Furiosa is out beyond the gates of the Citadel. The sun is hot on her cropped hair and dust is already grinding between her teeth. She knows this isn’t smart. But if she saw what she thought she saw…
She keeps low as she studies the ground. She’s squinting against the sun, wishes she’d grabbed her goggles but there hadn’t been time. Tracks, shouldn’t there be tracks? It went this way, she’s sure of it. Crouching down, gaze inches above the ground, she stops and listens.
What comes out of the silence is the whine of an engine. Engines. Shit. She reaches for the gun at her hip and discovers she left that behind, too. A bullet bounces off the packed dirt near her left knee.
Furiosa drops. Nowhere to run out here on the flatland. She hits the ground and curls into a ball to protect her face and the soft parts. Grunts but doesn’t move when another bullet strikes close enough to graze her hip. Hopes to hell they’re just playing, maybe boys from the Bullet Farm out for a joyride. Because this would be a mortifying way to die.
The next impact is louder, probably a grenade because her ears are buzzing and dirt is raining down around her. Through the buzzing comes the sound of another engine and another round of gunshots, muzzle fire much closer this time. Shit, shit, shit, she’s really going to die here. Max is never going to let her hear the end of it.
But then there’s his familiar voice, between the deep blasts from what she recognizes now as his favorite Winchester rifle. “Go on, get! You know better! Move!”
Furiosa waits until the growl of engines recedes. When she hears the sudden drop in sound that tells her they’re back on the other side of the dune, she lifts her head. Dirt crumbles down over her face. She can feel grit settling in her ears. Through the dust on her lashes she sees Max, still astride an ancient BMW cycle. He doesn’t offer her a hand.
“Must have been important,” he says.
She climbs back to her feet, muscles aching from the tension of being fired on. She takes the time to inspect her left knee—unscathed—and her right hip, which is bloody and stings. She brushes dust and sand off her shirt and trousers, scrubs at the bristle of her hair. “It was,” she says, mustering her dignity, “a chicken.”
Max busts out laughing while Furiosa glares.