There was a slow drizzle and it was still dark when Luanne got on her bike and headed south. She rode away from Andy Palmgren. She rode away from the house at #13 Avenida Abaddon. She rode away from San Ceviche with no intention of returning.
Her small grip was strapped on the book rack. It held a couple changes of clothes, and what would turn out to be a winning lottery ticket. Most importantly though, tucked into the top was her copy of the book. The Stone, by Alicia Margolies. The book she had bought at the small shop downtown. It was the only copy in the store and Luanne had been drawn by the cover art. Specifically by the palette that the artist had used when creating the cover art but it was what was inside, written on the pages, that really woke her up.
Pedaling quickly, she knew it was important to get as much distance between herself and Andy as possible. Once he realized what she had done he would send his ‘boys’ to look for her and bring her back. You didn’t leave Andy Palmgren – Andy Palmgren left you. Andy was not going to be happy. Luanne’s choice of conveyance was unexpected however, and she didn’t think it would occur to the searchers to look for a bicyclist. She had dyed her hair and cropped it close to her head as an extra layer of insurance.
She considered what she was doing and how she had gotten to this point. Margolies’ book had not caused the need to flee. The fissure, the separation, had existed long before that; but the book certainly contributed to the widening of the gap. What she had read on those pages opened her eyes and gave her a new perspective on life and how she had been living hers. It helped steel her resolve to change things.
The buildings and houses grew further apart as the sun rose. She knew she would have to get off the coast highway soon. On the back roads she would be less conspicuous. She turned inland on 43 and soon found a remote convenience store that would offer something to eat. She pulled in, leaned her bike against a wall, and went inside. From the cooler she chose a bacon and egg sandwich wrapped in cellophane and heated it in the microwave as she filled a large cup with coffee.
Tiny and Ed were standing next to her bike when she left the building. Their long black SUV parked behind. Trying not to show surprise at seeing them, she waved, “Hi Tiny, hey Ed. What’re you guys doing out here?”
“We’re looking for you Luanne. Andy was worried when he woke up and you were gone.”
“I’m just on a bike ride, guys.”
“You never mentioned you were going on a bike ride. We’ll give you a lift back home,” Ed told her. “Tiny, can you put her bike in the back of the SUV?” He reached up to push his hair behind his ear and Luanne saw the blue steel of the pistol he carried in his shoulder holster.
Ed seldom carried a piece, and the fact that he had one now worried Luanne. It meant he had another agenda. She threw her coffee and sandwich at him and turned to run. She didn’t hear the silenced shot. She didn’t feel anything. She only wished that she had gotten further.
The 65 million dollar ticket was never claimed.
Modified to correct spelling and punctuation errors – Thanks RG your input is valued!