The phone rang just as she had flopped down on the bed.
Beverly slowly turned to her bedside cabinet. She stared through half-lidded eyes at the buzzing, blinking device she had dropped there no less than ten seconds ago. Groaning, she rolled over and reached out for it. After a few failed attempts she grabbed a hold of it and, lying on her back, gazed up at its screen. In the darkness of the room the feeble white glow of the smartphone was like a floodlight. Blinking in surprise, Beverly tapped the green ‘accept call’ button and brought the phone to her ear.
“Yeah?” she croaked.
“They’re on the move,” said a voice on the other end.
“What?” mumbled Beverly, rubbing her eyes.
“Anne! The GPS shows she drove back to the school and parked on the edge of the preserve.”
“Huh? Already?” said Beverly, the drowsiness leaving her voice.
“Yes! It stopped moving five minutes ago.”
Beverly sat up in her bed.
“But we just put the transmitter in her car this afternoon,” she exclaimed.
“Um, yeah. I…I guess it could be for something else, but why else would she be there this time of night?”
“A…school event, maybe,” hazarded Beverly.
“At 7:30 PM?”
“Did you check,” asked Beverly.
“Just check the school website,” said Beverly in a tone, while firm, was not unkind.
“…Just a second.”
Beverly made out the sound of frantic typing through the speaker. Sighing, she put the phone down, slid her legs over the side of the bed and stretched her short, skinny arms. She shook her head and then threw it back, running her fingers through her greasy orange hair. A minute or so passed.
“Beverly? You there?”
“Yeah, still here,” said Beverly after picking up the phone.
“No school events scheduled until tomorrow in the morning. There, um, there couldn’t be an unofficial event because campus closes at 7 except for game nights.”
Beverly’s eyes narrowed.
“OK, I’d definitely file that under suspicious.”
“It’s tonight! It has to be! They’re meeting tonight!” cried Cassie over the phone.
“I know, I know, easy Cassie!” exclaimed Beverly. “Just…give me a second.”
“We don’t have a second! We need to get down there now!”
“OK, OK, fuck,” said Beverly. “Do you have a ride?”
“N-No,” said Cassie. “I could take my bike, but…”
“I don’t know where it is. It might be out in the shed or it could be in the garage. If I get started now I should be able to dig it out by 8:30, only mom just picked up a dozen boxes of used books and if she stored them with the bike I’ll have t-”
“Forget it!” interrupted Beverly. “Look, my dad keeps a spare pair of keys to his car in his desk. I’ll pick you up and we can drive over to the school.”
“Y-You have your license already?”
“Just my permit, but I’ve been driving since I was thirteen. I’ll be fine.”
“W-What if we get pulled over?”
“Then I’ll lose my permit for driving after dark with a passenger under the age of twenty-one,” said Beverly impatiently. “Look, there’s a good chance we’re risking our lives here, Cassie. I think getting arrested for a traffic violation is the least of our concerns.”
There was no reply.
“S-Sorry,” said Cassie. “Um, so, I’ll gather up what we need and tell my parents I’m going to a study session with you.”
“I’ll grab my stuff and pick you up,” said Beverly, rising from her bed. “Give me 15.”
“I’ll see you outside my house.”
Beverly hung up and pocketed the phone. She gazed around her room, took a deep breath, and lifted her backpack off the floor and threw it on the bed. She unzipped its flap and dumped its contents on the mattress. Books, pencils, folders and papers fell in a heap. Beverly then turned to her cabinet and started digging through its drawers. She retrieved a flashlight, video camera, black bandana, makeup kit, and black hooded sweater. After donning the sweater and stuffing the other items in her backpack she strapped on a pair of thick black combat boots and made her way to the door. Midway past the threshold she paused, glancing back into her room. She hurried back to her desk and opened the bottom drawer. Inside tucked between a pair of fat manila folders and wicker basket laid a combat knife in a leather sheath. She grabbed the weapon and stored it in her backpack’s side pocket. Satisfied, she exited her bedroom, shutting the door behind her.
Beverly half-walked half-jogged down the unlit hallway, first stopping by the bathroom to retrieve a first-aid kit and then the laundry room to grab a set of keys dangling from a wooden peg. She turned to door leading to the garage, and then stopped.
“Damn I’m hungry,” she muttered.
She trotted back down the hallway towards the kitchen. As she approached it she noticed the light was on.
“Thought I shut off before I left,” she muttered to herself.
Shrugging, Beverly stepped through the archway leading to the kitchen and froze.
A tall, cleanly-shaven man in military fatigues was standing next to the refrigerator. A heavy duffel bag was slung over his shoulders. He was holding a bottle of coke in his hand.
“Dad?” said Beverly.