“Isn’t a bit early for that…” I grumbled aloud at the strong cigarette odor that had roused me from the haze of sleep.
It was then that I realized the bed I occupied wasn’t a fold-out couch in a grungy little house. I was damp with dew.
And rather unnervingly the voice did not belong to Gwen.
I was now wide awake.
“Did you just hear something?” A deep Yankee brogue carried clearly through the wall that had served as my pillow.
“You’re just nervous…” Another voice this time completely foreign. The clipped brassy accent reminding me of my Taiwanese room-mate.
“Oh, come on Peter…this…I thought you’d be used to it by now…” This time it was a woman. The first native sounding voice I’d heard.
I’m not exactly sure why I found this conversation disturbing. Despite the impossibility of being seen I shielded the screen of my flip phone as I checked the time.
It was 3:22 AM. I hated these neat little numbers. I always…always happened to look at a watch or odometer and see 3:33, 9:11, 808. A sort of luck and distaste that would eventually find me in a psych ward. But that and Crowley’s little book is a tale for another time.
True terror is not supernatural.
I did not want to be here. I was cold and damp and really hated the little international meeting just a walls length behind my back.
“I don’t like the new supply…”
A chill ran up my spine.
“Hold up Lee…are you sure about Dietrich…?”
“As sure as I can be.”
“You’re nervous tonight Pete…” Came the woman’s voice. “What’s up…? Having second thoughts…you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to…just don’t you know…kiss and tell…”
“No, no nothing like that…”
“The same damn SUV…dark blue…I kept seeing it for a good hundred miles on I77.”
“Probably just a family goin back home or visiting relatives…”
There was a pause.
“I first saw the damned thing just outside Columbus.”
“Hmm…so you think that we’ve been followed?”
Pete…the Yankee voice…sighed. “I don’t know.”
“Well, where did you last see it?”
“Not sure exactly but…it was past Charlotte.”
“Shit…” The woman hissed. “Well…I thin…”
A sharp electric beep cut through the predawn dark.
It was so loud. What the hell could that be…
The conversation had ceased.
I heard the beep again and this time I realized its source.
It was the low battery alert.
“Secure the goods Rachel…” the voice of ‘Lee’ dictated in a loud whisper. Before I heard the shuffling of feet.
At this point…adrenaline set in and my presence of mind reached absolute zero.
Instead of just pulling the battery out and hightailing it back home through the woods I threw it.
I watched the dark blur arc its way over the gravel road and land soundlessly among underbrush in the clay clearing at the edge of the wood.
The adrenaline made me move. Which was good. Because just as I had made my way up the length of the wall and thrown myself down into a prone position I heard first one then two pairs of feet land directly on the spot that I’d just evacuated.
I heard whispers and then off in the distance by the edge of the wood I heard a distinct electronic beep.