We barely made it out without killing anyone the first time. Cleared the town but we knew they would be after us for things other than the killing; we definitely hadn’t murdered anyone but I didn’t know about the other things. I couldn’t know.
We took refuge in the parking lot of a townhouse community for the night; houses adjoined each other for a quarter-mile in either direction. We weren’t staying at anyone’s house, just slept in the (stolen?) mini-van out in the parking lot. But they found us there. I couldn’t know if these guys were in any way affiliated with our first pursuers. But they found us. My companion wasn’t in the car when they came on. I had been outside, surveying the neighborhood (and the many people in the street) when I noticed them peering into the windows of our mini-van. I tried to ask them if I could help them, like maybe they were lost. But when they saw me, they pulled their guns.
I didn’t have a choice. I shot at them. I hit one. He went down inside the mini-van. The other ran off. I don’t know if I hit him.
We drove all night to escape, that stinking body in the mini-van. We kept our route to the coast. We tried to stay out of sight. Eventually, we turned and drove inland again until we came upon a motel at the edge of the forest. We checked in around dusk. My companion would stay. I hiked into the woods, dragging that body behind me along the trail under cover of darkness. Deep enough into the woods, I turned off the trail and hiked for miles, waiting for it to get far enough off. The landscape kept changing around me. Flat terrain, steep mountains… The Earth moved around me and I dropped him and tried to find my way out – – down the hill, turn along the cliff’s edge, keep moving down the river bank toward the bridge and into the city…