This is the fifth installment of my short story, Test Drive. I hope you enjoy this free read.

********** TEST DRIVE **********

John stopped the car. “Don’t move, or…” He didn’t finish his sentence. He just sat there staring at her, his bobbing index finger inches from her nose. Emotions fluttered over his face in waves and finally settled on a mix between anger and confusion. John’s mouth opened and closed, but no words tripped over the thinned lips. Blowing out frustration, his cheeks puffed before he gave up on any explanation and bolted from the car. Margo didn’t know if she shook from fear or the slamming of the door.

A willowy man stepped out of the shrubbery, a worn army surplus duffle bag thrown over his shoulder. The baseball cap he wore backwards, covered red hair pulled back in a pony tail. Thin fingers rubbed at the dark soul patch below his bottom lip.

John had given up the pretense of the cane and the limp that had slowed his walk at the car dealership was no longer apparent as he strode to meet the man. Anger lifted their voices and sent fear skittering up her back.

“You brought company,” the red haired man said.

“What the hell was I supposed to do with her?” John pointed back at Margo through the windshield. “God damn it all to hell, this is not how it was supposed to go down!” He pulled off the fedora thumping it against his thigh, emphasizing the words.

“Calm down. It’s not a big deal. We can deal with this.” He laid his hand on John’s shoulder, but John shook it off and began to stalk.

“What the fuck? How can you be so calm? We’re screwed! You just don’t get this do you?” John spun around to face Margo, his arms spread wide and his eyes shooting darts of malice through the glass. “I wanted to leave her, but she’d go to the police and it just wouldn’t give us enough time. We’ve got to do this today!”

“It’s a little glitch. Nothing we can’t handle.”

John whirled and stepped up to the man. “Little glitch? What the fuck? This is a huge, callosal, mother fucking, SNAFU dear brother.”

The tall guy pushed at the air trying to tamp down the anger roiling between them. “Everything else is working with precision timing.”

“The car?”

The red haired man turned to the river. “Can you see it?”

John shook his head.

“They’ll never find it until the spring floods. If it shows up then.” He swung the duffle to the ground and pulled license plates from the bulky contents. “Now calm down and keep moving. Take this and put it on the back.” He handed John a plate and a screwdriver. “We’ll just get rid of her before the border. That’ll give us enough time. Stop worrying.”

John stalked past her window without a sideways glance, but the hatred sluicing off him chilled her and she pulled the leather jacket tighter around her body. The tall man shot her a quivering smile before bending down to attach the plates.

Margo only needed a moment. She mentally measured the distance to the lake–one hundred feet through tall grass and shrubs. She could do it. Slipping out of her pumps, she eased the door open and slid out of the car. The brisk autumn breeze slapped reality at her with the cold force of fear. People had lost their lives after their boats had dumped them into the swift current of the river. But she’d rather suffer that fate than endure what she suspected these men had in mind for her.

Bolting for the refuge of the swampy river bank, she prayed her trembling legs could carry her as far as the water. 

Copyright Kara Dunn 2008

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