Chapter 1.3

“Vasyli, we have eh, a little situation. Sergey was here with that girl. Adriana,” the large man began speaking into his phone as he walked back towards the mansion.

A series of gunshots sounded amidst terrified screams as the guests were searched and eliminated. The few party-goers that took off running from the front of the mansion were gunned down and dragged back inside. It was just a matter of time before someone came for Adriana’s body and discovered us. I had to get Joy out of here, fast. We were too far off the private road for the sound of shots to be heard by anyone not already at the party. My guts tightened as I shoved the gun in my pocket and tried to formulate a plan. Everything seemed reasonable until I got to the expanse of land between the house and the road. If they looked out the front door during our flight, we’d be nailed.

“Joy,” I whispered. “We’re going to duck behind the cars and move towards the last one. The valets left the keys in the vehicle. Hold on, where are the valets?” I asked, getting down on my stomach to look under the cars. The cloudy night sky hid the moon, but was still light enough to make out the figures on the ground by the red Alpha Romeo I passed on the way in. I remembered how they laughed as the cab pulled up and I got out, looking like a beggar among thieves. Ironic, isn’t it? The one year I decide to attend this happens.

She looked frail. Her limbs involuntarily shaking. It wasn’t from the cold, but she must have been going into shock. I righted myself enough to remove my jacket and place it over her arms. Joy’s skin was as soft as roe petals in my hands. “We’re heading towards the black Lexus. Stay down and move as silently as you can.”

“How do you know its bl-black?” she asked with her teeth chattering.

“I saw it when I entered. The guy was handing his keys to one of the valets and making a snippy remark that stopped them from laughing.” She gave me a confused look and I said, “I’ll explain later. We need to get out of here, now.”

Twice she stopped, hesitating nervously as we got closer to the car. The odd shot rang out inside the mansion and the noise shifted from people screaming to people shouting. We didn’t have much time. I made the unchivalrous gesture of giving her a little push on the posterior. “Don’t stop,” I whispered.

Her eyes were tearing. “They’re going to kill me.”

“No, I have you and I won’t let anyone hurt you. Keep going.” Joy lost it and started babbling, frantically. She went to scream and I put my mouth over hers. A kiss, nothing more, but it was enough to stop her. “Shh.”

Just before we reached the car a downpour started. Lightning flashed, lighting up the grounds. Joy saw the valets laying on the ground a few feet from the car and I wasn’t fast enough quieting her. She let out a yelp as I opened the passenger door and shoved her inside. Climbing over her, I reached the driver’s seat and started the engine and pulled out from the spot and down the driveway. The sound of gunshots behind me made me crouch down until I was clear. Joy was half sprawled, half curled up on herself between the floor and seat on the passenger’s side.

When we reached the main road, I sat up and looked. Shit! Grand theft auto. At least I didn’t take the Alpha Romeo, probably get the chair for that. A bright set of high-beams behind us told me we were not out of trouble. “Stop the car!” she screamed as I sped up and headed down Merritt Parkway. “They’re behind us! Go faster!”

Trying to keep my wits, I took a jug-handle off and onto route 104. I spun the car around, dousing the headlights in mud before I parked behind the Lakeside Diner, waiting to see if they would pass us. As the car continued on route 104, Joy found the gun in the coat pocket and pointed it directly at my face.

TBC next Week

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