Stretched Chapter Two

“Down came the rain, and washed the spider out”

Lois’ grey Chevy Cavalier bounced over the railroad tracks like it was an industrial popcorn-popper. She put the phone on speaker and tossed it into the passenger seat.

“Listen creep, if you think you’re gonna get anywhere by following me… I’ve got the police on their way, and I know the chief so…”

“Are you on foot or driving?  Listen, you need to be very careful if it is who I think it is. Don’t stop.” Ramos pleaded. “Have you really called the police?”

“No,” she confessed. In her experience, they did more harm than good when ‘assisting’ people of her complexion. “Who are they? What the hell is going on?!”

“I’m going to come help you. Where are you now?”

She whined with frustration, “I’m going east on 42nd toward Mozart. By the high school. You there? Shit.” The call dropped. She doubted he had heard any of that. She tried to focus on her pursuer, hoping Ramos would call back. It was a black sedan, a Ford maybe. Looked damn near like a government vehicle, but the license plate indicated otherwise. Her eyes strained to make out the backwards plate number when she realized it was getting easier, much easier. The car was closing the gap. She looked ahead to see a few cars stopped at a red light. The potential witnesses didn’t make her feel any safer. She swerved into the oncoming lanes and sped through the red light. After all Ramos said don’t stop. Her heart was a hammer trying to pound its way out of her body. Soon she felt a different kind of impact, the car had followed and rammed the back of her own. She wrestled with the wheel to stay on the road and began zig-zagging to keep them guessing. The phone rang. The caller ID read:


Now? She could’ve strangled him to death, had he been there. He was a former client with greedy hands. She had switched clubs because of him, but one of her less favorite co-workers at the old club had evidently supplied him with her cell number for the right price. She had kept the number and not yet blocked it to use to get a restraining order at some point. She was, in a way grateful for the distraction though, because when she looked back up she realized she was nearly to Western Avenue where she would be trapped due to construction. She considered pulling her parking brake to make a one-eighty. She realized she might just crash horribly at this speed. She palmed the brake and tried to take a deep breath. Tires screamed, glass shattered and metal twisted.

She looked herself over to check for injury and then swiveled her head to assess the damage. It was destroyed. She didn’t know why, but the Ford had spontaneously lost control just as she was about to attempt her maneuver. Relief swept over her in a wave. A white hatchback with darkly tinted windows pulled up next to her and honked. Instinct launched her foot onto the gas pedal and she made her U-turn. Before she could believe it, the car matched her speed and its passenger window crept down.

“Lois, I took care of them. Follow me.” It was Ramos. No sooner had he finished his sentence than his hatchback slipped in front of her. She reluctantly followed him, unsure of whether doing so would bring her deeper into whatever this mess was, or whether she didn’t have much choice because more goons would be waiting at her home.


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