Author: Tamas Harangi
Writer’s Potential: 8
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Makarov calls Zoran, makes some veiled threats, kills a 17-year-old girl over the phone, and tells Zoran to have some fun but bring Amber back. Once Amber realizes Zoran really wants to help her, she doesn’t run away. Makarov calls back a little later and tells Zoran — now in a motel with Amber — to turn on the news. He does, and sees a story about murder U.S. marshals with Amber’s picture plastered all over it. Zoran decides they need to get the hell out of there. A little later, he calls Makarov with a deal — $100,000, his green card and passport, and he will keep her from testifying. Makarov agrees. At a gas station, they’re spotted by two CHPs, but they don’t recognize Amber — they’re just interested in the flashy car. While driving a little later, Amber says she’s never driven an American car. Zoran lets her, and she tears up the road. They talk about making a list of things to do in America before they’re dead. Amber says she’d like to swim in the Pacific Ocean. Zoran reluctantly says that may never happen, but he stops at a waterfall and natural lake in a rock formation, the next best thing. Amber swims. They make love, then both fall asleep. The next morning, Zoran agrees to meet Sacha in Barstow, CA. They meet at a diner. Zoran plants Amber at a phone booth to make sure Sacha doesn’t double-cross them. Of course, he does — Bodnar and Kolya are prowling around in the van, and they grab Amber. After a stalemate, Zoran leaves with his envelope. Zoran busts into the van, but Kolya’s gone and has stolen back the Mustang. He follows the van out to the desert, wondering where they’re going. Zoran wrestles a gun away from Sacha, busts out of the van, using Sacha as a human shield. Kolya tries to stop him, Amber slips out of the van and back into the Mustang. Soon Zoran’s outnumbered, but Amber whirls away in the car. She gets Zoran, and they speed into a ghost town. The others follow. They have an almost Wild West gunfight in a tourist-trap ghost town. Sacha points out that the envelope was a ruse — inside are shredded, useless immigration papers. Zoran and Amber manage to kill everybody, but Sacha fires twice into Zoran before he’s taken down by Amber. Amber wants to get him to a hospital, but Zoran demands that he let her die. Reluctantly, she does.
The plot, aside from needing more development on the romance, works well as-is. The action that bookends the quiet moments between Zoran and Amber is suspenseful and well-written. This is a strong effort, and with a little more work it could be great.
Posted by D. B. Bates on August 20, 2006 9:41 AM