Condensation clung to the window, occasionally releasing a surge that cleared a path making the outside world visible. The cold white light refracted in the tiny water droplets. It was pretty, Shannon thought, as her breath spread across the cold window.
She checked her phone, the bright screen dazzling her. Her eyes darted to the mirror. The baby didn’t stir, still sound asleep in his comfortable car seat. She checked the time, the numbers read 23:46. There was no message.
She slipped it back into her coat pocket, wrapping her fingers around each other in an attempt to bring them back to life.
The CD stopped playing, the story finished. She pressed replay. The kid would no doubt wake up if it went silent. The story started up from the beginning. It was one she had listened to herself as a child. The narrator had a soothing voice, Shannon felt calm despite her predicament.
She checked her phone again. Still no message. Her eyes darted back to the boy, his blond hair showing underneath his fluffy hat. His cheeks pink. His blue eyes hidden beneath heavy eyelids.
A gloved hand rapped against the window. Shannon jumped, she quickly rolled down the window.
A clean shaven man ducked his head down to look at her.
“You have the package?”
His eyes glanced around the car, resting a few moments on the sleeping boy before returning to her face.
She nodded, her heart hammering in her chest. This was the first time she had done something like this.
She removed the key from the ignition and opened her door, the man stepped out of the way. She was not surprised to measure up as shorter than him. She fumbled with the key in her hand. She found it hard to swallow.
“How many times do I have to do this?”
Her voice shook. She wrapped her arms around herself, giving her hands something to grip onto.
“Until you’ve paid what you owe.”
His voice clawed at her insides. He stepped closer, a hungry look in his eye.
Shannon shivered. She was mentally kicking herself for getting into debt. But there was only one thing she could do now.
Shannon opened the trunk of the car in the abandoned night air. They were the only two people on the dark street filled with warehouse buildings dimly lit by street lamps. Looking over the trunk hood she could still see the baby sleeping in the backseat of the car while ahead the view expanded through a chain link fence and into an empty parking lot.
“What is this stuff?” She asked as the man peered at the black leather briefcase sitting in the trunk.
“See for yourself.” He said before opening it.
They both shared an expression of awe as the golden light filled their vision. The mysterious stranger closed the briefcase quickly. He then pulled it out by the handle.
“What’s it for?” Shannon asked.
The man looked annoyed, as if he needed to get someplace else fast while not trying to be rude.
“Since we’re going to be working together for a while I guess I might explain a little . . .” the man said with a sigh. He looked around to see if anyone else might have appeared in this deserted part of town.
Shannon took the moment to close the trunk, and light a cigarette coolly.
“There are reports of a certain Moa Tikarr operating in this part of the Galaxy. The people we work for are trying to track him down. He smuggles this type of material himself through an underground network. Yes, even more unsuspecting than our arrangement here.” He concluded.
“Are you putting me on? Been watching Sci-Fi movies or something?” Shannon said exhaling smoke into the air.
“Something like that . . . have you heard of the Yellow Sign?” He suddenly asked.
“No.” Only the mention of the Yellow Sign gave Shannon a slight jolt that she hoped he hadn’t noticed.
“OK. Well, nice to meet you Shannon. We’ll be seeing each other again; in the not so distant future. Off to the pub for a beer,” he waved goodbye with his free hand, and gracefully walked away.
Shannon watched him leave as one would watch television. She continued to smoke her cigarette until she finished it. Finally, she sat back down again in the driver’s seat of the car, and looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes caught the gaze of the cheerful baby.
“Moa Tikarr, this is never going to work. They’re already on to us. This whole thing is a setup until they figure out our connection,” said Shannon.
“Relax toots. The plan is full proof. You really are in debt to these people. We’re just going to keep doing these drops until we can get the big score. Then we can get off this rock, and get to a nicer planet in another part of the Universe.” Said Moa Tikarr in his infant outfit.
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