It’s time for another installment of Kharma’s Way. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I love writing it 🙂 Have a great Saturday!
“Thank you. You’ve been very helpful.”
Janette headed off to the back of the store, leaving me alone with my new suspicion.
I heard Darla’s voice, so I tip-toed closer. She giggled. I ducked behind a nearby rack of camouflage hunting gear. Then I heard clearly, “She was here.”
“I gotta go,” Darla said quietly into the phone.
Crap. I stood up to make a break for it and knocked down a cardboard display of fishing lures and duck callers. Footsteps quickly approached so I ran behind a tall shotgun case.
“What on earth?” Darla exclaimed when she saw the mess.
I peeked around the case. She started to kneel down to pick it up, but changed her mind. Too bad–I almost got to see if her pants would let her do it.
My ears strained to hear her footsteps and I rounded the case in the opposite direction. I hunched over as I moved so the clothing racks and displays would obscure her view of me. Instead of going for the obvious front door, I aimed for the emergency side exit. I barreled through the door, triggering a shrill alarm.
Even though the bright sunshine blinded me, I continued running. I scanned the area for a hiding place through squinted eyes; overgrown desert bird of paradise bushes lined the edge of the parking lot in front of a high cinder block wall. Perfect.
With a leap, I dove behind the bushes and knelt down in the gravel. I hunched over so the thickest part of the bush hid my body. Through the leaves, I saw Darla and a coworker in front of the store looking toward the parking lot. Darla stood with her hands on her hips; the other woman lit a cigarette and leaned against a stucco column. Something moved in my peripheral vision. I readjusted my eyes to focus close up and discovered bees buzzing around me.
I fought the impulse to jump up and scream–bees terrify me. Soon, I realized that perspiration soaked through my shirt, although I couldn’t determine if it resulted from the high sun or fear. I didn’t swat the bees away as they landed on my clothes; many left on their own. Lizards scurried over dead leaves behind me, but I didn’t pay them any attention because the bees held my interest against my will. For what seemed like an hour, they buzzed around me, tormenting me with their presence.
Finally, another distraction came in the form of a man approaching Darla and her coworker in front of the store. The coworker stomped her cigarette stub. My heart raced–it was him; Gill Arnold came to me. I smiled. This could be easier than I thought. I quietly unzipped my purse. I stuck my right hand inside and searched with my fingers, keeping my vision trained on Gill. I curled my fingers around the handle of my revolver.
“Looking for someone?”
I inhaled a scream at the sound of a man’s voice whispering in my ear. Before I could turn around, his hand cupped over my mouth and he held my head firmly against his chest.
Continued next week…