“Yes?” Eve heard Sandy’s voice on the other end of the line.
“Sandy, it’s me. Please don’t hang up. We need to meet, you need to tell the truth. I don’t think you’re any safer than I would be in that neighborhood. Sandy, you’re a liability to them. Meet me at three this afternoon. There’s an old fire station in the city, it’s called Engine House No 5.” Eve gave her instructions how to find it, and then added, “Bring Trent, please. I need to see my son.” She hung up without waiting for a response. Sitting, she sighed. How did we get to this?
“She coming?” Christine was rubbing her hair with a towel, another towel wrapped around her dripping body.
Eve looked up, stirred from her thoughts. “I hope so, Christine. I can only hope so. She’s to meet us up the street at 3pm and I asked her to bring my youngest son. Hope you don’t mind, but I really need to see him, at least hug him and tell him this will all be over soon.”
Christine sensed Eve’s sorrow, “It must be hard to be pregnant during all this. How have you been feeling? I mean physically, that is.”
Eve waved her off, and laughed. “That hardly matters anymore, does it? I’m off for my shower, hope you saved me some water. I scream loud when hit with a downpour of cold water.”
Eve stood in front of the fire house, her body ready to erupt from her adrenalin rush. Ron and Christine were watching from the car a block away. She was ready with a recorder, anticipating that Sandy would tell her what she needed. Her story would be absolute proof of the lie the White Town paper had released. Where is she? Five minutes turned into ten. Eve waited. Hoping, hoping that she would come, and have Trent with her. She looked down the street to see Ron’s car. No heads. They must be hiding. More time passed, she isn’t coming! Her nerves continued to make her body pulse out of control. Am I right to trust her? Is this a trick? A voice in her head was blaring at her to cut and run. She looked down the street again. Then turned to look again for Sandy. It was so quiet. A terrifying lack of sound. That’s it, she’s not coming. She was ready to run when she heard the familiar voice.
“Eve, I’m around the corner. Follow my voice.”
Struck with fear, Eve looked around the empty neighborhood. Slowly, she walked toward her friend, and when she made the final cut around the building, she let out a cry of delight. “Trent, you came!” She ran to the boy and threw her arms around him. “Honey, are you alright? Oh, there’s so much I need to say to you, to help you understand what is happening.” She ran her hands through his hair, down his arms. He felt so good to her. She’d take him back to the hotel, and would then figure out how to find her other boys.
“What did you want from me, Eve? We don’t have much time.”
Her words were sobering. Eve looked at Sandy, and with tears in her eyes, told her what she needed. “Sandy, you can’t go back to your home until this is over. Come with me and I’ll keep you safe.”
“You already told them what happened and look what it got you, Eve. And don’t forget, it’s my story that contradicts yours. ”
Eve was overcome with compassion for her friend, and putting her hand on Sandy’s face, said, “I know, Honey. But don’t you see? The truth needs to be told to get past all this.” She stared into Sandy’s eyes and slowly started the question, “I don’t understand. Why was Conchita at your home so late that night?”
A painful sound of guilt and anguish came from Sandy, she clawed her fingers into Eve’s skin. It was difficult to understand her words, but she spilled her guts. She told Eve what had happened.
“But, Sandy. You did nothing wrong. This was no one’s fault. Conchita was headstrong, if she didn’t want to wait for a ride, there was no way of making her. Don’t you see that?”
“But Eve, I didn’t tell the truth when I saw the paper. I let people believe the lie!”
“No. Stop it. You know how dangerous Jonathon and his thugs are. Now stop this now.”
Trent had been silent during the confession, but hearing his mother say ugly things about his father mounted an eruption of emotion against her. “What are you saying, Mom? God, what they’re saying about you is true. God!” He put his head up and began screaming, “Help! She’s over here! Help!”
Eve heard the sound of running, people yelling. The chaotic confusion was resounding. Without thinking, she grabbed for Sandy and Trent’s hands, coaxing them to run with her. “Come, we’re not safe. Follow me!”
Trent yanked his arm, disengaging himself from her. He ran for his own cover. Sandy ran, following Eve, but in their rush, they lost physical contact with each other.
“Stop! This is the police. Stop or we will shoot!”
“Sandy, keep up with me!”
Ron had seen the mess develop and was on it. He handled the car as a get-away driver would in a bank heist. Slamming on the breaks, the door flew open, “Get in, Eve! Hurry!”
Safely in the car, Eve extended her hand out to Sandy to help pull her in. Their hands touched, then she had a grasp on her. “Jump, Sandy. I have you!”
The shot was ear-piercing.
Their contact was jerked from them. Sandy fell to the ground, the tears in her eyes speaking to her friend. She smiled and then became motionless.
Trent could be heard, he was howling. “Mom, I’m sorry!” He lay crumpled on the ground sobbing like a baby. “I’m sorry, please hear me!”
Christine yelled at Eve. “Shut the door! We can’t help her now, Eve.”
The car raced through the streets, Ron hopeful that it wouldn’t turn into a hunt. He wasn’t prepared to be this kind of hero. He didn’t have the same energy as he had once had.
“Trent, go back for Trent. Ron, please go back for my boy.”
He ignored her.
The wheels spun as he rounded the next street corner. Ahead, Ron saw an open garage door, he knew it was their only chance. Pulling into its hollow compartment, he jumped out and dashed to where the rope was hanging over the door. He pulled on it to see the large panel roll down to hide the light from the day.
Commotion could be heard outside. Cars, running. Yelling. They were close, they were very close.
Slowly, he stepped into the back seat of the car where Eve sat. He told the ladies to keep quiet. He really needed peace and quiet. He needed for his heart beat to slow down, but he allowed them to think it was because they were hiding. They all sat in silence for nearly an hour, afraid to move.
Finally, Ron looked at Eve, and whispered, “Did she say anything?”
She nodded yes, her face smeared with a look of tormented grief.
He let out a sigh of relief, it hadn’t been for nothing. “We sit here until dark and then we walk to our hotel. I’ll make a file from the recording and email it to the chief in Latino Town. They will then know everything.”
“Trent didn’t know what he was doing. He saw them kill Sandy.”
He smiled at Eve, and stroked her hair, smoothing it out as he spoke. “You did good, Eve. That’s what you need to remember, you did good.”
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