My father named me Evedra, after his great-aunt. If you’re wondering, it’s pronounced ee-VAY-druh. A bit unusual but I like it. It confuses just about
everybody and I like that, too.
Victoria, my identical twin sister, dropped the visor on the passenger side of the Jeep Wrangler and looked in the mirror. She ran her fingers through her
long auburn locks and then did a double-take.
"Hey, did you notice there's some jerk tailgating us? Hundreds of miles of absolutely nothing in West Texas and he's gotta get right on our ass. What’s up with
We’d put two hours between us and San Antonio, westbound on Interstate 10, approaching the Chihuahuan Desert.
I checked the rearview. The tailgater hadn’t been there when I checked a minute or two earlier.
The idiot behind the wheel was trying to run up our tailpipe at eighty miles per hour. There was no visible traffic in front of or behind us. I tapped the brake
pedal. Maybe he'd take the hint when he saw my brake lights.
He swerved into the passing lane.
When he pulled up even with us, I directed my line of vision to the driver for a few seconds His face would have put the devil in a panic. Deep-set, narrow eyes
peered from under bushy, furrowed brows. A clenched jaw locked a tight-lipped frown in place. The scraggly, week-old stubble and wildly unkempt hair doubled down on the grisly appearance. His
passenger was equally repulsive. His lecherous smile revealed teeth that reminded me of moldy cheese. Really old, moldy cheese.
With no warning, Bushy Brows jerked the steering wheel and slammed his passenger door against my driver's door.
What the hell?
"Holy shit!" Victoria gasped as I wrestled to maintain control.
The car rammed us again, slamming even harder. I struggled as the right side tires edged off the pavement onto the hard-packed sod. I gripped the wheel as tightly as I
could. Seconds later, a third slam rendered me unable to hold the course.
Victoria pulled her handgun from her purse as our vehicle veered off the pavement and angled down the slight embankment, then traveled parallel to the
highway. It took a strong effort to keep the vehicle even remotely stable. My ass sucked up a lot of seat when I hit a large rut and the Jeep bounced high and tilted hard to the right.
Her weapon flew from her hand and disappeared over the seatback.
Either good luck or divine intervention righted the Jeep. I was thankful either way. Victoria squinted as her hands clung to her seat like a pair of clamped
“Oh Mother of God!” I thought my heart jumped from my chest.
“What?” Victoria opened her eyes and screamed.
We were headed straight for one of the huge metal towers supporting the power lines along the highway. There was no way for me to grip the steering wheel any tighter,
but that didn’t keep me from trying. An icy knot of adrenalin clenched my stomach.
I hooked a sharp left. The rear end whipped to the right and we skidded near-sideways over the dirt, closing in on the structure at an alarming pace.
As we drifted closer to the tower, I yanked the wheel back to the right. Nice try but the cigar proved elusive. We continued to skid and bounce sideways as
we careened directly at the massive concrete base of the tower.
We screamed in unison. All my effort failed to change our course. Thirty feet before the inevitable crash, the right rear tire slammed into a mound of
brush-tangled dirt. The impact thrust the rear of the Jeep first one way and then the other as we curled around the tower, missing it by no more than two or three feet. My heart could have easily
been mistaken for a bass drum in a hard rock band.
We jolted violently over the parched soil, slowly losing speed. The Jeep lifted at least a foot off the ground at times and slammed back onto the hard-packed soil with
a jarring thud.
I applied the brakes in measured increments. If the tires locked up and we hit one of those numerous little ruts just right, it would send the Jeep, and us, tumbling
over the bleak acreage. I didn’t see the football-size rock in time to swerve. The left front tire slammed into it with a thunderous force.
“Oh God! Not again!” Victoria screamed as the Jeep leaned severely on the right-side tires. I fought the steering with all my might but wasn't sure I could keep us
from tipping over.
“Come on, dammit!” My knuckles were Clorox-white and I speculated my face was equally blanched.
Victoria leaned as far as she could toward my side, hoping to shift the balance of weight just enough.
I mentally looked to the sky. “Get us through this with our lives, God, and I promise to do better. If you've ever been inclined to answer one of my prayers, this
would be a real good time.”
A few seconds later, the Jeep settled onto all four wheels. I stomped the brake pedal—ruts be damned. We finally jerked to a complete halt. I looked upward and mouthed
the words “Thank you!”
“You okay?” I asked Victoria. I could hear and feel my voice tremble. My fingers were totally numb. I removed them from the steering wheel in order—index finger,
middle finger, ring finger, and finally my pinkie.
“I think so. Shook up and rattled, but I I'm still in one piece. I don't think I crapped or peed my pants. What about you?”
“Scared and nervous. But physically, I'm still in one piece. Nothing broke or out of place as far as I can tell. My pants are still dry and they don’t stink. I guess
that’s all good.”
“What in the hell was that about?” Victoria attempted to steady her breathing. “What did we do to deserve that?”
“Damned if I know. Maybe they're just a couple of punks who never grew up, getting their jollies at our expense. Or maybe he just got pissed about the brake check. If
so, a bit of an over-reaction.”
I looked around but didn't see the other car. I assumed the two jerks continued down the highway after they ran us off the road, probably laughing their asses
I unbuckled my seatbelt. “Let's check out the damage.” I slid from my seat and lowered myself to the ground as Victoria walked around to my side. It took a second or
two to steady my rubbery legs. "Some scrapes and a few serious dents, plus a mangled mirror.”
As we continued to assess the damage, we heard a noise coming from the west. We looked over our shoulders at the same time.
“Oh my God!” Victoria’s words came out barely above a whisper.
The rust-bucket approached, billowing a cloud of dust behind it. Apparently they’d doubled back. Victoria and I reached inside the vehicle for our
My fingers still partially numb, I lost my grip on my purse and it tumbled to the floorboard, spilling the contents everywhere. My Glock slid under the seat.
Damn! I fumbled around but couldn’t locate it. Fortunately, Victoria retrieved her pistol from the back seat with no trouble. I still hadn’t located mine. We turned to face the
“Oh shit!” In her rush to get around the Jeep, Victoria tripped and fell to the ground. Her Glock skittered thirty feet away.
The thugs jerked to a stop. Both men jumped from the car, handguns pointed at us. I speculated we were in deep doo-doo.
“What do you want from us?” I asked as Victoria regained her footing. “And what's this all about? We’ve never done anything to either of you.” I hoped they
hadn't noticed the shiver running through my entire body.
Bushy Brows motioned with his pistol as Nasty looked inside the Jeep and lifted our stash of Oh Henry candy bars from the back seat.
Sheesh! If they'd just asked, I'd have given them a couple. That would have saved all of us a lot of trouble.
We’d bought them at Big Al’s gas station a few miles back—one of the few buildings we’d seen in quite some time along the desolate highway.
“What in the hell do you think you’re doing?” Victoria demanded. “And I want my candy bars back!”
Bushy Brows directed his attention to his partner, ignoring her question. “Check it out. Make sure everything’s there.”
Nasty Teeth opened the box and rummaged through it. “It’s all here.” He placed it on the roof of their car.
Bushy Brows guided his eyes in my direction. His sleazy grin promised nefarious intentions.
“We took something from you. It's only fair to give you something in return.” He motioned with a flick of his wrist and Nasty Teethr opened the back door of their
battered car. He grunted and growled under his breath as he tugged at something. A few seconds later, a lifeless body fell out the door and onto the ground.
“He's all yours. Unfortunately for him, he knew too much,” Bushy Brows said, then looked at his partner. “You know what to do.”
I think my ass sucked up half of my panties when the passenger aimed his handgun at Victoria and then me. My sister clutched my hand and tried to hold back the
The scumbag roared an evil laugh, revealing his nasty-looking, green, crooked teeth again. To my surprise and relief, he swiveled on his heel and shot out both our
left-side tires. Like most people, we had but one spare. “If you don’t wanna end up like your tires, just forget this little episode ever happened.”
After another burst of wicked laughter, they returned to their car and sped off, the candy bars, and whatever else was in the box, sliding off the roof onto the
ground. My assessment said they weren’t the smartest or baddest bad guys in the world.
I grabbed Victoria's tourist camera and snapped a couple of pictures as they sped off. I looked for a license number to photograph, but they had removed the
They drove a ‘70s model Plymouth, one of those monstrous four-door land slugs. It was light tan where it hadn’t rusted or the paint hadn’t faded.
The body lay on the parched ground, left side against the dirt, face planted against the soil. I used my Adidas Cross Trainers in an attempt to roll the body onto its
back. Not enough leverage. Supressing a squeamish knot in my stomach, I grabbed his shoulder and gave it a firm jerk, rolling him over. Big Al wasn't much to look at back at the gas
station. The two bullet holes in his forehead didn't do much to improve his image.
I turned and blew out a bunch of stale air. “I guess we need to call the road service people on our insurance plan and get these tires replaced. Then we need to call
the cops. We’ll let them decide what to do about Big Al.”
As I punched the numbers into my phone, a tear trickled down Victoria’s cheek. “Why us? Why in the hell us?” Her mouth pursed as though she were going to say something
more. Instead, she froze as she looked over my shoulder.
“They're coming back! Again!”
The tan Plymouth barreled down the shoulder, coming straight for us. The rest of my panties disappeared into my ass.
The land slug jerked to an abrupt stop next to the candy bar box. Both men exited the car. The passenger picked up the box and peeked inside. “Still there. Can’t
believe we forgot it was on the roof.” He tossed the box into the back seat of the Plymouth.
Bushy Brows ambled in our direction, his Magnum .357 in his right hand. Nasty Teeth followed, a single-barrel, sawed-off shotgun clenched in his hand this
The driver spoke first. “We forgot the candy box. And leaving you two behind to shoot your mouths off was a bad decision. We don't normally kill people. As far as Big
Al, he figured things out. He had to die. And we've decided you girls also know too much.”
“We don’t know anything,” Victoria said, actually pleaded. “There’s nothing we can tell anybody. Seriously, we have no idea what this is all about.”
“Think maybe we should have our way with them first?” Nasty Teeth asked. “They look mighty fine to me. Sisters—and twins.” He grabbed his crotch and jerked it for
emphasis. “Yeah, baby! Maybe we can double our pleasure and double our fun.”
“No problem,” I said. “The next time you jerk-off, use both hands instead of one. That ought to do it.”
His eyes narrowed and his chin jutted out as his nasty lower teeth clamped onto his upper lip. “If there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s a smart-mouthed bitch.”
Bushy Brows moved closer, sauntering like a cowboy who’d been in the saddle too long. “No time for fun. We need to get this done and get the hell out of here.” His
eyes darted back and forth between us. “If you girls are the praying type, I'll give you ten seconds to save your souls.” He nodded to his partner.
Nasty Teeth started counting down the seconds as he pointed the barrel of his shotgun at my head. Maybe we'd get lucky and he couldn't count backwards.
When he got to five, tears streamed down Victoria’s cheeks. I couldn't blame her. But I was determined not to give them that pleasure. I was going to remain stubborn
to the very end. However, it appeared that was going to be a very short streak of stubbornness.
“Five ... four ... three ...”
I watched as his index finger moved more firmly against the trigger. I clutched Victoria's trembling hand tighter and closed my eyes.
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