So, I’m supposed to be working, but we’re having a snow day, so the kids are home and Kurt’s sleeping because he’s working nights, and you know how I roll. I’m writing a blog post instead.
What’s it about? Nothing really. I’m waiting for LUCKY’s edits, and I just send LUSCIOUS off to beta readers, and I should be writing articles or finishing OBAMANATION. Instead, I’m going to share a bit of what I’ve written with you. Why? Because I’m bored with this post already and I don’t want you all to get bored and run away. So, here’s a little sample of Obamanation.
Veronica stared at the line of cars stretching in front of her windshield. After about four or five, they blurred into shadows under the darkening sky. She and her best friend, Tammy, would have to shorten their annual shopping trip. Another reason for Tammy’s friend, Jessica, to bitch, something she’d become increasingly adept at the longer they stayed in the van.
She sighed. “Looks like we’re not making it across before dark.”
“Bastards probably went on break or something,” Jessica mumbled from the back seat. “Is it always like this?”
Veronica shook her head. “No. Sometimes we wait a bit, but the line never stops completely like this.”
“What’s that?” Tammy leaned forward, pointing at the center of the windshield.
Veronica frowned. Several green vehicles moved along the left side of the road, stopping in a cluster a few feet away from Veronica’s van.
“Not sure.” Veronica squinted, but couldn’t make out the writing on the side of the first truck. “Looks like army trucks. That one at the back looks like a tank.”
“Why would they need a tank?”
Veronica shrugged. “Maybe they found someone with drugs or something. If it was big, the military might get involved. Maybe they caught a fugitive or a terrorist.”
“So they bring a tank?” Jessica asked. “Overkill much?”
“Those are American tanks,” Tammy said.
Not likely. Their government wouldn’t let an American tank across the border. “How can you tell?”
“On the side. Isn’t that an American flag?”
Veronica couldn’t see any flags. A group of soldiers stood around the tanks, but they didn’t move.
“Look,” Tammy pointed again. “People are getting out of their cars. Maybe one of us should go ask what’s happening.”
“I think we’re good right here.” Veronica’s gut twisted.
One of soldiers turned toward the line of cars. He lifted an air horn to his mouth. “Please remain in your vehicles. Failure to obey my instructions will result in arrest.”
Two cars ahead, a man leaned into his car, but didn’t get back in. He emerged with a cell phone. What was he doing? Unless he had a direct line to the Prime Minister, he wasn’t going to get the line moving.
“Everyone get back into your vehicles. This is your final warning.” The voice shouting orders at them sounded familiar, but Veronica couldn’t place where she’d heard it before.
“Buddy’s taking pictures.” Tammy said.
The man aimed the phone at air horn man, and then shifted to point it at the tanks.
“Maybe he’s sending them to a friend.” Veronica said.
Tammy snorted. “Or the local news.”
A popping noise sounded in the distance.
Veronica’s breath caught in her chest. “What the hell?”
“Tell me I’m not hearing gunshots.” Jessica covered her face with her hands.
“Could be fireworks,” Veronica suggested. If someone was being a douchebag, Customs would arrest the idiot, not kill them. Maybe one of the people trying to cross had a gun, and they were doing the shooting.
Screams joined the popping sounds. The man with the phone ducked behind his door, his arm still raised to take pictures.
The man with the air horn looked right at camera guy.
Veronica heart pounded. “Get in your car, stupid.”
“I hope he’s sending pictures to someone other than his wife.” Jessica said. “Maybe he’s someone important in the government, and they’ll come sort this shit out.”
Air horn man said something to the soldier beside him. The soldier nodded and raised a rifle.
“Oh shit,” Veronica slouched into her seat.
They fired a shot, and several more followed. She closed her eyes, expecting to feel a bullet in her body any second.
“Holy fuck,” Tammy cried. “They shot him. Veronica, turn the van around.”
“I can’t. There’s like thirty cars behind me.”
“But we have to get out of here. Go out the back?”
“Why? So we’ll make a better target?” Jessica asked. Her hands dug into Veronica’s headrest.
“Tammy’s right,” Veronica said. “We can’t just sit here and wait for our turn to die.”
“How can Americans come over to our side of the border and start shooting people anyway?” Tammy asked. “It’s ridiculous how nice our army is.”
“Maybe everyone at the front of the line is dead.” Jessica said. “Can’t defend nothing when you’re dead.”
Veronica didn’t understand what was happening, but held onto the desperate belief it was something simple and logical. They could be looking for a fugitive. The guy with the phone might not be an innocent bystander. The Canadian government wouldn’t stand for this unless the Americans were after someone dangerous.
“Maybe it’s an anti-terrorism thing,” she suggested.
Jessica snorted. “So why did they kill camera guy? The American’s aren’t usually so keen on keeping terrorist killing hush-hush.”
Veronica watched the man with the air horn. The soldiers fired on his order, so he had to be in charge. Between the hat, the green scarf covering his chin, and the big sunglasses, not an inch of his face showed. Something about him was familiar, though. He spoke to the men surrounding him, pointing ahead and then back in their direction. They nodded and started walking, and each took a position along the line of cars before raising their guns.
“Oh shit,” Veronica slouched in her seat. “Get down and stay down.”
“What are they doing?”
“Get down, Tammy.”
They cowered as low as they could, keeping their bodies below the dash. Shots started, followed by screams, and the glass shattered on top of them. Veronica’s nose was inches from Tammy’s. She looked into her friend’s terrified brown eyes and panic wrapped its icy fingers around her throat.
The guns and screams continued. Veronica risked a glance out the passenger window. The road ended in a culvert and a line of trees lay about twenty feet beyond. If the culvert was big enough, they could hide until the men with guns left.
“Tammy,” Veronica touched her hand. “We have to get out of here, but I need to know you can stay calm.”
“Calm? The fucking Americans are invading.”
“They’re not invading,” She hoped. “Something’s really wrong about this. Just because they have American flags on their shit doesn’t mean they’re real soldiers. It could be a small group of whackjobs out to make a name for themselves.”
“They’re American and they’re killing everyone.”
Veronica sighed. “Canadians have access to American flags too. Look, we’ll worry about who they are later. Right now, I’m going to get into the back and open the door. We’ll jump down and run to the ditch. To the right is a culvert. If it’s big enough, we can run through to the other side. If not, we’ll run to the trees when they’re far enough away for us to have a shot at making it.”
“Suicide mission,” Jessica said.
“Sitting here and letting them shoot us is a better option?”
“No. I’m just saying we’re not likely to make it five feet. But fuck it. Let’s do it anyway.”
“Okay, Jess should go first.” Tammy said. “Then you, Veronica. I’ll go last. I just need a minute.”
Veronica didn’t like the way Tammy’s voice faded as she spoke. She gripped the arm of her seat so tightly her knuckles whitened.
“I’m going.” Jessica crawled to the door and slid it open.
“Wait,” Veronica touched her arm. “Listen.”
The gunfire continued without pause.
Jessica slid down to the ground and crouched beside the door. Veronica climbed over the console, trying to keep her head below the dash. Her heart raced, pounding painfully against her chest. When her hands touched the road beside the van, she took a deep breath.
“Come on, Tammy.”
“I can’t do it,” Tammy said.
Fucksakes. “You have to.”
“Tam, move your ass.” Jessica urged. “They’re going to kill you. Better to go down fighting.”
The shots sounded louder. Veronica stood to look through the door to the other side of the van, but saw nothing. She crouched low and crept to the front of the van. Two soldiers fired on the car in front of them. Scrambling back to Jessica, tears blurred her vision.
“Shit, we have to go now.” Veronica pleaded. “Tammy, come on honey, get out of the van.”
Jessica met Veronica’s gaze. “She’s not moving.”
“Tammy, stop being an idiot.” Veronica called.
A shadow covered the van and two shots rang out. Jessica gripped Veronica’s arm. The shadow hovered. Veronica heard footsteps. She crouched to the ground, pulling Jessica with her. Beneath the van she watched his boots walk the length of the vehicle. They passed, moving on to the next car.
“Jesus, this is bad.” Jessica said. “Is she—?”
“Tam?” Veronica whispered. Nothing. “Tammy, are you okay?”
Still nothing. She didn’t want to look inside, but they couldn’t leave Tammy there if she was still alive. Taking a breath, Veronica leaned into the van. Tammy lay across the console, blood pouring down her face.
“I think she’s dead,” Veronica’s throat ached as she stifled the urge to cry. She backed out of the van and leaned against the door. “Let’s wait till he’s a few cars down, and then run like a son of a bitch. Don’t look back. Got it?”
Veronica’s legs itched to run, but she remained seated.
“They’re way past the culvert.” Jessica whispered. “Now?”
Veronica closed her eyes. “Yes. Go.”
The sounds of the world stopped and she saw nothing but the brown grass ahead of her, hearing only the sound of the wind in her ears. Somewhere outside her head, Veronica knew they probably shot at her, but she focused only on putting one foot in front of the other.
She realized Jessica was no longer in front of her, and fought the urge to look back. Veronica approached the culvert, realized it was covered, and veered to her right, toward the trees. Hopefully Jessica saw her change course, but she didn’t have time to worry about anything but escape, and kept going until she passed the tree line.
The sounds of the highway faded. Veronica’s lungs threatened to burst. Finally her legs refused to go further and she fell to her knees. Risking a look behind her, she almost cried. No Jessica. On the bright side, no one chased her either.
“Hello, what’s this now?” A male voice with a thick British accent said.
Veronica turned. Three men stood in front of her, but the darkening sky cast shadows over their faces. “Did you escape too?”
“From where love?”
“The border. They’re shooting everyone.”
“The…I think it’s the Americans. They had American uniforms and trucks.”
“We came from the other direction. Shooting everyone you say?”
“Don’t tell me they’re invading the whole country.”
He laughed. “Not yet. Are you hurt? Come closer so we can make sure you’re okay. My eyes aren’t what they used to be.”
Veronica met his dark gaze and something in her gut tightened. He smiled.
What. The. Fuck.
“Ben, leave her alone.” The man beside him said. He crouched, and Veronica’s heart slowed its maddening pace. He looked her up and down, and she noticed his blue eyes had a hint of gold around the edges.
“Ben’s just being an asshole.” He smiled. “Ignore him. Did anyone else get away?”
“I don’t think so. I don’t know.” She didn’t see anyone else run, but surely someone had the same idea she did. “My friend was running with me, but I’ve lost her. I hope she made it. This is crazy.”
“Well, I don’t think you have anything to worry about now. They only want to keep you in the country. I doubt they’re invading yet.”
“You’re—you have an accent.” She slowly got to her feet. Southern. American. “You’re one of them.”
“And I’m stuck here, just like you. I have no idea why they’re shooting everyone.”
She stared at the British one. While she may have imagined the fangs, there was something weird about his skin. A shiver crept up her spine at the coldness in his dark eyes.
“Pretty.” The third man grunted as he lumbered forward, and Veronica turned her attention to his face. She wished she’d kept running.
“What’s wrong with him?” she asked.
“Rafe?” The British guy pointed at the corpse-like thing beside him. “He’s got a condition. Don’t get too close. Sometimes he bites.”
No worries there. Veronica didn’t plan to get close to any of them.
“I should go.” She said. “I’ll find a gas station or something and tell them what’s going on.”
“I doubt they’ll care,” Ben said.
“Of course they’ll care. People are dying.”
“The thing at the border is probably nothing compared to what’s happening everywhere else. Trust me, we’re not out here in the woods because we like nature.”
The corpse-like guy chuffed.
“So what do I do?”
“I suggest you keep running,” The handsome southern guy said. “Don’t stop for anything until you find a vehicle—not even a Good Samaritan. Try to get to the airport. They’ve probably taken them already, or grounded the planes, but it’s worth a shot. If you can get a flight, get as far from North America as you can. ”
“But…I don’t have my passport. I have to go home and check on my parents. My friends—their families need to know what happened.”
“How far is home?”
“A couple of hours by car,” She’d have to find a motel.
“Get a bus or a train then,” He said. “I’m not saying you have to leave the country, but if it’s possible, I recommend it.”
“I can’t just leave.”
“Fine, do what you have to do. If you come across anyone that looks funny, or like my friend here, just run. Don’t stop. Things are about to get real weird.”
“How do you guys know all of this?” They had to be in cahoots with the soldiers at the border. How else would they know things no one else did?
“Just go. Rafe’s kind of hungry and he’s got a thing for redheads.”
She looked at the sick man again. He licked his lips.
Veronica didn’t care to know what he meant. She ran from the men, hoping the trees would open onto a highway or at least a farm. Her phone was in the van, as well as her purse. Shit, she couldn’t even pay for a motel room.
She stumbled and fell to her knees. Her palms stung and she lowered her head. A lump formed in her throat, but Veronica forced it down. She would not cry. She risked a glance behind her. The trio was nothing more than shadows against the trees. But one of them writhed and twisted, shrinking toward the ground.
The sound of a wolf howling sent her to her feet. Veronica ran as fast as her tired legs would allow.
I’m so going to die.