Her fingers trembled as she brought the cigarette to her lips. She took a shaky breath and inhaled the smoke deep. This would be the last time. As soon as she got to this new place, she would have to stop. This could not go on. Only fifty miles further and she could settle into her new place. It was all arranged. Now she just needed a way to get there. She needed this new chance to straighten things out.
The wind rushed through her hair, flinging it in her eyes. Irritated, she pushed it back so that she could see. The sun had set hours ago, and she was still standing here by the side of the road. She knew she was taking a risk, knew the dangers, but this was the fastest way to get to where she was going. She could hitch a ride now and get there before morning, or wait for her friend to come and pick her up, which would mean a delay of at least three days.
She saw headlights cresting over the hill and stepped closer to the shoulder. Slim thighs were showcased in a short, black skirt. She stretched one of her legs out so the ivory skin would gleam in the light. She thrust a hip towards the road and took a deep breath. She would use every asset she had.
The car sped past her. She closed her eyes and relaxed her pose. Someone had to stop. Eventually. The sound of an engine interrupted her thoughts, and her eyes slid open to see a blue SUV ease up beside her. The passenger window rolled down and a woman with dark, curly hair peered out at her.
“Honey, it’s getting ready to whip up one hell of a storm. What are you doing out here?”
“I need a lift, just an hour’s drive from here. I’ll do anything…” She tried to sound casual, but the words came tumbling out and then stopped. Tears sprang to her eyes and she dashed them away angrily. She started to speak again, but the words died when she heard the locks snap open.
“Go ahead and toss your bag in the back seat and come up here. I’ll get you to where you’re going.” The woman seemed unsure of her decision, but watched as the dejected look on the girl’s face that had made her stop in the first place, was replaced by a bright smile.
The front door opened and the girl hopped into the seat. She shoved a backpack down on the floor and nested her feet around it. She settled in and snapped the seatbelt tightly into place before turning to the woman who came to her aid.
“I really appreciate this.”
“Of course,” the woman murmured. “I’m Amy.”
“Sally. My name’s Sally. I’m just headed over to exit 43. You can drop me off at the gas station there. Where I’m going isn’t far from there.”
As Amy pulled away from the shoulder and back onto the highway, Sally leaned back into her seat and relaxed. But not completely. Her right hand fisted in her pocket, closing around the hard object lying within.
“Have you been travelling long?” Amy asked.
“I’ve been on the road for a while,” Sally answered slowly. “But now I’m ready for change. This will be my new start.” Even as she spoke, Sally could feel the skin between her shoulder blades begin to itch. The need for release rose, and she squirmed in her seat. It would get worse before it got better, she knew. It would have to be soon.
It had been more than a week since she had last gotten a ride, more than a week since she had gotten her hands wet with someone else’s blood. The knife lay heavy in her palm. Her thumb rubbed across the button that would spring the blade free. It would only take an instant.
Her breath quickened as she thought of how risky it would be while they were hurtling down the road at this speed. She usually only took these chances while they were stopped. This was much better. But this had to be the last time. She had to stop. After this.
She closed her eyes, envisioning how it would be. How the blade would sink into the other woman. Imagined the screams, the terror the other woman would feel. A smile curved her lips.
She drew the knife out of her pocket. She pressed the switch, and as the blade snapped open, she turned in her seat and lunged towards the woman. The woman who was very calmly holding a gun pointed at her head.
She stopped short, staring at the blue-black metal of the barrel. Stared down the eye of the barrel.
“Sorry, sweetie,” Amy laughed. “Guess it just isn’t your night.”
Sally shrank back against the door, and Amy watched amusedly. The pungent smell of urine filled the air.
She shook her head, remembering the last time. How she had no choice, how the bullet had smashed through the door lock and the body had tumbled into the night. At least this stretch of highway was deserted this time of night, being out in the middle of nowhere. This one was a coward at heart. She wouldn’t be much of a fight.
She kept the hand holding the gun steady and started humming as she continued down the road. Not much further until she could make the turn that would lead her to the old farmhouse where he was waiting. Waiting to see their new prize.
She still couldn’t believe her luck, when she had seen the girl standing out there by herself on the side of the road. And one that obviously had the most delicious secrets besides. This one would be a treat. What where the chances?