It had taken her slightly more than a handful of days to come up with what she felt was more than a suitable bargain, and had made the call. The negotiation took both longer and less time than she expected, and somehow, she felt they’d reached an accord.
Those were the worst days to live through and coincided with a bout of despair where she had to force herself not to go back. Sleep did not come easy, if it came at all, and her dreams took on dark shapes and lilting whispers until she thought that she would go mad.
So she had to trust Sin. He’d mentioned time and distance.
The day she left was grey and overcast and she felt like a country song sitting in the cab with the friendly trucker who promised she could go as far as he was going, Amarillo. He’d been a kind soul with a daughter her age (turned out, his daughter was a handful of years younger than Beth, but he hadn’t needed to know that). The miles etched onto her soul but it was the best thing, right?
He’d never called.
She wintered in New Mexico, taking in the culture of the of the Land of Enchantment (no really, it wasn’t although she’d picked up some things from a family of brujahs and curanderas in Taos), but no Aliens.
She called him on Christmas.
He didn’t answer.
When the snows thinned out in January, she packed up and continued her trek north. And that’s how she ended up in this dingy bar. She’d cut it pretty close and she found it harder to get a ride the smaller the town. She was running the table on Bubba and his three brother-cousins (which was uncharitable but none the less it was true). They were into her for two-fifty, pushing three hundred. She lined up the shot, took it, called the three rail corner pocket. The balls fell as she predicted.
What she hadn’t expected was the sucker punch that came damn close to laying her out flat on her back. Her head reeled from the force of the unseen blow and she grabbed her jaw, having heard something crack. “Sonova–”
“Well someone oughta teach ya ta cheat, girlie,” Cousin Number Two growled low in his beareded throat. “No bitch’s gonna cheat us.”