1. a trusty, honest fellow.

Everything was black.

The air felt thick inside the trunk of the car. It was becoming difficult to breathe.

Raquel slid from one side to the next as the car made sharp turns and bumped over rocky terrain.

She had her suspicions about Matthew, but never thought his invitation to sneak out of the party early and take a walk would land her in this part of his car.

“Be careful, darlin’,” her fathered had warned her long ago. “The ones that shine the brightest, might not be the best, they may just be the ones with an extra layer of shoe polish on ’em.”

Her father had been a Southern boy who’d never stepped foot inside a school. His education came from his life on the streets, providing for his siblings, and doing what it took to make ends meet. In her father’s eyes and vocabulary, Matthew would never be a “truepenny.”

Raquel continued to rotate her wrists as much as possible to loosen the thin ropes.

The car slowed as it took a right turn onto a smooth surface, before stopping a few minutes later. The driver’s side opened and then closed. Raquel could hear faint footsteps, the sound of dress shoes against concrete. They might be in a driveway, she surmised.

She had always been grateful to her father for teaching her what he knew. And now she was about to teach Matthew one of her father’s most indelible lessons.

“Ya always gotta be able to take care of yourself, baby girl,” he’d said, pulling out household items from shelves, cabinets, and closets. “There are crazy people out in the world.”

The trunk opened suddenly. A small amount of light allowed Raquel to see they were in a wooded area.

Raquel smiled up at Matthew, watching as he put the car keys in his right pocket.

In less than 10 minutes, the world was about to have one less crazy person.


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