Chapter 99

Glenn was about fifteen minutes away from Karaoke Barn, forced to come separately from Jill due to his late class, when the stereo on his car dissolved into static. He let out an obligatory curse word and began to fiddle with the knob, paying traffic only a passing nod of attention. No matter how he switched through the stations, everything came in with the same crackling pattern. With a grunt of annoyance he turned off the volume and put his attention back to the road. This was not a good start to the night; he could already feel the agitation growing within his belly.

There was a blast of fresh noise pollution as his radio seemingly turned itself back up to max volume. Glenn tried to mute it once more; however, this time his button manipulations had no effect. After a few seconds, the sound died on its own, and Glenn found himself thankful for at least the blessing of silence. His gratitude was very short-lived.

“Good evening, Glenn.” The voice came crisply over the radio, mild distortion making it impossible to place without interfering with its clarity. Glenn immediately glanced around for the walkie-talkie one of his douche friends had surely hidden in his car.

“You can look all you want, you’re not going to find anything.”

That was kind of creepy. Either the voice on the radio was watching him, or it had taken a very accurate guess at what he would do. Glenn tried to turn the radio off once more, but he wasn’t surprised when it failed to show any result.

“Real funny. Dan, I’m guessing you did this.”

“I’m not Dan, and this isn’t supposed to be funny.”

Glenn swallowed hard. He might not be able to make out the owner of the voice, but he could still hear the hatred that was seething in it. It was trying to scare him, and Glenn didn’t like other people trying to make him feel small.

“Oh yeah, well then you fucked up because it’s funny as hell. Sorry, man, but it takes more than some voice on the radio to scare me.” He’d barely finished this sentence when he noticed the car had begun to drift to the left. There was a concrete barrier only a few feet away, separated from him only by the small shoulder of a buffer zone. Instinctively Glenn turned the wheel to the right, only to realize that nothing happened. He jerked it hard this time and slammed on the brake for good measure. Nothing.

“Am I still funny, Glenn?”

Glenn felt that hot boil of anger in his stomach suddenly turn into ice. The car was still sliding left, inch by precious inch.

“Who are you? How are you doing this?”

“This is God.”

“Sure it is,” Glenn snapped. The car moved several inches over then pulled back to its leisurely slide.

“I control your future. I decide whether you live or die. My statement might be untrue to the rest of the world, but I’m God to you, Glenn.”

Glenn tried the wheel once more, not expecting to have any impact but twisting it furiously anyway. Whatever this person had done, they’d taken over his car completely. He tried the door and found it unwilling to unlock. Not even the window would roll down. Somewhere inside Glenn cursed himself for getting electric windows.

“What do you want?”

“Glad you’re finally ready to listen,” the voice said. The car pulled back into the lane and resumed a reasonable speed. “I want you to stay away from Jill Murray.”

“Jill? You hijacked my car just to break up me and my girlfriend?” There was a growl from the engine as the car accelerated swiftly.

“God works in mysterious ways. He also can see the future. And the past. Even the past that some courts will seal for minors. He knows about your temper. He knows how you need to maintain control, and how angry you get when you feel like it has slipped away from you. God doesn’t like the way you process your rage, Glenn. God is ending this one before it starts.”

Fury was beginning to overwhelm fear once more. Glenn slammed his hand on the dashboard and yelled at the mysterious voice. “Fuck you! I don’t know what you’ve heard but-”

The car whipped to the left, rushing across the shoulder and pressing against the concrete barrier. The sideview mirror was ripped away in an instant; the small bit that remained made sparks as it dragged against the cement wall.

“This is not a negotiation. This is a warning, the only warning you’re going to get. Her number has already been stripped from your phone. All calls and texts will be intercepted and responded to in an appropriate breakup manner. You will not go to see her. If she finds you then you will run away as fast as you can. If you should fail to heed any one of my orders then all that will be found of you is a totaled car that reeks of alcohol. No one will investigate, and no one will miss you when you’re gone. God has spoken.”

The car died all at once, righting its direction ever so slightly so it coasted away from the wall but stayed on the shoulder. Glenn’s heart was thundering in his chest, his hands clutching a wheel that had no bearing on what his vehicle did. He was dimly aware that his crotch was warm, and it would be at least ten minutes before he realized he’d pissed himself. The radio was the last piece to go dark, doing so only after one last message flickered out from the dimming system.

“Do. Not. Test. Me.”

*    *    *

Two miles away Will Murray sat on a lawn chair in a field next to a very strange miniature satellite. It was connected to a console system that would have boggled most minds at an initial glance and nearly all minds upon investigation. He powered down the system and rose from his perch, removing the microphone headset and setting it atop the satellite dish. Glenn would undoubtedly have his car searched top to bottom, but it wouldn’t do any good. The small node used to establish a remote link had already self-destructed into a pile of silver goo. Will couldn’t control electronics the way his sister could, but that wasn’t the same as not being able to control them at all.

As Will packed away his equipment, he wondered if this would be enough. He’d tried to be gentle, using fear over force. Last time there hadn’t been the opportunity for a gentle touch, but hopefully this would be different. Somehow, he doubted it. People like that weren’t ones to give up on what they considered to be their property without a fight. Nothing could be done about it. If Glenn pressed the issue... well, Will had given him fair warning.

Will finished packing and began dragging his things to the car. At least it was a pleasant evening. He wouldn’t even need to change; he could head right to the party from here.