Finding a Princess(4)

By: Amy Richie

Get out or stay in the car?

“Just keep going man,” Cody almost screamed.

The car was already pulled to the shoulder but how easy would it be to just pull back out onto the empty highway? Just tell him to go, a voice inside my head hissed. Just go, it wasn't your fault. The man was standing in the middle of the highway. What did he expect would happen?

It was probably a suicide. What little color there was left in my face drained away at the thought. If the man had used us to kill himself, we would land a front row seat in prison.

“I don't want to go to jail,” I croaked. It was where we were all headed anyways but maybe not tonight.

“Jail?” Lana wailed all over again.

“No one is going to jail,” Shane's voice thundered in the suddenly tiny space. “That dude jumped out in front of our car.”

“It wasn't our fault.”

“Let's go before the cops show up.”

There was a chorus of voices around my head but the car didn't move. Get out? Drive away? I closed my eyes, immediately seeing the flash of fear in the man's eyes. We had to at least make sure he was really dead. Maybe he was just hurt and needed an ambulance.

I only knew one thing, it wasn't suicide. Resigned, I pulled the handle up to release my car door and stepped out into a light drizzle. So, the rain was going to start back up too? Fantastic.

“What are you doing?” Cody hissed. More to just try and shove me back in the car than actually agreeing with my madness, he stepped out beside me. “Get back in the car,” he ordered, still half whispering. “Kalli!”

“We have to at least see if he's ok,” I hissed back.

“This is not happening,” Lana whispered, crowding out behind us, “this kind of stuff only happens in movies.”

“Shh,” Luke rounded the car in quick strides.

“This is a bad idea,” Shane warned but got out with the rest of us.

“Yeah, well, we're not short on those,” I muttered.

We stood close together, peering through the dark night all around us. It was hard to see much of anything that was off the road. The lights from the car lit up the black tar, showing no signs of the man we had hit.

I expected blood at the very least – body parts in the worst scenario that played out in my over stressed mind. Cody was the first brave one to step away from the group. He walked around to the back of the car and ran his hand along the bumper.

“Not a dent,” he announced.

“He didn't hit there,” I scowled. Of course there wouldn't be a dent in the back bumper. Blood maybe, but no dent.

If Cody felt any blood during his inspection, he didn't react in a way normal people would. My feet carried me the short distance to meet Cody at the front.

There was no body, so that was a plus, no body parts either. I let my eyes travel across the bumper slowly, not eager to see the gore that must have been there. Each centimeter that they moved brought me closer to the dreaded sight.

I heard Cody's sharp intake of breath before I actually saw anything. There it was, the proof that we hadn't just imagined the man – a dent in the front fender.

Seeing the physical proof unlocked my feet and I was able to rush over to Cody. He was bent low to examine the car on a more personal level. I had seen enough though. Where was the body?

I dropped to all fours and scanned the small, dark space under the car. “Is he under there?” Cody asked entirely to loud.

“No,” I answered with a snarl. “Stop screaming.”

“I'm not.” he dropped down beside me to make sure I didn't miss the bulk of a dead man under the car. “He's not here,” his shoulders slumped.

I tried not to glare at Cody, reasoning with myself that it had been a long day. Quite possibly the longest day in all the universe. “I know,” I said through clenched teeth.

“Where is he?” His tongue darted out to quickly moisten his lips.

“How am I supposed to know?” I snapped in a loud whisper.

“Do you see anything?” Lana called nervously.

Cody and I looked up at the same time, his wide eyes meeting my narrowed ones. “No bodies,” he growled.

“Pfft,” Shane snorted loudly. “That's a good thing.”

“Maybe we...” Cody started awkwardly.