Debris fell inside the garage and the heat of fire reached even the dark recesses where we lay. My eyes were blinded by the sudden light and my ears ached with the sound of the explosiion. Still, I struggled to my feet and attempted to run to the door.
I could see the black pickup roaring off into the field toward the road. Bill and Natalie were inside the cab, barrels of gasoline in the bed. I looked back at the woman on the ground.
Sheila McCraw’s hand opened and a small metal tube tumbled out. She rolled on her back and started laughing.
“You thought I blowed up my boy and your girl. Naw. Never. He’s got a job to do. You might not get to see it, but your precious library is going to burn to the ground, Mr. Banned. My Billy might not be best thing God made, but he can do that.”
I ignored her and crossed the room and freed Cassidy. She leaned up against me and I put an arm around her.
“Yeah, that’s right, hug up on your whore. We all know who you-”
Cassidy stepped away from me and kicked Sheila in the face. The older woman spit blood onto the floor and grinned at us.
I picked up the metal tube she dropped and looked at it. It had a small push button on one end and a wire coming out the side.
“Like my little toy? Husband left it. Taught me how to rig it to the chargers, blow stumps and such. Didn’t bring back everything bad from Iraq.”
I dropped it put the gun in the old woman’s face, “You got another car?”
Sheila laughed and spit more blood, “If it didn’t blow with the house and all them cops!”
Her cackle spread through her body and she started shaking. I turned her over and saw the blood starting to pool beneath her. At some point she had been shot, but my head was so fuzzy...
“Cops?” Cassidy asked, “Police are here?”
“Popcorn. I thought it was popcorn,” I said, thinking to earlier when I had heard a noise. From Sheila's wound, it must have been gunshots. When Billy had cracked me over the head with his pipe everything started feeling broken. I looked outside to the sun, the light coming from right up and down, shadows pooling at the foot of the trees and not stretching out. Not even noon. This whole day, from the start of the run on... Only five hours or so? How could that be?
Cassidy crossed in front of me and slapped me in the face.
“Ow,” I said, “Don’t you know I got a head injury?”
She took the pistol from me and held my hand. We walked outside into the sunlight to find a car, to chase down a madman, to stop him from killing my ex-girlfriend and burning down the library where his brother had died. Behind us lay his dying mother and his other dead brother.