I vaguely remember coming around a curve and seeing some monstrosity in the road. As soon as I saw it I started trying to figure out what it could be and assessing evasive maneuvers on this icy road. Tree? Yeti? A misplaced, rusty battleship?!
There was no avoiding it at nearly 90mph. "Banzaiii!" I yelled as I was thinking, "divert all power to the shields!" I must've yelled loud enough for it to hear me as it chose that time to turn and look. "What the..? Is that a reindeer?! Oh, Santa's gonna get maaad at me!" I finished the thought just as I went through and kinda over it.
I must've blacked out again after that because I gradually became aware of more voices and movement around me. When I finally managed to open my eyes I could see red and blue lights strobing across the snow and there were more voices. My eyes gradually opened but the rest of my body was still ignoring my commands to move. "Let's get that backboard over here! And get the thermal blanket ready!", echoed across the landscape.
I knew I had to get up and get back to work but I was really starting to think a morphine cocktail wasn't a horrible idea. Enough of this laying around; time to get to business. So, by sheer force of will, I drew my arms under my chest and pushed the ground away from me. Wobbly for a second then steadier, I finally planted my feet.
As more lights started flooding the landscape I could hear a cacophony of sirens approaching. Knowing I need to make myself scarce before the questions start I ambled towards the woods. Still twenty yards away from the tree line I hear, "Hey! Where ya goin'? You need medical treatment, you're pretty banged up."
"I'll be fine. I'll take two aspirins and call the doc in the morning." It's gonna take something stronger to clear the fog out of my head but I really need to keep moving. I'm not sure where yet but I'll figure it out once I find a town. My quarry has too much of a head start already so I can't afford to waste time here. Unfortunately, I also know that there are at least a couple officers headed here from the wreck. There's going to be no getting out of this. Here we go again, just like in Savannah. I was so close to catching him then.
As the first of them begin to arrive, I turn back towards the Colorado State Troopers. "I'm ok, just a little sore. My identification is in the car, where I'm sure you found my weapon. I'm a private investigator working an identity theft case. Sorry you guys had to come out in this weather. You didn't bring any cocoa, did ya?"
"You weren't planning on leaving the scene of an accident, were you? Sure looks that way. The road's back this way. We'd appreciate you answering a few questions for us on the way to the hospital. Were you by yourself in that car? You made a hell of a mess out of that elk, by the way." Well, I guess that explains what I made road chili out of. Hope the rental insurance covers this.
The trooper, identifying himself as Corporal Hines, helped me climb over the snowbank and offered a coat from his trunk as we walked towards the waiting ambulance. As he explained it, a couple of college kids on their way to a ski lodge saw my car in pieces all over the highway. They rushed over to help whoever was inside but it was empty so they started looking around while calling 911. Evidently I'd been thrown out of the car as it flipped off the road and they found me laying in the snow at the bottom of the embankment. Ah. The ones who thought I was dead.
Still alive, I began to explain to Corporal Hines the other beast out here. The one I've followed through 8 states so far. The chameleon who bounces from one stolen identity to another. For now I thought I'd keep to myself that each of those identities seems to have belonged to murder victims. A detail that I've mentioned before to other agencies but, without any solid proof, was met with varying degrees of "we can't build a case on your speculation."