“We have a spare set of keys, don’t we?” I asked.
Jenny went to the junk drawer and rummaged around. She lifted a key, and with a wrinkled nose, handed it to me. “I think that is the right one.”
It would have to do. If I had time, I intended to grab her purse along the way and it might be a moot problem.
I wasn’t actually as scared as I probably should have been. We had seen very few javelinas about. It seemed unlikely they could magically appear out of nowhere before I was able to get away. Which made me wonder. Why?
Old Razorback was smarter than that. What did he know that I didn’t?
Only one way to find out. My spear was as sharp as I could make it. My large butcher knife was in my belt, at my side, and I was just hoping I wouldn’t poke myself with it.
“One last thing,” I said. I took her by the hand and led her upstairs. I handed her the hammer and the container of roofing nails.
“As soon as I’m gone, I want you to nail this sheet of metal to the frame of the door. Use a nail every couple inches, don’t be stingy. I’m thinking even old Razorback might have a hard time getting in.”
“What about Aragorn?” she asked.
“Leave him outside the door. He’ll let you know when they’re coming. Might be able to take out a few of them. Right Aragorn? Eh, Strider?”
I knelt down and the dog nearly leaped into my arms. “Take are of her,” I whispered.
I looked up at my wife, who had tears in her eyes. I knew she wouldn’t leave Aragorn outside, but I had to try.
We hugged and kissed and I wanted nothing more at that moment to guide her backward to the bed and make love to her one more time. But I broke away, and started down the stairs. She followed me.
“I mean it,” I said, without turning around. “Nail yourself in before dark.”
Aragon followed us as far as the entryway to the front door, then he stopped and looked agitated. He barked once, and I turned and motioned at him to stop, which being the apparently well-trained dog he was, he did.
There wasn’t a lot of planning in what I was doing. Open the door, run for the car, (snagging my wife’s purse along the way), drive the car to town and get help. That was it. So easy, and so hard.
I decided against a last goodbye because I was certain if I turned around and hugged my wife, I wouldn’t leave.
I opened the door quietly, and walked quickly down the walk. I grabbed the purse, and kept going, trying to ignore the parts of Peter still strewn about. For some reason, the swine had left his head untouched, and it was swelling in the heat, looking ready to burst.
I made it to the car without any trouble, looked in Jenny’s purse, found the keys and started it. I looked down at the gas gauge and it was full. I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Why had we been cowering in the house all this time when all we had to do was this?
I started driving and hadn’t gone more than few feet before I realized something was wrong. The car moved sluggishly, and almost seemed to swerved sideways, and then jerk the to the other side.
I dare to roll down the window. I looked down and saw two things. The first was that the tires I could see were completely shredded. The second was a wave of javelina coming down the street toward me.
I got out, but instead of running to the house, I sprinted toward Peter’s Toyota SUV, which was parked at the curb of the street. I couldn’t see the tires, and I was pretty sure what I’d find, but I had to see.
The car was low to the ground, the tires so cut and sliced, the car was almost on the wheel rims. I didn’t stop, because the wave of javelinas was coming fast. I grabbed the door, praying it wasn’t locked, and slipped inside. I slammed the door as the first of the pits crashed into it, and then another. I could actually see the dents from the inside.
The pigs milled about the car, and then one got on its hind legs and looked into the driver’s window, and what I saw then chilled me more than anything else I’d seen.
The eyes in this javelina were intelligent, just like Razorback. It seemed almost amused. So it isn’t just a single pig, I thought. Where there were two, there were probably multitudes. And if they could communicate, who knew what they could accomplish? Technology was great, but native cunning could go a long way. Especially against a prey who was fat and complacent, who hadn’t had to fend for itself in generations.
Man had always prided itself on being different, but maybe it was only a difference of degrees, and the gap between the degrees had just shrunk.
Meanwhile a human of perhaps just a little above average intelligence was trapped.
I knew that cars would drive even on the raw wheel rims. Wasn’t good for them, would probably wreck them for the future, but there was no future if I didn’t get out of here. I figure the car could go for a ways. But without the keys, I couldn’t even do that.
I searched the glove box, and the windshields. Nothing. I sat back and huffed in frustration. Out of the frying pan, and into the fire.
Only good then was that I didn’t think the pigs could get to me as long as I was in the SUV. They wouldn’t have an angle on the glass, so brute force wouldn’t do it.
As I was thinking that, feeling just a tiny bit safe, I saw the intelligent pig go to the side of the road and pick up a rock with his teeth. It swung his neck and the rock came flying toward me and slammed against the door, just inches below the door.
I swear the pig was measuring the distance. If it was a human, he have raised his fingers and blurred his eyes and tried to measure. It tossed a second rock and it smashed against the window, but by some miracle didn’t shatter.
But I know that when it did, the whole window would give way. They were designed that way, to break into tiny pieces.
I ran my hand along the bottom of the seat. Don’t know what compelled me to do that, but the instinct was right. I felt the keys, tucked into the folds of the seat.
I pulled them out and tried the bigger of the two keys, and the car started. I started driving away, and the car groaned as if it was alive, the motor whined, and I could see sparks shooting from the tire rims.
I had to turn, and when I turned the steering wheel, the car just kept sliding forward on the asphalt for a few yards, sending up even more sparks. When it came to full stop, I tried again, steering a little less abruptly, and the rims took hold and the car slowly turned.
The javelinas had just watched at first, but as I headed downhill, they began to follow. They didn’t even have to run at the pace I was going, just trot behind. The smart pig loped along beside me, and when I caught its eye, it seemed to leer at me.
Must be my imagination, I thought. Pigs don’t wink, do they?
The car picked up speed as we headed down, but the minute we hit an upslope, it began to slow, losing traction. I barely made it over the hump, and when I saw the next hill, I tried to accelerate, despite the alarming amount of sparks it sent off.
The engine was laboring, and was edging into red. Unlike my wife’s car, this SUV had only a quarter of a tank to start with, and the extra friction seemed to be drawing down on that quickly.
The pigs were still keeping pace and I was a long way from town.