Serial Saturday: Road Trip, Part 7

Israel sat in his car and rubbed his eyes. He wished he could remember exactly how he’d gotten where he was. He remembered arriving at the trailer JT Quinn owned early in the morning, and finding it already empty, no cars in the driveway. He’d even explored the burned-out ruins near the trailer, though there hadn’t been much to see there. Now he was parked on the road across from a much nicer place, a big house with a four-acre lawn, in a town he didn’t even know the name of, and it was closing in on noon Whatever had happened in between was too vague for comfort. No wonder, really, considering he’d driven from Wyoming to New York only daring to sleep in snatches here and there.

The spooky thing was that he was pretty sure he was watching JT Quinn. He blinked and squinted, trying to force his itchy eyes to focus. There were three people working on the big yard. He was pretty sure the guy with a hairy potbelly poking out under his t-shirt while he zipped around on a zero-radius riding mower wasn’t JT, nor the skinny kid who looked to be all of sixteen pushing a walk-behind mower. The woman with the weedwhacker looked a lot like the description Nails had given him, though. She wore a tank top, revealing a left arm almost covered in tattoos. That, and the right arm without any tats at all, jibed with what Nails had told him. So did the bandana wrapped around her left wrist covering whatever ink was there. He hadn’t actually been able to tell Nails that he intended to find Amity Quinn’s daughter, of course, so he was light on details, but as she came closer to buzz the grass at the base of a shrub near the road he became more sure he saw the family resemblance to the woman he knew back in Kaycee. Take twenty-five years off Amity, cut her hair short and color it blond and green, and she’d be the spitting image of this woman.

So how had he known where she’d be working? It must have been Lucien. He couldn’t remember Lucien telling him anything specifically, but sometimes he didn’t. Usually it was that sharp, arrogant voice telling him things, but sometimes Israel just seemed to know things that he shouldn’t have. He could have just done some digging himself, of course, he would have had plenty of time in that fuzzy period since dawn, but it didn’t seem like he could have done that sort of detective work with no clear memory of it.

He absently rolled down the window as he thought. It was getting hot in the car as it sat still, and the nice thing about the old Pontiac he’d stolen back in Wyoming was that it didn’t have new-fangled things like power windows to screw around with, so he didn’t need to turn the key. The noise of the mowers and the weedwhacker grew louder as the window came down, drifting over the big lawn and across the road where he was parked near one or two other cars. His thoughts drifted to how much greener it was back here on the east coast, and how used to browns he’d gotten living in Wyoming for so long. Even though he hadn’t spent a lot of time outside. He yawned hugely, trying to force his thoughts back on to a useful track. So he’d found JT Quinn, probably. Now what?

The pattern of noises outside the car changed as the weedwhacker switched off and Israel blinked, focusing muzzily on the woman he assumed was JT as she carried the string trimmer over to the trailer festooned in yard care implements parked in the driveway. She set the string cutter in a rack and took off her work gloves one by one, tucking them into the back pocket of her jeans. She picked up a bottle of water from the trailer and took a long drink, then mopped some sweat from her forehead with the bandana on her wrist.

For a while, she rooted around in a box on the wooden floor of the trailer, then straightened, holding a hatchet. Israel had begun to yawn again, but his mouth froze as the woman turned and strode across the road toward his car, holding the hatchet in a businesslike fashion.

Copyright © 2011 SM Williams

~ by smwilliams on May 21, 2011.