Chapter 24 - "They're robbing me of my life - I won't stand for it."

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Chapter 24 "They're robbing me of my life - I won't stand for it."

Justin

My eyes looked in the rearview mirror as I drove down the highway. The headlights from the car behind me reflected in the mirror, putting a strip of light across my face. I’ve been driving for half an hour and my body already protested to sitting in the car for hours on end yet again. This wasn’t really what I had planned, but I made a promise to Rhylee, and I intended to keep that promise.

After talking with her parents, while Rhylee was asleep in the guest bedroom we would have shared, we decided I would leave while she was asleep. After I was gone there would be no way for her to leave as well, and so this seemed like the best plan. Rhylee could spend some time with Piper and catch up with her family. I felt bad for leaving her, but this was the only way…

Miles of black asphalt lay out before me, white stripes separating the lanes, seeming to never end. One giant black road; this would be my companion for the next few days. After I come back, I’m never doing this shit again. My eyes began to glaze over, and I knew I was starting to get tired. It was nearly one in the morning; where the hell can I get coffee at this hour?

I should have asked for good coffee… I sighed in defeat as I watched the sign pass, a picture of a well-known gas station logo on the green board. Deciding I would either have to get coffee or pull over to chance sleeping on the side of the road, I watched for the exit, eventually leading me off the highway, through a small town, and into the parking lot of a gas station. I padded up to the door that had a neon ‘open’ sign flashing and walked inside. The man behind the counter grunted unhappily to me in greeting, which I ignored and continued to the back of the store to the coffee pumps. My hands moved on their own as they poured black coffee into two large cups, then adding sugar and cream until they were acceptable.

My thoughts roamed as I searched for lids for the coffees. I wondered what Rhylee would do when she woke up, and how badly she would hurt me when I came back…if I came back at all… I shook my head, banishing the thoughts from my mind, before snapping on two black lids and stepping over to the man. He rung up my coffees and asked for ten dollars. It seemed a bit pricy for straight black coffee, but I paid it anyway, too irritated by the miles I had to cover to be angry about the price.

Coffees in hand, I made my way back out to my car. I nearly dropped the cups as I saw a figure moving in the backseat of the car. A shadow was making itself comfortable, climbing out from the trunk. Someone has been in the car with me this whole time? I wondered why they hadn’t killed me yet. Was it someone from the prison? Was Robert in the car? Did he know where Rhylee lived? My heart raced as I panicked. The shadow didn’t seem to have seen me yet; they were fidgeting with something in their lap – a gun? I frowned and put the coffees in one hand while my other hand searched for the metal in my belt. After I grasped the gun I briskly walked to the car.

Before the figure could see me, I yanked the door open and shoved the gun in their face. The figure turned to look as I demanded to know who they were and what they wanted. Wide gold eyes looked from the gun up to me, before slowly tears filled them.

My heart stopped and I dropped the gun straight away. “Piper…what are you doing here?”

I didn’t have a car seat, I didn’t have a booster; I only had a seatbelt and some jelly beans, a Dr. Pepper, and Doritos for the small girl, sitting happily in the back seat. I was already on my way back down the highway, but only after spending nearly an hour wondering how in the world this child made her way into his trunk, waiting quietly and patiently until he climbed out, to get into the back seat and ambush him.

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