Bob the sherif answered.
There was no need to embellish that sentence, really, as it spoke volumes all by itself.
Bob the sherif answered.
Anyone in this small American town who heard that short, simple sentence would cringe.
Bob. The sherif. Answered.
Christian swallowed and took a deep breath, imagining he could almost taste the smoke rolling out from the phone the he held gingerly by his ear.
Bob answered, and the world shook out of its happy orbit. “Whooo…?” His voice was slurred, as though it had to crawl through toffee to reach Christian’s ear.
Christian shooed away Emmanuel, and shifted the phone to his other ear. “Sherif. It’s Christian. Christian Hale.”
“Don’t know no Christian Gale.”
“Hale. I’m the farmer who lives up town.”
“We have a farmer?”
Christian sighed. “Yes. I, uh, need the assistance of the police, my daughter, she-“
Wheezing laughter. “You need the what, boy? Police? Oh that’s a good one, I like that.”
Christian tighten his grip on the phone, feeling his jaw clench. “My daughter is God long knows where, and you bastards better do something about it.”
There was a silence, then Christian heard Bob’s voice from far away, as if he held the phone at a distance and called out to the room behind him. “Hear that boys? Us bastards better save his daughter!” The room erupted with laughter, but it sounded tinny and fake to Christian’s ear. Grinding his jaw, he slammed down the phone and glared at Emmanuel. Emmanuel tilted his head.
“There’s a special place in Hell for people like that. I’ve seen it. It’s very damp, and very nasty.”
Christian smiled grimly. “Thank you, Emmanuel. You have cheered me up considerably. Come on.” he swung a picnic bag over his shoulder, stuffing some supplies into it as he made his way towards the door. “Let’s go find Colette.”
Emmanuel followed him out the door, and if Christian had believed in auras (which he didn’t), he would have said without a doubt that Emmanuel’s oozed dubiousness. Christian could even hear Emmanuel occasionally sucking his breath in through his teeth. Each time he did, Christian’s shoulders tensed a little more. Emmanuel didn’t notice. Or maybe he did, but he didn’t care. Christian slid into his car, tossing his supplies in the back and slamming the door with rather more force than necessary. Emmanuel slid in beside him. There was a pause, then:
“What now, Christian Hale?”
Christian laid his head on the steering wheel. “I don’t know. We need to find Colette, and this is the only direction she could have gone…” The car pointed into the desert. It was very wide, very dark, and very...
"Nefarious, Christian. It's nefarious."
There was a pause, then Christian sat straighter, looking Emmanuel in the eye. "You... you read my mind?"
Emmanuel nodded seriously.
Christian reached into the back and pulled out some vodka. He had a feeling he may need it in the night to come.
Then together, man and angel drove into the desert, silence between and behind them, and only God knew what in front.