‘Is he flirting with me?’
You wouldn’t know honor if it was spitting in your face, the man mutters, still staring at the bathroom door at the other side of the room, the shadow of her feet moving beneath it. He’s looking at it like he’s thinking, like he’s finally realized what I meant earlier, and suddenly, he’s interested.Well, at least I’m not the biggest scumbag here.
Already booked. The words taste like vomit in my mouth. So all of a sudden it doesn’t matter to him that hookers definitely fall under the category of something sketchy? Sorry, dude.His meaty hand swallows the money. Out by noon tomorrow. Not a second later.Sure, I say, worrying that he’s waiting to get an eyeful of my guest, waiting to follow her out to the parking lot. Jesus. That it? Okay, great.
I slam the door in his face before he can get another word out, and flip the dead bolt over. I watch the guy stand out there for a few more minutes, and don’t turn away until he finally sucks it up and leaves.Leaning back against the door, I survey what’s left of the groceries I bought two weeks ago. I have a bag of chips, a cup of ramen, a loaf of bread and peanut butter. I don’t realize how hungry I am until I see how little I have to eat. I could try to order something in, but that’s the kind of luxury I know would draw unwanted attention from the other residents of Phyllis’s motel. I can’t go pick something up without leaving the girl alone to potentially escape. She can live with a sandwich. All kids like peanut butter sandwiches.
Unless they’re allergic to peanut butter.
Okay. She gets the ramen. I just have to remember to sit far away while she eats it so she can’t throw the hot broth in my face.I’m going to think of this as a trial run for the real thing. Practice.
My gamble pays off. I find a gas station, though I’m out almost two hundred dollars with still almost half a tank left to fill. I’ll get the rest on the way back, I tell myself, waving to the station attendant. I keep my eye on the highway and the evergreen forest cupping the station in its earthy palm as I make my way back over to the truck. I’ve heard stories about people getting mugged for gas. It sets me on edge every time I have to stop.I open the passenger-side door, angling my body to block the view of the kid sitting knees-to-chest on the floor. I don’t let her protest; I don’t let her move. I was banking on her false sense of security by leaving her in the car and expecting her not to tamper with it or run, but I won’t do it anymore.
The handbook recommends employing the use of rubber gloves to restrict Yellow freaks’ abilities; if they can’t form a connection with the electricity, they can’t control it. The best I could find in the station were the gloves my mom used to use when she still washed dishes. I know they’re not thick enough, but I’m going to double up and hope that’s enough.I use the knife to cut the zip ties off, and she slumps forward, rubbing her wrists with a faint, grateful smile. For someone who says nothing, her face is incredibly expressive. It’s how I know she’s so repulsed when I pull the gloves out of my back pocket and try to jam them over her hands. It’s the first time she fights me on anything, really fights—hitting and kicking until I have bruises up and down both arms. For once she’s acting like a real kid having a meltdown, and it throws me that much further off my game. I don’t even bother aligning them on each finger; she can wear them like mittens for all I care. Another zip tie over her wrists will be more than enough to hold them in place.