“Kate!” Kevin screamed out the window of the Honda Accord. Beams of light from their assailant’s flashlights found him. “Damn!” Before he could look away, the lights extinguished, making it much harder for his eyes to get readjusted. They’re coming for me! He thought.
“Kate!” His voice seemed to echo in the surrounding abyss that had swallowed the cemetery. Kevin didn’t realize a gravesite could get this dark. It was as if any and all light had been swallowed up by an unsettling darkness.
The silence scared him more than anything else. Where the hell is Kate? Is she alright? Was she captured? Would their pursuers harm her? The only thing keeping him from abandoning the car and running out of Mount Calvary Cemetery was Kate. He couldn’t leave her behind, not after everything they’ve been through. He pulled the keys from the ignition and grabbed the door handle. There was a soft crunching sound coming from outside, like the sound of boots on snow. Someone was walking briskly up the gravel road toward the vehicle. I can’t stay here. I need to move. But he didn’t.
Kevin’s hands were shaking and his heart beat rapidly in his chest. Something moved out of the corner of this eye near back passenger door. Kevin froze as a figure appeared and moved toward the front of the car, opened the passenger side door and got in. He was hoping it would be Kate but stared in horror at the person sitting next to him.
“It can’t be,” he said. “You’re—”
“I think the word you’re looking for is ‘dead,’ right?” Evelyn Blackmon said. She was dressed all in black with a platinum blonde wig pulled back in a bun.
“Uh…yeah!” Kevin could hardly believe his eyes. “When I prayed for a ghost, I didn’t mean it literally.” Evelyn rolled her eyes as if he had said something stupid.
“I’m not a ghost, Kevin. But if we don’t get out of here soon, we both are going to end up working alongside St. Peter if we don’t get out of this cemetery,” she said. Kevin couldn’t take his eyes off her. A week ago, Evelyn Blackmon, was working for the same company as him. They barely spoke to one another and then she was fired. Less than two days later, Kevin and Kate stumbled onto this never ending conspiracy that continues to spin out of control, with Evelyn at the heart of it all.
“I can’t leave Kate behind,” he said. Kevin glanced out into the darkness. Shadows were blending together and soon his mind began to play tricks on him. Did he imagine something darting from gravestone to gravestone? He grabbed the door handle and proceeded to open his door.
“No, Kevin, don’t open the door,” Evelyn hissed. But it was too late. Kevin was already outside, shoving the keys in his pocket, and squinting in the darkness. “Kate?” Shots in the dark rang out one right after another. Something whizzed by his ear and another grazed his right shoulder. He cried out and felt searing pain. Survival instinct kicked in and he dropped to the ground. Kevin touched the part of his shoulder that had been hit and it felt wet. He could barely see two feet in front of him but knew what he felt was blood. He army crawled on the ground, with each movement of his body, the wound felt like it was ripping open further. This was not a smart move. More gun fire rang out, followed by a man screaming. I have to get back to the car. If only I could see where I was, I could make a break for it.
Suddenly the grave yard was filled with light. Kevin clamped his eyes shut and slowly opened them back up, trying to get his eyes adjusted. He glanced over toward the source of the light and realized that someone had turned on the car lights. He could see someone at the driver’s seat and assumed it was Evelyn. He leaned against one of the headstones and used his left arm to pull himself back up.
“Gotcha!” a voice from behind him called out. The sound startled him and he started to run but tripped over a sunken stone marker. His glasses flew off his face and he frantically ran his hand over the ground, trying to find them. He heard the gun cocking as soon as his hands wrapped around the familiar thick rimmed frames. “Get up off the ground slowly.” Kevin’s back was exposed to the mystery attacker, he put his glasses back on and sluggishly pushed himself up off the ground. Pain from his shoulder started to act up again. He glanced over at the wound and noticed the entire sleeve was soaked in blood. Kevin felt queasy. Back at the car, he noticed no one was inside but the interior and exterior lights had been left on. Where did Evelyn go? He wondered.
“What do you want from us?” Kevin demanded.
“I want the key you obtained earlier today,” the assailant said. When Kevin was on his feet, he started to turn around in order to face his attacker. There was no way he was going to be shot in the back without having laid eyes on his killer. But to his disappointment, the goon was dressed all in black and his face was covered with a ski mask. The man had a small hand gun pointed directly at him.
“Why do you want the key so bad?”
“It’s very important that I get that key from you, Mr. Emile,” he said. It was a male voice speaking to him. It sounded vaguely familiar but he couldn’t quite place it.
“What happens if I refuse?”
“Don’t think I won’t hesitate to shoot,” he said. Without warning, he pulled the trigger and shot at a nearby tree. The sound startled Kevin and he cowered back towards the ground. Laughter broke out from his attacker. “Consider that your warning shot.” The attacker extended a hand palm out, waiting for a response. Kevin, feeling defeated, fumbled around in his jean pockets, searching for the key. He pulled out a silver key and showed it to his attacker. A smile formed on his face. “Hand it over son.” Kevin started to toss over the key but stopped. The attacker’s eyes grew wide. He took note of their sea green color. “What are you doing hotshot?”
“She’s fine for now.”
“How do I know you’re not lying?” The man sighed and lowered the weapon. He nodded his head and gestured for someone else to step forward. Kevin heard the sound of a twig snap and turned around in time to see another masked man holding Kate hostage. She was bound and gagged, which explains why she didn’t answer when he called her name earlier.
“Bring her over,” he barked.
The other man was slightly shorter than the main assailant but their builds were similar. They probably work out at the same gym. The light behind the man made it difficult to see him clearly. He dragged Kate over, she struggled against him but he had a firm grip on her. When she tried to kick him, he pushed her forward and she landed face first in the ground.
“Kate,” he yelled.
“Don’t even think about running to her aide.” Kevin stopped and looked back at the man with the gun. “I told you she was fine. Now give me the key.” Kate did not remain on the ground for long, she carefully stood up with assistance from the other goon. She locked eyes with Kevin and he could see the tears running down her cheeks.
“Let her go first.”
“Give me the key and I will.” Kevin kept glancing from the gun to Kate. Since when did life get so complicated all of a sudden? He questioned. Thoughts ran amuck in his head that seemed on the verge of making his head explode like some cheap monster movie special effect. Should I give it to him? What the heck was so important that they needed the key for? Would it put an end to this entire spectacle once and for all? Where the hell was Evelyn? Before he could make a final decision, another shot rang out and made the decision for him.
The man holding Kate hostage fell to the ground. Kate stood frozen in place, glancing from the dead man at her feet to the new arrival that just saved her life. Kevin turned and was surprised to see Evelyn walking up from behind him, gun pointed at the remaining goon.
“You’ve betrayed us?” the attacker asked. Evelyn remained silent but never took her eyes off of him.
Kevin took the opportunity to help Kate. He reached her and immediately began untying the rope which bound her arms behind her. When the restraints fell away, she took off the gag and wrapped her arms around Kevin in an embrace and planted a kiss on his lips. He was taken aback by the gesture. She pulled away and smiled. He swore under the light he saw her cheeks get red but didn’t say anything. There would be time to talk about it later.
“Thank you for not leaving me,” she said.
“You would have done the same for me.” Kevin brushed a strand of her hair out of her face and rubbed some earth from her cheek. She sighed and then leaned her head against his chest. He wrapped his arms around her and they both stood there enjoying the moment.
“Hate to break up the make-out session kids, but we need to get out of here before Bianca sends more of her troops after us.”
Kevin and Kate snapped out of their trance and walked over towards Evelyn.
“What are we going to do?” Kevin asked. “They are just going to keep pursuing us.”
“Not if I kill him first.” Evelyn said. The bun in the back of her head had started to come apart. Part of the blonde strains stuck out like cockatoo feathers.
“Fine by me,” Kate said.
“No,” Kevin interjected. Evelyn and Kate turned their heads toward him in confusion.
“You’ve got to be joking,” Kate said. “Did you see what they did to me? They were going to kill us.”
“Kate’s right. If we let him go, he will report back to Bianca and she will send more people after us.” Kevin wasn’t convinced. “Trust me on this, Kevin. I nearly died too. Luckily I escaped and was able to infiltrate this little group, which led me back to you. The key is too valuable too loose. We need it.”
“Either way they will kill us,” he said. Without warning, he removed the key from his pocket and tossed it over to the masked man. The man smiled and caught it in mid air.
“Thanks,” he said and took off in the opposite direction.
“No!” Evelyn screamed. She started shooting into the darkness in the direction the man was running to. When she finished firing off rounds, she turned on him. “How could you?” Before Kevin had time to react, he was being choked by her.
“Get your hands off of him,” Kate yelled. She managed to get between the both of them and tackled Evelyn to the ground. The gun fell out her hand and Kevin quickly retrieved it. While the girls wrestled on the ground, he didn’t know whether to root for Kate or join in. Instead he fired a shot into the air. Both women stopped fighting and looked up at him.
“Enough,” he snapped. “We need to get out of here. I want answers, Evelyn and you’re going to give them to me. Now get—” A loud wailing noise made them all stop. It started off low and the gradually got louder.
“Cops!” Kate hissed. The three of them rushed out of the cemetery and back toward Kate’s rental car. Kevin pulled the keys from his pocket and unlocked the doors, but Kate snatched them away from him. “I’ll drive.”
Once they were safely secured in the vehicle, Kate sped off out of the cemetery. Kevin glanced back in the rearview mirror from the front seat. He could see the flashing lights of the police vehicles pull into Mount Calvary. He turned back around and breathed a sigh of relief.
“Where are we going?” Kate asked from the back seat.
“Someplace to hide, I guess. Doofus over here signed our death certificates when he handed over the key.” Evelyn said.
“You mean this key—” Kevin pulled out the key he found at Topeka High. Evelyn halted the vehicle. Both Kevin and Kate nearly flew through the windshield as their bodies were thrust against seats and dash board. She turned put the car in park and turned towards Kevin.
“Ha!” Evelyn exclaimed. “I knew you weren’t a complete idiot.” She leaned over and kissed him on the lips. Kevin quickly pulled away, trying to hide his discomfort.
“But we saw you give him a key,” Kate said.
“I switched it with a silver one from your key ring,” he said.
“That was my house key.”
“It’s not like you’ll be using it anytime soon. Besides, you can crash at my place.” Kevin said. Kate and Evelyn both laughed in surprise.
“Now, where are we going?” Kevin asked again.
“To the ‘king of birds,’” Evelyn said.
“Huh?” Kate said. Evelyn turned back around in her seat and put the car in drive. She sped off down the road.
“Have either of you heard of the Wren Statue off of 12th street and SW Huntoon?” Kevin nodded his head, while Kate looked clueless. “It’s a famous landmark in Topeka and used to be on top of the WREN radio station back in the late forties until it was moved in 93’ to its present location. Somewhere in that statue is a box that this key fits into. We need to find that box before Bianca figures out that Kevin gave the goon a false key.”
“Can we stop at McDonald’s? All this excitements got me hungry,” Kate said. Both Evelyn and Kevin shook their head at her absurdity. The three of them continued on to their destination, not knowing what they were going to find. Kevin suspected Evelyn knew but was keeping it under wraps. Although she saved both of their lives tonight, he couldn’t help but question whether she could be trusted. He could only hope his instincts were right.
About the Author
Romualdo R. Chavez is a Washburn University Alumn. He majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology. His love for the Urban Fantasy genre led him to write his debut novel El Vampiro and the Curse of the Feathered Serpent in 2009. He resides in Topeka, Kansas, where he is an active member of Kansas Writers Inc., and continues to work on other novels and short stories.