The whine of the helicopters engine pitched higher. A cloud of sand and dust erupted ahead. The flying beast rose up before Hope and Cindy. It stirred up all the sand along its path.
Angel pressed the rotors hard, launching his machine over the two women. Then he dropped down at a steep angle toward The Dragon. He angled his bird away from the horde as he came down. It whipped up a wall of sand, bombarding the men and stopping their pursuit. Angel bounced up into the sky again, flipping his machine around to give him the same angle. He bombarded The Dragon again and again. After the fifth beating, Angel hovered between the men and the women. The message was clear. The Dragon retreated across the bridge.
The duck landed, clearing a layer of sand, revealing another layer which it also kicked up. Angel kept the engine running. He stepped out and waved at Hope and Cindy. “Get in!” He yelled.
Cindy stepped toward him without hesitation, but Hope held her back, “I don’t know if I can.” she said.
“Hope, it’s him or The Dragon.”
The engine noise dominated the conversation to Midway Airport. Angel deftly landed his machine inside the most functional looking hangar. As the engines spun down, he jumped out and used a pulley chain to close the hangar doors. Hope and Cindy took inventory of themselves and their gear.
Angel carried on with his routine of maintenance on the machine. He dusted off the long booms, checking to make sure they didn’t take any damage. Other checked included: engine fluids, hydraulics, linkages, fuel, and the interior. “Girls make a mess, sometimes.” he thought.
“Are you hungry, thirsty, do you need to use the bathroom?” he asked after he finished his checks. In alignment with what has brought him survival thus far, his machine was his first priority, then anything else that happened to be in the room, including Hope and Cindy. “It’s going to get dark as soon as the storm hits. You should get yourselves settled.”
This hangar wasn’t just any random place to hide. This was one of Angel’s depots. He had several weeks of provisions stockpiled against one wall, behind a tattered green tarp. Food, water, some medical supplies, hand sanitizer and tissue paper. “Real paper?” Hope thought.
On the opposite side of the hangar was a sand covered couch, three chairs and a coffee table. While Hope and Cindy rummaged through the foodstuffs, Angel brushed off all the furniture and then settled in on the couch with a can of beans and a spoon.
Hope couldn’t yet shake the rage she had felt for him. She grabbed the smallest modicum of food from his stores and sat down on one of the chairs. Her brow weighed heavy across her face sitting atop eyes that glared at the man. Cindy eventually made her way to another chair.
“Did they follow you?” Hope asked. Angel continued eating his beans. “Did you lead them here?” Another spoonful of beans. “How did they get here?”