Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Bean King - 4

The snow was worse when he left the office. That was actually a good thing, as far as Tilman was concerned. Lost in the whiteness, he felt like he was invisible. The night was silent, all the sounds muffled by falling snow. He shrugged up his coat and went to the SUV.

As he opened the door, he felt, very certainly, that he was being watched. He put his hand in his pocket, gripped his gun. He turned around and looked. He didn’t see anything in the snow except grey shadows. He shivered and slid inside the car. He’d left it running.

He took the pistol out of his pocket and dropped it on the seat. Tilman pulled out and tried to leave Holly Falls.

He drove slowly. He didn’t have a choice. No plows had gone through, and he could barely see where the road was. He was glad he’d picked the SUV, the four wheel drive was probably going to come in handy. He drove through the town and didn’t see another soul. No one was on the roads, no one was out shoveling snow or doing any of the other things that he would expect. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

There were no lights either in any of the houses, either, and Tilman felt like he was driving through a host town. The only lights were the streetlamps, and they looked like they came from another century. Tilman suspected that they might actually be gaslamps.

Tilman felt tension that he hadn’t even realized was there when he put the town behind him. He wasn’t sure what he expected, not really, but he was sure that this wasn’t it. He resisted the urge to keep looking in the rearview mirror and kept his eyes on the road, headlights barely cutting through the falling snow.

Something moved across the road and Tilman braked hard. He felt the tail end of the SUV whip around, and he pushed down on the gas, steered into the skid. Fucking deer. He got back on the road and slowed down. He looked over his shoulder and tried to see where it went. He didn’t see a damn thing.

He drove on, and he saw something in the rear view mirror. He stared, too long and too hard, and nearly drove into a ditch. He took a deep breath and held it, Exhaled. He needed to pull it together and concentrate on his driving.

Tilman flexed his fingers and tried to relax. He stretched his neck and got his shit together. He could do this. He could win. All that mattered was winning, and he figured the odds were in his favor. All he needed was a little luck and George Tilman could come out on top.

His tire exploded.

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