“David, I really wish you would come home,” Stace said as she set out some paper plates and plastic forks. “No, I know he’s important. Yes, I know that other boy looks stunningly just like your old friend.” She sat down the last plastic fork. “I can’t go look, I need to watch after Chase. Yes, they are here. Well?” She started to tear off paper towels and set them by the paper plates. “Honestly, yes, I do mind. Dear.” She was getting angry. If he wanted to go find Mark because he really believed he ran off, fine, but did he really believe that other boy was Kenneth? And that she wouldn’t mind if he questioned them about it? They’d know nothing. She put the paper towels back down. “Kenneth once lived here. He might have relation, meaning maybe someone in his own family line had a kid who looked a lot like him.” She groaned. “I want to be supportive. Especially for Mark. I am doing what I can to hold down the fort, but I need you to be of sound mind right now too. That boy is not Kenneth.” Finally, he seemed to relent. Good. Bringing up some identical twenty year ago twin wasn’t helping to find Mark.

Stace heard a knock on the door. “Pizza is here. I’ll talk to you soon, David.” She reached for her pen to sign the ticket for carry out. When she opened the door-


Instantly, Sonic went from relaxing back to standing up quickly. That was a weapon he just heard. Chase was already out the door. Chase knew nothing about fighting so he followed him, knowing Tails would do what he could to stay up from behind them.

Chase’s mom lied bloody on the floor, breathing hard. Sonic grabbed Chase who immediately followed his instinct and lunged toward her. He pulled the boy back. EXE is after Chase. Why? At the door wasn’t EXE, but a simple young boy, aiming a gun, ready to kill.

Tails was breathing hard behind Sonic while Chase wasn’t much better off.

“Where are you?!” The young boy screamed at the door. “None of you are getting away. Anyone who knows Mark isn’t leaving alive.” He had his gun, aiming back and forth.

Hm. EXE put someone older in there, to shoot anyone who knew Mark. Half dead, half alive. Maybe Mark wasn’t so controllable if there was an emotional bond. Sonic ducked as he saw a bullet come their way. Small body or not, this person knew how to shoot. Sonic heard the word ‘mom’ from behind him. Looked like Chase was still with him some.

“Freeze!”

Sonic looked back outward as the kid tried to shoot the guy who claimed Tails was some friend named Kenneth. Well, dear old David was packing. Sonic never used weapons. Didn’t need them. He knew how to use them, but he himself had been as good a weapon to take down Robotnik and any other foe that messed with his world. He was covering Chase right now though, he couldn’t risk him going after his mom.

David shot again until the little boy finally left. He quickly went toward Chase’s mom. “Stace?!” He checked her heartbeat. “Stace, I’m here. It’ll be okay, I’ll call 911.”

Now that the shooter was gone, Sonic let go of Chase, letting him join David toward the floor.

“Sonic,” Tails whispered as he watched David and Chase grieve on the floor. “We can’t leave them. EXE will kill them.” Sonic knew what that meant. David, while he lost his friend twenty years ago, and did believe Tails was Kenneth. I don’t know. This sounds ludicrous. Even getting Chase to believe us, when he was there, was tough. Maybe. But Chase? Sonic already felt a high responsibility for him. His brother was taken. His mom was taken. David wouldn’t be able to protect him if he didn’t understand what was coming. Even if he did, he still had heavy doubts.

While David finished calling 911, Sonic swiped his gun and aimed at him, at the same time grabbing Chase and putting him behind him.

“Sorry about this. Keys,” Sonic said to him. Chase was starting to rebel, but Tails was trying to calm him down. David gave him a vicious glare. “I’m Sonic the Hedgehog. I came out of the old cartridge you gave Chase. The boy you call Kenneth that disappeared decades ago is actually Tails. Do you accept that?” No, of course he didn’t. “Keys. Currency. Anything you got. I’m going after the person who took Mark.” His response was still nothing. “Fine.”

“David!” Chase shouted as Sonic punched him. David grabbed his nose, but still didn’t give in. “David, it’s true,” Chase tried himself. “I was there. Mark is gone, but Sonic will try to get him back. Something evil was in the game.”

“This is a lost cause.” Sonic looked toward Tails.

“David, please!” Chase tried again. “Your friend disappeared twenty years ago into the same game! It was their game! David!”

David held his nose, but pulled out his keys. “Better be a safe driver.” He stood up and tried to wipe the blood off his nose. “Kenneth would have been playing video games, he’d never run away, and there’s no one in this town that is even related to him.” He gestured to Tails. “That’s not relation, that’s him. Even got his birthmark right on the neckline, almost invisible.”

Tails moved the shirt down a little to see the birthmark.

“Out of my mind.” David looked toward Chase. “We can’t take Stace with us, Chase. She’ll die, and the ambulance is coming. I’ll watch her and me as close as I can.”

Well. That was a surprise. Looked like the Kenneth situation did actually make a dent into David’s reality.

“I always knew there was something creepy and strange about those cartridges. I didn’t even know which one. I just tried to ignore it. I just wanted to try to . . .” David shook his head and handed Sonic his wallet. “Cards and money. Use them for safe hotels, gas and eating. Don’t go all luxurious, just take care of him.” Lastly, he gave him his cell. “Make sure you let him call home. That’s got internet too.”

Sonic nodded. He was glad he didn’t have to punch him and mug him. Worked better that way. Especially since he had no idea what the cards or money was worth. “Let’s get out of here.”


Chase moved in the side seat as Sonic took the front seat. Please let him really know how to drive. Sonic slipped the keys in with no hassle. He started it with no hassle. Chase looked out the window as he started to hear the sounds of the ambulance. Then felt himself getting jerked forward as the car peeled off backward, reversing, then heading forward almost at full speed!

He looked over to Sonic who didn’t seem like that speed was any big deal. “The limit is 20 in residential!”

“Chase?” Tails said from the backseat. “This is one of those times where that whole law thing would get you killed again.”

“More than one shooter is going to come,” Sonic warned him. “EXE doesn’t want any connections to Mark, but he’s not bothering to come after you himself. I still don’t even know if David can hold them off or not to be honest.” He turned, almost landing in the other lane, but pulling through it just fine. “As soon as your mom is better, if David can convince her, maybe we can come back for them.” He turned again, this time barely missing a car.

“Can we at least not get ourselves killed?” Chase was leaning back in the seat as far as possible.

“This is slow,” Sonic said to him. “Major slow. I can see these cars and what they do miles ahead of anyone else. I used to coast on 200. Just coast.”

“This tops at 120,” Tails said from the back. “Driving this to Sonic is like umm . . . playing baseball when the ball is moving so slow it takes five minutes to get there.”

“It’s gonna get even worse,” Sonic complained. “Once were far away from here, I’ll start following those posted signs.”

Chase looked at the rearview mirror. “It’s the cops. They are the law enforcement,” he warned Sonic.

“I’m better at this speed. No worries.”

“They could try and trap you,” Chase warned him. Cops didn’t just give up on high speed cars. “They always win. They’ll figure out how to cut us off and pin us in.”

“I wish we got to eat first,” Tails said. “Maybe not eat. Drink something. I think I’m ready to drink.”

“That’s good to hear, Tails,” Sonic responded to him. “We’ll get something once we’re safe.”

Did they even listen or care about what he just said? Mom’s shot. David left me with Sonic and Tails in a car running at it’s top speed from the police. EXE wants to kill my whole family now, and at this rate, I don’t know if I’ll survive this, let alone Mark. Chase started to rub his eyes. He just wanted to go home. He just wanted everything back to normal. He didn’t want to go on some crazy chase after EXE, he just wanted his family safe and sound. He felt Sonic pat his shoulder.

“Don’t cry. David’s tougher than I thought,” Sonic admitted. “There’s a good chance he and your mom will be okay.” He still couldn’t promise anything about Mark though. “Those cherry red lights are scaring you, aren’t they?”

“Can’t fight EXE if you’re in prison,” Chase told Sonic. “They pin racers in. There’s tons of them, limited roads, and one of you. I’ve seen several chases online, no one ever gets away. You can’t race the same way you did as a hedgehog, this is tops, and it runs on gas.” Did he understand now?

“Well, guess we’re far enough. Tails? Looks like potential around here,” Sonic said. He handed Tails some cash.

“On it.” Tails took the cash.

Sonic quickly stopped the car. “Out, Chase.” Tails was already getting out. “I’ll be back.”

Chase tried to unbuckle his seat belt, knowing they didn’t have long before the cops would catch up! As he unbuckled it, Tails already had the door open for him. He practically stumbled out of the way. He watched Sonic leave again.

“This way.” Tails moved him toward the opposite block. “What can we do with this? Is it enough for something to drink?”

Chase looked at the twenty. “Yeah.” But Sonic? He followed Tails. That kid moved really fast, even for walking. He couldn’t fly, but it looked like he was still trained to move fast. Chase partly jogged to keep up with his walking speed. Tails moved toward a gas station lighted area and then turned around to Chase.

“Best water and food. I mostly want water,” Tails said. He gave Chase the money. “Five minutes from where we were, cattycorner.” He looked at the pops. “Not much time. You don’t walk very fast.” Tails opened it and got some water.

Five minutes? That wasn’t long. Chase grabbed a handful of chips, peanuts and candybar. “2,4,6,9.” He looked at Tails water. He got big bottles. “12,15, plus tax.” They took everything up, paid right away, and Chase and him nearly started to run this time to make the five minutes.

“Four and a half,” Tails said. He moved Chase over a few inches. “Get ready to grab the door and jump in.” Tails took everything he was holding. “You just concentrate on jumping in.”

Chase heard the sound of a car coming. Tails moved faster into it, but Chase tried to move as fast as possible. He quickly tried to get his seatbelt, thankful Tails took the snacks and water after all. He was breathing hard, and watched the car coast.

“Gone and gone, no more cherry lights,” Sonic said. He looked toward the back and smiled. Chase could hear Tails really drinking that water.

After the sound of water being consumed by Tails was done, Chase watched snacks almost fly up front.

“Can’t expect real food at a small place like that, but not picky.” Sonic ripped open the peanuts. “Eat, Chase. Your mom never got around to feeding you either.”

Well. Chase looked around. The car was going regular speed now, and he didn’t spot a single cop. I shouldn’t be surprised. Even without his speed, it was still Sonic. The situation. It was just tough. He took a candybar and started to eat it. It wasn’t even nine o’ clock and he felt drained.

“Not yet,” Sonic said as he parked in a parking lot. “Tails, up here.” Chase watched as Tails squeezed in from the back to the front seat between him and Sonic. As Tails adjusted the seatbelt better, he tucked in between them. “That’s better.” He gave Tails one quick rub on the head.

Chase looked out the window again. Now that the car wasn’t going so fast, he still didn’t feel much better. Mom. Mark. Please be okay.