TITLE: An Absence of Light
The dark rind of dried blood wasn’t coming out from under my fingernails no matter how hard I scrubbed. I finally grabbed a paper towel to turn off the faucet and push open the graffiti-coated door.
The gas-station teller read Busty Babes in the Bedroom, his eyes glossy as he turned the page. I dropped the bathroom key attached to the giant wooden dowel in front of him, biting back my “In your dreams” comment—the last thing I wanted was him remembering me.
Turning, I nearly ran into the cop behind me, her coffee mug so large it bordered on a bucket. I stepped out of her way, forcing a smile that probably looked more like a grimace.
Keep calm. She’s not here for you. Take a deep breath and get out of sight. No way the cops had any idea to look for me so far from home. Not yet.
The stolen BMW out back was a different story. Was she waiting for me to return to it so she could pick me up? Had she even seen it?
I tried to walk slowly as I exited the store, though my feet wanted to take off sprinting. I went the opposite direction from the beamer, rounding the other side of the building and ducking behind the gated off area housing a propane tank. The cop’s cruiser sat out front and I could just make out its back bumper.
It was then I noticed the snaking coldness pool around me.