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Cruise control is a wonderful thing when it's raining hard and you're on the run. Turn the windshield wipers on, drive five miles an hour less than the speed limit, set the cruise control and you're good if you don't do anything stupid. No need to worry about driving too fast or driving too slow and some cop noticing. You have to be careful when you're about to be hunted down by the military-industrial complex and you don't know exactly when that timer will start.
Eventually they would show up at my house in the middle of the night. Or maybe in broad daylight. The only news story big enough to cause CNN, Fox News and MSNBC to ride in the same van. Homeland Security could call me a terrorist or say that I was Julian Assange's nephew. Everyone would understand why I was taken away in chains with a black bag over my head.
So I didn't go home.
Going home would have been a stupid idea. A smarter idea was to drive to the house of the best looking female writer I'd ever known. I needed someone to dump my company on someone until things blew over or I got blown away. She'd do it. Not because she'd care I was in trouble, but because she'd hope I didn't come back alive so she could keep it. She could always find someone else to sleep with, but to take control of a profitable publishing business- that was a permanent relationship. Good-bye writer and hello businesswoman.
I drove for four hours with only three stops. Once for gas. Once to load up on coffee. The last time to use the bathroom. Not once did I call Adele to let her know I was coming. I was done calling anyone- I'd tossed the phone out the window, over a railing and into the first river I'd driven over. Then I just kept driving. First time in my life I'd driven over fifteen minutes without music.
Thinking all the way. Listening to news reports. Looking out the window and checking the side and rear view mirrors for anything in the sky that shouldn't be there.
I wasn't thinking about what was in the trunk. I was thinking about how the thing in the trunk would change my life.
No way the military wouldn't own the burned ashes of Emily's farm by morning. They'd totally control the traffic coming and going for a fifty mile radius before dinner time. Maybe before lunch. They wouldn't stop til they'd quarantined and grilled every witness they could find and I sure as hell didn't want to be quarantined.
Three UFO's rising up in the sky. Three fighter jets vaporized. I couldn't know for sure that they were fighter jets, but that was what my gut told me they were. I'd waited in the fog after the three UFO's disappeared, then drove away with my fog lamps on. Sweating like it was July instead of early October.
When I finally pulled into Adele's driveway it was three in the morning and her house was dark except for one light in the living that stood just on the other side of the pulled curtain. She wouldn't be happy with me for showing up without warning She might not even be alone. Four plus hours of driving and I'd never even thought about that. We'd never talked about it, but you can tell when someone's not seeing someone else.
Lot of guys probably thought that's the way it was.
I bent over and picked up the Bible and the photo from the passenger side floor mat, tucked the photo of the creature back inside and hid it under my front seat. Adele didn't need to know about it. She thought I was crazy as it was.
There seemed to be no one up except me. No lights on anywhere except streetlights and Adele's living room light. She could still be up writing or reading. Writers did that a lot. Slept for most of the day and stayed up all night.
I slid on my jacket as I walked up her driveway and made an effort to tuck in my shirt, then straighten my collar. The whole trip down I'd been working on what to to tell her and what not to tell her. Keep it simple was always the best bet.
The thing was, I needed cash- more cash that I could pull out of my ATM's. More than that, I needed someone to take over the publishing until I came back.
I'd killed an old woman and set her and her house on fire. Trying to get away before anyone knew I was even there, I'd crashed into a strange blue creature and killed it. Emily didn't need to know about any of that or the three UFO's and what they'd done to the aircraft coming after them. All she needed to know was that I wanted to offload my company for cash in the middle of the night, and I'd better have a damned good story to explain why.
By the time I pushed the electronic doorbell button, I thought I had it all figured out. I waited a few minutes and pushed it again. Things were coming together more clearly. I had a good story that she just might buy.
But when the door opened and I came face to face with a thirty something red faced guy who looked like he wanted to punch my ticket, I couldn't think of anything to say.
Later I found out that at about the same time as I stood there stammering, a Homeland Security team was going through Emily's phone records.