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Deliver Me

by Yvvy about a year ago in fiction
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It all went wrong so fast

Deliver Me
Photo by Jake Stark on Unsplash

Jessica held the sides of her head cradled within her palms, elbows planted against her knees as she leaned as far over as she could. How the hell had she managed to get herself into a mess like this? Somewhere along the line, between making the decision that she had to do something with her life and realizing that she needed money to accomplish that, she had managed to make a series of utterly stupid decisions.

That, of course, was no more obvious than when she finally opened her eyes and stared down at the booted feet of her now-deceased partner in crime. The worst of it, she decided, was that she couldn’t actually remember the poor man's name. Something B...Bob maybe?

“Poor Bob.” She mumbled the words, her tone of voice almost numb as she finally leaned back into the wall behind her, allowing her arms to lay across her knees, blood-stained hands dangling in the gap between them. It was hard not to focus on the blood, the bright crimson color was a stark contrast to the dark and dingy walls of the motel bathroom. Every available surface had at least some of the red substance, like someone's haphazard attempt to paint the room had gone horribly wrong at some point.

Releasing a small sigh Jessica finally began to gather herself from the floor, gently pushing herself up on shaking legs and picking her way carefully over the limp legs of the man she had now named Bob.

It was only supposed to be a quick drug run. She’d never done anything like it before, but her cousin had been insistent that all she had to do was drive from one point to another and walk away. Forty thousand dollars was a lot of money, so much money, in fact, that it could have bought her way out of some rather bad situations she had gotten herself into. It was hard to say no when it seemed so damn easy.

Shaking fingers turned on the tap, letting the hot water run as she held her hands beneath the stinging liquid. “Fucking Bob.”

Then there was Bob. He hadn’t been planned for. No one had told her that, in the back of the van, drugs weren’t the only thing she was driving from one point to the next. If she’d never investigated the thumping sounds, she would have never found the poor guy trussed up like a thanksgiving turkey between the boxes of goods.

.

She should have ignored him.

“Fucking Bob.” Even the hot water didn’t seem enough to wash the blood from her skin. No matter how many times she scrubbed her hands together, she didn’t feel clean. She felt like she failed, and it hung over her like a dark cloud, drenched her in its stormy gloom, and it made her feel dirty. Like every drop of his blood on her skin was another stain that would never go away.

She wasn’t that person. She couldn’t see him struggling there and then climb back into the driver's seat of the van, drop him off god knows where leave him there for god knows what. So she carefully pulled the black hood from his head, and his wide terrified eyes had hurt her too deeply. For a long and drawn-out moment, they had stared at each other, almost unblinking, like two deer caught in the headlights, but when he began crying she was undone. That was why she had untied him, gathered him up, put him in the passenger seat.

Climbing into the driver's seat herself had been a rush of adrenaline mixed with a rather serious heart-pounding fear. It pulsed in her ears, blocked out the thank yous coming from the seat beside her. She couldn’t deliver the van now. Not with the man missing. There was enough presence of mind to make that an obvious thought. The money was sitting in the console between them, half up front, half on delivery. She should have known by the amount of money that it couldn’t possibly be that damn easy.

“I’m sorry, Bob.” The water was still running, but she couldn’t look at his face anymore. Picking out the few clean tiles she could find around him she moved from the dimly lit bathroom into the motel room itself, ignoring that there was no light there. Instead, she used the cone of pale yellow that flooded from the open bathroom to numbly move to the bed and remove the blanket covering it, giving a tug when a stubborn hospital corner caught and refused to give way immediately.

She hadn’t thought it through, had she? Turning the key in the ignition, putting it into drive. She’d just done it like the actions were automatic and she had no actual control over them. They needed a place to go, but it couldn’t be in town, so it had to be on the road. She’d been on the freeway before she’d even taken stock of what was happening. Bob had been silent for a while, curled in his seat, flipping between crying and looking at her tentatively.

It didn’t help that she hadn’t said more than two words since she’d found him. This was a realization that came with hours passed and reflective thought. She would have been terrified, too, but Jessica hadn’t really been thinking straight at the time. She had stopped for gas and food, mumbled something about him staying put, and remembered being surprised to find out he had, in fact, stayed in his seat.

The blanket refused to give, tucked too tightly in the bottom corner, wrapped snugly around the mattress. She pulled, but it stayed, and so she pulled harder. The more her weakened and shaking arms tugged, the more bile rose in her throat. It was like a trigger, one moment she was yanking on the blanket, the next it had let go and she was sprawled on the floor crying uncontrollably. Her entire body heaved, shoulders quaking under the weight of what felt like an entire world crashing down on her.

It hadn’t been the best plan, she knew that. She had no clue what to do. In fact, it had consisted of only two parts. Part one, leave town, get as far as you could without being noticed. That, it turned out, had been the easy part. It hadn’t been nearly as hard as she had thought to leave the city behind and drive off into the sunset.

Turned out drug lords didn’t particularly like being stolen from, and it didn’t seem to matter whose cousin she was. At least the bullets that broke through the metal of the van didn’t seem to particularly care when they eventually caught up with them. Taking advantage of a long stretch of quiet road had been a stupid idea, too, but really in the long scheme of things, none of it had been smart.

The heaving sobs hurt her chest, and she had to take a moment to breathe. Rolling onto her back and staring straight up into the dark shape of the ceiling, Jessica pulled air into her lungs. Who was she kidding? She wasn’t some kind of hero, she’d been there delivering drugs to pay off bookies who were only owed money because she didn’t know how to put a bottle down long enough not to gamble away what little bit of money she had at any given time.

She was nothing. No better than the people who had put him in the back of that van.

The gun had been a surprise when Bob had pulled it from the glove box in a frantic moment. Both of them were screaming at the other to do something, metal sparking and the horrible sound of it popping open and tearing with each bullet. Adrenaline had been running high by then, however, and she said nothing when he rolled his window down, shoved his upper body through it, and squeezed off round after round behind them.

The flaming wreckage in her rearview mirror would be something forever ingrained in her mind. He’d gotten a tire, must have because the car behind them had stopped shooting and begun spinning. It met the tree head-on, slammed right into it, and Jessica thought nothing, at the moment, but to put distance between herself and that vehicle.

She hadn’t noticed the bullet wound until they were parked in front of their own motel room. He’d kept it hidden beneath the oversized jacket. When he left the car, however, it was hard not to see the puddle of blood pooling around his feet.

She wasn’t a hero, and she wasn’t a doctor. He had cried, begged her not to let him die, but there had been nothing to do. No matter how many towels she had grabbed, no matter how much pressure she had put on it, there had been no stopping the blood. She’d failed him, it was written in his lifeless eyes, and in the bright red that painted the floor, the handprints of it on the walls and the sink.

A high pitched trilling sound caught her attention and she allowed her head to turn to the side, frowning in almost confusion at the nearby black telephone. No one knew she was there, not that she knew of anyway, and so the idea that it was actually ringing was inane. So, as the sound died, she turned her head and brought her eyes back to the ceiling.

It was the second time that it suddenly filled the otherwise silent room that she abruptly shoved herself to her feet. Every step was meant to be a stomp in anger or frustration, but her knees were still shaking, and she wobbled ever-so-slightly to the right before finally collapsing onto the edge of the bed and plucking the receiver up.

“Jessica don’t talk.” Not hard to give in to the familiar voice of her cousin, her throat was dry from crying and screaming, and all she could manage was a croak of sound. “Good. I didn’t tell them your name, and I won’t, because I love you. In his coat pocket, take it, call the number on the first page. Don’t come back to town, Jessica. Take the money and go.”

She’d scarcely parted her lips when the line went dead. Maybe it was morbid curiosity that drove her to immediately stand, leaving the phone dangling on the short cord. Numb fingers pulled the jacket lapel open and dipped inside, coming out with a small black notebook. Frowning at it she turned it over within her hand and flipped open the sticky blood-stained pages. There, scrawled on the front page, was a sloppily written set of digits and a single name.

Settling onto the edge of the bed she lifted the receiver and placed it back in the cradle for a single moment, before lifting it up and very slowly tapping each corresponding button. It only rang twice before someone picked up the other line, sitting in silence for several seconds.

“Robert?” Jessica croaked the name.

“Where are you, how many bodies?”

“Wha….I…” She blinked a few times, before shaking her head. “Rockford Motel, only one.”

Of all the things she would never forget about that day, the sound of the scruffy voice on the other end of the line was the easiest to fade. It was harder to forget the look in Bob’s eyes when the light faded. Harder to forget the heavy numbness that settled in her gut as she slid into the driver's seat of the rented SUV.

Twenty-thousand might buy a new life, but it hardly paid for the one lost.

fiction

About the author

Yvvy

I am a single mother of three! My largest passions is creating worlds within the written word. I'm so excited to begin sharing this love and passion with the world. Talk to me and follow me on Instagram @thatchickcharliesl !

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