The buggy cruised along the dark street, Sam behind the wheel and Evelyn asleep in the passengers seat, Raggedy Ann and Andy, cradled in her arms. Towing a modified horse trailer behind him, he felt unsure of the added weight when he accelerated. Two men sat in the trailer, strapped to chairs that were in turn strapped to the insides of the enclosure. Anna Maria had given him one last assignment before he had left, a simple re-supply run, but had insisted that the men come with him, to speed things up. One, a mechanic named Jesse, had managed to secure a hitch to the vehicle’s frame and was along should something ‘mechanical go wrong.’ The other man, who’s name could have been Grunt for all Sam knew, at least that’s the only sound he had heard the man ever make, was there for extra protection. Against what, Anna Maria had not told him. Evelyn had insisted on coming, well more like protested so much against staying that Sam had thought it was easier to stop the scene than allow it to continue.
He steered around the edge of a small fissure, using the gravel shoulder to his advantage and listening to the shouted protests from the trailer. He slowed to a halt and pulled a folded map from the dashboard, looking for the red circle that had been drawn on it. Locating it, he drew a line from the Bazaar, estimating where he was along the line in relation to his destination. He patted Evelyn, “Another few miles.”
He stepped on the accelerator, still trying to get used to the trailers added weight. The car shot forward, eliciting another shout from behind him. Sam pulled a pair of sunglasses from the sun visor and slipped them on against the rising sun before him. He turned the headlights off, feeling better about the reduced drain on the battery.
A mile, then another, passed by and soon he saw what had been circled on the road. An expansive ranch sat beside the road, the gates still closed, an armed guard standing post beside them. Sam slowed to a halt beside the guard, who eyed him suspiciously, rifle aimed and ready. He heard the trailer open and watched in the side view mirror as both men exited it and approached the armed man.
“Anna Maria wants two cows and another horse.” Mumbled Grunt, at least thats what Sam thought he had said.
“Who’s this?” Asked the guard.
“Hey John, he’s just the driver,” Jesse said, looking over his shoulder. He offered John a cigarette from a pocket in his shirt and the man eyed it hungrily. Lighting it, Jesse handed the rest of the pack to John, who stuck it in his own shirt pocket. “From Anna Maria, she says thanks.”
“I don’t want to be here all day, can we get on with this?” Grunt asked, annoyed and becoming more articulate.
Jesse laughed and the guard nodded. “Yeah, let me get the gate open.” He pulled a large iron key ring from a belt loop and undid the large padlock on the gate, unwrapping a thick chain from between the bars and giving the barrier a push. It swung open without a sound and John waved Sam through. Sam applied light pressure to the gas pedal, keeping pace with Jesse and Grunt as they led him around the main house and toward a group of large barns behind it. Another guard, this one a man Sam recognized from within the Bazaar, greeted them, gun at the ready, and escorted them up to the buildings large doors, directing him to turn around and back the trailer in.
Sam did as he was instructed, following Jesse’s hand signals in the mirror as he got close to the barn.
Evelyn chose then to wake up.
“Hey,” Sam said to her as Grunt called to him.
“Could you help back here?”
“Stay put,” Sam told her and got out of the car, grabbing his own pistol as he went. He approached the back of the trailer and asked “What can I do to help?” He hesitated for a second before rounding the trailer and that second saved his life. A shot rang out, hitting the corner of the trailer. Sam chanced a glance around the back of the trailer. There were four men, the two that had come with him, the guard, and an additional farmhand, all with guns. Two more shots were fired, but he had already ducked back behind the safety of the trailer. Crouching, he made his way back toward the front of his car and made his way around its front. He peeked into the buggy to check on Evelyn, whose face was a mask of terror. He put a finger to his lips and leaned out from in front of the car, firing three shots, hitting both Grunt and Jesse with.
“Damn,” he heard one of the remaining men, who were both behind the trailer, say.
Doubling back, Sam went back to the drivers side of the vehicle and managed to shoot the farmhand in the shoulder as the bald man came around the trailer. He made it back to the trailer hitch and put all of his drove his shoulder into the front of the trailer, shifting it enough to dislodge it from the car. He fired his last two shots over his shoulder as he dashed towards the door of the car, threw it open, and jumped in. Tires squealed as the vehicle shot forward. “Get your head down,” He told Evelyn, as he heard the shotgun fire. The gate was still open, and he raced through it, almost running over the first guard.
“Son of a bi…” He caught himself and looked at Evelyn, and laughed nervously. “I guess we’re not going back to the Bazaar.” He pointed the car west and flew down the road, the accelerator hitting nearly sixty miles an hour. It was fifteen minutes later when he slowed down and pulled off to the side of the road. “We can’t pass that place again,” He said aloud, as much for his benefit as Evelyn’s. He reached back and grabbed another gun from the back seat, making a mental note to reload the pistol when things calmed down. He picked up the map and began to look for a way around the converted Wal-Mart, and after a few minutes, he handed her the map, and eased the car off of the shoulder.
“Where are we going to go?” She asked.