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"I told you we should've taken the blue one."

"My ass, Parkman." Ted slams the hood down. "My shining radioactive ass." And then, to Bennet: "It's shot."

"Well... that's..." He trails off, his jaw hardening, and starts footing it down the highway.

"...less than ideal." Matt sighs and sidles out of the car; he brings the bag of beef jerky..

"Well, I guess GM doesn't really design cars to jumped by electromagnetic pulse, right? Maybe we were stopping and starting too much, you think?" The plastic rattles and squeaks, as Matt twists to read one of the signs along the Highway. "Topeka. Hunh. Isn't that in Kansas? We shouldn't be in Kansas."

"There's also a Topeka in Illinois." Maybe it's because it's his own field, but Ted can sense a subtle shift in mood radiating from Bennet. The real mystery is how Parkman, the psychic, isn't.

"We're in Illinois?" Definitely tension in the air. Ted lets his pace slow, drifting slowly back from the other two. He's had enough explosions. There's graffiti on the plain steel back of the mileage marker; a twisting spiral, an eye, stylized letters.

"There's a Topeka in Illinois," Bennet repeats, level. "Population 1700 or so."

"How do you know that?"

"There are a lot of things that I know."

There's a rural route crossing the highway here. Bennet turns left.


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T. Oso

March 2016

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