The second installment of a multi-part story
Previously on TYPE: TYPE 
Part 2 – The Motel
By sundown, the storm the guy on the radio had been promising finally broke overhead. It was a real soaker, and the low clouds created an eerie roof over the city.
“Must be an inch an hour,” the woman said. Derrick called her Maggie. What her real name was, he didn’t know. She had never told him.
They were both standing at the window of the motel looking out at the sad parking lot that surrounded an even sadder swimming pool. But Derrick’s attention wasn’t on the downpour, it was on the car parked on the other side of the street beyond the parking lot.
He’d seen it earlier, when he’d watched from the window as Maggie walked down to the corner to pick up some food. It was an SUV. A Ford, he thought, but he wasn’t sure. The only thing he was sure of was there was someone sitting in the back seat, trying to remain hidden. But Derrick had seen him.
It was the interview, he knew. He’d hoped he and Maggie had thrown them off with his talk of a son and their playful, fake conversation in the car, but it hadn’t worked. The searchers knew who he was. They wanted what he had, and after months on the run, Derrick knew they weren’t ready to give up the chase.
This time had been closer than most. An actual face-to-face meeting with the bastards. The worst part of that was now they knew for sure what he looked like.
The pen was probably a tracking device. He’d guessed as much at the time, but he also knew they’d be expecting all their interviewees to pocket one. Not to have taken it would have been suspicious.
Next time he wouldn’t let them get as close.
God, he thought. Next time. He was tired of “next time,” but the choice was not his.
“Can you get a hold of your friends?” he asked.
Maggie looked at him, her eyes full of so much concern that he almost forgot she’d only been playing the part of his girlfriend. True, a bond had developed between the two of them, but they both knew whatever friendship they’d started could only be temporary. Her job had been to keep him safe, and when the next runner came to town, she’d do it all over again.
“What do you see?” she asked.
“On the street. The SUV.”
“Is it them?”
“How can you be sure?” she asked.
He smiled half-heartedly. How could he explain to her he could almost sense them now? How, if he hadn’t learned to do that, they would have had him long before this? “You’ll have to trust me,” he said.
She nodded like it was the answer she’d expected, or perhaps an answer she’d heard before. Quietly, she moved away from the window and removed a cell phone from her bag. It was the first time Derrick had seen it. A one-time phone, he guessed. Secure and unknown to anyone else.
Her conversation was quick, and soon she was back at Derrick’s side. “Ten minutes,” she said.
Derrick smiled again. He wanted to tell her how much he appreciated what she’d done for him. The chances she and her friends had taken were unbelievable. Derrick was forced into this life. Maggie and her friends were not. “Thank you,” he said. “For keeping me alive.
She waved him off. “Let’s get you packed.”
She led him through the dingy bedroom into the bathroom. Above the toilet was a hatchway providing attic access. Derrick had noticed it during his initial inspection, but it looked as if it hadn’t been open in years.
Without hesitating, Maggie stepped up on the toilet and pushed it open. She fished around for a moment, then pulled a black backpack through the gap. It was smaller than a normal hiking pack, but larger than most book bags. She handed it to Derrick as she stepped back down.
“Some clothes, food, maps.” She pointed to one of the side pockets. “You’ll find a new ID and some credit cards in there. There’s cash on the other side. Won’t last forever, but should get you well away from here.”
No matter how many times he’d gone through the same drill, it always amazed him how generous people were.
“You have a place in mind?” she asked.
He nodded, but said nothing. She wasn’t asking him where, just if.
A phone rang. Not her secure cell, but the motel line. Once. Twice. Then nothing.
“The back’s clear,” she said. “You’ll see a guy in a car. A young guy, lots of hair. He’ll be driving an Accord. Call him Tommy. He’ll get you out of town.”
She didn’t need to add that after that Derrick would be on his own again.
The phone rang again. The woman picked it up. “Hello?” Pause. “Sorry, I think you have the wrong room.” She hung up, then looked at Derrick. “It’s time.”
“So where is he, Frank?”
The man who had conducted the interview earlier was standing in the empty motel room. Frank, the lookout who had been stationed across the street in the SUV was standing behind him, looking uncomfortable.
“I told you, Mr. Dee, the woman went out alone about an hour ago,” Frank said. “But he didn’t go with her.”
“You’re sure he was in the room.”
“I thought so. I never saw him leave.”
Mr. Dee’s jaw tensed. “Dammit. There’s only a few of them left. Do you realize how hard they are to find?”
Frank said nothing.
Mr. Dee did a slow walk around the room. Finally he stopped near the open front door. “We can’t loose this chance,” he said, looking over his shoulder at Frank. “Find the woman. Maybe she knows where he went.”
Frank sighed. Finding the woman was probably going to be as hard as finding the man again, but instead of fighting he said, “Okay.”
Derrick stopped around midnight. He knew he should keep walking, using the cover of dark to mask his movements, but he was just too tired. Physically, yes. But mentally, too.
He’d sleep as long as he could, then lie low during the day, starting up again at sunset. It would be enough time to get his head back into the right place, or at least right enough.
As he stretched out under the bushes, the ground his pillow and the night air his blanket, he wondered how much longer he could go on.
A voice drifted through his mind. His brother’s voice. As long as it takes.
Derrick sighed. For his brother, then.
As long as it takes.
Stay tuned for TYPE  coming soon
Spring 2007 • Bantam Dell
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