He snuck out the back window and ran down the street.
He had no idea where he was going or what he was going to do. It had all happened so fast. He needed time to think.
After a couple of blocks he stopped running and just walked. The fire trucks had gone past but he still didn’t want to draw attention to himself. Six blocks down Swan Street he turned into an alley then cut across two more streets until he got to the bus stop. He waited for twenty minutes until the bus arrived then got on and rode it to the next town. He needed some distance from everything. When he got off the bus he walked around until he found a suitable alley. It was behind a Chinese restaurant, between two apartment buildings, and away from the center of town. He found a spot out of sight beside a dumpster. He dropped his pack and began to clear a place to sit. Underneath the pile of papers and trash there was a rat that had been beheaded by a trap near an over turned container of lo-mien that had been left for bait. The blood was still wet, its back foot twitched.
Death refused to leave him alone.
He pushed it aside with his foot and sat down.
He dug the flashlight out of the bag then started going through everything. There was an envelope with three hundred dollars in it marked Derek’s birthday. He put the cash in his pocket. The rest of it was mostly insurance papers and memorabilia- his baby book, some old pictures of people he didn’t know. Nothing that could tell him why this was happening.
He wanted to hurt the men who had done this. Tear their eyes out, peel their skin off layer by layer. See them suffer waves of excruciating pain over and over again. He wanted revenge.
But even more than that he wanted his Mother’s arms around him.
Derek turned towards the dumpster, shielding the space in front of him from the street, then took the gun out of the zipper case and loaded it. He needed to get to someplace where he could think. Really think. He needed a place to hide, some place that no one would affiliate him with. He couldn’t think of any place. Finally he decided that he would just get back on the bus and ride it as long as he needed to figure things out. He shoved everything back into the back pack, leaving the gun on top, and then zippered it closed.
He was about to stand up when he heard the tires of a car slowly grind on the pavement and then stop behind him. For several minutes the vehicle just sat there, at the end of the alley, with the engine running. Derek stayed in a crouched position beside the dumpster. It was dark in the corner and if he stayed perfectly still then who ever was in the car may not notice him. His feet were starting to tingle and go numb but he didn’t dare adjust his position. Finally, the engine still running, the car door opened. Car trouble? Someone unloading trash into one of the other dumpsters at the end of the alley?
A flash light beam silhouetted him against the blue dumpster.
“You there! What are you doing?!”