GENRE: YA Thriller
We missed the mayhem by fifteen minutes.
The Jetta’s fuel light flashed on, so we stopped at the corner market to fuel up. While Dani wrestled with the ancient pump, forcing it to squeeze out a few gallons, I went inside for a pack of butts.
Everything was as usual. The resident witch slouched inside her cage of cigarette and candy racks and lottery machines reading a gossip magazine. She scowled when I asked for Marlboro Lights, reluctantly sliding the cardboard case across the worn Formica counter.
She held out her hand. “5.50.”
I gave her a five-dollar bill and two quarters along with a big smile, just to see her grimace in response.
Some people shouldn’t work retail, ya know?
At that point no one knew what had happened three miles up the road. The police scanner under the counter was quiet, burping out an occasional static hiss. Other customers carried six packs and deli sandwiches and tall styrofoam cups of burned coffee up to the counter, nodding at me as I took my purchase and pushed my way outside.
Ten minutes later, we came up over the rise by the Stedman Farm and saw the tableau laid out before us like a still from a horror movie.
First I noticed the police department’s tan SUV and Etch’s black Sirocco nose-kissing in a shallow turnout crowded by dense woods. A dented white pick-up sat slewed behind them, hood almost in the trees.
A man wearing an olive uniform lay face up in the dirt.