The story so far:
The girl was Trisha Abelove, and she wasn’t crying any longer. She had wiped the few lingering tears from her cheeks and swallowed a heavy lump in her throat. Who in the hell was this guy? And how, in God’s name, had she gotten herself into this predicament?
Now I’ve done it. Now I’ve surely done it. Oprah said never let them take you to the second location, never let them take you. If you do, your as good as dead.
That was her panic voice. Another voice was reminding her that he helped her escape the bastard that grabbed her and tossed her into the back seat.
Trisha’s self defense class had taught her the swift kick that helped her escape. She learned maneuvers to avoid capture; one being to release her body’s energy and let herself sink like dead weight to the ground. She learned a lot of defense techniques, really good ones at that, and when the time came to use them, she had froze.
She risked a glance out of the corner of her eye at the man driving the Explorer. He had picked up the highway only moments after they left the sidewalk where her precious, little Gretel had been run over. They had now been driving for about five minutes. He seemed to be concentrating on the road, and the rear-view mirror. He didn’t look like a criminal. Well, they never did, so that was null and void. But still, something told her that when he yelled at her that he needed help, that he was being chased, he was telling the truth.
Oh, I’m such a dumb-****. I am such a gupper. I should’ve run. I should have run like the God-damned wind the moment I saw his gun.
“They’re coming. I can’t see them right now, the ****’ truck behind us is blocking my view, but I know they are coming. Where the hell are we gonna go? Where?” He seemed to be talking to himself. She felt the urge to respond, and for once she held her tongue. He pressed the pedal of the Explorer, and the sidewalks blurred by. Trisha kept her focus on the side mirror, looking for them.
“Oh my God! ****!”
“What! What? What is it?” Trisha raked her fingers through her hair, her heart pounding. She turned in her seat, to see if maybe this crazy sonofabitch had spotted something or someone. She couldn’t see any black, speeding Explorers behind them.
“Do you see them? Are they coming?”
“No. But we have to ditch this **** thing quick. They’ve got tracking on these. Of course they have tracking on these,” he seemed to be talking to himself again.
“Who are they and for that matter, who are you?” Trisha was frightened; speeding down the highway with a strange man, a strange man with a gun, caught in the middle of something bad. It had to be bad, to have the Government after you, right? But still, he doesn’t seem like the bad guy here. I think he’s telling the truth. There I go again. Rationalizing my kidnapper. Well maybe not a kidnapper, after all, she did jump in the passenger seat of her own accord. But what choice did she have really?
“I’m Marty. They are government ****-heads and they do not follow the rules. That’s all you need to know. Girl, we are in a world of trouble if they catch us. Where do you live? You got a place?”
“Marty.” Trisha gripped the dash as he took the bend around Shamrock Park doing at least fifty five. “Marty. I don’t know you. I’m afraid. Of the people chasing us. Of you. Just let me out. Let me out right here. I swear to Gawd I’ll never tell a soul. I don’t even know what you look like. You don’t even exist, I swear. Just…just….” In that moment, just as Trisha was gearing up to beg for her life, the back windshield of the Explorer blew in, a million small, cubed pieces of glass shattering and spraying into the car, into the back of her hair.“They are shooting at us! Oh my God, they are shooting at us! “
“I see them. ****! They’re behind us! Get down! Get down now!” Marty bellowed at her. She unbuckled the seatbelt (when had she buckled herself in?) and dropped to the floorboard. Another shot, followed by three in rapid succession. Two hit the dash, nearly dead center above the radio dials. She had no idea where the others landed. But she had an idea they were aimed at their heads. Marty kept the pedal floored, and now, as she watched him, she knew for certain that she wasn’t in danger from him, (unless of course he wrecked this flying beast). Someone was shooting at them and right now, he was the only hope she had of getting out of this alive.
“Marty? Where are we?” She tried to lift her head, but he pushed her down.
“Stay DOWN! We’re on 35, going south. You got any ideas girl? Cuz now’s the time to ****’ spill ‘em.”
Trisha’s mind raced. If she brought this kind of trouble into such a public place, she could be responsible for a lot of injuries, or deaths. But if not a public place then where? Marty said they were government. That made it more likely they wouldn’t shoot up a mall full of teenagers. And she knew just where they could hide. More shots rang out, Marty yanked the steering wheel left and right, zig-zagging to avoid a direct hit. A bullet pierced the side mirror on Trisha’s side, sank in deep and at that was all it took to make up her mind.
“Pull into the Green View Mall, it’s gotta be coming up soon. It’s just before the Wallis exit. Pull into the parking lot and get as close as you can to the back of the Sears. There’s a … there’s a. ****! It’s like a garage door or whatever. A loading bay. That’s it. Get near it and we’ll go in through there. I have some friends who work in a store in the mall and if we can get to them, they’ll hide us. You got that? Will it work? Will it work” Trisha was breathing heavily, eyes squeezed shut as the Explorer careened down the highway. She opened her eyes and looked up at Marty.
Blood ran down his right arm, pooled in his lap, on his thigh and down the drivers seat. Trisha stared, her mouth agape.
Marty looked down at the girl in the floorboard. His eyes grimaced in pain, he knuckles white on the steering wheel.
His voice was grim, steady and low. “They got me in the shoulder, or the back, I think. I heard you, girl. Sears. Loading bay. I heard you. Hang on.”