Special Note: This is the final section of a four-part series. If you haven’t read Part I, Part II, and Part III, please scroll to the bottom of the page so you can start the tale from the beginning.
I resist the urge to run straight out back where the cars are neatly stacked in tidy rows. Instead, I cut to the right and go behind the office into the oldest part of the yard where the cars are crowded together, and there are more places to hide.
I move quietly and quickly, trying not to disturb anything that might make a loud noise. I listen for everything, but hear nothing. No footsteps behind me.
Did he follow me out? Or is he still waiting for me in the office? Sitting on my chair, fiddling with his knife, biding his time until I do something dumb like make a run for the door.
A thought strikes my mind that chills me. What if Ernesto comes back? What if Benjie gets to him first?
The awful scenario plays before my eyes. Ernesto walking through the door unaware, and Benjie plunging his knife into him over and over.
I shudder. That horrible knife! I wince at the possibility of it cutting into my skin, going deep, of what it can do to me.
Don’t go there! I warn myself.
Instead, I focus on the bat in my hands. I recall feeling the thunk as it struck his body. This is not impossible! If I hit him once, then I can hit my again!
I have to stay hidden. I crouch low behind a grey Chevrolet Venture van. I don’t want to go any further into the yard. If I hear Ernesto call out for me. I want to be close enough to warn him.
The cars above me give some cover. I consider hiding in the van, but nix the idea. If I stay in one spot, Benjie will find me. I don’t want to be trapped. No, I have to stay mobile.
I feel my hands shaking, so I grip the bat tighter. No matter what, I will whack him as many times as I can I vow to myself.
He’s a giant! My fear talks back. Look at Dave and Bob, they’re both dead! Strong guys, mechanics who worked on cars for years. What can you do?
The weight of the bat gives me an answer. So help me, I will take out his legs and cut him down to my size.
I see Miss Kitty sitting in the row next to me. I’m crouched close to the passenger side fender and she’s just a few feet away. Her back is to me. She doesn’t look in my direction. I don’t dare call out to her. She keeps looking straight ahead.
I hear footsteps coming up on the other side of the van, heavy steps. I see his plaid flannel shirt through the car window and smell his stench. That nasty smell of not bathing for days. He’s heading towards Miss Kitty.
Why doesn’t she run? She must know he’s behind her! He’s almost close enough to grab her. She’s not moving! I see him start to lift his knife.
He’s not hurting Miss Kitty! The thought burns through me as I swing hard and I swing low. I hear the crack of the bat as it hits the shin.
“Aagh!” He cries as he doubles over to grab his leg.
“Keep hitting!” I yell at myself as I strike again whacking his upper arm and watch as his body wrenches in pain.
It’s not enough. He starts to get to his feet. He’s not staying down.
I hit him again as he starts to rise. This time he stumbles back into a car.
The car is missing its door, so I’m expecting him to fall into the front seat, but that’s not what happens.
He’s sucked into the vehicle. That’s the only word for it. The car sucks him in with such force that his back slams into the passenger side door, and I hear the thump of his head against the glass.
We look at each other dumbfounded.
He tries to lift himself up, but he can’t. He’s stuck. Superglued. Banging his arms in panic, pulling on the headrest, trying anything to free himself, but nothing works.
He looks at me again. Hateful eyes, as if I am to blame. I shake my head as if to say no, it’s not me. His lips curl into a half smile as he throws his knife at me. I see the blade, but before the tip crosses the threshold of the car it disappears into thin air.
Benjie’s eyes grow wild. He starts screaming, but the sound is drowned out by a dozen car alarms. The yard is alive with the obnoxious alarms coming from all directions.
I watch Benjie scream in terror with his mouth open and eyes wide. His fists pounding the car, but I can’t hear him.
He melts into the front seat and the passenger side door. Any part of him touching the vehicle dissolves into it. Quickly going away, even down to his head resting on the front seat. His hateful eyes still looking at me. Blaming me. Until that too is gone, and there is not a single trace of him left. The car looks as it did before.
The car alarms stop. All is quiet.
Should I be afraid? Benjie is gone, right? I didn’t imagine it, but then again I can’t exactly believe it, either. Whatever it was, it saved me, didn’t it?
Miss Kitty breaks my thoughts. She hops onto the front seat of the car and looks at me with her green eyes. She wants me to come to her.
I’m scared, but I trust her. I lean inside and nestle my fingertips into her soft fur. I feel her love, and I feel safe. Gratitude. Miss Kitty reminds me to be grateful.
“Thank you,” I whisper inside the car. Miss Kitty purrs. Satisfied, she rises and hops out of the car. I follow her to the office.
“Sammy! Sammy!” Ernesto’s voice fills the yard.
“Over here!” I yell back.
I watch him run towards me. His eyes scanning all around. His hand clutching the crescent wrench.
“Sammy, the police think he’s here. They found a hole in the fence between our yard and Steve’s place. There’s footsteps leading onto the yard. They’re searching the place. I’m so glad you’re safe. I’m sorry, Sammy. I never would have left you if I’d known!” Ernesto’s voice has a slight shake to it. He holds me close, but his eyes keep scanning around us.
I see several police officers enter the yard, guns drawn, looking into the cars.
“Did you see him?” Ernesto asks.
“Nope,” I answer. Yep, I’m lying. The guys here never listen to me. They never take me seriously. Even Ernesto, who I love dearly, would never believe my story.
“Is Steve okay?” I ask.
“He’s messed up really bad, but there’s a good chance he’s going to make it. Sammy, I’m going to close the yard until they find Benjie. It’s too dangerous,” Ernesto announces as he pulls me closer to him.
“No way!” I look up at him and smile. “Listen to me, I don’t think we have to worry about Benjie Harris anymore. I’m sure he’s long gone. Let the police search the yard and then it’s back to business.”
“Really, Sammy? You’re not scared?” Ernesto laughs.
“Of course, not. I don’t think the Junkyard will let anything bad happen to us. We belong here,” I laugh and snuggle up to him.
“You’re sure?” He asks one more time.
“Yes, my love. Another day, another dollar!” I place the bat on my shoulder and walk hand and hand with Ernesto back to the office.
The Junkyard is open.
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