When it rains…well, you know.
A record breaking rainfall. A vicious vehicular assault. Two cars in the water.
A terrifying situation for our favorite federal agent and his genius brother.
But who was the real target? And in the aftermath of the accident, can the team find out in time?
Chapter One: The Victory Boulevard Bridge
"Is it ever gonna stop raining?"
Don Eppes increased the speed on the windshield wipers and glanced at his brother. Charlie was staring out the passenger window, enthralled by the trails of rain that were streaking patterns across the glass.
In lieu of Charlie's silence, Don answered his own question.
"It'll never stop raining, because we're going for that whole forty days, forty nights thing."
Charlie tore his attention away from the window and turned to give Don a dubious stare.
"Don, it has only been raining for six days. The average rainfall in Los Angeles for the month of March is two point two inches and we have had nine point two inches in less than a week. That is an average of one and a half inches a day. Now that is a lot of rain and the ground is saturated. But the flood channels are just reaching capacity. It would have to rain in an extreme excess of nine inches a day; over sixty five percent of the earth's surface, to produce a flood of cataclysmic proportions in only forty days."
Flipping his headlights on to meet the increasing gloom from the storm, Don cast a glance at Charlie. At the sight of his brother's serious expression, a full grin spread over Don's face.
"And that's impossible right?"
Charlie's genuinely intense demeanor melted as he recognized the jest in Don's comment. Looking slightly embarrassed, Charlie shrugged his shoulders.
"No, Don. I would never dare to propose that anything is truly impossible. It is, however, highly improbable."
Laughing as he checked his mirrors, Don turned his eyes to the dark clouds on the horizon.
"No, Charlie. What's highly improbable is that we're gonna make it to the house by eight."
His younger brother leaned back in his seat. Even in the increasing gloom of dusk, Charlie could see the heavier rains across the horizon ahead of them like a dark grey curtain. Grinning he crossed his arms.
"I don't think Dad will go anywhere without us. Not unless he plans on walking in this mess."
"Since we are driving his car, I'd say that is also highly improbable. Unless Amita lets him borrow her car?"
"If you want to talk about improbable?"
Chortling at Don's comment, Charlie redirected his attention to the horizontal patterns of rain on the window.
Pulling his father's four door Acura sedan off of West Alameda Avenue and onto the three mile stretch of Victory Boulevard just north of Griffith Park, Don tapped his breaks to allow a bright metallic blue BMW Sports Wagon to pull into the right lane in front of them. A black full sized pickup truck that had come up fast behind the smaller cars roared past them and Don watched the lighter weight hatchback sway in the air wake of the large truck.
Looking for the Ventura Freeway exit signs in the poring rain, Don could see the lights of Glendale reflecting in the raging currents of the L.A. River.
"Wow, Charlie. The water looks like it's all the way up to the bridge. Maybe a cataclysmic flood isn't out of the question."
"Don, it's been sixty eight years since that river has exceeded its channels. And except for this portion of the canal that runs toward Glendale, the entire bottom of the waterway was concreted after the last flood so that…………."
Glancing out the windshield, Charlie cut off his impending string of data.
"Wow. I've never seen the river like that before."
As if in response to his comments, the rain seemed to get heavier as they descended the hill. Since they were picking up speed, Don decided to pass the hatchback BMW and he moved the sedan into the left lane and put his foot on the accelerator. The headlights of a much larger vehicle shown into his review mirror and Don adjusted it to deflect the glare.
A low chuckle from Charlie diverted his attention from the headlights shining in his eyes.
"What? He has his brights on."
"No, Don. He doesn't. The lights on your SUV do the same thing when you're behind someone who is driving a smaller car. It's the location of the headlights in correlation with the height of the review mirror. It lines up and creates a perfectly parallel beam of light. It makes it appear much brighter than an average headlight."
Disregarding Charlie's comment; Don took his foot off the accelerator, letting the car fall back, until he was side by side with the blue car in the right lane.
"What are you doing Don? He wants to go around."
Charlie looked nervously over his shoulder at the bright lights of the larger vehicle that was coming up fast behind them.
"He's driving to fast for the conditions and I am not going to exceed the speed limit to get around this car any faster."
Diverting his eyes to the driver of the blue BMW next to them, Don gave the young woman a friendly nod. She cast a glance in his direction, but the look of apprehension on her face made Don rethink his strategy as the larger vehicle approached from behind. The juvenile driver's hands were clinched tightly on the wheel and with a second glance Don was able to ponder a guess as to the reason for her nervous state. Or reasons; as it were. Three small children were seated in the back of the car, the smallest still in a baby seat.
"I think I had that same look on my face the first time Dad let me drive the car with you in it."
Glancing at the driver in the car next to them, Charlie couldn't help but laugh.
"I can't imagine you ever looking that scared."
Don shook his head and smiled as a distant memory played across his mind.
"You were eleven and I was petrified. The threats of a protective parent stay with you, Charlie."
The taillights of the black pickup truck that passed them earlier loomed ahead of them and Don tapped his break again.
"See, that guy slowed down and he was flying at least he's……"
When Don stopped talking mid sentence, Charlie twisted his head to see what had his attention. As he turned to look at his brother, Charlie noticed that the dark Chevy Tahoe behind them was riding the line that runs between the lanes. Just as he opened his mouth to say something, bright red lights on the back of the pick up truck shone vibrantly in the rain.
That was all Charlie got out of his mouth before Don's own shout cut him off.
"He just put it in reverse!"
Instinctually, Don hit his brakes; as did the driver of the blue car. But the driver of the Tahoe did not and it slammed, full speed, into the back of both vehicles almost simultaneously.
Charlie's head snapped forward as the impact thrust both cars ahead. When his head came back up against the seat he could see the black truck was now running in full reverse directly toward them.
Don turned to Charlie and their eyes met.
The impact with the bed of the truck knocked the smaller sedan back into the suburban behind them, and the passengers of both cars were jerked around like rag dolls as the two trucks pushed them across the bridge.
Before the conscious thought of Who? or Why? could pass through his mind, Don caught sight of the unfortunate young woman in the driver's seat of the other car. Her head was slumped against her chest and as the pickup truck hit the gas, the back of the blue car hopped the guard rail and tilted over the edge of the bridge.
Glancing up at the dark SUV looming over them, Don tried to get a look at the driver. But the windows on both vehicles were darkly tinted and all he could see was what appeared to be a man with a ball cap on.
The driver put the suburban in reverse and for a moment, Don thought they were going to pull away. But instead, the heavy vehicle accelerated once more and again slammed into the side of the four door sedan. As they collided with the blue car, it lost its fight to stay balanced and the railing crumbled sending the hatchback wagon over the edge.
As the driver of the suburban kept his foot of the gas, forcing them towards the edge of the bridge as well, Don tried to imagine who he had managed to piss off this badly.
Don turned his head to see Charlie staring at him wide eyed.
The terror and uncertainty in his younger brother's voice sent a chill down his spine. As the front of the car tipped over the edge of the bridge, Don caught sight of the churning brown water below them. Trying to keep the fear out of his own voice, Don reached over and grabbed his brother's arm.
"Hang on, Charlie."
One more burst of gas from the vehicle behind them, and the four door sedan followed the other car into the raging floodwaters of the LA River.
Authors Notes: KICK OFF! Due to the joy that is college football and my current responsibilities thereof, I truly doubt I will be able to post daily. Not that I won't try...but my real world obligations have grown considerably. As it turns out I work for a sports radio station and they seem to have noticed that I'm an audio engineer.
I also loathe football with a passion. Nevertheless I wanted to get this one started.
I also loathe football with a passion.
Nevertheless I wanted to get this one started.
Hope you approve and that each chapter will be worth a little extra wait!