The pick-up truck was old, rusted, and probably held together by the paint. The shocks may as well have been made of rubber bands as they did nothing to lessen the bouncing and shaking of the vehicle as it traveled down the desolate two-track path in the middle of nowhere.
The ruts in the mud looked to be a result of nature, but they weren’t. They were just the first line of deterrent to keep strangers away from the little rundown country shack. He regretted making them so deep, now that he was in a hurry, and any faster the truck may fall apart right there on the path.
He bought the old truck from a farmer in the previous state he had passed through. He gave him twenty crisp one hundred dollar bills, which was far more than it was worth, but the last thing he wanted was to waste time haggling. He was in a hurry to be sure, but more importantly he had to be careful. Modern vehicles were too easy to track.
He convinced the farmer to leave his license plate on the truck, promising to mail it back to him when he moved his daughter into her college dorm. The story was a lie of course, except for the part about mailing back the plate. He would do that, because he said he would. He had no problem lying, as he had to do it all of his life, but if he gave his word, he would do what he said.
It was still midday when he arrived at the serpentine driveway that led to the cabin. It was small at first glance, and more than run-down and plain looking from the exterior, but the inside was a different story altogether.
He barely had the truck in park before he was inside. He had two large duffel bags with him that he threw on the ground as soon as he breached the doorway.
“We got a problem.” He said.
“Just as we feared?” She asked, knowing the answer before he even answered.
“How much time do we have?” She said.
“Weeks at best. That may be overly optimistic.”
“We knew when we got the information that it wouldn’t stay secret for long.” She said.
“We need to expedite things. Even so, this has to be done right. I don’t want to make the same mistake.”
Though she knew there was nothing else to be done, the guilt still crept into her bones.
“So I’m on then?” She asked.
“Yes. The arrangements have been made, and time is of the essence.”
“I had everything ready, just in case” She said as she pulled out her own duffel from under the couch. A very nice couch.
“One of these is for you as well.” He said as he set down one of his bags next to hers. “May be of use.”
She nodded then scrambled gathering the other few things she needed.
She had everything packed within a minute, leaving only the goodbye. She hated those.
“I’ll see ya then?” She said.
She looked at him as though it may be the last time. Things have become so bad over the last several years that you never knew. One of these times their luck was going to run out and they knew it. No matter how good or how careful you were some things were out of your control. They had experienced more than their share of out of control.
Before she could walk out he grabbed her and gave her a tight hug.
“Please be careful.”
“When am I not?” She said.
She was a rare and special person.
There was a small garage door that was on the opposite side of the cabin that appeared to be part of the exterior wall until it was opened. She threw the bags in the back, hit the automatic garage door, and started the engine.
The engine of the new Range Rover came to life as she pulled out onto the same grown over two-track. She set it for harsh terrain and took off, taking zero care and caution for the truck or her own comfort. Time was against them, which was usually never the case.