Read Wanted Online

Authors: Jason Halstead

Wanted (11 page)

BOOK: Wanted
11.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Yeah, the two kids from the plane wreck. You been tracking them, why you want them?”

How?” Javier whispered, his lips trembling. “How did you do the things you did?”

How’d I kick your ass so easy?” The man guessed. “You didn’t work like a team. Four guys running solo, you got in each other’s way and didn’t have any roles defined. Your dead because you were a shitty leader.”

Javier stared up into Carl’s cold eyes. “Usted diablo Americano,” he whispered, unable to make his voice carry the strength of his hate. He tried to spit but the red-tinged liquid fell short.

The man who had killed him shrugged. “Your call,” he said, standing back up and shoving the pistol into his pocket.

The client wanted all bodies accounted for,” Javier said, wincing at the growing tightness in his chest. He hacked a little and felt the blood in his throat and lungs. His ribs and stomach were suddenly on fire with agony. He began to breathe shallowly, trying to deny what was happening to him.

He stopped. “Bodies?”

No survivors,” he gasped, trying to arch his back to relieve some of the pressure. “Please… a doctor? Do you know one?”

The man who had slain his seasoned soldiers, looked down at him for a long moment, debating. “Ain’t no doctors out here. None that could patch you up. You fucked up, son, and now you gotta pay for it.”

Javier’s left hand, which was amazingly intact aside from a few scratches and burns, grabbed the man’s ankle. “Please!” He hissed. “
Me asustan
… I’m scared.”

He sighed. “You get one chance. You blew yours. If you believe in God, now’s the time to make it right.”

His eyes wide, Javier began to mutter and whisper in Spanish. He closed his eyes and crossed himself with his good hand. Carl watched, emotionless, until Javier opened his eyes again.

Those kids are okay – and nobody’s going to change that,” Javier heard him say before he turned and walk away.

Javier watched him go, a strange languor coming over him. He felt at peace. The pain faded from his limbs and chest, and soon even the hardness of the ground drifted away. He stared up into the sky, trying to pierce the haze to see the heavens above him. A smile made it to his blood speckled lips as his last breath rattled in his throat.





Chapter 7


Jessie could not sleep that night. She tossed fitfully, shivering and alternating between clutching her stomach and her head. Her insides were on fire and her hands and feet ached. She rose up at one point in agony. Her skin felt like it was being electrified slowly and she was determined to break into Carl’s gun cabinet and put his rifle in her mouth. A crippling spasm in her leg dropped her to the floor, making her cry out in pain. A timid knock on her door a minute later made her look up. She tried to rise but found she didn’t have the strength.

The door opened and faint light slipped in, allowing Dustin to see her sweaty, supine body. He turned, called to his sister, and then opened the door all the way, kneeling down next to Jessie.

Are you okay?” he asked her hesitantly. She was wet again, like when they had walked through the desert, and she was shaking worse than ever.

Teeth chattering, she managed to shake her head, but said nothing. She refused to admit what she knew her problem was. It was obvious. There was no way she could deny it. She had the shakes bad. It was withdrawal at its finest.

Tanya showed up a second later and knelt down next to her on the other side. “What’s the matter?” she asked.

Jessie managed to stammer out, “Bed,” and nothing else.

Come on, help me get her back in bed,” Dustin said. He grabbed her arm and waited for his older sister to do the same. Jessie cried silently as her cramping muscles fought against the movements. They managed to get her back into bed without too much trouble.

Once there, they stared at her for a minute, uncertain. Finally, they turned to leave, but Jessie looked up at them, still shivering, and tried to reach for the blankets. She pulled them back a little and stammered, “F…f…freezing….Please?”

Dustin’s eyes widened and he looked at his sister, his breath caught in his throat. Was she asking what he thought she was?

No way Dusty,” Tanya said. He felt the crushing of that small spark of hope, then watched in amazement as his sister pulled the blankets back and clumsily climbed into the small cot behind her. She wrapped her arms around Jessie and used her hand to shoo her brother away.

Dustin shook his head and left, closing the door slowly. He stood there for a moment, shaking his head a final time then heading for his couch. Carl had lurched awake earlier from the chair he had taken to sleeping in, awakened by a faint chirp from his computer that they had not even noticed. He had disappeared a few minutes later, heading out the door. Now Dustin lay on the couch faced with the task of trying to fall back asleep while the sexiest woman on the planet was lying in bed snuggled up to his sister.

In the storage room, Jessie grabbed onto the arm Tanya placed on her hip, pulling it closer and wrapping it around her. She held on to her hand and pressed it to her chest, clinging to it. Tanya felt the firmness of Jessie’s breasts and rolled her eyes. She had trouble believing how unlikely this situation was. She made a mental promise to beat Dustin every night for a year if he ever breathed of word of her spooning with another woman. In a few moments, she realized she had started to sweat herself. Jessie was putting off so much of her own heat that between the two of them Tanya’s bandages were soon damp as well.

Jessie relaxed though, for the first time all night. She burrowed into the sheets and into Tanya, finding some solace and peace. Sleep finally came to her, but her grip remained locked around Tanya’s hand. The gymnast felt her breathing slow and her body relax, but only a little. Resigned to her fate, she finally managed to fall asleep herself, though her nose kept being tickled by Jessie’s loose hair.


* * * *


Morning came and Tanya screamed when she opened her eyes and saw Jessie’s face inches from her own. Jessie woke up as well, fumbling backward and falling out of the cot. The blankets surrounding them slowed her descent, but she still thudded onto the floor painfully.

Shit!” she spat out, groaning.

Tanya leaned over the edge of the cot, staring down at her, and grinned sheepishly. “Sorry,” she said, “you surprised me.”

Yeah, surprised…” Jessie whispered. Then she looked up at her again. “What are you doing in my cot. Did we? Oh God….”

Tanya looked at her, not understanding, then her eyes widened. Her hand flew to her mouth. She shook her head and managed to find her voice. “Oh no! I mean no, no we didn’t do…. Um….You were cold, freezing. Like in the desert. It was me or Dusty and his ribs can’t handle that.”

Jessie looked at her for a long moment, then nodded slowly. “I remember last night sucking. I was cold. And it hurt… but it’s a blur.”

Well, don’t get used to it,” Tanya said, sitting up stiffly and reaching up to stretch her neck. She stopped when she felt the stiffness in her back. It was a long way from being healed even if by some miracle of modern medicine she hardly felt it.

Don’t worry,” Jessie said, bristling. She picked herself up and waited for Tanya to get up, which she did. Tanya, seeing the distance that had come over their would-be rescuer again, walked coldly past her.

You know,” she said, stopping and turning to face her. Jessie backed away, surprised by the way her eyes were focused and looking so intently at her. “Last night you were a mess, but that was okay. You weren’t a bitch, for once. I didn’t mind helping you.”

Gee, thanks,” Jessie said drily.

Well it’s good to see the bitch is back,” she said, then turned and reached for the door.

Jessie stared at her, something pulling at her. She reached out, her hand rising towards her even though she had no idea what she was doing. She felt herself floating on a sea of madness. She overbalanced a little, not focusing on what her body was doing, and her sore muscles in her legs gave out, allowing gravity to suck her to the floor yet again.

Tanya spun around, hearing the scuffle and the grunt as Jessie hit the floor. She saw her lying down again and rolled her eyes. “What, again? Come on, grow up!”

Jessie’s cheeks burned with embarrassment. Some movie star she was. Then again, she knew a lot of stars had problems. Most went into rehab a few times in their lives. Maybe she was living the dream after all. “Tanya, wait…I…“

Save it,” Tanya said. “You saved my life, okay, I get it, I owe you. I’m not going to let you manipulate me with this preschool crap though.”

Jessie closed her eyes, feeling the young girl’s words hitting her. She forced herself into a sitting position and then opened her eyes to look up at her. Moisture had again gathered in them and it pissed her off. She was crying a lot lately. That was not her. She was not the sappy bitch that cried at weddings and funerals. She was strong, damn it! She could make it through anything.

Yeah, anything, she realized, as long as she had a bottle of whiskey and line of syn to help her through it.

No, wait!” she gasped out. “Please!”

What is it?” Tanya asked coldly.

Jessie looked up at her and blinked away the unshed tears. She smiled weakly and managed to stand up on her own. She looked at the younger woman and saw that maybe Carl had something. She was strong, she could see it in her stance and in her eyes. She nodded, hating herself for not having seen it sooner, for not recognizing it. “Thank you…. I… I mean it.”

Tanya looked at her, eyes tightening suspiciously. She nodded and turned back to the door. She hesitated, then opened it and stepped out, leaving Jessie behind in the room alone.

Jessie watched her go and took a deep breath. She could feel her heart hammering in her chest and a slow release of pressure in her belly. Jessie couldn’t remember the last time she had seen any butterflies flying about, and now she knew why, they were all in her stomach.

I am fucked up,” she muttered, then stretched her neck and walked out into the room to face the others.

Carl was cleaning his assortment of rifles at the table. Dustin was watching Tanya and her, unasked questions burning in his eyes. Jessie smiled at him and winked, which made his eyes widen even more and cause a rosy glow to spread to his cheeks. Tanya made her way into the kitchen, fumbling around and looking for more food.

Lay down,” Carl called out to her. “You’re gonna keep it from healing if you keep moving around.”

In a hurry to get rid of us now?” Jessie asked him, bending over and surprising him with a kiss on his cheek.

What the-“ he sputtered.

I slept good – Tanya was wonderful last night,” she said with a twinkle in her eyes.

Dustin’s mouth dropped. Barring the flesh of his cheeks, it might have made it to the floor. He turned and stared at Tanya, but Tanya just rolled her eyes and shook her head.

Oh fine,” Jessie said, “don’t be any fun. No, nothing happened. At least not that I can remember. She might have molested me in my sleep.”

A glare from Tanya only made her smile wider. She passed Tanya as the girl was headed back towards the mattress that Carl had mandated she sleep on. Jessie stopped her and gave her a kiss on the cheek too, which made her blush as well. “Relax hon,” Jessie said, “and learn to lighten up a little. We can all learn a few things here, I think.”

Even you, old man,” she said, winking at Carl.

Carl scowled at her and went back to cleaning his guns.

So why didn’t you check on me last night, gramps?” she asked. “Dustin and Tanya had to come to my rescue. So much for you being my knight in shining armor.”

I was out taking care of things,” he said.

What kinds of things?” Jessie asked, sitting on the table next to him.

The kinds of things that keeps the bounty hunters that were tracking you guys away.”

Jessie turned to look at Tanya and Dustin, both of whom had perked up a little more at the statement. “Bounty hunters?” Jessie asked.

He nodded. “They wasn’t selling Girl Scout cookies.”

Did you talk to them?” Tanya asked, sitting back up.

Talked to one of them,” he said.

How many were there?” Dustin asked.

Carl sighed and set his gun on the table. He leaned back and looked at all of them, making sure they were paying attention even though it was obvious they were. “There was four of them that trailed you through the desert. The one I talked to said they was s’pose to find the wreckage and secure it, bringing back all the bodies they could and track down anyone that tried to take anything from it.”

See!” Dustin said happily. “I told you dad’s worried about us! He figures we died and he wants us back!”

Tanya smiled, but the expression never reached her eyes. She massaged her temples in fact, the sign of a pending headache.

So what happened to them?” Jessie asked. Suddenly the self-discovery and the newness of the situation was not so important to her. She realized she might be losing out on the reward money.

BOOK: Wanted
11.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
Together Alone by Barbara Delinsky
The Key by Marianne Curley
Quake by Richard Laymon
Beyond belief by Roy Johansen
Then She Was Gone by Luca Veste
Jumping to Conclusions by Christina Jones