What am I gonna do?
Clay couldn’t pile everyone in his car and take them on a road trip; that just wasn’t possible. But he couldn’t just let everyone die.
What if I just don’t show up for the launch? That would give me a few days to run.
The front door of the apartment opened.
I have to talk to Apollo.
Clay jumped out of his bed, and ran to catch up with Apollo. “Wait!” He called out.
Apollo looked up, a confused look on his face. “What?”
“I have something extremely important to tell you!”
“Well spit it out already.”
Clay screeched to a halt right in front of Apollo, his hands clamped firmly on the other man’s shoulders. “Fulbright wants to kill me.”
Apollo’s face went through a cycle of emotions. First, he was confused, then angry, then confused again, but finally landed on concerned. “Why?”
“Well… he hasn’t started trying to kill me…”
Apollo raised an eyebrow. Skeptical. He was definitely skeptical.
“Hear me out! I know he’s behind the bombings and he’s super dangerous.”
“Then report it to the police.”
Clay sighed. “I can’t.”
Annoyance. “Why not?”
“He’ll kill everyone.”
Apollo cocked his head to the side. “How could you possibly know that?”
“Well… I’ve died like, ten times, and the last time I tried to run away, he burned you, me, and my Dad to a crisp.”
Apollo pressed his lips into a thin line. Back to confused. “Alright, so why are you telling me this?”
“I’m going to try not showing up for the launch.”
“Won’t Fulbright just track you down?”
“Not if I’m in a different state.”
Shocked. “You’re running away?”
“… Well when you put it that way, I guess so.”
Apollo creased his brow. “Why are you telling me this?”
“Don’t trust Fulbright. He’s going to try to kill you.”
Apollo ran a hand through his hair. “And if he asks where you went?”
Apollo’s eyes widened. Scared. “You know I’m a terrible liar!”
“Just bluff your way out of it.”
The other man looked close to bursting into tears. “Clay, I don’t want you to die.”
Clay was hit with a strong sense of deja vu. He tried to force a small smile. “I’m not gonna die.”
…Apollo was sad. “Just… just promise me you’ll be careful.”
“I promise.” He held out his arms, offering a farewell hug. Apollo took it.
“What do I do if you die?”
“Tell the police Fulbright killed me.”
Apollo opened his mouth as if to say something, but decided against it. “G-goodbye.”
“I’ll contact you when I can.”
Apollo said nothing as he picked up his briefcase. Clay couldn’t tell how he felt.”Talk to you soon.”
. . .
Clay had deleted the tracking app off his phone and taken his money out of his bank account. Now he was officially off the grid…
I have to get out of the state.
He could make it to Arizona or New Mexico in about a day. Then he would have plenty of time for Clay to figure out a backup plan.
I have three days before Fulbright starts coming after me. In that time I need to find a way to make sure everyone survives, and Fulbright gets put away.
It wasn’t until late at night that Clay checked into a hotel in New Mexico. It wasn’t nearly as nice as Moe Tell’s Inn, but he wasn’t going to complain. He’d stay just about anywhere as long as there weren’t any drug deals going down. The receptionist said that as far as he knew, the place was drug free. Clay took his word and the key to his room, and went up to the room he was given.
I need to find a payphone and call Apollo tomorrow, just to let him know I’m okay.
The next day, Clay asked where he could find a payphone, and was directed to a booth in the corner of the hotel lobby. Once he was inside, Clay pooled all of his money together to form the fee, and punched Apollo’s number into the keypad.
“Hi, this is Apollo Justice. I’m not here right now, so please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”
Clay sighed. “Hey, it’s me. I just wanted to let you know that I’m doing alright. I was hoping we could talk a bit, but I guess you’re working” Clay struggled to find something else to say. “Uh… you should probably delete this message. I’ll try again tomorrow. Bye.” He hung up.
“Did you make your call alright?” The receptionist asked.
“Yeah,” Clay made his way back up to his room. He didn’t know what to do now. He wouldn’t have to fear for his life for another few days, and he was feeling a bit empty. The refridgerator needed food. He could go grocery shopping. And then he could…
Check his emails…
Clay was bored. Maybe all this action over the past few cycles has spoiled him. He knew that he should be happy people aren’t getting stabbed, or burned to death, but there was a part of him that wanted everything to crash and burn. Clay wasn’t proud of the thoughts some strange part of his brain produced, but they couldn’t be silenced forever.
I need to get some groceries. Calm my mind a little.
And so Clay went on his grocery excursion. He always managed to buy the same food when he went out. Some bread, a few different types of fruit, some other items that could be microwaved. It was kind of mesmerizing how he could make these choices unconsciously. Or was it indicative of the monotonous lifestyle he was going to have to-
Stop. I don’t need to think like that.
Back in his hotel room, Clay read a book he had bought in the bargain bin at the supermarket. It was some terribly written sci-fi book that was so dense, he almost burned it. This was a complete disgrace to the science fiction genre! It’s amazing what passes for science fiction nowadays. He’d have to tell Apollo about it.
Oh wait… I’m on the run now.
Clay needed to leave again. His thoughts were becoming way too toxic. There was a park on the way to the supermarket. He could jog for a little bit, then maybe talk to some people. That would help keep his mind off of things.
On his way out, Clay threw the book he was reading in the garbage where it belonged.
“You’re leaving again?” The receptionist was giving him a strange look.
Clay knit his eyebrows together. “Yeah? I’m bored.” That came out a bit more curt than intended, but it did the job as the receptionist looked back down at the paper he was writing on.
Now to the park…
There wasn’t much to do there either. This was going to drive Clay crazy. It probably already was what with the constant warring voices in his head fighting for control over his general thought processes. People were staring at him as they walked by. Clay almost asked them what they were staring at, but realized that he was a grown man sitting alone on a bench beside the playground.
He got up and left.
What can I possibly do to calm myself down? There isn’t anywhere else I can go…
Besides, even if I do go somewhere else, I’ll probably be driven crazy there-
Some car was honking, pulling Clay away from his thoughts. He jerked his steering wheel to the side to prevent from hitting the car, and ended up down a hill, slamming into a tree. Before Clay could register anything, he had lost consciousness.