Bump in the Night

Rodrigo took a blanket from the trunk of the 1970 Dodge Challenger and leaned in the back window to toss it over the sleeping ten year old. Santiago was passed out on the front bench seat himself -- it had been a hell of a day. The 30 year old stooped to take a beer from the red Coleman cooler by the front wheel, the hissing sound from the carbonation matching the sounds of nature around them. Three a.m. He hopped up on the hood, stretching out up over the windshield to look up at the stars as he took his first sip.

What the fuck did I get them into?

He’d find them a way out of this mess, but first things first, River. Rigo took a gulp from the bottle, the icy cold liquid leaving a frozen trail down his throat to his stomach. River was barely ten, life on the road was no place for a ten year old, no matter what she was. He’d get them to Utah, she’d be safe, he knew people.

Saint was a different story. He was supposed to finish school, go to college, marry a pretty señorita, mow lawns, rake leaves, threaten to turn cars around if kids didn’t behave. Rigo took another long pull of beer. He silently apologized to his brother, for what, he didn’t know. Diego wanted this for his son, it was the reason Maya left to begin with, to raise Santiago as ‘normal.’ But there was no normal, not once you knew. Now Diego was dead and Maya left with a son who didn’t know how to stay out of trouble, but what was worse, this, or gangs? Then the deal was sealed, chosen for them.

Rigo threw the now empty bottle into the grass, putting a hand on his pistol when something rustled back, a brave racoon scaring the hell out of the man as it scampered past. If there was anything out there he was ready. If not, tomorrow was another day. For now? He folded his hands behind his head and willed his eyes to stay open. Finally he heard it. Shovel hitting dirt.

He slid off the hood of the car and grabbed the shotgun propped up by the front wheel. Like he’d suspected, it was looking for a fresh meal. That’s why here, he'd stopped by that particular grave yard because of a similar incident nearby., and according to the paper -- today's obituary there was a burial. The sonofabitch was fast, but then again, the grave was fresh, the dirt didn’t have time to settle. The elder Ortez whistled through his teeth, clicking on his flashlight and it turned, hissing at him. A trigger was pulled and blood splashed on a nearby tombstone.

“Ghoul.” Rigo said to himself, slinging the rifle over his shoulder. “Headshot. Dammit, I hope it didn’t wake the kids.”

Next > : Emerlan Harbor