The chase begins

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When Clay Grainger walked out of Woodson State Penitentiary, a gleaming black Escalade with heavily tinted windows was waiting in the parking lot. Grainger carried an orange trash bag, the same bags work inmate crews used when picking up trash along the highway.

Filled with what few belongings he managed to keep in prison, Grainger handed the bag to the driver before climbing into the back of the luxury SUV.

Grainger spread out along the plush seats, arms stretched across the tops of the head rests.

The driver, her eyes hidden behind mirrored aviators, pulled the car slowly out of the facility’s lot without exchanging a word with Grainger. They rode in silence until the surrounding farmland gave way to small towns.

A passenger sitting in the front seat of the SUV fished a cold can of beer out of the center console cooler then passed it back to Grainger. When Grainger didn’t take the can, the other man topped the top and tried again to hand it to his rider.

“You don’t have anything stronger?” Grainger pushed the can away.

Keeping the can, the passenger took a long drink and ignored Grainger’s question.

“You’re pissing me off, Massey.” Grainger kicked the back of the front passenger seat. “Make up for it, tell me you’ve handled Ransom.”

Will Massey, who was mid-drink, choked on the beer, spilling it in his lap.

Grainger reached around the head rest and grabbed Massey’s collar, yanking hard, he leaned in close. “You did get him, right?”

Massey managed to break free of Grainger’s grip, wiping at the wet spots on his pants. “The apartment was vacant, didn’t look like anyone’s been there in weeks.”

“The street guy gave you the slip?” Grainger kept his hand wrapped around Massey’s shirt. “And the P.I.?”

“Both are gone.” Massey struggled away from Grainger, shifting so he was out of reach. “Drake’s in the wind, and we have doubts the guy he was following was even Ransom.”

Grainger shifted back into his seat, slapping the cushions.

“We’ve got Plan B in motion,” Massey said. “We’ve got someone sitting on the Feherty chick’s place. Now that the news is out that you’ve been paroled, if Ransom is on the move, he’ll seek her out.”

“Who the hell is that?” Grainger punched the back of the passenger seat.

“She was Ransom’s dead daughter’s best friend. The mom, Ransom’s ex, gave Feherty all the girl’s stuff after the funeral.” Massey tried handing back a second beer. Grainger took this one, drinking half of it in one gulp.

“She’ll have the journals?” Grainger downed the rest of his drink.

“If anyone has them, she will,” Massey said. “That is if she kept all that junk.”

“You better hope she did,” Grainger said, punching the passenger seat.

“Why are you so hard over to get this guy?” Massey had cleaned up most of his spilled drink.

“That idiot lawyer Ransom threw my case, got me sent up for almost 20 years.” Grainger crushed his empty can. “Kept my retainer. I had to teach him a lesson, Nobody burns me without getting some blowback.”

“You targeted a kid?” Shifted in his seat to look at Grainger. “That seems heartless, even for you.”

“She was collateral damage,” Grainger said. “The trophy wife was the target, the kid wasn’t supposed to be with her. It worked in my favor, but that coward Ransom took off.”

“What’s in some high school kid’s journals that you want so badly?” Massey ducked when Grainger threw his crumpled beer car at him

“You’re asking a lot of questions,” Grainger said.

“I’m your attorney now,” Massey said. “Asking questions is what I do.”

“I’ll tell you what you need to know when you need to know it.”

Massey faced forward, without responding.

The mute driver turned the Escalade onto the interstate on-ramp heading into the city. She adjusted her sunglasses then tucked a stray strand of copper hair back under her cap before merging into morning traffic.

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Light and Shade Challenge: “Pride, envy, avarice – these are the sparks have set on fire the hearts of all men.” ~ Dante Alighieri

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