Witness Protection - Work in Progress
Joni clasped the steering wheel, craning her neck to read the sign in the pale light of the street lamp. Dunlap Street. Where in the heck is Dunlap Street? She cursed her friend for giving her such poor directions. She pulled through the intersection, avoiding the broken glass. That’s all she needed, a flat tire in this neighborhood.
After a few more blocks, the residential street turned into a rundown industrial belt. Graffiti marred the cement buildings, and Joni got the feeling that she should never have left her apartment. She didn’t need any Tupperware. What the heck was she thinking?
Finally pulling over with a sigh of defeat, Joni reached for her glove compartment. The map should be in there somewhere. She riffled through the papers, longing for the day when she had enough money to get a GPS system. Or a cell phone. A phone would be nice right now.
Shouting carried from up the street, distracting her.
“I swear to you, man. I didn’t. Put that thing away.”
“You mess with my girl, and think you can walk away from it?”
Scanning the darkness, she tried to see where the voices were coming from. The pale light from a street lamp shone on two men circling each other, one with his arms in the air. When the other turned she saw the gun. Her breath caught and she instinctively crouched lower in her seat.
“You’re over-reacting,” the man with his arms in the air said.
A woman got out of a dark green van. She wore a mini skirt so short Joni wondered where the rest of it went. “Anthony, calm down. We didn’t do nothin’.”
“Stay out of this, Theresa.” He waved her away.
“I ain’t gonna let you plug Nick.” Theresa grabbed his arm, struggling with the gun. Anthony jerked his arm away, and then pointed the gun at her. A noise like a firecracker sounded. She doubled over, slumped to her knees, and then crumbled to the pavement. Nick took off in the other direction. Anthony fired again, and Nick fell face first onto the street. Two other men got out of the van.
“Put them in the back.”
Joni’s throat tightened. She did not just see that. The men lifted Theresa by the arms and legs, her head bobbing lifelessly as they carried her. They threw her body into the back of the van.
“Hey, are those headlights on? Is someone in that car?” One of the men pointed in her direction.
Fear clenched her stomach, and she fumbled to put the car into drive. Anthony turned, his gun pointed at her, a hard stare on his face. She floored it, the car lurching forward. She jerked the steering wheel, flipping the car around. Her back window shattered.
With no time to think, Joni slammed on the accelerator, desperately trying to remember the way she had come. She sped through the streets until she was deeply entrenched in the residential housing. Constantly scanning the street behind her, she turned and twisted through the area until she found a major arterial. Highway thirty. She knew where she was. Relief hit her hard, but her heart didn’t slow down until she pulled into the police station.