Matheus raised his head. He blinked at the pile of boards and plaster covering the front of the truck. Dust saturated the air. Matheus inhaled, then choked. Pain spiked through his chest, stabbing into his lungs. With effort, he wrenched the seat belt loose.
“Quin,” he said, his voice swallowed by a burst of explosions. “Shit. Quin!”
He turned, the muscles in his neck twanging. A long, ragged piece of wood bisected the seat, the end sticking out through the windshield. On the other side of the board, Quin slumped against the dashboard.
“Sunshine.” Quin groaned. He shifted, then with a muttered curse, sat up. A trickle of blood ran down the side of his face. Plaster dust turned his hair white, coated his eyelashes. He blinked at Matheus.
“We’ve got to go,” said Matheus. The chalky taste of plaster filled his mouth.
“Yeah,” said Quin.
Matheus shoved at his door. The latch gave, and he tumbled to the side, clinging to the door handle. He bit back a yelp as his bruised ribs stopped by for a chat. Matheus closed his eyes, fighting back the urge to curl into a tiny ball and weep. He forced his leg out of the truck, moving with the grace of a freshman stop-motion film project. The house shook, buffeted by explosions and Molotov cocktails. Matheus heard the sound of breaking glass, amidst the frantic shouting. His body loosened the more he moved. His ribs still sent regular telegrams to his brain, but Matheus refused to open them. He clambered into the bed of the truck. One of the containers had been punctured; gasoline coated the steel. A haze of fumes rose up, burning the inside of Matheus’ nose. He knelt, grabbing at the bungees holding the containers in place.