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The Killing Kind
By Bryan Smith
Dorchester PublishingCopyright © 2010 Bryan Smith
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMarch 22
The girl looked like one of those goth rocker chicks he was always getting friend requests from on MySpace. They all had sort of the same look. Pale, clear skin. At least one visible tattoo. Hair always that same alluring shade of raven black, usually cut in a style at least vaguely reminiscent of Bettie Page. Interests always included body modification, metal, rockabilly, burlesque, and horror movies. The overall look-hot groupie backstage at a Marilyn Manson concert. Pinup models for a dark new age.
And this one was rocking that gothic-slut look as well as any chick on MySpace. Black pumps, thigh-high black-and-white-striped socks, very brief (and tight) black skirt, black Misfits skull shirt, plump lips a shade of scarlet so vivid it was almost blinding, the requisite black-as-night hair framing a pretty, pale face, subtly applied makeup accentuating intense blue eyes, thin silver necklace draped about her slender throat, from which dangled what, holy shit, looked like a pentagram pendant. She was fucking gorgeous. Satanic eye candy. Slender, but not so skinny that she looked like one of those starving Hollywood bimbos, with some nice but not too dramatic curves that stretched those socks and that tight little skirt in some very interesting ways. And that tantalizing glimpse of creamy thigh visible between the tops of those socks and the hem of that skirt ... Man.
Rob Scott always approved those friend requests. His page was full of horror graphics and his interests all skewed in the same direction-dark. He listed Asia Argento as the person he'd most like to meet. He knew the girls only added him as part of a relentless drive to pump up their friend counts, but he didn't care. He was their natural audience. As he leaned against his car with his right hand squeezing the handle of the gas pump, he idly wondered whether this chick had a MySpace page. Probably. Hell, she might even be on his list. Wouldn't surprise him, from the looks of her. Or maybe not. Even among the many dozens of girls on his list with the same basic look, this one would stand out.
He was so entranced by her he at first failed to notice that she was looking right at him. She was on the opposite side of the street from the Kwik Mart, standing at the edge of a little strip mall's parking lot. Rob's heart fluttered a bit when he became aware of her scrutiny. But then he decided she was merely looking in his direction, not at him specifically, though it was hard to tell from this distance.
Then the traffic cleared and she started across the street. Toward the Kwik Mart.
That was just stupid wishful thinking. As soon as she was on this side of the street, she would almost certainly veer into the store, where she would buy ... hell, whatever chicks like that buy at shitty little convenience stores. Cigarettes? Gum? A can of Red Bull?
Who knew? And did it fucking matter?
She reached the Kwik Mart's parking lot and continued in a straight line toward him.
There could be no doubt now. Her eyes were locked on him. The subtlest hint of a smile twitched the corners of those bloodred lips. His breath quickened. He had to force his hand to relax its grip on the gas pump, which had already clicked off anyway. She was close now, ten yards away, too close by far for a more analytical part of his mind to wonder why on earth one of the most mind-numbingly attractive women he'd ever seen was so focused on him. But the sexy, subtle sway of her hips turned his brain to mush. Too bad. Because if he'd been thinking at all, he might have detected a hint of something predatory in her.
But then she was standing in front of him, those startling blue eyes still locked on his. He figured he should say something, so he opened his mouth. But no words came out. He didn't have the first clue what to say. As it turned out, it didn't really matter.
A canvas tote bag was slung over her right shoulder. Her eyes never left his as she reached into it and removed something.
She stepped closer to him.
Close enough to touch.
Rob swallowed hard, struggled to breathe for a moment as he felt his face turn hot.
Then he felt it.
The thing pressed hard against his belly.
That can't be ...
He glanced down and excitement gave way to confusion and terror. The barrel of a revolver-a .38?-was pressed into his midsection, the sight digging painfully into his navel. Rob didn't know much about guns, but he knew enough to understand this was no toy.
Holy shit, he thought, I'm being mugged by a fucking hot chick.
It was crazy.
She could have just asked him for his money and he would have given it to her. Every cent. "Look at me."
Rob looked at her. "What ... I ... I don't ... what ..."
Rob closed his mouth.
The girl twisted the gun barrel harder into his stomach, eliciting a small whimper. "I need a ride. I like your car."
"You can have it."
She smiled. "No shit. You're coming with me."
"But ... why?"
She leaned closer, her voice dropping to a whisper as her lips grazed his own. "Simple choice, boy. Come with me or"-she laughed softly-"bang bang."
Rob made himself swallow and cleared his throat. "I guess ... I could go for a ride."
That soft laughter again-seductive, but insidious. "That's what I thought. Let's go."
The wheels started spinning in Rob's head. He had to think of a way out of this. He couldn't let this girl carjack him. Hot or not, she had a gun. She was threatening him with it. She was a fucking criminal. The crazy bitch might even kill him once she was able to get him somewhere isolated and quiet.
He had an idea. It wasn't much, but it was all he could think of with this much stress bearing down on him, so he seized on it. He gestured at the convenience store with a slight tilt of his chin. "I have to go inside to pay for the gas."
That little laugh again, her breath warm on his face. "I don't think so, asshole."
"Fine. Whatever. We'll just drive off without paying." Rob couldn't believe how calm his voice sounded to his own ears. Not even a hint of a quaver. Of course, his heart was racing and his guts felt like they were trying to rearrange themselves into new and deeply uncomfortable configurations, but at least he didn't sound rattled. It might not count for much, but maybe, just maybe, it'd render the fib he was telling a touch more believable. "Hell, I think it's a great idea. The cops'll be on our ass fast and I'll be rescued from your psycho clutches, so let's go."
The girl pressed the gun even harder into his stomach, which he wouldn't have thought possible. If she had a knife in her hands instead, she'd be disemboweling him right now. "I saw you swipe your card at the pump from across the street, you lying fuck."
Rob's heart sank. Fuck.
The girl's expression hardened, but strangely, this only enhanced her prettiness, emphasizing her cheekbones and the elegant curve of her jaw line. "You know what I hate?"
Rob looked at her lips. God, he hadn't known Revlon or whothefuckever made a shade of lipstick that bright, that red. And the way the lips looked, so plump and moist ... holy hell ... he ached to kiss her. Which was about six thousand shades of fucked-up, given the circumstances. He made himself swallow again and said, "What do you ... hate?"
There it was. That quaver he'd expected to hear before.
Rob's brow furrowed as he squinted at her. "What?"
"Liars. I fucking hate liars."
Rob couldn't help it-he laughed. "Hold on. You have no problem with threatening to kill a guy and steal his car, but you hate liars?"
Rob grunted. "Huh. Well ... shit, I don't really know what to say to that."
"You don't need to say a goddamn thing. Your approval isn't something I require, liar boy."
"You're not very nice."
She almost smiled. It was very quick and he nearly missed it-just the slightest and most fleeting twitch at the edges of her mouth. There and gone in the space of a nanosecond. "No shit. What was your first clue? The gat in your gut or my sweet disposition?"
"Did you just say 'gat'?"
"It makes you sound like a gangster moll in some old movie."
Rob thought, This conversation is insane.
He shrugged. "Whatever. Just an observation."
Rob's head turned slightly at the sound of an approaching motor. A silver Hyundai was pulling up on the opposite side of the pump. The girl saw the Hyundai and pressed herself against him. Her lips were soft against his ear. "Put your arms around me."
She made an almost inaudible sound that nonetheless managed to convey deep exasperation. "Hold me, you fucking idiot. You've got about five seconds to make these people think I'm your girlfriend. Unless you want me to shoot you now and blow them away, too?"
Rob didn't bother commenting on the craziness inherent in this question, but only because there was no time. The Hyundai's doors were opening. He put his arms around the girl and drew her close. She pressed against him. He suppressed a whimper as the gun sight dug harder into his navel. A middle-aged man stepped between gas pumps en route to the Kwik Mart and shot an approving half smile-half smirk at Rob. The guy was a bit on the heavy side and probably envied Rob more than a little right then. An even heavier middle-aged woman with sagging breasts appeared and followed him toward the convenience store. She glanced at Rob and his "girlfriend" and scowled, which did nothing to enhance an already sour expression. Probably knew her man had been ogling the superhot chick in his arms. Rob figured any jealousy either of them felt would vanish if they could see the gun.
Rob watched the portly couple enter the Kwik Mart and sighed. "They're gone."
The girl didn't say anything for a long second. Her lips were pressed against his ear, and he felt her draw in a slow breath. "Okay." Another second or two passed. "Let go and ease back."
Rob did as ordered, removing his arms from her waist and shuffling backward a step. He glanced at the gun and then looked her in the eye again. "So what now?"
The girl turned her head to stare at the strip mall across the street. Rob sensed she was searching for something specific. He followed her gaze, but couldn't identify whatever it was. There were a lot of cars over there and a number of random people strolling through the parking lot. Hard to tell what she was looking for, but in another moment he detected a new sense of urgency from her. It was evident in her suddenly rigid posture and a slight quickening of breath. She stepped back and slipped the gun back inside the tote bag, but held the bag in a way that made it clear the gun was still pointed right at him.
"What happens now is you finish up here and open the passenger door for me, just as if I really am your girlfriend. Then you go around to the other side and get in behind the wheel. You do all this smooth as shit or I will really fucking kill you, man, no joke."
Rob studied her steely expression.
She definitely was not joking.
He removed the gas nozzle from the rear of the Galaxie 500 and docked the handle on the pump cradle. The pump's digital display asked him if he wanted a receipt. He pushed the button marked N and turned back to the car. The girl was already waiting for him on the convertible's passenger side. He circled the car and pulled the door open for her. The car's top was down. So were the windows. Of course. It was a nice, sunny day. Only a jackass would cruise around in a cool old car like this with the top up on a day like this. But now Rob wished it had been raining. With the top and the windows down, there would be no blind spots for the psycho chick as he circled back around the car, and she would have a clear shot at him the whole time.
Her smile told him she knew exactly what he was thinking. "Close the door after me like a gentleman and get in. And be cool about it. I feel like anything hinky is happening, I'll start blazing."
The girl gave him a quick peck on the cheek-presumably for the benefit of any casual observers, a continuation of the boyfriend-girlfriend charade-and smoothly eased herself into the Galaxie's passenger seat. Rob wiped lipstick from his cheek and stared for a second at the bright smear of red on his thumb. It looked like blood.
Fuck, he thought. This is really happening.
Run. For fuck's sake, run.
The girl was looking up at him, her expression hard again. And her right hand was in the tote bag again. "This," she said.
"This thing you're doing. Standing there." The girl's hand moved inside the tote bag. "It's hinky. You should do something to ease my mind right about now."
Rob started moving. He was shaking. The hard asphalt beneath his feet felt like it was on the verge of turning into quicksand. That would be great, actually. Super. Let the world open up and swallow him whole. It couldn't be any worse than having some crazy chick with a gun take him for a ride down the highway to hell, which was sure to be a dead end.
Emphasis on dead.
Somehow, though, he managed to reach the Galaxie's other side without falling over or otherwise freaking out. A miracle. He opened the driver-side door and slid in behind the car's big red steering wheel.
He pulled the door shut and started shaking again. "Oh, Christ. Fuck. Oh, fuck."
The girl stared at him. "Scared?"
"Good. You'll be fine as long as you're too scared to try anything stupid."
"Start the car."
Rob stared at his right hand and made himself concentrate until it stopped shaking. The key was already in the ignition. He twisted it and the old V-8 engine roared to life.
He leaned back against the seat and looked at the girl again. "What now?"
She set the gun on the dash and began to root around in the tote bag. He heard a lot of things clanking around. He looked at her. The whole of her attention seemed focused on the task of locating something inside the bag. He looked at the gun.
He reached for it.
Her fist came out of nowhere, drilling hard into the side of his nose. Pain snapped through him and he rocked backward in his seat. A trickle of blood leaked from one nostril and dribbled past his lips into his mouth. His eyes went wide as he stared at her. The gun was still on the dash. But any thought of reaching for it again withered and died. Rob's mind reeled. The world was spinning off its axis. The things happening to him were so completely alien and beyond the realm of his experience. He'd seen his share of schoolyard scraps like anyone else, but no one in his adult life had ever punched him. The violence was beyond shocking.
And it didn't matter one bit that she was a girl. Or that he was bigger and probably stronger. She possessed the savage quickness of a feral thing. And she would never hesitate to wound or inflict pain. These things were every bit as obvious as her beauty. He had never felt so intimidated in his life and was terrified at the thought of doing anything else at all to anger her.
She set the tote bag on the floorboard.
The sun glinted off something shiny in her hands.
Rob frowned. "Handcuffs?"
She reached across him and grabbed his left wrist. She slapped one of the bracelets around it and snapped it shut. Then she snapped the other one around the steering wheel. Rob gaped at the sight of his cuffed hand.
He looked at her. "Is that really necessary?"
"I've found the judicious use of restraints an effective way to keep morons like you in line."
"Seems a bit overkill to me. And I'm not a moron."
"I don't care what you think. So shut up and drive, idiot."
Rob put the Galaxie in gear and tapped the gas pedal. The car rolled away from the pump.
Rob stepped on the brake pedal and looked at her. She was staring at the strip-mall parking lot again. The Galaxie was stopped at the edge of the Kwik Mart's lot. The street between the strip mall and the convenience store was temporarily clear of traffic.
He coughed. "Um ... should I just drive over there?"
Several minutes passed.
A van pulled out of the strip mall's parking lot and turned right onto the street.
The girl punched his shoulder. "Follow that fucking van."
Rob stared after the van for a moment before obeying the command. The road between the strip mall and the Kwik Mart was a narrow two-lane deal. He'd gotten a good glimpse at the people inside the van as they'd pulled onto the street. It was filled with several young people roughly the same age as his abductor. They were all maybe three or four years his junior. College age. But they didn't look like this girl at all. They looked ... well ... normal.
Excerpted from The Killing Kind by Bryan Smith Copyright © 2010 by Bryan Smith. Excerpted by permission.
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