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.
Fear overwhelmed her but she had to do this to SURVIVE. The past; where she had fought and survived, sold, traded, looted and snatched, whatever worked- just to survive another day; always running from the cops from the gangs and from "friends". And then the Count had given her a chance to flee. Then Shannon had no idea what debt meant, that she was just being passed into bondage. A lot more comfortable and private life but bondage. She should have bargained, instead of surrendering to the Count's offer. But that was all past. Gone and unchangeable, only the consequences remained; and Shannon had no more left to give.
Till her child was born Shannon was OK. Even happy, as happy as a wounded and shredded soul could be. She had studied to read and write, to work as a nurse and had even made others happy. The she had married, he was a gentle giant, a cook at a 24 hour cafe. Once in a while- anywhere from a few weeks to a few months she would get a message to pick up and deliver a package. Mostly within a hundred miles of the city. And Shannon just did it, a small price to pay, till one day the wrapping of the package was torn and two grenades fell onto her seat. Shannon had been pregnant then and this shock of knowing that she may be involved in deaths of many people sent her into depression. The horror of murdering people had taken root. Somehow she had repacked the grenades and made the delivery.
Then the baby came and everyday Shannon wanted to runaway to a secluded corner of the world to be safe from the Count. She convinced her husband to move 300 miles away to sleepy town and open a small bar.Within weeks her husband was dead and she was back to delivering packages. This was her second try- the only thing she could do now.
"I am not delivering any more drugs and guns." Shannon declared.
The man took a moment to react. Then he slapped her, a vicious hit with power behind it. Shannon stumbled, shocked by the blow. Warm tears sprang from her eyes as she held her burning cheek. The man stepped nearer. His face inches from her and growled. "You will do as you are told. Guns, grenades, coke, pills, papers, passports whatever. You. Will. Deliver."
"NO" Shannon screamed "NO MORE!" She somehow pushed him away and got into her car and locked the door. Please she thought Please let it work. The man approached the window and tapped on it. He was holding a gun. Shannon lunged towards the floor as the gun smashed into the window. There was a loud gunshot and Shannon could not make out what happened for the next few moments. She got up and checked whether the baby was OK, to her surprise to see her smiling. Then she removed the camera and the mike, disguised as a pin, from her lapel and still trembling from the adrenaline rush stepped out.
The FBI officer was standing there. He gave her a satisfied smile and said. "We got them. You did good Miss Shannon. Now it is our turn to make good."
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