She had secrets. Secrets she’d planned on taking to her grave. When she’d first arrived in this Podunk little town she thought she’d left it all behind. But little did Jennifer Wilson know, her secrets would come looking for her.
It wasn’t until one sunny spring afternoon, as she sat waiting on her son’s school bus, that she realized it was about to hit the fan. Jennifer looked up from her wifi enabled burner smeartphone when she heard the school bus arrive, smiled automatically when she thought of her son’s inevitable endless detail of his day. But the smile quickly faded when she saw the vehicle behind the bus.
Jennifer and the family she’d made since moving here lived in a privately owned low income apartment complex–although she had uncounted millions secretly stashed in an off-shore account–to keep the heat off of her. Vehicles of all makes and models would come and go, oftentimes at all hours, so she normally wouldn’t be too suspicious.
But this one was familiar.
She couldn’t quite put her finger on it at first. She watched as it passed when the bus turned onto the lane. But when it came back after turning at the end of the complex parking lot, she got a glance inside at both driver and passenger. That’s when she knew the happy little life she’d built on lies was about to come crashing down.
She watched distractedly as the vehicle slowed up as it passed her once more, then it floored it back out to the main road. Jennifer was still watching the shrinking tail lights when her son pulled her hand toward their apartment. They walked back, the boy droning on about his day, Jennifer going through her mind what needed to be done. First things first, she had to make contact.
There was one other person who knew her secrets, one other who’d she’d kept in the loop, in her small circle of friends when she started her new life. To those around them, they were sisters. In reality, they were partners in crime.
Jennifer and Crystal had gone over the plan, should everything suddenly fall apart. Despite the lives they’d made they’d have to sever all ties, if only to protect the ones they loved.
Jennifer texted Crystal the words, “Game over.”
After a moment, during which Jennifer was sure Crystal was processing the news, Crystal responded with their prearranged line. “Continue from last save or new game?”
If Jennifer replied with “continue” it would mean picking up everything she had and moving somewhere else. Thinking briefly, she choose.
“New game.” Jennifer repeated.
Everything she’d build, the life she’d made, the lives she’d made, was about to be left behind. But they’d both, Jennifer and Crystal, hand made that promise years ago. And Jennifer knew that it was the best decision for the innocent lives involved.
As previously decided, Jennifer and Crystal would meet at a predetermined location, bags packed, and they’d make their escape. This time, however they’d bid farewell and good luck, and never to meet again.
At 3:30am that night, Jennifer pulled up in the parking lot of the abandoned building they’d set as their meeting location. She turned off the car, wiped down for prints, and pulled her bag out of the trunk. Thinking of the children she’d kissed goodbye as they slept, she smiled with a tear in her eye. “Perhaps I could see them again one day, after the heat is off.” She knew it wouldn’t be possible, though. She could only hope that they’d live a good life. And with the $50 million she’d had quickly transferred into a savings account with their names, they shouldn’t want for anything.
Jennifer pulled open the door, and walked inside. Taking a seat at a dusty table, she sat her bag in front of her and waited for Crystal to arrive. After a moment in the silent musty room, she decided it’d be a good idea to have protection at hand. Unzipping the bag, she reached inside and pulled out an old revolver.
A remnant from a past she’d tried–and failed–to leave behind, the gun had been hidden away in an old tampon box she’d kept in he nightstand. She knew her husband wouldn’t have looked in there. She loaded the weapon slowly and meticulously, familiarizing herself with it once more. It was the only weapon she’d brought with her when she’d started her new life, the one that was now in the past.
After several minutes, she checked the time, “Crystal should have shown by now,” she told herself. She checked her phone, which she planned on destroying before leaving the building. She’d received a message five minutes before. She unlocked her phone and opened the message.
“You were followed.”
And with three simple words she was thrust into a state she’d not been in in a decade. She was ready for a fight, and though she was armed with little, she was determined to go out fighting.
“Do you need assistance?” Crystal messaged.
Jennifer stood her ground, knowing there was only one entrance into the building–they’d made sure if that a decade ago. She pointed her gun at the door she’d came in, and heard in the distance the squealing of tires as a car sped away. “Go, Crystal, she thought. Make sure my children love good lives.” She thought.
A moment later two men burst through the door, not even attempting to surprise her. They knew her all to well, knew they’d not get the jump on her. She recognized them. Ten years older, a little rounder about the middle, some gray in their hair.
Fred and George. Their old nemeses. She could never remember which is which. “We knew we’d find you.” Fred or George said. “You can’t hide forever.”
“Took you long enough,” she paused. “Fred.” She said, unsure.
“UGH.” He groaned. “I’m GEORGE. Will you ever get it right?!”
“Dude, calm down.” Fred rolled his eyes. “Where’s the other one?!”
“Miles away by now, hopefully. See, you’re not really good at staking a place out. You still missed out on one of us.”
“Doesn’t matter. We still have one half of “the dream team.” Fred said. “You thought you were clever, sneaking past security and into our building. You even managed to get to the safe.”
“Yeah,” George said. “But we told you we’d find you. And here we are! Now where’s our money?!”
“Sure, in what? You’ve been living in low income apartments!”
“You think I’m going to go out and buy a mansion with money made from selling priceless works of art in the black market?! Which you’d already stolen from someone else!” Jennifer scoffed at them. “Ha! The apartments were just cover! Pretty good, too. Considering it took you ten years!”
George pointed his gun at Jennifer, but Fred held him back. “Just wait, let’s settle this like adults! We’re all older now, we have more sense than we used too.” He said. “We know you didn’t spend millions of dollars. We aren’t idiots. Just give us the money and we won’t violently murder your family.”
Jennifer raised her gun once more, and pointed it at them, “You won’t lay a finger on them.” She said. “I’ll kill you first. Besides, there’s a fail safe on the money. See, boys, we thought it through. If I don’t check in every few weeks with representatives holding my money, then it will automatically be donated to several different charities throughout the world. You hurt my family and the first thing I do-besides hunt you to the ends of this earth–if I must–is just randomly miss a check in.” She paused. “So, you see, either you walk away and forget all of this, or someone dies tonight. Because you’re not harming my family.”
George, furious at the sudden turn of events–he’d always been the one with the shortest fuse–rushed at Jennifer, tackling her to the ground. Her gun flew from her grip and slid across the room when her hand smacked the dirty wood floor.
Fred leaped forward himself, intending to tug his brother away. Instead once he was close enough, Jennifer kicked at his legs, knocking him over. George’s hands were around her throat in a second, and she began punching him in the face as his grip tightened.
Fred stood up, regained his composure and smacked his brother in the head. Jennifer’s punches were losing strength as she lost air. “We’ll keep her alive! We can get the money out of her somehow!” He smacked his brother again. George released Jennifer’s throat and gasped for air.
She rolled over, crawling a few feet away. She then heard Fred say, “Find something to tie her up with. We will take her with us.”
“Where we taking her?” George asked.
“To see her family, of course.” Fred said.
“Over my dead body!” She shouted, whirling around to face them she pointed her retrieved gun at them and fired, hoping to have at least hit one of them. She was out of practice and to angry to aim.
As her bullet left its chamber, she heard another one leave another chamber. Hers grazed the arm of George and then lodged in a far wall. The other, fired by Fred, tore into the flesh of her abdomen and seemed to remain there. She dropped her gun and laid a hand over her torn flesh. “If you say so.” She heard Fred calmly say.
She dropped to her knees, watching the blood soak her clothes. Then she heard it.
“The hell was that?” George asked, looking away from his flesh wound at at his brother.
“Hmm sounded like a car horn. But we’re in the middle of no where.”
With a bloody hand, Jennifer pulled her phone from her pocket where she’d felt it vibrate. “I’m going to pretend I didn’t get that message.” She read it twice, and smiled. With bloody fingers and unsteady vision she typed.
“Let’s go out with a bang.”
She grinned at Fred and George and started laughing.
They heard the engine rev and then the squealing of breaks as a hard driven decade old Chevy Cobalt hit its top speed. It jumped a curb and flew straight through the front of the building, flattening everything in its path. It flew right into a forgotten tank of propane.