“You are not jumping onto that fucking truck, Evan.” Cassidy said.
I tucked the pistol into the waistband of my jogging shorts and gripped the doorhandle, “Just get me close.”
Cassidy’s strong hand grabbed the front of my shirt and pulled. I grabbed her wrist and tried to pull her free, but she would not budge.
“You do that in your shape, he’ll kill Natalie and then he’ll kill you or both of you driving off the road,” she said.
I looked at her. Sweat beaded around her face, nervous flop sweat.
“Then what are we doing?” I asked.
“Hold on,” she said.
Her grip on the wheel of the police car changed, tightened until the veins in her hand stood out. The engine roared and we shot forward, passing the pickup.
I glanced up into the cab as we went by. Billy McCraw did not look down, his face determined and forward. His left hand held the wheel, his right hand Natalie’s hair. I could see her hand bracing against the roof of the cab. By the time he noticed us, we were past and accelerating away.
“What are you doing?” Max said from the back seat.
“Making it to town before he does,” Cassidy said.
At one hundred, twenty miles an hour we entered the quiet of downtown. Only one or two cars coasted along the streets, pulling over as we turned off the highway and roared down Second Street to the center of town. The wheels kicked up smoke and squealed as we slowed around the corner. Cassidy slid the car sideways at the end of Second Street right in front of the library, facing Main Street and the courthouse.
We climbed out of the car. Cassidy popped the trunk of the cruiser while I opened the door for Max to get out. I walked around the back of the car where Cassidy handed me a shotgun.
“We don’t have much time. That damn truck of his is fast,” I said, handing the pump action to Max.
Max looked at the gun and handed it back, “I don’t know anything about guns.”
I looked at Cassidy and down at the shotgun. Her shoulders slumped and took it from me.
“Damn, boys. Look, you okay with that revolver or should we go over basic gun safety before the maniac with our friend hostage comes to burn down the library?”
I pulled the revolver from my waistband and checked it again. I did not look at her.
“What time is it?” I asked.
“What does that matter?” Max asked, staring at the revolver Cassidy had pulled from the police trunk and handed to him.
“It matters if their are people in the building or not. Why don’t you go check?” I said.
Max looked between Cassidy and me, not looking directly at either of us as he walked toward the front doors.
Cassidy finished loading the shotgun and closed the trunk. We walked around to the library side of the car and waited, staring down the street.
“Bastards taking his time,” she said.
“Doors are closed,” Max said walking back to us.
“Can you walk around back?” I asked, “Check the loading dock and the back door? Jesse gets here early sometimes.”
“Sure, what do you want me to do if he’s here?”
“Call the police,” Cassidy said.
Max started walking around the building then stopped, “Why don’t we use the police radio in the car?”
Cassidy and I looked at each other. She opened the car door and leaned in.
I turned back to Max, “Thanks. Guess we aren’t really thinking-”
“Oh shit!” Cassidy said.
I looked back toward the highway down Second Street. Billy and the pickup were nowhere to be seen.
Cassidy jumped out of the cruiser and pointed the shotgun to our right. The roar of the gun pounded against my ears and I stepped back, looking where she was aiming as I did.
Billy had come around us. Snaked around downtown and came from the Streets, a neighborhood that ran around the north of town. He still had to make it down Main Street, but he had gotten closer than he should have. As it stood he was within two blocks of the library.
As soon as the shotgun bucked Cassidy back, the black pickup roared forward, a familiar sight.
I raised the revolver but did not fire. I could see Natalie, her head still locked in place by Billy’s grip on her hair. Her mouth gaped open in a scream drown out by the roar of the engine as they surged forward toward the library.