Blood Lines Chapter 34

   “Goddamn it to hell,” Monk Kennedy swore resentfully when he saw the police car in his handlebar mirror. Why were things always going wrong? When he looked up the road again, he was coming into New London. It looked like the cop was on his tail but hanging back. He wasn’t blasting his siren or flashing his lights. It was an RCMP car. He hadn’t done anything to raise anybody’s hackles. He hadn’t even bumped into the speed limit. Besides, it was raining, and he was forced into going slow. What did the county mounty behind him want?

   JT Markunas knew full well he would not have been able to overtake the Kawasaki if the roads had been dry. But they weren’t dry. They were getting wetter by the minute. He could see the single taillight of the motorcycle ahead of him. He knew he was going to stop the biker sooner than later. Time was on his side.

   He called in the pursuit, his siren quiet and lights off, only firing a short burst of light whenever he came up on a car or truck ahead of him. “That’s your man,” he heard back. “We’ve got a strong signal on him. We’ll send another car up from Kensington.” Thank God there weren’t any tractors crawling along Route 6. They would have been the same as a roadblock. It didn’t take long before there weren’t any cars or trucks, either. Everybody had made a beeline for home. It didn’t take long before he was right behind the Kawasaki ahead of him.

   The rider was hunched over his handlebars, riding cautiously. JT wondered why he hadn’t pulled over, under a bridge or a leafy tree. What was the point of riding a motorcycle in a storm the likes of Hurricane Dean? Was he running away from something riskier than wiping out on slick concrete? Monk didn’t like that the cop wasn’t turning away or going away. He slowed down. The cop slowed down. Monk swore again.

   He took a right on Rt. 20, the other way away from Kensington. He didn’t want the cop to think for a minute he was headed for the ferry. If that happened, the approaches would be crawling with police in no time. They would make him on a red motorcycle in a heartbeat. He would be stuck on the infernal island forever. He went past Lucy Maud Montgomery’s birthplace without noticing the house or the memorial sign and crossed the Southwest River. Standing outside but out of the rain, Lucy watched him go past, followed by an RCMP car.

   She knew who Monk was and who JT Markunas was and knew what the chase was about. She didn’t need “the flash” to know. She didn’t know how it was going to end. She knew how she would have written it, but her writing days were long gone, fifty years gone since she wrote her last book. She was long gone, too, even though she kept tabs on doings on Prince Edward Island. After she died in Toronto in 1942 the city placed an historical marker near the house where she lived the last seven years of her life. She made sure she wasn’t buried in Toronto, though. She was buried in the Cavendish Community Cemetery on the other side of Stanley Bridge.

   Lucy Maud Montgomery knew what she would have told Monk if he had stopped to listen. “We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.” She doubted he would have listened. In that case, she would have said, “It’s so easy to be wicked without knowing it, isn’t it?” She doubted there was anything useful she could have said to JT, other than, “In this world you’ve just got to hope for the best and prepare for the worst and take whatever God sends.” She was sure he already knew that.

   He probably would have told her what she herself had said many years ago, which was, “Proverbs are all very fine when there’s nothing to worry you, but when you’re in real trouble, they’re not a bit of help.” Now that she was dead, she knew it better than when she had been alive. She remembered the clipper ship stuck on the shoreline at Cavendish a hundred years ago. Everybody said it was God’s will. That didn’t help the Marco Polo. When it broke up and sank there wasn’t a trace of it left for either God or the Devil.

   After the motorcycle and police car were gone, Lucy Maud Montgomery realized she had better get back to the graveyard. The powers that be didn’t like it when she roamed too far afield for too long. There wasn’t anybody out in the rain, so she thought she would walk instead of gliding back. She loved walking. It was when she did her best thinking. She took a step followed by another step.

   Monk rode north through Springbrook and French River. When the road curved to the west through Park Corner and Sea View, he followed it. He knew there were cottages on the shoreline before and after Thunder Cove. He was going to have to lose the son of a bitch behind him and ditch the bike. When he did, he would hunker down in an empty cottage and wait for the storm to pass. When it did, he would steal somebody’s car and head for the ferry again. What he had to do first was lose the cop.

   His handgun was in his saddlebag, but he didn’t want to shoot it out with a peace officer who carried more firepower than a handgun. He took County Line Rd. towards the ocean. The police car stayed on his tail and suddenly turned its lights and siren on. Monk didn’t bother looking in his mirror. He didn’t bother thinking about it or anything else except the road under his front tire. He rode as fast as he dared. The police car stuck to him like a barnacle.

   JT knew the other RCMP police car was coming up Route 102 from Kensington. Another one might be coming from Borden-Carlton. Whatever the man on the Kawasaki was up to, it was no good. He had turned his lights and siren on to give the man a chance to stop. If he didn’t all bets were off. Monk didn’t slow down or stop. He sped up. JT called in his location again. He was told that the car from Kensington was no more than five minutes away.

   “Stay close but wait for your back-up.”

   “Will do,” JT said.

   When the moment came, he didn’t need back-up. It dawned on Monk that he wasn’t going to be able to outrun the pursuit car. But if he got off the road, where there were no roads, he might be able to jack rabbit his way to safety. The cop car would turn into a stick in the mud. When he got to the County Line Beach Access Point, where the road ended, he kept going, veering to his left away from the beach, trying to stay steady on the grassy top of the dune.

   The Kawasaki wasn’t built for the off-road. When Monk tried to steer it away from the beach it started to slide. When he tried to correct the slide nothing good happened. It kept sliding. When he looked up the ocean was right in front of him. He never saw the tree stump stuck in the sand and when he did it was too late. He hit it and the bike went airborne. He was still in the saddle when the Kawasaki slammed into ten-foot-high waves. In the next instant he was in the water and the instant after that he was drowning. He didn’t know how to swim. His dark mind went black ink. He drowned in no time flat, his lungs filling with water. 

   The transponder that undercover RCMP men had concealed inside one of the cash bundles hiccupped and stopped sending its signal. The hand axe in Monk’s saddlebag started rusting the instant salt water touched it. The other saddlebag full of counterfeit money came unclasped and hundred-dollar bills were soon bobbing on the surf. When JT pulled up to where the road ended and jumped out of his car what he saw wasn’t a motorcycle, which had sunk, or Monk, who had also sunk, but money littering the waves, tossed onto the beach by the surf and wind, blowing away in all directions. Seagulls screeched and tried to snag the counterfeited bills for a snack, spitting them out when they realized they had come from a bad harvest.

   “Jesus Christ,” JT said as his back-up pulled up behind him.


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