Edmond finished off the scarecrow. I wondered what the owner would think, but at least Edmond seemed less twitchy now. The woman had heard him talk and she glanced his way, probably noting the wings. She didn't seem upset, and I wondered if I should trust her at all.
Something said that I could. Maybe I was fooling myself, but I was so worn and tired that I almost wanted to confront trouble just to be done with it.
I had not expected her to take us to a nice, shiny, and bright red big rig. I climbed in, and Edmond followed to sit in my arms. She hauled herself in on the opposite side, looked around, and then pulled out.
"I'm Lucy," she said. "Been driving trucks for about fifteen years now."
"Mark," I said. "And this is Edmond. "And it only feels like we've been on the road for fifteen years."
She laughed. I sat back and relaxed for the first time in days. I had a feel for her and that she was a good, kind person. That didn't mean I understood her, though.
"Why did you come to get us?" I asked. "How did you even know where to find us?"
"At a cafe down aways," she said with a general wave behind us. "Heard some locals talking about you and the cat. Heard that the police are waiting for you along the line since they figured that part out. They were worried. Me, though ... I've traveled more than those local boys. I know magic isn't new and I've seen both good and bad. The idea that it's all bad is only making it harder for the good side to win."
"Nice to find a reasonable human again," Edmond said.
She glanced his way. "They talk about the wings, but I don't think they know he can talk."
"Came as a surprise to me the first time," I said.
"Now keep down low, both of you, when we go through town. This is part of my regular route, so people are used to seeing me here. As long as things appear normal, we shouldn't have a problem."
I slid down to the floor and held my breath. Edmond stayed on the seat, but he laid down. If he thought I was going to let him stay there and sleep --
I didn't know what town we passed through, but it was larger than most of the others I'd seen lately. We stopped at a couple lights. Cars sped past us, and Lucy cursed at a couple of them. Eventually, the sounds died away. She kept her eyes open for a bit longer and then nodded.
"Back up with you. No use hiding down there when you can be comfortable."
"This is the most comfortable I've been in a long time," I admitted, but I nudged Edmond out of the way and got back into the seat. You could see a long ways from up here -- but there wasn't much to see. Fields and fields. It wasn't much more interesting than it had been on the ground.
Lucy asked me about how we happened to be in this mess. I told her some of the highlights of my trip, from my first few days in Elsewhere to arriving back here again. I didn't tell her about the others and how they had made a train to get back to the battle. I wanted to trust her, but I wouldn't put others in danger.
And then I fell asleep. I woke up twice but slipped back away again as soon as I realized we were will safe. The day was gone when I woke again. Edmond was not on my lap, and I panicked, trying to find him.
"The cat is back on the bed," Lucy said. She was slowing down, which was what had awakened me. She waved a hand toward the back. "You get back there, too, and keep out of sight."
I am embarrassed to say that I hadn't noticed the little sleeping quarters behind the chairs. As she pulled into a big lot at a truck stop. I pushed Edmond out of the way and laid down in the shadows. Edmond growled, but he went right back to sleep.
I was awake now, though. Lucy had filled the tank with diesel and headed into the building. I had nothing to do but listen to the sounds outside. They seemed normal. Even quiet. How long had it been since I'd thought those words?
Lucy came back a little later and threw a bag at me. "Clothes," she said. "Go in, take a shower, and change. You'll feel better."
"You're going to help save the world, kid. The least some of us can do is give you some clothes."
I'd pay her back, later. I slipped out of the truck, and Edmond went off to take care of nature. I assumed he'd be careful and he'd watch things. I moved as quickly as I could and felt a lot better when I came back out. Edmond came out from under the truck, and we bounded in.
"Didn't see anything out of the ordinary," Edmond reported. "Except that everyone is really, really nervous."
"News says the National Guard and even some troops have been called into areas in the East," Lucy reported. We were already moving again. I felt better for it. I kept out of sight as best I could, but I didn't hide this time as we went through town. Something told me I wanted to keep an eye on things.
We found a roadblock at the end of town. Men in uniform surrounded us with guns ready, and I knew if I tried to hide, we'd be in worse shape. Lucy looked annoyed more than worried.
"We are not here," I whispered, holding Edmond closer. "We are not here."
I hoped the magic worked or we might all be dead.
To Be continued....