She threw the car into drive. When I say "threw", I mean that she slammed the gear into drive with a forceful slap of her wrist and jumped so hard on the gas that it felt like I was in a cartoon, rear wheels crouching back into the steel haunches of the vehicle then exploding outward like a cat pouncing into a run. We skidded, then straightened and drew even more speed as we tore down the gravel road leading away from the farmhouse. The sun was setting. It cast long autumnal rays across the fields, and the shadows of the tall alders that lined the roadway laid long black fingers that grasped at the far eastern horizon. I craned my head back over my shoulder, wanting one last look at the scene of the crime, but there was only a fat plume of dust in the rear window. I sighed and slumped back in my seat.

My disappointment must have been obvious. "Cheer up, bucko," she said, and punched me in the thigh so hard it sent electric wires of fire into my crotch. She laughed at the pained look that flashed across my face, and I was given another unnecessary reminder of her cruelty. How could someone so beautiful, with such soft and kind eyes, be so malicious?

"What's your problem, anyway?" I asked with sudden bravery. Either it was the pain radiating through my leg or the rush of having seen yet another life ended before my eyes, but for the moment I wasn't too worried about the consequences of dumb questions.

"Problem?" she asked back, with a goofy grin that lifted half of her mouth. "No problem, Jack. Nothing but clear sailing from here on out, I reckon."

"Sure," I muttered, "until you kill the next person that disagrees with you."

"That's always a possibility," she said, and winked. Despite all of her murderous shortcomings she had really great hearing. "Let's try to avoid any conflicts, then."

2014.07.16 – 2023.03.17

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