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The bench was hard and the breeze was cold. Everything looked gray- the clouded sky, the bus, and the concrete everywhere. Of course the concrete- middle of the city.
I actually happen to like a gray and cloudy sky. Usually. Not today, because it masked my view. I heard a cross between a whistle and a roar overhead- I’d been anticipating it, waiting for it- but I couldn’t see the airplane. It was hiding in the clouds. My stomach clenched.
I took a breath, trying to calm myself as the sound faded. It doesn’t matter, I told myself. It’s not the one you’re looking for. Don’t worry.
Something was wrong with my bus, and I willed the problem to be fixed. Otherwise I’d have to find another way out of town, soon- and my options were rapidly vanishing.
I had to get out before that plane landed. I couldn’t be in the same city he was- my lead was shrinking at a faster rate than ever before. He was closing in. I knew it, he knew it, and I knew that he knew it- he kept sending me mocking texts.
I heard engines again, looked up- it was only a 737. A good thing, but I didn’t relax.
I don’t know where he got my number. The phone was trace-proof, Joanna had made sure of that… but it didn’t stop him from texting me. Teasing me, almost invariably freaking me out.
‘So how was Denver?’ he’d asked. I don’t know how he found out I’d ever even been in Colorado.
‘I just talked with Cameron’, was another text. ‘He mentioned Dallas.’
I hadn’t been able to contact Cameron for weeks. Oh, I hoped he was okay. I was afraid of what Hunter might have done…
‘The sunsets are gorgeous in Texas,’ he’d written two days ago, adding a sarcastic ‘Wish you were here.’
My head jerked up. Another 737. The lowest clouds were clearing away, leaving only a high ceiling of gray.
The latest message was, ‘I’ve just boarded an MD-82 for *****.’ (I don’t dare put down my location). ‘Keep looking up.’
And oh, I was. I threw another nervous look at the bus. I had to get out of here.
Engines. This was an A320. Hunter wasn’t there, thank goodness.
I didn’t even know if Hunter was his real name. I doubted it. Rarely in life does a name so naturally match a job description.
The breeze blew and I shivered. I could see planes lining up in the distance, preparing to land at the airport. It was only four miles from the bus station where I sat and worried.
I was scared. I’ll admit it. I was scared.
This next one was yet another 737- the most popular passenger carrier ever built. Two engines on the wings. Not many MD-80 series landed in this area. I was hoping against hope I wouldn’t see a plane with engines on its tail.
If it landed before the bus left, what were my options? I’d have maybe an hour to get out of town. Probably less. I could wait for the bus to be fixed, assuming that happened soon. It might not. I could find a flight- no. It would take to long to get through security, and what if I happened to pass him in the airport? I’d be dead.
There were no trains coming through before ten or so. Walking would be futile- take too long. The only other option was to hotwire something…grand theft auto. Another crime to add to the list.
This next airplane was a 757- wide body and huge engines. It was loud.
He’d be landing any minute now.
Things were looking bad. I didn’t have any idea when the bus would be fixed. I took a breath, trying to control myself, and bowed my head.
I was tired. And hungry. But I couldn’t stop. I had to keep running- the alternative was death.
Another loud engine. I looked up wearily. The plane was coming in, almost directly over my head. Wings outspread and rigid, Delta blue and red on the tail, white body clean and shimmering in the silver sunlight. Two engines behind the wings on the tail.