Chapter 2: .miss/murder
I hadn't received training for this situation. France had never told me what to do if someone shot up the place. I had to use my common sense. But what was common about this situation? I really didn't know. I was standing in plane sight. I could see the inside of the shop. It was dark. Someone had taken out the lights. I couldn't see anyone moving inside. That was a good sign, right? That meant that there wasn't a hostage situation. Or maybe it meant that they all were dead. I felt sick.
It was probably the junky. It was definitely the junky. How could I let him do this? How could I let him shoot up my shop? Why hadn't I stopped him?
"What should we do?" Derrick cried. I looked at him and noticed that my eyes were watering. I quickly wiped the tears and mentally slapped myself in the face. This was no time to get emotional. I didn't even know what was going on.
Suddenly I saw movement inside the shop. I dropped to my knees. The whole situation was so wrong, and I had no idea what to do. Derrick was standing there as frozen to stone. I dragged him down with me. Slowly I started moving to the backside of the car. It was ironic that I now would use a car as protection. That same type of car that I recently thought couldn't protect me.
"My parents are in the shop," Derrick said, tears still streaming down his face. His eyeliner was getting smeared across his cheeks.
"Be quiet," I begged. I was just as scared as him. I then remembered to call the police. My phone had just run out of battery, but I got to borrow Derrick's phone. He had a brand new one. That still had the plastic protection on the screen. I ripped it off, and started dialling the number. For half a second I forgot the police's number. But I soon remembered. I dialled the number and put the phone to my ear, listening to the sounds of the phone ringing. It didn't take many rings until a woman answered. She explained who she was, the woman sitting in the police central, answering emergency calls. And then she asked me what my emergency was.
"I'm at France's Petrol Station, by the motorway on the way out of town." I took a deep breath, trying to collect my thoughts. "Someone just fired four gunshots inside the shop." The woman went quiet for a second before she slowly started ordering me around. She asked me whether I was safe or not, how many people were with me, and if I had the chance to get out of there. I told her I had a scooter, but it was a one-person only scooter. I had Derrick with me, and I couldn't just leave him here.
She went quiet again. She sighed before she lowered her voice. "I technically shouldn't tell you this, but a girl was found raped and murdered in the city just before you called. Some officers are on their way to your location, but most of them are still at the other crime scene."
I took a deep breath again and hoped that it wasn't the same culprit. I got a shiver down my spine as she told me the gruesome details to the murder. I was pretty glad about one thing. Derrick couldn't hear our conversation. The woman on the phone said goodbye and told me to call if the situation changed. They had dispatched a bunch of officers to our location, but I knew it would take them thirty minutes to come.
"Can I make another phone call?" I asked the teenager. He nodded, too scared to even utter a word.
I quickly dialled the number I was most familiar with. He answered on the second ring.
"Chris," I breathed out, happy to hear his breath in my ear.
"How is the shift going?" he asked. The music in the background was loud. His voice was slightly slurred. He had been drinking. Chris was a party animal. Sometimes I thought he partied too much. It was like he had two things on his mind: Sports and drinking. He was a meathead, but I still loved him. We had been together for over a year and we loved each other.
"We have a situation," I said as quickly as I could. He went quiet on the other side of the line. We had codes for everything, and he knew all too well what this one meant.
"What?," he asked. Now his voice was clear as day.
"A junky just fired a round in the shop. I'm outside, and the cops are on their way. Please come," I begged. Chris was quiet on the other side. That meant he understood the seriousness of the situation.
"I'm on my way with some buddies," he said. "Stay where you are and don't move." Then he told me he loved me and ended our call. I was so scared. Not only for the situation I was in, but also for Chris. Chris would probably be speeding here.
I wanted to leave on my scooter. Would that make too much sound? I looked at the shop. It was still dark inside, with a shadow pacing back and forward over the linoleum floor.
"Can you see who it is?" Derrick asked through his teeth. He was even more scared than me. A dark patch on his dark-grey trousers made that pretty obvious. I had never been so scared that I had pissed myself, but I could understand why he did it.
"I don't know, but I imagine your parents would come out if it was them," I admitted. I thought it was best to be honest right now. I didn't want to lie to the boy, and I didn't want to make him even more scared. That was the problem. I didn't feel like breaking his heart by telling him his parents were dead. I didn't know whether they lived or not, so I couldn't tell him based on assumptions.
Quarter of an hour passed. The inside of the station was still darkened, and the whole incident shrouded in darkness. The movements had stopped. I kept glancing down at my watch, looking at the second hand as it made its round around the face. I assumed the worst, but still hoped for the best. I didn't want to imagine Emily's body cold on the ground. I didn't want to imagine the couple bleeding out onto the hard floor. It was all too much for the teenager and me. I saw him fight the tears as we hid behind the car. I watched him as the wiped them on his black shirt.
A car came from the distance. I looked down on my watch again. It was too early for it to be the cops or Chris. Chris was probably twenty minutes away when I called him. If I knew him, and I knew I did, he would speed with all the force of his car. He loved his car. A Toyota Corolla, but a good car nonetheless. I hated sitting in most cars, but there was something about that Toyota Corolla that made it comfortable for me. I could sit in it and forget about everything. Just listening to his breath as he drove forward. Listening to his almost inaudible voice as he rambled on about cars and parties he had been to. I missed having him here. He usually came to hang out when I was working the graveyard shift. He brought beer and some good music. I didn't get to drink while I was working, but Chris had a nice little camp in the back room where he'd sit down with his beer and boom box. Every once in a while he'd come to check on me. If customers were too forward he'd put them back in line. Having Chris around made me feel safe. Too bad he wasn't here right now. He would probably make everything better.
Now, I know it might sound like I'm some damsel in distress, needing my knight in shining armour to be there for me. I swear I'm not. Most of the times customers were too forward, I could handle them myself. I even kicked a man in the groin once.
That thought made me laugh. Derrick turned to look at me. He stared as if I was going crazy.
"What?" I asked, getting annoyed. Derrick sat down. He had been standing hunched over for a while, and his feet were getting tired.
"A car is on its way," Derrick said. I suddenly remembered the car that came charging over the motorway. I jumped out from my hiding spot and ran into the middle of the road. Yes, I was standing in the middle of the road, jumping up and down; hoping the guy in the pick up would see me. The breaks screeched as he came to a stop right in front of my face. The headlights blinded me momentarily.
A strong, angry looking, middle-aged guy came out of the truck. By came out I actually meant jumped out. He came towards me with an angry expression on his greasy face. He probably worked in a garage or something like that, from the look of it.
His angry expression changed when he saw the state I was in. The drying tears, the shakiness. I clutched the phone in my right fist. He looked at me with a puzzled expression now.
I was relieved. Relieved that we finally had another person here. Relived that this person looked like he could handle himself. I rushed towards him and cried into his chest. He patted me on my head. With a rusty voice he asked what was wrong. I couldn't stop crying.
"Someone just shot up the petrol station," I cried into his chest.
He let me go from his chest and ran to the boot of his car. He opened the boot and took out a shotgun. The strong man gave me a look. It said so many things.
He walked straight into the shop. He didn't even flinch. I held my breath and ran back to behind the car where Derrick was waiting.
"Do you know him?," Derrick asked.
"No, but he's willing to help."
"What kind of sane person drives around with a shotgun?" I wondered about the same thing, but after the madness of today, I didn't really care. All I wanted to do was to run inside the shop and see that everything was fine. Em, fine. Derrick's parents, fine. Hell, even the junky, fine. I wiped my tears for what was probably the hundredth time and I looked up. I saw movement from inside the shop. Someone was moving quickly across the floor. Then the person stopped moving. I looked up to see if anyone was coming out of the shop. Sure enough, the strong man was walking out. To my surprise he had the druggie in his arms. The shotgun was placed over his shoulder. The druggie was bleeding from a gunshot wound in the shoulder. It was smearing across the strong man's flannel shirt. The druggie looked completely and utterly terrified. He was shaking even more than before. His eyes were big and puffy and he had blood across his face.
Even the strong man looked shaken, but it was as if he was trying to keep it together. For our sake.
I was still too scared to move, but Derrick rushed towards the strong man. Loudly he asked what happened to his parents. The strong man shook his head, slowly. They walked toward the car. The strong man dropped the addict on the ground in front of me. He held his wounds, but he still looked high as hell. He had dilated pupils and everything. I wondered what kind of drug he was on.
Then I remembered Emily. The strong man was standing against the car with his head in his hands. Blood had stained his hands.
My head bounced up as I heard the sound of sirens in the distance. They were coming closer. Slowly at first, but then faster. Then I could see the lights. I cried, relieved, when the cars stopped in front of us, in the middle of the motorway. An officer jumped out. It was Scott Winchester. I knew him. He was a young officer, just a couple years older than me. Scott and I had gone to the same primary school. I had to admit that I had a crush on him before starting my secondary education.
"Onila," Scott said. "Tell me what happened." He had two officers around him. An ambulance was coming from the distance. Two other officers were looking at the druggie and speaking on their radios.
"I don't really know. It all happened so fast," I cried.
"But you weren't inside at the time of the incident?" I shook my head slightly.
"Have anyone been inside since it happened?" The strong man looked up and said, in his ever so rusty voice: "I have".
"What was the situation?" Scott asked.
"It looked like, and I'm in no way sure, the man with the grey hair shot himself after killing the woman and the cashier. That man over there was hiding in a corner when I found him." I was shocked. I looked at Derrick who went pale. I felt tears again. How could it be Derrick's parents?
"What's your name?"
"George Kvaerner." Scott wrote it down and the other officers went inside the shop.
"Why weren't you in the shop at the time of the incident?" Scott asked.
"I was out to have a smoke. The man and his wife drove into the station and they went to pay. Then I heard the gunshots. I assumed it was the druggie," I admitted. Scott smiled apologetically.
"Onila, I probably need you to come to the station once we're done here. You should get the paramedics to look at you when they arrive."
I nodded. The ambulances stopped on the motorway. And I fell to the ground. This was the worst graveyard shift in the history of France's Petrol Station.ns 184.108.40.206da2