A halloween tribute for Mill Ave and Phoenix -- revisiting an old legend, updated for a gritter era.


The hoof beat tempo stuttered for a moment and recovered. The Indian paused as if in surprise; then shifted, hitting his accelerator, and roared off past the taxi.

“What’s going on?” Jason cried in her ear.

“I think that he just realized that I’m armed,” Vex said.

“Armed? You have a gun?”

“Something like that…” Vex could barely restrain the anger from her voice. “That’s it—nobody touches my cab—this bastard is mine.”

She rolled down the window so she could get a clear shot. Salter’s reply was drown out by engine noise when she down-shifted and hit the gas as hard as she could, just like she’d been shown by the man she bought the taxi from. The rpm gauge pegged as the turbo-charger kicked in and the custom-built police-interceptor engine replied with a staggering burst of acceleration.

The wind roared all around her and shrieked past the open window, the red taillights of the Indian grew larger in her vision as she closed. The motorcycle blew up a cloud of grey smoke from its tires as it pushed faster, but the taxi’s engine proved superior and inexorably closed the distance between. The Indian ran full-speed through a red-light, empty intersection; not taking her foot off the gas, Vex followed him through.

She had switched the hand gripping the obsidian shard; the brilliant sapphire nimbus of lethal energies cast writhing shadows across her intent, predatory expression.

Another, poor-lit intersection appeared ahead—closing fast. That light was red also. The walk signal hadn’t yet changed. It was a good thing no cops were around.

“…going…happening?” she could hear snatches of Jason’s speech in her ear as she watched herself speed towards the red light and kept her eyes locked on the headless leather jacket.

As the Indian started to pass into the intersection, Vex drew her arm back—but then something strange happened.

The motorcycle rider slammed on his brakes. The bike fishtailed and spun, large legs springing out to steady his halt, and stopped solidly at the edge of the wan illumination beneath the poorly maintained stoplight. The cab tore through the intersection, past the biker, and Vex applied her brakes hard. The dead grey skies spun above, dust and exhaust spilled through the open window of the cab, and the halo of blue light around her fist faltered and died.

Ahead, framed visibly in the blinding beams of the taxi’s headlights, the Indian sat and waited. He did not move. His leathery bulk sat atop the large motorcycle as if relaxed, the shoulders barely moving up and down like calm breathing. Vex narrowed her eyes.

“What’s going on?” Jason shouted in her ear. “Can you hear me? For fuck’s sake talk to me!”

“Everything’s fine,” Vex said. “You can stop shouting.”

“Did you get him?”

“Not exactly.”

“What do you mean not exactly?”

“I mean, we stopped. He stopped… I’m staring at him right now. I’m getting out of the car.” Vex pulled the door handle and set her feet on the asphalt. A gentle wind blowing down off of South Mountain blew away the stink of burnt fuel and replaced it with the smells of desert. “I think this is the intersection he died at…he may not be able to cross it.”

The Indian’s idle died and he dismounted.

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