“What do I call you?” I ask, backing away from Amie’s twitching fingers.
“Tam.” She’s by the door, the gun still trained on Amie’s body. I don’t think it’s so strange anymore. It might be the only comforting thing that’s happened tonight.
“This way, Tam.” I step past and, for the second time tonight, take the girl with a gun to my car.
I try to stay calm even though she’s driving my car, and no one drives my car. Especially not crazy, murdering, girls with guns. “Just to be clear, when you said she was going to eat me, you meant…”
“Devour your soul.”
“Right.” She’s so matter of fact, I would almost believe her if what she said was even remotely sane. “Why would she do that?”
She turns to face me, even though we’re going like seventy-five. “So she can keep looking like me, and stealing my life.”
I nod like she makes perfect sense. “So you killed her.”
She laughs. “I wish.”
I’m starting to think I made the wrong choice. “How do I know you’re not the bad one? You shot Amie.”
“Do you want to kiss me?”
“W-what?” This night just gets weirder and weirder.
“Right now. You just saw me shoot someone. I’ve got a gun pointed at you and I’m kidnapping you. Do you want to kiss me?”
She can’t be serious. “Um, no offense, but no.”
She looks back to the road, unfazed. “That’s how you know.”
“You wanted to kiss, Amie, right?”
“Yeah but, I mean, I already wanted to kiss her so...” I shrug.
She turns to me again and I swear she almost looks happy. “You did?”
“Yeah.” I can just make out the “Thank you for visiting Joplin. Come again!” sign as it whizzes past us and then we’re in pure dark. Nothing but fields on both sides of us. With nothing for the headlights to catch on it’s like we’re driving in a tunnel. “So are you going to explain anything? At least tell me where we’re going.”
“Away from people.”
“If you’re going to kill me, can you do it in town so my parents don’t have to wonder where I am?”
She heaves a frustrated sigh. “I’m not going to kill you. This bitch has been ruining my life for centuries and it’s time for it to stop. I need your help.”
Centuries? I wonder if when we left Joplin, we drove straight into the Twilight Zone. “I don’t really see how I can help you with your family drama.”
She laughs. Actually laughs. “You won’t have to do anything but reek of that virgin blood flowing through your veins. Amie won’t be able to resist.”
She jerks the car off the road before I have a chance to ask her what the hell that means. The car dips and jerks as we drive over the ditch between the road and the field. I can feel the whole underside scrape against the rough ground and I’m pissed. I just finished paying it off.
She puts the car in park once we're a ways from the road. “Don’t even think about running,” Not-Amie, Tam, says. She points her gun at me for emphasis as she reaches into the backseat for her purse.
Amie’s gun glares at me from her waistband. I could grab it and shoot her, but the image of Amie’s still body, with its black bullet hole and no blood stops me. My brain’s finally starting to catch up with the events of the night. Putting the pieces together in a way that makes the impossible make sense. A bullet probably won’t kill Tam. And then she’ll be pissed I tried.
Tam slides back into her seat and pulls and digs through her bag. “Turn around.”
I do as I’m told. I’m not real religious but I wonder if I should say a prayer or something. I wonder if it will make a difference or if it’s too late now. Tam tugs at my t-shirt and I jump.
“Hold still.” She lifts my shirt until my whole back is exposed.
What is it with hot chicks undressing me tonight and it not being any fun? My voice squeaks when I ask, “What are you doing?”
“I said, hold still.” She pushes me forward slightly so my forehead touches the window.
Something cool and soft and kind of squishy presses against my back. It takes me a minute to realize she’s drawing on me. Whatever it is, it’s intricate. It reminds me of the sculptures she, I mean, Amie, was always making. She rests her free hand on my hip, just above the waistband of my jeans and it’s oddly intimate. Her breath tickles my skin as she whispers nonsense words over her artwork. When she lets go of my waist and pulls my shirt back down I’m surprised to discover I’m disappointed that she’s done.
I turn back to face her. “What was that?”
She caps a tube of bright red lipstick and drops it into her purse with a hint of a smile. “Just think of it as protection.”
A bright flash lights up the car. Tam looks out the windshield and frowns. “From her.”
I follow her gaze to Amie, who stands in the glare of my headlights, wearing a big grin. One hand’s on her cocked hip, the other one’s giving us the finger. “Howdy,” she says with way too much cheer. There’s no sign of the gaping black wound she had the last time I saw her. She chomps on her gum and I wonder if it’s the same piece she was chewing when she got shot. “You didn’t think it’d be that easy, did you?”
Tam points her gun at me. “Get out.”
I look back and forth between the two evils. At least if I’m out of the car, I might be able to run for it. We’re not that far from the road. I get out and so does Tam.
Amie’s grin stretches too wide for her face when she sees me. It’s grotesque in a way I never thought a smile could be. I can’t believe I ever thought she was hot. She reaches out for me as if for a hug. “There you are Chad! I was afraid Tamara had taken you all for herself.”
“He’s all yours if you promise to leave me alone.”
What? Didn’t she just say she was protecting me? “Hey!”
Amie ignores me and turns her grin on Tam. “You know I don’t make promises.”
Tam pulls a tiny red bottle covered in gold swirls and little jewels that sparkle in the light out of her pocket. “I think you might, just this once.”
Amie’s mouth drops open and the little color she had, drains from her face. “You wouldn’t dare.”
Tam raises an eyebrow at her. “Wouldn’t I? I told you I was done. I wanted a mortal life.”
“But I miss you!” Amie’s face contorts in a way that almost makes her look inhuman, but the whine in her voice is all teenage girl. “Don’t you miss me? Don’t you miss doing whatever you want? Being whatever you want?”
“I am doing what I want.” Tam shouts back.
“How can you stand being trapped in one body? One pathetic life?”
I try to follow the conversation but I’m lost.
Tam shakes her head. “You’ll never understand.” She uncorks the bottle.
“Wait!” Amie’s face shifts back and forth between anger, hurt, and fear. “Fine. I’ll promise, if you promise not to put me in there.”
Tam thinks it over. “Okay, but the bottle stays with me.”
For one second Amie’s face flares with rage but she wipes it away with a smile. “Fine. After I finish with Chad, you’ll have to tell me how you found it. I thought I’d hidden it well.”
Finish with me? I back away from them both and try to smile like I have a clue what’s going on. “Seeing as how you two have patched up your differences, why don’t you just let me go?”
Amie laughs. In a blink she’s standing in front of me. She takes my face in her hands. “Oh honey, you are a funny one aren’t you?”
She mashes her cold, pale lips to mine. My mouth opens in surprise, betraying me, and before I can move I feel her inhale. Feel her start to suck the life right out of me. I shove at her but either she’s really heavy or I’m really weak. A high-pitched sound pierces my ears. There’s a burning sensation against my mouth and then a bright flash of light. I drop to the ground, released from her death grip.
I look around for Amie, but see only Tam. She lifts the tiny bottle; it glows like there’s a light inside it. “What the hell?” I gasp, my throat raw.
Tam smacks the cork and smiles at me. “I don’t make promises either.”
Check back Monday for an all new story started by Natalie!
Photo by The Justified Sinner via Flickr Creative Commons
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