AL BRUNO III
Thursday November 8th 1996
Isobel drove down Sand Creek Drive in Cheryl's banged-up Volvo. They had decided it would be better to take that car and leave Isobel's Civic abandoned on a dead end street. The sun had almost reached the horizon. Cheryl was in the passenger seat beside her and Galen was sitting in the back beside a pair of hastily packed suitcases. Isobel decided to break the uneasy silence by asking, "So, what are these friends of yours like?"
“You're friends in the Catskills.”
“Oh.” Galen made eye contact with Isobel in the rear view mirror and then looked away. “Well they aren't really friends. Just people I know.”
“And by people you know...” Cheryl turned in her seat to look at him, “...you mean people you've met right?”
“No,” Galen said. “Not like that. I know of them and I know they'll help us. But I've never met any of them.”
“Oh this just keeps getting better and better.” Cheryl said with a shake of her head.
Isobel squinted as a turn onto a side street left her staring right into the sunset, “He's trying to help us.”
“Trying? To help us?”
It was all Isobel could do not to shriek with frustration, Cheryl had done nothing but snipe at Galen and it seemed to only be making her madder that he barely seemed to notice.
Cheryl said, “You got her boyfriend killed and destroyed her life. How is that helping?”
At this point it was either turn the radio way way up or try to play the peacemaker so Isobel said, “Listen, could you…”
Galen's voice cut everyone off, he sat up straight in the seat, his hand already on the doorhandle, “Stop the car.”
“Stop the car now!” he shouted.
The Volvo squealed to a halt in the middle of the road. Galen was standing out in the middle of the street before Isobel could get the car in park. Cheryl called after him, “What is your problem?”
He just stood there staring ahead; the wind caught his red hair and made it dance.
Isobel stood at his side, “What's wrong?”
“Is your house empty?”
“Yes.” Isobel said, “I mean except for my brother and his friends.”
Cheryl got out of the car with an indignant slam of the door, “Anybody feel like including me in this?”
"We're too late.” Galen said, “They got there first.”
“They?” For Isobel it was like the rest of the world stopped dead, “What about my brother?”
Galen turned, his arm was around Isobel’s shoulder, he ushered her to the car “Come on.”
“What about my brother?” her mouth felt dry, her voice was getting ready to crack.
Whatever happens to him is my fault. she realized.
“We have to go.” Galen said again.
Cheryl followed Isobel into the car, “What are we going to do?”
“You heard the man.” Isobel said with a terrified, crazy smile, “We've got to go.”
The Volvo's engine roared and it sped towards Pine Stump road.