Chelsea gets more than she wanted when she meets a terrorist in the parking lot while shopping for her first year of college. When Lon confronts her, she has to decide: would she rather live, or keep her shelves?
Chelsea stares at the array of school supplies sitting in her backseat: a dozen notebooks, three fabric lunch boxes, two backpacks, and other things her mother bought that she hadn’t even had the chance to look at yet. One of the lunch bags matches one of the backpacks. She rolls her eyes and sighs.
She shoves one of the last-minute things she just bought—a plastic storage bin—into the already nearly full backseat, and turns back to the bright red Target shopping cart. The heavy, long rectangular box of un-put-together pieces of a chipboard shelf stares back at her. “This is like playing Tetris,” she says to the nearly empty parking lot, and glances around, looking for an employee. “Of course not,” she says, exhales sharply through her nose, grabs one side of the box, and pulls. The box refuses to budge.
She sighs and glances at an old boat of a car as it drops off a tall man dressed in black work pants and a heavy black mechanic’s jacket.
“Whatchoo lookin’ at?” he sneers. He stares down at her from just a few parking spaces away, his features nearly blurred out by his dark skin, which is almost the color of her Labrador at home.
“Uh, nothing,” she says, and turns her attention back to the box until she feels his eyes move away from her. She watches him out of the corner of her eye as he circles the other car to the driver’s side and leans in.
“This’ll be the last I see of you, right Lon?” the driver asks in a near whisper.
“Yeah, everything’s all set,” Lon replies.
She tugs at the stubborn box, standing on the balls of her feet and grinding the soles of her Walmart sneakers into the concrete. The box has somehow gotten lodged in a cracked section of the cart she hadn’t noticed when she chose the cart over an hour ago.
“…well written, action packed [...] great twist ending.” (Ness, via Amazon)
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