As a fun little experiment for Halloween, some bloggers here are writing a story in a chain form.
In the distance down Highway 1, a set of headlights flicked into view. That had happened plenty of times during the evening, but this was the first since the sun slipped below the horizon and also the first that caused all of the pickup’s occupants to tense up. Mateo lifted a pair of field glasses to his eyes and peered toward them.
“Is that them?” Connie and Kyle asked in unison, then gave each other a disconcerted glance.
Mateo nodded and handed the glasses to Connie. Through them she saw, to her mild surprise, an exterminator van, with the name ‘Special Dis-Pest-Ation’ on the side and a logo of a cartoon cockroach on its back holding a lily. Connie pulled a face at this, to which Mateo observed, “Can’t say our friends lack a sense of irony.”
“Or theatrics.” Connie replied, and made to pass the glasses back to Kyle but the van, moving faster than it looked, was suddenly upon them. It turned hard down Chris Road, and it wasn’t until it flew on by the truck without slowing or even seeming to notice it, that the four of them realized they were holding their breath.
Special Dis-pest-ation swung into Lucy’s parking lot, then out of sight to the loading zone around back.
“Okay. We give them ten minutes to unload, then we move?” Kyle asked.
“Ayuh. I mean, affirmative.” Connie replied.
The first five of those minutes lasted ten thousand years. So did the next too. They sat stock-still, silent, trying not to be the one who betrayed their feelings to the others. Mateo was scared but determined; this was not his first rodeo. It WAS Kyle’s first rodeo; he was excited, possibly looking forward to it a little too much. Katie clutched her bag and checked its contents and her gun over and over; being a medic in a war zone was never any fun and lives would depend on her… in the worst case, every life in the diner might.
And Connie… Connie was HUNGRY.
“Antivenom ready to go?” Mateo asked. Katie nodded and briefly showed him the jet injector in her kit, locked and loaded with an ampule of the Company’s special cocktail: Aristolochic acid, 1,10-phenanthroline, and antibody samples based on all of the eight most dangerous spiders in the world… including two the public didn’t know about.
Kyle tried a joke. “I had an Auntie Venom once. Nobody seemed to like her. Said she was toxic.”
There was no response.
The last three minutes crawled by in a strange aeon, and Connie rolled the truck over to Lucy’s and around the blind windowless side of the building as quietly and unobtrusively as a huge black pickup could move. Wordlessly, all four pulled their gaiters up to cover every identifiable part of their faces and slunk out of the truck as quietly as possible, Glocks in hand and eyes locked on the back door.
Connie hesitated and swallowed hard. Mateo caught it and saved her:
Next section continues at Death to Squirrels!