ratty, torn and dirt-stained suit he was wearing. The shirt was inside-out to hide the blood stains, the jacket had soot and ash coating the interior from when it covered Sara just after the sun burned her, and the pant cuffs were so ragged they were wildly different lengths.
"Right." Sara raised an eyebrow.
"Fine, I just don't think we have the time to stop and shop."
"It's alright, it's a Walmart! We'll be in and out in a few minutes. Besides, we both need to update our look." Sara wasn't doing much better than he was. She wore beat up combat fatigues which were several sizes too big for her and had an impressive array of bullet holes in them. One of the sleeves was missing where she'd had her arm cut off by a sword-wielding maniac, and the inside of the collar smelled like old blood.
Merton threw up his hands in exaggerated, comical defeat and headed toward the Walmart. The parking lot was gigantic and even though it was starting to get dark outside it was nearly full! So Merton parked near the back. Well, not quite. First he'd tried for five minutes to find a spot close the door, until Sara yelled at him to just park.
They passed rows and rows of cars, split evenly between SUVs, vans and rusty clunkers, on the way to the door. People bustled in and out of the lot, pushing shopping carts which held anything from a single Kleenex box to an entire new wardrobe. Sara and Merton kept their eyes and hands to themselves, and most of the other patrons did too. One enterprising teenager, moping beside her mother, snapped a shot of them with her cellphone.
"This is going on People of Walmart! Look at those two, mom!"
"Shh, honey! Don't point."
Sara looked over at the two of them and flashed a smile. The mother met her gaze briefly before putting a hand on her daughter's shoulders and hustling her along.
"Hey, Merton, what's People of Walmart?"
"It's an internet thing. Shoppers at Walmart take pictures of people that look strange and post them on the internet to make fun of."
"Oh..." Sara suddenly felt much worse about that interaction. They must be quite a spectacle. "Clearly this trip is needed."
"This trip is a waste of time." Merton kept a sour look as they passed through the larger-than-life sliding doors into the huge, brightly lit building.
"Wow." Sara gawped at the sight, as if she'd never been in Walmart before. Had she been in Walmart before? "Is this normal?"
"For Walmart it is." Merton's clarification was telling. "Come on, clothes are over in that timezone." He pointed in a direction that seemed promising.
Sara let him lead, she was too busy taking in the enormity of this place. Everywhere she looked there were people: families, couples, teenagers, all hurrying around buying things. "It's like... a cathedral."
"Good observation. Here we are." Merton stopped in front of a small city dedicated to men's clothing. People drifted through the section, harvesting ripe apparel from the clothing orchard. T-shirts grew on those trees over there, the khaki bush and jean vine was over there... Sara had never seen anything like it.
"Okay. Good. Where do I go?"
"It should be somewhere around here. Maybe they have a map?" Merton was considering a rack full of printed T's, which had a variety of ironic sayings and logos on them. "Maybe a GPS?"
"Funny. Can I trust you not to kill anyone or run off for five minutes while I find the ladies section?"
They both stopped. People were looking at them, and one parent had her hands clapped over her child's ears. Sara smiled sheepishly and headed in the direction that seemed most likely for ladies apparel.
It took her another five minutes to find, but eventually she came to a section very similar to the men's. Racks of clothing resembling plump fruit trees spread out in front of her, a riot of pink and pastel that assaulted her eyes. Now that she was here and thinking clearly, she headed directly for the underwear section. The dead soldier hadn't had anything she'd wanted to wear in that department, and comfort was almost as important as blending in.
She had a brief crisis when she reached the panty fields. What size was she? She didn't even have some old comparison underwear to base a guess off of...
Amnesia was inconvenient!
She grabbed a variety of sizes that seemed reasonably appropriate in both underwear and bras and then headed for the change rooms. On the way she acquired some shirts and jeans that looked about the right size. She walked past a rack of T-shirts emblazoned with impossibly large graphics, then stopped. She walked back. Twilight shirts...
Laughing to herself, she grabbed two that might be the right size.
When she reached the change rooms, Sara could barely see over top of the pile of clothes. Now that she was here, what was she even planning on buying? She'd originally planned on just a single outfit, but if they were going to be driving all the way back across the state?
"You can't take underwear into the change rooms."
"What?" Sara stopped when challenged by a clerk near the change rooms. She'd been originally intending on breaking into one of the rooms, but now she realized it would be more subtle to do it right.
"You can't try on intimate apparel..." The woman's face looked as if she felt this was self-evident.
"I... how much for all of these?" Sara motioned with the arm which was covered in panties.
"I'll just pay for them all, then I can try them in, right?"
"Don't... don't you know what size underwear you need?" The woman was obviously confused by the situation.
"No." Sara realized that wouldn't be sufficient. "I... have a brain tumour. It impairs some of my long term memory."
"Right." The woman gave her a disbelieving stare.
"Look, just ring all this up, okay?"
"Fine." The woman started scanning tags.
It took a while, which was compounded by the fact that Sara had neglected to get a cart and everything was thrown haphazardly in her arms, but the woman finally finished tallying her pile. "Three hundred twenty five dollars and sixty two cents."
Sara maintained a calm, composed face, and shifted the pile onto one arm. With her now free appendage she grabbed a credit card they'd found in the glove box and handed that to the clerk.
"Really?" The woman obviously still didn't believe this was Sara's plan...
"Just do it."
Finally, Sara found herself alone in a change room with a ridiculous pile of clothes. She originally intended to just find the things that were the right size and go, but found herself stopping and admiring the way a red thong hung on her hips...
Paired with a red bra, it was quite striking. She was sure she hadn't always been this good looking... but she wasn't complaining. While she had no real interest in men at the moment, she had a little thrill of satisfaction when she saw herself in the mirror. Nice breasts, perfect hips, flat tummy... god, was she really this vain?
Yes, she decided. She could indulge in a little safe vanity.
"Hey, Sara?" Merton's voice broke through her reverie as she was flouncing around the change room in a lacy bra and black panties.
"Woah! I mean, hey Merton. Done so soon?"
"We'll be in and out in a few minutes, she says. It's a Walmart, she says."
"Look, I ran into an unexpected complication."
"I don't remember my sizes." Sara let a little note of desperation sneak into her voice when she said it. Modeling underwear had helped take the edge off, but the knowledge of her lost life and memories still ate at her.
"I... oh." Merton sounded surprised. "That sucks. Hey! I've got an idea. I can come in and check and see if..."
"You might need an expert..."
"One: ha! Two: no."
"As in, it's funny you'd consider yourself an expert... look, nevermind. Give me two more minutes."
With Merton here and reality setting in, Sara hurried. While she liked the black ensemble, she settled for some sensible cotton underwear and a sports bra. She considered the Twilight T-shirt long and hard before settling for a blank tank top and something calling skinny jeans...
"Okay, I actually do need your help with these."
"Oh?" Merton's voice perked up at that.
"Pants, Merton." She opened the dressing room door and walked out. There was a larger mirror here that she walked back and forth in front of a couple times, swishing her hips as she did so.
"What about them?"
"Are they supposed to be this tight?"
"Umm..." Merton shrugged. "You're right, I did lie a little when I said I was an expert."
"Well." Sara considered the jeans in the mirror another moment longer, then shook her head. She went back into the change room, got a comfortable pair of cargo pants, then popped back out. At that point she managed to get a good look at Merton, and a smile attacked her face. He was wearing a black shirt with a big cartoonish skull emblazoned on the chest. "Are you serious?"
"No, no, it suits you..."
"Well, that looks... nice on you." Merton's face looked like he was going to say something more lascivious and inappropriate, but Sara let it slide. He'd been eyeing her with a mixture of fear of uncertainty since they escaped, so it was actually nice to see something else there, even this.
"Good. Okay, let's go."
"Finally! Get ready to run when we cross the magnetic thingies at the door, we're going to light up like crazy."
"Oh, no worries. I already paid for mine." Sara considered it. Waiting an extra minute to avoid setting off the alarms made it seem like a good idea to buy Merton's things as well.
"You what!?" Merton stopped cold and turned to look at her.
"I, uhh, bought my stuff?" Sara suddenly looked sheepish and unsure. What was the problem?
"Shit. Now we really need to go." He started hurrying back toward the parking lot at a clipped pace.
"Woah, what's wrong?" Sara kept pace with him easily. She had a feeling that even before being a vampire she'd been more physical than he was...
"I was hoping to use that credit card for something big and important... dammit!"
"Merton! What is it?"
"If the police are looking for us, which they probably are since we stole that car, they're going to know you used that credit card!"
"Oh." Sara hung her head while they walked. She felt stupid, even though she'd had no way of knowing this would happen. Not true. If her memories were still intact, she probably would have known. Now that he said it, lines and plots from cop dramas spilled into her mind unbidden. Dammit! She could remember TV and not her own name? Sara still felt odd and inappropriate when Merton said it, like it belonged to someone else and she was just borrowing it. Of course, her body felt like that too...
"Have I always looked like this?"
"What? No, of course not."
"Of course not?" Sara's voice lowered dangerously when she said it.
"I meant, uhh, because you're a vampire." Merton looked over at her, apparently confused about what he'd said to cause this reaction. The fire in her eyes didn't help, but did make the colour drain out of his face. "What?"
"Well, look... you can regrow limbs and things, right?"
"And you just went through all that face burning from sitting up in the sun to scare the Hell out of me, remember? When you grow... pieces of yourself back, they come back however you want them to. If you're actively concentrating on a look or a body shape, that's what you'll get, otherwise it just turns into a subconscious image of yourself. And even when you're not actively being injured, your features and shape are fluid... you can change your face completely in a day or two if you concentrate hard enough."
"Gareth used to use it for covert ops all the time. He had a thing called a burn room where operatives could go to... you know... speed up the change."
"Alright. You're off the hook." Sara glared daggers at his back as they walked out the front of the Walmart.
In that moment just as they transitioned from the harsh fluorescent lighting of the Walmart's interior to the darkness outside, she thought she saw something in the shadows behind Merton's head. A face... two eyes, white with no pupils, and a mouth filled with dagger sharp teeth, grinning at her with the hunger of a predator. Then it was gone... did she just imagine it?
"You're under arrest! Put your hands up!"
Sara's reverie was interrupted when the world lit with blue and red flashing lights, and half a dozen flashlights trained themselves on her and Merton. Instinctively she put her hands up, and a moment later Merton did too. Sara stared in shock at three police cars and seven police officers, one with a bullhorn, all pointing weapons and her and Merton. She'd been so busy being frightened that the Knights would find her; she'd never even considered this.
"This is because I used a credit card six minutes ago?" Sara noticed that Merton's hands were not up.
"Get your hands up!"
"Who knows? Maybe the shopping trip in general."
"So you told me so?"
"Hands up or we shoot!"
"Time to do your thing, vampire-lady." Merton turned his back to the police, as if they weren't even there. "We don't have time for this..."
"I'm going to count down from five! Five!"
"I'm not going to hurt innocent police officers." Sara still had her hands up, hoping it was the right thing to do. She was fine with killing Knights, who imprisoned her and killed her family, but the cops were just doing their job.
"We don't have time for this."
"We have no moral high ground if we do what you're thinking."
"Fuck the moral high ground." Merton's eyes blazed with anger. Apparently he'd never considered that Sara might not break them out of an entanglement with the police.
"What about that girl you're trying to rescue?" Merton gestured wildly in the direction of the highway. "Does she have time for this?"
"We don't even know if she's still alive... and I can't justify killing seven to save one."
"Two! Look, lady, you seem reasonable! Tell him to get his hands up!"
"If we're stuck in a police station, the Knights will find us for sure."
"If they're even looking for us." Sara wasn't so sure anymore. They'd been driving nonstop since escaping, but if the Knights really were as frightening as they seemed to be they should have found her and Merton by now. If they were looking.
"One! I mean it, I'll shoot!"
"Fine." With a final glare, Merton put his hands up and turned back to face the police.
"Hands behind your heads! Get down on the ground on your stomach!"
Sara did what the cop commanded, lacing her fingers behind her head and then lowered to her knees. Merton followed reluctantly, looking like he might try and get out of this on his own. Could he do it?
"Between zero and one, Merton." He'd said that was how many bullets he could survive... was it true?
Merton grumbled something unintelligible and lay down on his stomach with his hands behind his head. Sara did the same, putting her cheek against warm asphault and waiting to be cuffed. Even now, she was pretty sure they couldn't take her unless she wanted to go. She was just as sure that she was going to let them. Merton said the Hawks were mercenaries, but if they were amoral like the Knights she wouldn't be this concerned about the wellbeing of some police, would she?
With Sara and Merton on the ground, the police hustled over quickly. Sara could see out of the corner of her eye that a crowd had gathered. A small town like this and they probably weren't used to this kind of excitement.
Someone knelt on the small of Sara's back, pinning her to the hard pavement, and gently cuffed her wrists. Could someone be gentle doing that? A voice which was surprisingly kind started droning on about her rights. Silence, a lawyer... the words flowed around her and she ignored them. More TV shows blossomed in her mind, but no other familiarity. Hopefully that meant she hadn't had a run in with the police before...
Or would that be better? If she'd been arrested before, they could tell her who she was! Suddenly, she was excited for this process. Even the knee on her back felt like a step in the right direction. Maybe they would know her last name!
"Alright, up you go." The man got off her back and lifted her up with a helping hand under her arm. She guessed most people would need that assistance, so she allowed him to pull her up. No need making him afraid of what she could do...
"Okay, nothing to see here. Everyone move along, please." A different police officer was shooing the crowd back and body-blocking them from taking pictures. Almost everyone had a cellphone with a camera in it, so he only succeeded in stopping one out of every five photos at best. Sara didn't mind. Maybe someone would see her on the internet and come to find her.
No... that was asking too much. She had no family outside of the Hawks, she knew that deep within. They were all dead, and no one would be coming for her.
"Watch your head." The cop who'd cuffed her pushed down on her head as she got into the back of the car, then helpfully pressed her into the car.
She was hoping Merton would be put in with her so she could discuss her new reasons for wanting to be arrested, but she didn't have that much luck. As her cop turned on his siren and pulled out of the parking lot she saw Merton being shoved into another car. He was struggling against the process, so his cop was far less gentle with him. Sara didn't blame the man. Merton was a handful.