A Meeting of Souls – Installment #8
This is the eighth installment of A Meeting of Souls – A Tale from the Wasteland. The read the story from the beginning, start here.
If you enjoy this story and would like to own a copy of your very own, you can purchase it from Amazon/Kindle here and Barnes & Noble/Nook here. The e-book includes a full-color cover and a special, steamy, NSFW bonus chapter at the end of the story that won’t be included on the blog. Every romance needs a “happy ending,” right?
Lash and Zinara crouched down behind an ancient, corroded Airstream trailer at the opening to the camp. The slaver truck was a few yards away, parked alongside the road. Lash couldn’t tell whether it was occupied or not, but he had a plan.
“Can you drive?
“Good.” He glanced around one last time and pulled her forward, hurrying across the open to the back of the truck. Gesturing for her to be quiet, he worked his way toward the cab and peered through the passenger side window. It was empty. He pulled the door open as quietly as the creaky hinges would allow and boosted Zinara up inside the cab, motioning for her to stay crouched on the floorboards below the windows.
“Stay out of sight until I get back. When you hear a commotion, start the truck, count to ten and then drive like hell.”
“Wait! Where are you going?”
“To start a commotion.” He turned to go but she grabbed his arm.
“I have a better idea. Why don’t we just start the truck now and drive like hell?”
“Because we won’t get far unless we get a head start on them. If we’re lucky, they’ll be distracted for awhile before they notice that you and the truck are gone.” He turned to go again, but she clung to his arm.
“What if you’re not back by the time I count to ten?”
“Don’t look back.” He gave her what he hoped passed for a brave, confident smile, but her worried expression told him she was unconvinced. “Look, whatever happens, you get the hell out of here. Get back to the City and ask for Chilli. She’ll be with the Guards.”
“I’m not leaving you here.”
“If I miss my ride, I’ll circle back to the bike and catch up to you.” She started to argue with him, but he pulled her forward all at once, catching her mouth with his in a kiss that stopped her protests and left her breathless. Before she could recover, he was gone.
Zinara could still feel the tingle of his lips against hers, the warmth of his hand in her hair, the soft scratch of his stubble against her mouth. She wanted to close her eyes and savor the moment, but she blinked and shook her head. Perhaps there would be time for more kisses later. Right now, they had to get out of there.
She crawled across the floorboards to the steering column, doing her best to keep her head below the window while she fumbled with the keys. The third one she tried slid into the ignition, and she let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding as she tried to maneuver herself into the driver’s seat while staying out of sight. She’d almost managed it when the driver’s side door opened and Bud stood there gaping at her, as surprised to see her in his truck as she was to be discovered.
“Hey!” He managed to blurt out before she shoved him backward and he lost his balance, landing on his ass in the dirt. She sat up and cast around for something, anything to use as a weapon as he scrambled to his feet and grabbed the edge of her poncho, trying to pull her out of the truck. Her left hand gripped the steering wheel as her right hand closed on something that felt like a miniature baseball bat wedged in the crack of the seat, and she swung her arm as hard as she could, catching her attacker on the corner of his mouth and chin. Blood spurted from his lips and broken teeth and he let go of her poncho, clutching at his face.
Her right hand found the keys again and she cranked the ignition hard. Nothing. “Shit!” she swore, and then remembered that the truck had a manual transmission. She stomped her foot down on the clutch to take the truck out of gear and tried again, relieved as the engine roared to life. She slammed the truck into gear and pulled away just as he was reaching for the door again.