Seconds Away Page 48

Then Spoon said, ’’O. M. G.’’

The first thing I noticed was the money bundles and bundles of cash, wrapped up in rubber bands. It was impossible to say how much. Ema reached down and picked one up. She started fingering through the bills of Ben Franklin.

’’They\'re all hundred-dollar bills,’’ Ema said.

’’Did you know,’’ Spoon said, ’’that Benjamin Franklin was an expert swimmer?’’

’’Not now, Spoon.’’

Ema moved a few packs of bills to the side, and that was when we saw the plastic bags loaded with white powder.

’’Do you think those are drugs?’’ Spoon asked.

’’I don\'t think they\'re baby powder,’’ I replied.

’’We need to get this to the police,’’ Ema said.

Spoon stood back up. ’’You\'re kidding, right?’’

’’No.’’

’’We just illegally broke into the school,’’ Spoon said, with a tinge of agitation in his voice. ’’We illegally broke into this locker. Do you know how much trouble we\'ll get in?’’

’’He has a point,’’ I said.

’’And who\'s going to believe that we just found it?’’ Spoon continued, raising both arms in the air excitedly. ’’Suppose they think we\'re the drug dealers. I\'ve already got a rep, you know. They\'ll send me to the big house.’’

’’The big house?’’ Ema repeated.

’’The slammer, the joint, the pen, up the river, juvie, the clink ’’

’’Okay, Spoon,’’ I said.

’’We can\'t tell anyone we found this,’’ Spoon insisted. ’’Don\'t you see? Imagine a tasty morsel like me in a prison.’’

’’Relax,’’ I said. ’’No one is going to prison.’’

’’And suppose they do believe us?’’ Spoon continued. ’’Suppose we tell the truth and they believe us and it all traces back to Rachel. How is she going to explain this?’’

Silence. Even Ema knew that he was making sense.

’’We need to think,’’ I said.

’’Quickly,’’ Spoon added.

’’We can\'t just let it go either,’’ Ema said. ’’We know what happened now. Rachel\'s mom goes on a rant about how evil her father is. Rachel investigates. She finds this bag. She hides it and contacts the Abeona Shelter, right?’’

I nodded, remembering my conversation with Shaved Head. He had thought that maybe Rachel had given me the package. She hadn\'t. I wondered why Rachel hadn\'t told me about it, but now I understood. Her mother was killed over this package. Rachel herself was shot. If she told me where it was, well, she\'d be putting me in danger too.

’’Meanwhile,’’ Ema continued, ’’Rachel\'s dad or those bad guys are wondering what happened to the bag. They figured out that Rachel must have taken it . . .’’

’’No,’’ I said. ’’They probably figured that Rachel\'s mom had taken it.’’

’’Right. So they went after her, and, well, we know what happened next.’’

’’She ended up dead.’’

Spoon said, ’’We gotta go. Let\'s just put the bag back in the locker and try to think it out.’’

’’That won\'t work either,’’ I said. ’’The lock is broken. We can\'t leave it in an unlocked locker.’’

’’So what do we do?’’ Ema asked.

’’You give it to us.’’

I spun toward the rough voice. The two men I spotted in the souped-up car at Rachel\'s house were there. Both men were carrying guns. Scarface, the one Detective Waters had warned me about, said, ’’Nobody move. Put your hands up.’’

’’But if we\'re not supposed to move,’’ Spoon began, ’’how can we put our hands up?’’

Scarface pointed his gun at Spoon\'s chest. ’’You being a smart mouth with me?’’

’’No, no, it\'s okay,’’ I said in the calmest voice I could muster. ’’We\'re all doing exactly what you tell us. You\'re in charge here.’’

’’Bet your butt I\'m in charge,’’ Scarface said, turning his attention back to me. ’’Now take off those stupid masks.’’

Spoon: ’’But if we\'re not supposed to move ’’

’’Spoon,’’ I interrupted. I shook my head at him to shut him up. We all took off our masks and dropped them on the floor.

Scarface pocketed his gun, but his partner was still at the ready. The partner was a huge guy. He wore his sunglasses indoors in the dark and sported the blankest expression I had ever seen on his face. He looked like a bored, cold killer, like he would just as soon shoot us as not, no biggie. I didn\'t know what to do or say, so for now, I just stayed silent.

Scarface walked over to the gym bag. He bent down and looked inside.

’’It all there?’’ Sunglasses asked.

’’Seems to be,’’ Scarface said. He stood and grinned at me. ’’Thanks for finding our stuff for us, Mickey.’’

’’How do you know my name?’’ I asked.

’’Simple really. We figured that either Rachel or Mommy stole our little package from Daddy. So we got a hold of her cell phone records. Seems she called you right before the big bang-bang, so we figured, hey, maybe you, her boyfriend, helped her hide it. So we started following you. Easy-peasy, right?’’

The baby talk, to put it mildly, was unnerving.

’’Right,’’ I said. ’’You got your stuff. You can go now.’’

Scarface grinned at Sunglasses. The corner of Sunglasses\'s lips twitched. I didn\'t like that twitch.

Scarface zippered the bag back up. ’’When we followed you to that burned-up old house, well, for a second I thought maybe she hid the stuff there and it got burned up. That would have been very, very bad.’’

’’But that wasn\'t the case,’’ I said, trying to stand a little taller. ’’Your stuff was here the whole time. Now it\'s yours again.’’

’’Yep,’’ Scarface said. ’’I see that. Only one problem.’’

I swallowed. The small stone of fear in my chest started expanding, making it hard to breathe. ’’What\'s that?’’

’’You guys. I mean, you saw our faces.’’

’’We won\'t say a word,’’ Ema said.

Scarface turned his attention to her now. As he moved closer to Ema, I tried to slip between them, but he stopped me with a glare. I didn\'t like the look in his eyes. They were cruel eyes, the kind that enjoyed hurting others the kind, I realized with mounting horror, that would never listen to reason.

’’You expect me to just trust you, sweet cheeks?’’ Scarface asked. His face was mere inches away from Ema\'s now. She looked as though she was about to cry. ’’You expect us to just, what, let you go?’’


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