Lanky held the beer since Wil was, after all, still a child (Wil would argue that she was on the cusp of womanhood). The case was clutched to his midsection as he and Wil hurried past the checkout area and to the exit.
Wil remembered her grand entrance as they neared the automatic doors. The whoosh of their opening blew an exciting blast of icy wind against her as she exited, leaving the warm air swirling closed behind her. Had it been so long ago?
Now, the night was tense and dim. Her fate was unknown and they would have to hurry.
She followed her stepbrother’s large footprints through dirty slush, across icy patches, and through packed snowdrifts toward their getaway vehicle. Tiny crystals of snow glittered slowly through the dark, glinting in the high area lights and low car beams.
The diamondlike precipitation failed to distract Wil from her mission. Ice and snow dragged at her, but she pushed on. The grocery sack with their rations swung erratically in her mittened fist and her scarf waved behind her. Who knew when her enemies would notice the decoy she’d left in her cell? She had to keep up with her devoted brother, her rescuer, and get to their car.
There! She saw the familiar outline of the nondescript vehicle, puffing exhaust impatiently into the frigid night air. A man sat hunched and drumming his fingers on the steering wheel. This silent, tired-eyed driver would take them to her contact for the price of one case of beer -the case her only sibling had secured before freeing her.
Her stepbrother reached the car first, opened the passenger door, then lurched in. Wil turned to check behind her as she jogged. Surely those shadows in the store windows were their pursuers! Quick! -She reached the car and fumbled a bit to lift the handle.
“C’mon, Mina!” The gruff driver encouraged. She told herself his tone was edged with concern and not annoyance.
One last glance toward the store, and she carefully swung her bag and herself into the backseat.
The driver had asked her brother something before she got in. Wil heard his response, “No, no trouble.” They were going to be safe now.