I was about to call for my travel companion when I heard her approach from behind. She must have gotten turned around in the corn, she came from the north instead of the west. I turned with a small smile to greet her. When I looked up my heart stopped; I felt a colossal chill run through my body. It was him.
“Well, well, well. Lookie who I found.” John smiled wryly. “I knew you wouldn’t get too far. Not in all that rain. And this is a logical place to go in a rush. The way you left my place.” He had his pistol, and it was pointed at my chest. I tried to blink him away, but he was here to stay. His smile showed pure evil.
“Yeah. Sorry about leaving like that. And your window. It just didn’t seem like a good place for Brit to be, or me for that matter. You understand.” I frowned his direction, and he showed no emotion in return.
“Speaking of her, where is she? The girl.” Hopefully she was hearing this exchange and was hightailing it to the next county.
I spoke a little louder. “No idea. She was here the first night. But when I woke this morning she was gone.” John’s head twitched as he looked around the brush patch. “I suppose she’d had enough of me. She knew where she was headed. She’s safe by now I’m sure.”
John’s smiled broadened. “We’ll see. I bet she hasn’t made it all that far.” He jerked his gun my way. “Where’s your gun? I don’t see a bulge in any of your pockets. You got it hidden on your back there?”
I laughed and shook my head. “No. That’s missing, too. I couldn’t find it this morning. I suppose she took it.” I peered carefully into John’s cold eyes. “I’d keep that in mind if you go looking for her. She’s armed, and from what she told me, she’s shot a lot guns before with my ex-wife’s boyfriend. She’s actually pretty handy with a pistol. So, use caution.”
It was John’s turn to laugh. “Right. That little shit doesn’t know a gun from a stick. She’s just some clueless teenager, like all of them nowadays. Movies, music and boys. That’s all they think of.” He wiped his mouth briefly. “I already know she ain’t yours. That was pretty easy to figure out from the way you two acted. I’ll keep her occupied once I find her.”
I took a deep breath. “You know John, I’ve decided you’re just evil. Guys like you don’t deserve to be alive. You should all be hung. What good is a little 14-year-old girl to you anyway?”
Now he really lit up. “She’s young and firm and tight. In all the right places. I like ‘em young.” I shook my head in disgust. “Hey, don’t judge me. Be honest. You’ve had her all alone out here for a number of days. Tell me you ain’t once thought of touching her. Tell me those tight young thighs don’t stir something inside your groin. Tell me while she was exhausted and sleeping you never reached down and felt one of those firm young tits of hers. Go ahead and lie to me. Tell me you’re clean.”
A quick gasp escaped before I continued. “You’re a sick, perverted, disgusting old man. You know most people don’t think like that. They don’t talk like that. Decent people, John. Good people.” I scanned the area casually hoping not to see Brit anywhere. She was thankfully still AWOL. “If I had known you were even just a little sick, a little crazy, I would have done the world a huge favor and just killed you when I had a chance. I’m sorry I didn’t.”
He gave a faux look of hurt; my rant was probably a compliment to this sick bastard. “Well, you didn’t. And I thank you for that. But I’m not going to return that favor. I’m going to kill you now. And then I’m going to find that fine young lady. And I’m going to take her back to my place, kicking and screaming if I have to. Then I’m going to enjoy myself. I’m going to have a good time. And Trevor can watch just like he did with the others. He likes that you know.”
I felt the bile rise in my throat. “You sick…”
He waved the gun at me. “You know, it’s not personal, Bill. I just have to kill you. I don’t want to have to be on guard wondering if and when you’re coming back for her. A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.” He cocked the hammer and paused. “Tell you what, I got another option for you. Hear me out.”
I chuckled at John. “Oh I’m sure this is good.” The gun was still pointed at me.
“I’ll walk you back to the road, and down to the corner of 35. You can go either north or south, I don’t give a shit. I’ll stand there and wait for a half hour or so. If you don’t want to die, just keep going wherever it is you’re headed. If you want to die, come back. I’ll shoot you right there.” His eyebrows rose. “See, you can still live. Just leave. Give me your word you won’t come back. Okay?”
I let his words sink in. I’m not sure if it was a trap or an honest offer. I looked around again for Brit. She had heard the discussion and had taken off. Good.
“Tell you what. Why don’t you put that gun down, and we’ll fight man to man. Just bare hands. Give me a shot to show you how a decent fight goes.” He frowned and wiggled the gun; no deal I guess. “Well, then you’d better just kill me. Because if you let me go I’ll use all I have left in life to hunt you down, you sick rotten bastard. If it’s the last thing I do, I promise you, I will kill you.”
John’s shoulders slumped. “Well, I gave you an out. I’ll tell the girl goodbye for you. Let her know your last thoughts were about her. That will be some consolation to her I imagine.” He twitched, ready to pull the trigger. “I know you’re a decent fellow. I know you view me as sick. But I win, you lose. I live, you die. All those years of being a decent man aren’t worth a damn now.” He took aim at my chest, my heart I suppose. “Goodbye, Bill. See you in hell.”
I closed my eyes to pray. The gun fired once and then twice.