We woke up by someone knocking on our door. I jumped up and peeked through the peep hole. I was scared that the butcher had already turned us in. I saw Jasmine outside breathing heavily. I quickly unlocked the doors and they flew open by her pounding on the door again.
“He’s dead! Emanuel is dead! My god Jacob, they killed him!” she said sobbing.
I sat her on the bed and waited for her sobs to subside. Susan sat up, rubbing her eyes, and asked what was going on. I simply raised a finger, to her motioning for her to wait.
When Jasmine’s sobs slowed down she took a deep breath and started from the beginning.
“I was watching you guys pull out of the drive way when I heard something around back. I turned around and ran to the back door, crouching down I looked through the peep- hole I had installed that was masked as an electrical outlet. I saw armed men rummaging through my garage, and I quickly called for Emanuel to come look. He peeked through and he went pale almost instantly. He told me to run and catch up with you guys to let you know they may have seen you leave. I hesitated, and he said “Go!”” I’ll distract them.” “I’ll call you when I’m clear so I can meet up with you guys wherever you go.” Without looking back I ran to my room and gathered our emergency bags and ran back to Emanuel to give him his. I was shocked when I found him gone. I looked through the hidden peep hole again and he was walking towards the armed men shouting at them with his arms up. She stopped there for a minute, as a tear fell into her lap.
“Next thing I know they were shouting for him to get down on the ground. He turned around and it was almost as if he was looking me straight in the eye to apologize. The armed men yelled something like “HE’S NOT ALONE! THERE’S MORE INSIDE!” The armed men tried to run past him to the door, but he turned and grabbed them as they passed him and he tore at their necks. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was as if his fingers were like razors. He tore through their necks like they were made of paper. When everyone around him was down, he went down and started eating them. Most of the armed men scattered in fear, but one guy stepped forward. He put a big gun to Emanuel’s head.” She was crying again, but continued through the sobs. “He didn’t even turn around when the guy cocked the gun. Then the man said something in Spanish. It kind of sounded like some sort of prayer. Then he pulled the trigger. Emanuel just fell over. It was so awful Susan. He died trying to protect me. He became the one thing he swore he would never become to do so. When the guy looked up at the house, he crossed himself and started walking towards me. I ran through the house with both of our bags and hopped on the first bus to California.”
Susan looked at her and said, “How did you know we were going to California? Better yet, how’d you know we were at this hotel?”
“Oh…about that, I called the phone company and had them enable your GPS from their side. That gave me the address of the motel. I told them I was your mother, and that I had not heard from you in a few days. I then told them that you had finally left your abusive husband, and were probably scared to death. The operator gave me the information quickly at that point.” Jasmine said. “I’m sorry if I invaded your privacy.” she continued sheepishly.
Susan ran over to Jasmine and hugged her tightly. I thought for a minute, and finally said “Wait…if you can find us that easily, what makes you think they aren’t tracking you the same way?”
“I gave my phone to a homeless man at one of the stops in Chicago. I also withdrew all my money from the bank about 20 miles from the bus station and have used cash ever since. I wanted them off my trail before I came here. Don’t worry! I was safe. I also gave the homeless man my credit card. I told him to spend it on whatever he needed. I don’t plan on using my real name anywhere after what happened to Emanuel. We all need knew names, and identities. I know a guy in San Francisco who can give us all new identities, but its 2500 dollars for each set of papers. How much do you guys have left?” she asked.
“We still owe the butcher $2500, but we have about 5000 left. That will allow for two of us to get the papers. We will have to wait on the third.” I said.
She nodded carefully. “He guarantees that the papers will be so legit you can get a nice job with it. I grabbed another 15,000 from the bank in Chicago. That puts us at 20,000. We are going to need money to live off of. Do think we can live off of $5000 for a few months?” she asked.
“The places we have appointments to look at are in the 1000-2000 a month range. We will need to update our requirements with 3 people. 1 bedroom and 1 bath will be a little crowded with two women and a man. It’ll get us through a month or so, but not much more than that. We’ll need those papers quickly, so we can find jobs.” I said.
She nodded and I added, “Shit we’re going to be late! We have to meet the butcher. He’s introducing us to his brother the coroner. I’ll explain everything on the way. We’ll have time to mourn over Emanuel tomorrow, but today we have a lot to do.”
Susan and Jasmine both started sobbing again, and I went to the bathroom to jump in the shower. Once I was alone in the shower, I cried wondering how many more people I knew were going to die soon? First they killed my boss, and now Emanuel. Who’s next? Could I make the same sacrifice Emanuel did?
I got out of the shower and they both had their bags in their hands, and were ready to leave. We checked out of the hotel and started towards the west side of town; on the way there I explained about the butcher and his brother. She thought it was a good idea as well, and when we got there she insisted on coming with us. When we walked to the old bridge, we saw the butcher and a man in a black jacket and blue jeans with a hat pulled over his eyes, as if he was hiding his face.
The butcher nodded to us, and said “You’re late, we were about to leave.”
“Sorry we had some unexpected issues arise. This is my friend Jasmine.” I said apologetically.
“I DON’T GIVE A RAT’S ASS WHO ANY OF YOU ARE!” he yelled. “Here we are risking our lives meeting with you…people.” he said using air quotes when saying people. “And you repay us by coming here late, and with a stranger.” He turned to his brother and said, “Let’s get out of here, we can find someone else.”
“You could find someone else, but I’m not sure if you’d find someone before we found you for turning your backs on us.” I threatened.
The butcher backed up clearly scared of us. His brother, the coroner, spoke up saying “Listen, we just want to get out of dodge before the government shuts down my brother’s shop. Let’s do this, do you have the money?”
I nodded to Susan and she handed him the remainder of the cash owed, $2500. “That’s all of it, now your end of the deal please?”
“I’m going to trust you guys for two reasons, 1. You have to eat or you go ape shit and kill everyone around you, and 2. I don’t want to get caught with money in my hands talking to you guys.” he said, and then continued into telling us where the newly deceased John Does are likely to occur. “I assumed that you weren’t familiar with the area so I brought you this map. I used gloves upon drawing it, in case you were found they couldn’t pin it on me and if you snitch on me, I will make damned sure a bullet goes through your head.”
We all nodded in agreement and Susan, Jasmine, and I turned our backs away from them and walked back to the car.
“That went well” I said sarcastically.
“Could have been worse” Susan replied, and we pulled out the map and looked it over.
“We should probably go ahead and visit these sites while the sun is shining. Looks like it’ll storm today so let’s get as much done as possible.” I said, and drove towards the first mark on the map.