Weariness sank deep into Rayanna’s flesh, dragging her to slump lower on the driver’s seat. She blinked and glanced back at the argument on the roadside. Though she strained to make out the voices, her cheek sagged against the headrest. The hum of the idling engine washed over them and swept her under the tide of slumber.
Darkness roiled through her mind, swallowing obscure flashes of jaws and gore. Thunder surged toward her. The crack and rumble grew louder and morphed into pounding near her ear.
Her eyes fluttered open to a fist hammering the window beside her. She jolted upright.
“Open up.” Officer Bowery’s tone sharpened as he battered the glass again. “Come on.”
Rayanna croaked an apology as she fumbled at the lock button.
Grantham drew open the door and waved her out.
“Switching out?” She squinted at slouching officer’s mauled, blood-stained uniform. “You sure you feel up to–”
“I don’t feel up to showing up in town as a passenger in my own squad car.” He sped up his beckoning gesture. “Skully Egg’s a little spooked since I told him I might call other officers or the paramedics, but he could head over here if we take too long to get going.”
As she stood from the cruiser, her head swam a bit. She put a hand on the vehicle to steady herself.
He took her elbow. “Can you make it to the passenger seat, or do you need to get in the back?”
Smudges lined the rear cabin’s vinyl, summoning the memory of swampwater odors and crawling through wreckage in handcuffs past another officer’s disembodied hand.
She cleared her throat, shook her head, withdrew her arm. “No, I’d rather not put myself back there.”
*** TO BE CONTINUED ***