I sat on the edge of the bed hoping the trip to the garage would be short. After a few miles, we passed a lighted exit, a glowing oasis in a desert of darkness. As we drove past, the light lit their faces for a moment just as the men turned to glance at each other. The cold looks on their faces drove a big chill up my spine.
I asked how much further until we got to the garage. Neither answered, but the one who wasn’t driving turned toward me. In the darkness, I didn’t see his left arm as he swung it around and back-handed me across my face. The blow was lightning fast, and, like lightning, I saw a flash as it flung me across the bed. My head spun. My lips were bleeding. He growled, “Shut up kid! Say another word and I’ll kill you.”
That’s when I noticed my head hadn’t hit the bed. I thought I’d banged it into the wall behind the bed, but, as my eyes and mind tried to refocus, I realized it was softer than a wall, harder than a bed, and about nine inches above the bed’s surface.
I felt behind me in the darkness. Whatever it was, moved! I jerked my hand away. The movement had been very slight, but it petrified me. I heard a muffled moan. Again, ever so slight. At first, I thought I’d imagined it. Twisting around and feeling, I realized it was a prone adult.
Moving my shaking hands in the darkness toward what I hoped was the person’s head, I felt a neck, then a chin. When I reached the area where I thought his mouth would be, instead of feeling lips, I touched something flat. The mouth area was covered in the same semi-liquid sticky substance I’d felt on the top of the driver’s seat.
My mind raced. Blood! It’s gotta be blood! The mouth was covered with some kind of tape. Probably duct tape. Scared beyond sanity, I turned to face the front.
When we passed under a highway sign light, I attempted to learn as much as I could about the men and their faces. The driver took a large swig from a whiskey bottle. The other had a big and surprisingly round nose. They had been careful not to address each other by name so I made up my own.
Bozo said, “Let’s stop. We need to reconnect the license plate lights on the trailer. We don’t want to get stopped.”
Boozer grunted and pulled off on an exit in the middle of nowhere. “Watch the scrawny runt. Try not to kill him. He’s worth more alive.” He got out and returned about five minutes later.
Bozo tied me up with the duct tape while Boozer was gone. “What took so long?”
Boozer chugged some more whiskey, put the truck in gear, and took off with a roar. “Got rid of that tire from the Travel-All. Rolled it far enough from the road so it won’t be found.”
“Any chance we’ll get caught?”
“None.” Boozer added, “Those two broads were so shaken up by their spin-out that they won’t be able to ID us or the truck. It was dark. Our hats were pulled low over our eyes. This truck was headed for Mexico City. Won’t be missed for days. We’ll reach our buyer in Tijuana in a few hours. Easiest money we ever made.”
Any hopes I had of being rescued were dashed by those words.
“Those poor bastards in Mexico City!” Bozo chuckled. “News said it was a huge quake.”
“Who knows? Maybe our buyer will sell this load of medical supplies back to ’em on the black market.” Boozer added with a cruel laugh.
“I’m glad you thought of taking the trucker and kid with us.”
“Buyer said some folks were desperate for fresh body parts.”
“Can’t get any fresher than the ones inside that kid, but we could have had fun with one of the broads before selling her.” Bozo chortled.
I flinched and suddenly felt very hot as a wave of nausea rolled over me. The taste of bile rose in my throat. “My God! I’ve got to get out of here!” I screamed to myself.