A shot came from behind. Parks heard it, which meant the bullet missed its intended target. His wheels sparked along the Page Street asphalt as his skateboard picked up its downhill speed. He'd already seen the car several times that night, but now it was chasing him — fast.
Parks first noticed the car only because it was a Crown Vic, and assumed it was police. On the street, if a Ford Crown Victoria wasn't a taxi everyone knew it meant cops—marked or unmarked. Avoiding cops was basic instinct to a street skater, particularly a sixteen year-old one, and especially one who was also a runaway. This would have been a car totally worth avoiding, if Parks could have managed it.
As it turned out, he couldn't. Forced, in a way, to pass by it at the corner of Cole and Haight, Parks caught a glimpse of the man and woman inside; they weren't in uniforms, not in typical police inspector suits either. They were dressed in normal people clothes; the real thing — absolutely average — but they still had that cop look. The man doing the driving locked eyes with Parks. It was at that moment that Parks knew that whoever they actually were, they were looking for him. It was a split-second realization; a moment of survival that gave Parks the precious few minutes for the head start he needed to turn off Haight before the car could turn around to pursue him. He zigzagged his way out of the business area; clinging to the hope that dark clothes and black hair would be enough to help him stay lost under the weaker neighborhood lighting.
It was in trying to find a safe spot to hide that he ended up here, on Page Street, a block above the lower Haight. It was a stupid mistake because Page Street was dead; there was no one to help, not even as a witness. And that was when the black Crown Vic showed up again and started shooting. Now, the space between him and the car had shrunk to half a block.
His eyes scanned left to right for a break to get off the street, but gaps between deathmonsters parked along the curb were few, and very tight. Parks could easily wipeout trying to jump through such small spaces, so he decided to just race it on the street for as long as possible.
Then another shot exploded; he felt wind as this bullet passed his ear. The Crown Vic was right behind him. In three blocks, Page Street would shift to uphill. The race was going to end with Parks the big loser if he didn't think of something fast.
The roar from behind grew louder, then louder; Parks realized that the distance between them was all gone. He no longer waited for the next gunshot. He knew what was about to happen. The front of the car made contact with his body. He felt himself slip from his deck as the car pulled his feet under. He blacked out for only the briefest moment of time; when he came to, he was back on his skateboard fighting to regain balance.
Screams — tires trying to grab a piece of asphalt — penetrated the neighborhood. The Crown Vic was now across the intersection and half a block away. It plowed into a parked car.
Parks stared down the length of his body; the Vic had driven right through him.
There wasn't time to hang, to figure things out; there was movement inside the Crown Vic. Headed for the Mission as fast as his legs could kick, he made his way for the relative safety of the Slot.