Danni Carraway smiled wickedly at Jude Monroe as she disconnected the call and slipped her satellite phone into her back pocket. “Hey, college boy. You up for a little adventure?” She moved across his living room as fluidly as a prowling cat, leaned over the back of the sofa, and draped her arms around his shoulders. “Come with me on some Resistance business.” She caught his earlobe between her teeth just long enough to jump-start his heart before she released him and cast a come-hither glance over her shoulder as she sauntered toward the bedroom. “It’ll be fun.”
He grinned as he set down his coffee mug and followed her down the hall. How could he resist?
At her instruction, he changed into dark clothing. She zipped her jacket, tied a bandanna around her neck, and when she finished by pulling on a cap and sunglasses, he followed suit. The sunglasses were a hindrance. With winter less than a week away, days were short in the Midwest and the sun an infrequent visitor. He pulled them down his nose so he could see as they left the building.
Out in her truck, Danni rummaged under the seat and emerged with a handgun. She checked the magazine, found it fully loaded, and stuck it in the back of her waistband.
They drove out of the university quadrant, through the surrounding city, and headed northeast on the sparsely traveled, poorly maintained inter-quadrant highway. After half an hour, they had met no other vehicles. Danni guided the truck easily from lane to lane as she navigated around the potholes, some large enough to serve as a child’s wading pool. Though their speed never topped thirty-five miles per hour, she slowed to a crawl several times to avoid blowing a tire or breaking an axle on the sections of badly damaged pavement.
Some time later, she took a lonely exit ramp that spit them out onto a narrow two-lane road. Jude looked both ways. “Where are we going?”
“Meeting a friend.” She glanced at the clock on the dashboard. “Won’t be long now.” They passed rolling, wooded hills and overgrown fields that Jude assumed had once, in another time and season, been lush with plantings of corn and soybeans. He’d no sooner relaxed, enjoying the scenery, when a delivery truck appeared on the rise ahead.
“Do you have your phone?”
As soon as they were close enough to see the other driver’s face, Danni yanked the steering wheel to the left and skidded into the middle of the road, blocking the oncoming lane. The man’s eyes grew wide as he slammed on the brakes, and Danni pulled up her bandanna and stepped out, gun drawn, before the truck screeched to a stop.
The holdup played out like something on television. She yanked open the driver’s-side door and kept the gun trained on the man as he stumbled to the ground. “Got a phone? Give it to me.” He kept one hand raised while he fumbled in his pocket, drew out a phone, and tossed it onto the ground. Danni picked it up, never taking her eyes off the man. “Hands on your head. Get over there!” She prodded him to the far side of the road and down the embankment. Jude rolled down the passenger window as she ran back to him.
“You can turn off the camera now. There’s a second gun in the glove box. I’ll drive his truck. You follow and cover me. Got it?”
“Yeah, I guess ….” His hands shook and he fumbled to put his phone away before he opened the glove box.
“What’s the matter?” She didn’t actually say chicken, but her tone was taunting.
“I never learned how to drive.”
The tires squealed as she brought the truck around and put it in park, and she was gone again in a flash, running back to the delivery truck. Jude slid over into the driver’s seat and glanced back once at the hapless driver standing on the side of the road before he clumsily put the truck in gear and lurched after Danni.
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