Chapter 32

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Two Years Ago – Part 4

From the backseat, Vince Henson grabbed the sides of Werner Gunther's headrest. "Did you just say that you were going to kill me?"

"Don't put words in my mouth. You need to sit back and calm down. I said as far as the world is concerned you are aboard the bus in front of us and that you are about to die."

"You make a statement like that, and you expect me to calm down?"

From the car's speaker system, Roscoe Meade asked, "Is now a good time, boss?"

Gunther tapped his earpiece. "We're still too close to town."

"Ten-four. Let me know."

Vince gulped air, finding it hard to breathe. "What are you going to do to that bus?"

From the rearview mirror, Gunther met his gaze. "I see you're starting to put it together. Here's the situation. You need to live. Logan needs to die. But the world needs to believe you are dead. Logan is taking your place."

"Does Logan know?"

"Of course not. Logan believes I've arranged transport for him to Canada and from there on to a South American country. He thinks the suitcase he's carrying is loaded with cash, gold, and diamonds."

"What is his suitcase loaded with?"

Gunther laughed. "Not cash or gold or diamonds. Let's just say it's some contraband I held on to from my days with the military."

Whatever these insane people had planned, Vince wanted no part of it. "Stop the car. Let me out."

Gunther scoffed. "Mr. Henson, it's too late for you to want out. Far, far too late. There's no turning back from the deal you made with Santos, and there's no turning back from the deal Santos made with me. Like I said earlier, the three of us are now equal partners. We're in this together. Today is all about taking out insurance against your email threat."

In a panic, Vince didn't care the car was going fifty miles per hour. He needed to jump out and get away from this madman. He tried the door again, yanking on the handle. It wouldn't give.

"Hey," Gunther yelled, "if you break my door handle I'm going to have Mr. Meade break your fingers."

He didn't doubt the man would make good on his threat. Resigned, Vince sat back in his seat and waited. About fifteen minutes later, the traffic, having already been sparse soon after leaving Williston, had thinned to where just the three vehicles remained. The bus led the way followed by Meade in the tri-axle, and Gunther's car.

The flat prairie lay lush with tall grass, rippling like ocean waves in the wind, a vast emptiness as far as the eye could see. Dump a body in the middle of that wild prairie, and it would never be found.

"Mr. Meade, if you please," Gunther said over his Bluetooth connection.

"Ten-four, boss."

Vince peered straight ahead out the windshield through the gap between the two front bucket seats. The big tri-axle sped up, closing the distance to the bus. He wanted to shut his eyes but couldn't, mesmerized by the unfolding horror show.

Gunther slowed his vehicle, maybe in anticipation of what was about to happen, keeping a safe distance.

At first, it appeared as if Meade in the tri-axle was about to pass the bus. Vince saw his flashing turn signal and watched as Meade pulled into the opposite lane. Then, as the truck pulled even with the left rear bumper of the bus, it swerved.

The rest of it played out in Vince's mind in slow motion. The truck crashed into the left rear quarter of the bus, its taillight exploding into ruined shards that rained down on Gunther's hood sounding like a sudden hailstorm.

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