Under Smoke – Part One

Posted by becky on April 15, 2011 in Uncategorized |

It’s 3 a.m., my cell phone rings, as I rub my eyes to see more clearly, it says “restricted”, should I answer? Okay, I should answer, “Hello”?

Instantly when the phone rings in the middle of the night my heart practically beats out of my chest. It always scares me. I always fear someone in the family is having an emergency. I am home alone, could it be Todd or Hampton? I answer.

“Becky, its me Kim.”

“Kim, Kim who?”

“I know it has been a long time but, it is me your BFF from years ago, Kim Rowland.”

As I am trying to shake the sleepy away, I say, “Kim how are you?”

“I am not too good. Something has happened. I wondered if I could ask you for a favor?”

Still trying to process this, I say, “Yes, I guess so”.

Kim goes on the explain that she needs me to come to Villa Rica and pick her up. She explains she is in a position that she needs to come back home and she needs a ride.

This really hits me as strange because Kim has always been very independent and successful why would she need a ride?. I can hear the anxiousness in her voice.

With Todd out of town on business and Hampton at a friend’s house overnight, I tell myself, “what the heck?”.

Kim tells me to call this cell phone number she is calling me from when I get to the Burger King at the edge of town {there in Villa Rica}.

I brush my teeth, power my face, add just a touch of eyeliner and put on my favorite holey jeans and a shirt. I grab a jacket, the spring air is a little cool, tell Rose “bye” and out the door I go. As I back out of the driveway, I have a weird feeling about this.

I know it is the middle of the night so, I think to myself that I will call Todd when he gets up around 6:30 a.m. and let him know what is going on.

There was hardly anyone on the road so I just cruised down Hwy. 27, into Rome and towards Villa Rica.  By this time it had been about an hour and half since I had spoke to Kim.  She had told me not to call her until I came to the Burger King on the outside of town. She had told me it would be the second fast food restaurant on the right.

I see it up a head, fumbling for my cell phone, I drop it in the floor board. As I pull over to get it, I notice flashing lights behind the Burger King. Still a few hundred feet away from the parking lot entrance, I decide I will just try to call her from this point.

I look up recent calls and find the number Kim had called me from.  I just realized that it was strange for Kim to call my cell phone number. This number used to be my late husband’s and how would she have known the number or of known to call me on it. A question I would ask her later.

I mashed the call button and the phone rang one time and then cut off. I tried again, the same thing, it rang one time and then cut off.

Here I am sitting on the side of the road, in an unfamiliar town. Something is going on up ahead, who knows what and the reason I am here will not answer the phone! Geez, what should I do?

I thought for a minute about calling Todd, but I knew he would still be sleeping. I could always call if I got in an emergency situation.

About that time, my phone rang. It was the number I had been trying to call.  It was Kim, out of breath and seemed to be very anxious.

“I need to you to come to the Food Lion”, she said. “There is an ATM machine in the parking lot, whatever you do, do not get near it”, Kim said.

I said, “What?”.

“Just don’t”, she said.

“What is going . . .”

She interupted, “I need you here like 10 minutes ago. Just pull up to left, not in front of the store. I will come to you”. “Remember do not get near the ATM machine, it has cameras”. Kim hung up before I could say anything.

This is crazy. Should I call Todd? No, that would just worry him.

I see the Food Lion up ahead. As I approach the entrance to the left of the store I slow down.  I see the ATM machine all lit up in the middle of the parking lot. All of the sudden, my passenger side door opens. I haven’t even stopped the car good and Kim jumps in.

“Kim, what is going on?”, I asked. She looks like she has been running and her clothes are dirty. She smells like smoke. Not cigarette smoke but smoke from something burning.

Without a “Hi” or anything she motioned for me to turn to the right and go out of the parking lot near the back.

She tells me we can’t go back by the Burger King, they may set up a road block but she knows another way.

Okay, what have I jumped right in the middle of. This seems very serious. I should have already called Todd.

I tell Kim, “I need to call my boyfriend and let him know where I am”.

She saids, “No, you can’t tell anyone.”

“What? What do you mean, not tell anyone?” I said.

“Just drive, go this way!” as she pointed towards an old warehouse building.

“I am not going back there, that looks dangerous”.

Kim looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Not any more dangerous than if we get caught by Boney and his boys.


This was written for The Red Dress Club with the following prompt:

In the middle of the night, you get an urgent call from a friend you haven’t talked to in years. Something terrible has happened. What is it and why is he/she calling you?”


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