“Oh, shut up,” I muttered. I turned my back on her and walked to the Saturn. A set of dog tags hung from its rearview mirror. I opened the driver-side door. The interior was caked in dried blood, the driver’s seat hacked and slashed to the springs. I turned to lady-man. “What did you do to him?”
She grinned. “He try’n get away.”
I closed my eyes for a second. I opened them, grabbed the dog tags. Emily had mentioned the tags; she said her brother refused to wear them around his neck, but he still carried them with him wherever he went. She wanted them back. I shoved them into a jeans pocket, then turned to my cannibal friend.
“What’s your name?”
She stared at me for a second, then replied, “Daisy.”
“You are fucking kidding me.”
There was a rapping upon the shed door. Daisy’s uncles wanted in. The rapping multiplied, intensified, sounded like they were tearing after it with their axes and possibly a sledge-hammer or two.
Daisy grinned. Her teeth were an oral surgeon’s wet dream. “They gonna get in. They gonna getcha, eatcha up.”
“Uh-huh.” I scanned the place. No good hiding spots, unless I wanted to duck behind a leaning tower of Samsonite suitcases.
Actually, hiding was the wrong word. I was looking for an ambush spot.
“You’re gonna die,” Daisy said. She made it into a song: “You’re gonna di-i-i-i-i-e . . . ”
I kicked her in the face. She shut up.
I found a length of rope near a battered blue kayak. I walked to Daisy, testing the rope for weakness along the way. She got to her feet, left arm held stiffly out to her side. Blood dripped from her thick fingertips and spattered to the dirt. She bared her teeth at me. “Whatcha think you do with that, bitch?”
“I’m going to tie you to the hood of that car over there,” I said, nodding toward the Saturn. Behind her, one of the barn doors jumped in its frame.
She spread her stout legs, managed to curl her left hand into a fist. “No, you ain’t,” she growled.
I cocked my head to the side.
* * *
Three minutes later, I pulled the last of the rope tight and stepped back from the Saturn. Daisy was secured nice and tight, bound like a deer to the car hood.
Her family had made progress on the door. One of the uncles stuck his head through the gap between the door and the frame. He screamed something at me that was probably a threat to kill and eat me. I waved at him. His head disappeared. I caught a glimpse of an axe, then the door shook.
I walked backwards into the rear of the barn, keeping my eyes on the doors. Daisy shouted and thrashed on the car, making its springs squeal. In the rear, things were darker. I undressed, shoved my clothes into an empty suitcase.
The door finally gave way and tumbled down. I knelt behind a stack of tires that hadn’t yet been turned into shoes and took a deep breath.