Chapter 37 - SUV Back
Before I could do anything, I heard the door to the station open again. And I could see Robbie and Chet come through the door followed by three men in dark suits. These three had wicked looking little machine guns in their hands. They motioned Chet and Robbie over to the truck.
One of them opened the back of the closest SUV and then stepped out to act as lookout. It was a weird dance that the three men in suits were doing to keep clear fields of fire as they maintained their targets.
Chet and Robbie grumbled under their breath. They opened the back of the pickup and slid out Apoc’s cage. They grunted a little when they lifted, but they were strong and they put the cage in the back of the SUV. Then they came back for me and I could hear what they were whispering.
“Forest Service my ass. There’s no way she made it through the training, even 30 years ago.”
“Yeah, well what if they are right about these animals being infectious. I don’t want some crazy disease from some fucking wild animal - I knew I should have shot ’em. I only took this job because it’s easy and safe, with good benefits.”
“What kind of ranger name is Miz Cross? Something about this whole thing feels off to me. Do you remember the first question she asked? ‘Did we talk to the wolves?’ Uh, no weirdo, they are wild animals.”
“Cut the chatter,” one of the suits barked.
They slid my cage into the SUV. “Back inside, Miss Cross would like to continue her debrief.”
They shut the SUV’s rear cargo door and I couldn’t hear anything further. The engine was running, I could hear the A/C compressor, I could smell the trees outside, a crunching noise... salt and pumpkin seeds and the faint whiff of dip, and I could hear someone up front, but couldn’t see anyone. I could hear Apoc pacing in his cage. It was hard to see directly through the air holes. I nosed the cage door, it creaked quietly and then swung a little. I nosed it again softly and it swung a little more, Alan had somehow pulled the bar of the hinges so the teeth were just resting on each other and the door hung by the still closed latch. ‘Oh bless you Alan’, I thought to myself, ‘now how to get out without anyone hearing’. I wondered if Alan had done the same to Apoc’s cage. I nosed the door open.
Snick... the door ran into the rear cargo door. They hadn’t pushed my cage in far enough for me to fit through the opening. I tried wedging my head through, maybe I could push the cage. I pushed and then it clunked... louder than I thought and the door dangled free by the lock with a screech.
“Settle down back there.” I froze.
Apoc snarled, and howled banging around in his cage. Bless his heart he was trying to be a distraction. He must have heard me with the gate. After a minute or so I gave up, the rug had a tight hold on the cage and I was standing on the floor of the cage keeping it firmly down on the rug. Catch-22.
I heard the station door open again and shifted to peek out the holes.