We burned the evidence in a gravel pit two miles outside town. I shivered in my bra and underwear as my clothes turned to ash and nylon sludge. The paper masks we’d worn as disguises flared as flames lapped across their curves. The orange hi-vis vests and BB guns became plastic puddles.
Dad shovelled pebbles and dirt across the whole mess before we left. The sun was setting above the ridges to the west as we dressed in fresh clothes. Thin dusk light kissed Dad’s shoulders, and my stomach rose into my throat as I saw the buckshot wounds peppered across his skin.
He caught me staring, and turned away as he buttoned up his shirt. “Not a word to your mother,” he said. “You know what it’d do to her if she found out.”
I mimed zipping my lips. Dad nodded. “You’re a good girl, Caecey. Best a father could ask for.”
Two patrol cars passed us on the drive home, but their sirens were off and we’d already swapped the plates. Whenever I stretched my heels bumped the duffel bag of crinkling, bank-fresh hundreds tucked beneath my seat.
It felt like I was sitting on something huge, something ticking. A nuke about to erupt and swallow our little sedan whole in a blaze of pure white light.
We didn’t speak until we’d gotten home, pulling smoothly into the driveway like we hadn’t just robbed a bank, hadn’t just been shot at by security, hadn’t just incinerated our disguises and pellet-guns like wannabe Mafiosi.
Lights were on inside. TV flashes lit the living room curtains. William was watching something loud, something adolescent, threaded through with gunshots and screeching tires. Probably wondering what’d kept us so long.
Dad exhaled. Sweat beaded on the end of his nose. “Does your brother know anything?”
My hands trembled in my lap. “I don’t think so.”
“He’s a smart boy,” Dad said. “He’s young, but he’ll figure it out.”
“I won’t tell if you won’t.”
“You could’ve been hurt. That has to be the last one.” His knuckles were white on the wheel. “Never again, I swear.”
“The last one,” I echoed, but I could already see the plans forming as Dad stared past the windshield, past the house, down the slope to where pearls of orange streetlights stitched the city.
So many banks. So much money. The duffel bag under my seat seemed to throb against my heels.
“I don’t want to stop,” I whispered.
Dad nodded. His lips formed a tight, white line.
“Neither do I.”
– – –
Just the opening to a new, unnamed project, based on a true story. I won’t be working on this seriously until after I finish my three promised novels for this year.
The first of those three novels – Rust: Season Two – will be launching on June 1st as a five-part serial, but if you’d like to grab the whole season as a single novel you can do so by preordering via my GoFundMe campaign! A $5 donation secures you the Rust: Season Two omnibus in DRM-free Kindle and Epub editions at the moment of launch.