I arrive every day, unseen by most. I am beautiful, but if you touched me, you would die. What am I?
‘The other guys?’ I say.
‘Sure.’ Fred smiles. ‘You didn’t think it was just me here, did you?’
That’s exactly what I thought. The plan was simple: kill Fred, then myself. Two monsters gone. The world a little safer.
But my only weapon is the hammer tucked into the back of my cargo pants. If Fred has friends here, I’m in a whole world of trouble.
‘Great,’ I say. ‘Can’t wait to meet them.’
Fred is looking at the car I arrived in. A midnight blue sedan, with supple leather seats and a stereo still playing light jazz even though the engine is off. Blood on the passenger’s seat, mud on the driver’s. A bullet hole low on one of the doors.
Fred looks at the hole for a strangely long time. A shadow crosses his face.
‘Nice ride,’ he says finally.
He nods, unsurprised. ‘Anyone looking for it?’
‘OK. We’ll deal with that later.’
‘You want me to move it around the back?’ Maybe I should drive away and forget this whole thing. There’s a big white pickup parked on the gravel in front of a two-car garage, but it’s facing the wrong way. It would take Fred a minute to turn it around and give chase.
‘No,’ he says. ‘No-one will see it there.’
‘Trust me. We’re miles from anywhere.’
He’s not wrong. The house is in the middle of the woods, at the end of a long driveway off a dirt road. Nobody knows where I am. If I die out here, no-one will ever know what happened to me. That was the point.
‘Come on,’ Fred says. ‘You must be freezing.’
‘Yeah.’ My tattered sweatshirt and thin socks offer no protection from the night air, and I’m still getting used to having a shaved head. My ears hurt.
I lock the car with the key remote. The music and the interior lights fade out, like the house lights going down in a cinema when the movie’s about to start. Fred and I crunch across the gravel towards the house…