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I let off the gas immediately and slowed down before veering into the lane behind them, even as the operator asked calmly, “Are you able to see the license number? If so, read it to me—as carefully as you can. Are they Kentucky plates?”
I was distracted by the men in the payload, who appeared to be lifting something heavy, but quickly focused on the plate. “Yes. Kentucky 527 CXS, Franklin County.” I squinted in the fog. The lettering didn’t look right. “I—I think it’s been altered. I’m following as close as I dare, and it looks like—”
“You are behind them?”
“Yes. One of them was—”
“Sir, be advised that units are on the way and that you are not to pursue. Repeat, do not pursue. Pull over immediately and wait for officers to arrive. What is the make and model of your vehicle?”
“I—it’s a blue Toyota—a Camry. 2004, I think. I’m—I’m slowing down. But so are they. There’s men in the payload. It, it almost …”
I was about to say that it looked like they were lifting, well, a trough, to be frank, one of those big aluminum vats used to water horses, when the men heave-hoed the thing twice … and sent its contents hurling toward my windshield. At which point the thick, viscous stuff hit the glass like a hammer—exploding everywhere—and turned the world black.
Black and blood red.