Lugenia was escorted to the bathroom in the same manner. We got back to the van just as two vehicles pulled in – a mini-van full of children, no doubt all asking if they were there yet and a state trooper.
And the van wouldn’t start.
“You ladies had better stay right here if you know what’s good for you.” Two of them were working on the engine. But none of them were in the van.
“I owe you brownies,” I murmured to the air.
“When we get out of this, I’ll make brownies.” I grinned at her. “Maybe even special ones.”
Lugenia wrinkled her nose. “If we could just signal that cop.”
If we opened the door they’d just close it again in our faces, but signaling the cop? They’d left us in the back, but…
“You’re smaller. Can you crawl over the seats?”
“They might see me.”
“You just have to reach the horn. Three short, three long, three short. They don’t want us damaged, remember.”
She got it, eyes brightening, and started to crawl over the seat. My larger frame would have been difficult to fit, but she was the perfect size for this.
Breathe, I thought.
They opened the door almost before she was through the first signal, dragging her out onto the tarmac on the side away from the cops. But the van still wouldn’t start. There was nowhere to run to.
I kicked the back door out, leaping out into the parking lot with such force I had to tuck and roll. Now we had the attention of the cops. And the mini-van family whom I saw out of the corner of my eye stuffing the kids back inside. If they had any sense they’d be gunning it out of here. One of the cops was talking on his radio.
But the cops were outnumbered and outgunned and as the mini-van family left there were no direct witnesses. I could see the headlines now, “Cops shot at highway rest stop.”
Lugenia screamed. I couldn’t help her, though, because no less than three of them were trying to dogpile me. I was beating them off somewhat when I heard a gunshot.
It wasn’t from one of them. The cops had started the shooting, but I hadn’t heard a yelp. Warning shots.
I broke free and ran for the trees. I heard footsteps behind me, spared a look. It was Lugenia.
“They’ll have to look after themselves. Run.”
I heard more shots from behind, but still no yelps. Neither side had hit anyone. But we were away into the…
…yard that backed onto the rest stop. “Lugenia, knock on the door. Tell them we need to use their phone. Get more cops in the situation.”
As she ran for the door, an extremely large dog pounced me and pinned me down.
And proceeded to lick me half to death while Lugenia tried to get us more cops.
The shooting, though, had stopped.
And within ten minutes we were sitting in a nice lady’s living room, drinking hot cocoa and petting her dog. It was, for now, over.