Logan heard a loud boom and stepped out onto the front porch of the late Walt Sheckley, an AK-47 strapped over each shoulder.
Candy was already looking in the direction of the blast. There was cloud of black smoke rising from the wooded hills near where that ex-Mayor lived.
Logan whistled. “Well, that’s no good.”
Candy whirled around. “Did you see–hey, where’d you get those?”
“This Sheckley guy has a whole arsenal in there,” said Logan. “Even got a coupla grenades. They’re heavy, so I didn’t wanna take all of ’em.” He didn’t tell her about the stacks of cash he’d also found stashed behind the panel in the closet. He’d be returning for those later. They’d more than make up for the loss that this case had turned out to be.
He could smell the smoke now. “You’ll carry the ammo in a duffel bag, and I’ll carry these.”
“Why don’t you carry the bag and let me carry the guns? Don’t you trust me?”
“Of course I don’t,” he said, not bothering to sugarcoat it. “Why should I? I’ll let you have one if things get hot.”
“Oh, thanks,” she said, rolling her eyes.
Logan smiled. “Glad you see it my way. I’m not in any kind of mood to argue with you right now.”
“You’re an asshole.”
“I’ve been called worse. Come on, let’s get back to the car and get the hell outta here.”
“And go to where?”
“Anywhere but here. Or a Axton. Gotta warn Shonda.” He pulled his phone out of his pocket and frowned. “I don’t get any signal out here, do you?”
Candy sighed and checked her phone. “No, I guess not. Nobody lives here, that’s why.”
“No, that’s not why. Shit.”
“Guess you can’t talk to your girlfriend. Can’t I just go home?”
He pointed to the pillar of smoke in the distance. “Do you not realize yet what deep shit we’re in, here? Some wealthy, powerful people are pretty upset about me prying into their secrets and they’re here to cover their asses by any means necessary, I would assume.”
“So it’s your fault.”
He turned and walked away. She followed.
“No,” he said, his back to her as they walked, “it’s yours. You’re the one who killed Chance Miller. Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn you in, or anything. You can tell me though.”
There was a long pause, during which the crunching of their feet on decimated streets of Groundswell was the only sound to be heard.
“Okay,” she said finally, “I killed the fucker. Found out he was a screwing around with somebody else, and I couldn’t handle it. I lost control, and then, y’know, I couldn’t… I didn’t know what to do, y’know? I don’t know anything about getting rid of bodies except what I’ve seen in movies and shit. I always heard pigs ate people, and I knew where some pigs were, so I gave it a shot.”
“Thank you,” said Logan. “I appreciate that. And your secret is safe with me.”
“Yours too. I mean, I guess we don’t have a choice, right? Mutually assured destruction. Kinda hot.”
Logan stopped, turned around and shook his head. “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
She looked down. “I don’t know. I mean, I do know, but I don’t know what to do about it.”
He sighed, set his rifles down on a nearby sidewalk bench and held her.
“I killed my husband, too,” she whispered into his chest. “I killed Blake.”
Logan wasn’t shocked–he wasn’t even surprised.
“Why?” he whispered back, stroking her hair.
He heard a noise and looked up to see three armed persons in black hazmat suits converging on them with guns drawn.
“That’s him,” said one.
“They want him alive,” said another.
“Understood,” said the third. “So do we want to go ahead and shoot the woman now?”
“Over my dead body, you will,” said Logan, stepping in front of Candy with his hands up.
The one who’d spoken first stepped forward, and Logan could see his eyes through the plastic shield covering his face. There was no malice in them; no emotion whatsoever–just somebody doing a job. That worried him.
“You’re far too valuable for that, sir,” said the man.
“Why?” asked Logan. “To who?”
“Don’t know,” said the man. “None of my business. Not my job.”
“And you’re not the slightest bit curious? Not ever? You just kill who they say to kill and go home to your families and have Taco Tuesday and go to soccer games?”
“Softball,” the man replied. “And I’ve found that in this line of work, the less I know the better.”
Logan believed him.
“But don’t worry,” he went on, “I’m not going to kill you friend.”
“Gee, thanks,” said Logan.
“Yeah, thanks,” said Candy. “I really appreciate you not shooting me in the fuckin’ head. So kind of you.”
“Alright, c’mon, let’s go,” said the man. “Hands up. We’ll be walking about a half mile.”
“To where?” asked Logan.
“Where I tell you.” His grip tightened on his rifle.