by Joel Arnold
” – the chicken or maybe the chocolate. Could’ve been the chocolate. Wasn’t wrapped. That’s not a good sign. That’s never a good sign.”
Portman wondered how long she had been talking. He had given up responding to her conversations earlier in the evening, shortly before the sun had finished stretching long shadows across the highway like dirty taffy. It took too much effort to talk. Too much energy to respond. He sensed that China knew this, and felt maybe she was talking to him to keep herself awake. Sometimes he was thankful for her voice, and other times it was unbearable.
He took another weak sip of water. It felt like a dull knife jabbing him in the guts. But he was dehydrated. He needed more. He took a deep breath, raised the jug to his lips and poured it down his throat. When the water hit his stomach, it was like an explosion of glass. He fell to his side gasping for air, wheezing, trying to hold the water down. The thing in his stomach –