The sun reigned down the Earth with the heat and light that only mid-Spring can give: Heated but not scorching, a dry heat with a mix of humidity. The air is filled with the sounds of the Foo Fighters on the local rock station, which was being played from the open garage of a local body shop. Along with the sound of music, the noise of drilling and car engines filled the air from the garage.
Daniel pulled himself out of the engine of a red 1970 El Camino. He smoothed out his white undershirt, which was stained with oil stains. He took a deep breath, finally breathing fresh air; his stomach sucking in and then slowly released back to its large girth. Daniel looked at the owner of the car, a balding, skinny man with a bushy mustache and a Dale Earnhardt T-shirt and blue jeans. The customer had a distant look on his face and then spoke in a thick, Southern twang.
“It gonna get fixed?”
“What the hell did you do to it?” Daniel asked. “I never saw a car that had that many modifications and still is just a piece of shit.”
“I race it.”
“You what it?”
“I race it!” the customer said, beaming with pride.
“How the hell do you get it to the track?”
The customer shook his head. “Not a track. I race it in the backwoods.”
“Where there is none roads. I beat the boys in the truck all the time.”
Daniel’s jaw dropped. “You do know El Camino’s is not meant to go off road. Right?”
The man shook his head. “I modified it to make it go off road.”
Daniel lowered his head. “That… is the stupidest thing I ever heard.”
“But I win every race. Well, not last time. You see the misses and I are expecting a baby, well, was. I thought I could beat the ambulance to the hospital but my baby boy wanted out quick, snap and in a hurry. So she gave birth in the back of my El Camino on the side of the road.”
“I need a drink…”
Daniel walked away from the customer who was waving at him to come back and finish the job. Daniel walked into the office and opened the minifridge. After sighing, he took a water bottle, knowing that his father would fire him if he started drinking booze again. Daniel caught his reflection in a picture on his desk. It was the sonogram of his soon to be child, the baby that grew in Rebecca. He first saw himself; his short, crew cut red hair and pudgy face. He already has given up drinking and went to work for his father, so he can make an honest living for his new family. Then his eyes shifted to the actual sonogram and it finally hit him again. He’s going to be a father. Is he really ready? Will the baby be healthy?
His thoughts were broken when one of his co-workers came into the office. Daniel looked at him, placing the sonogram back down.
“Rebecca is here for you. Seems important,” he said.
Daniel nodded to them, “Thanks, I’ll be right out.”
Outside of the body shop was a deep purple Honda Civic. Although the windows were tinted, two females were visible inside the car. One was quite bigger than the other, with her swollen stomach that gave room to her growing child. Beside her, in the driver seat, was a woman with the scent of various flowers. Her hair was dark, almost like her complexion, curly and bouncy. She checked her light make up in the rearview mirror, half worried it was flawed in her haste. Tatiana finally held the shaky hand of Rebecca.
“You can do this. Daniel will protest you,” she urged.
Rebecca looked at her, her eyes swelling with tears. “That’s what I’m scared of. When he finds out what kind of madman Sid is, he’ll go out looking for him. Daniel is a great guy but picking a fight with Sid is like bringing a knife to a gun fight.”
Tatiana raised an eyebrow, “He’s that dangerous? What is he, Green Beret?”
Rebecca shook her head, “I don’t know. So much he told me was a lie. But he is dangerous, I seen him break the backs of three men in a row.”
Tatiana’s eyes shot open, never hearing that story. She then points, “Here comes Daniel.”
Rebecca shoved the car door open and ran to Daniels’ arms. As soon as they embraced she began to cry in his arms. Tatiana watched the scene from a far and put her hand to her mouth. She started to whisper to herself, “Is Sid as dangerous as she thinks? If he is, can Daniel, that drunk, even stand a chance? He did escape from that prison without being seen…”
Rebecca was now in Daniel’s truck behind the body shop. Daniel was on his cell phone, “…Yes, just look at the engine and that redneck will tell you what he did. I’m taking the rest of the day off, pops.”
Daniel hung up the phone and looked at his fiancée. “Alright, tell me what happened Rebecca. I never seen you so upset.”
Rebecca took a deep breath. After a moment of silence she finally asked, “Did you see the news this morning?”
Daniel looked away for a second, thinking hard. “I saw the weather and that some scene in Titanic is being changed for some reason. Why?”
She closed her eyes, thinking of the words to say. “A man escaped from prison last night.”
“I would too. Prison is a bad place.”
“I think he’s coming after me.”
A dark expression came over Daniel’s face. He spoke in a harden voice, “Who is?”
“His name is Shaman Sid. He’s my ex-boyfriend.”
“I thought I was your first boyfriend.”
She gently shook her head. “I wish you were Danny, I really do.”
“Why would he come after you?”
Rebecca looks at him, “To impregnate me to bring the reincarnation of Alistair Crowley.”
Daniel looked around, and when he looked at Rebecca he had a confused look on his face. “Mind running that by me again, babe?”
“Sid thinks he’s a shaman and that his seed will bring back another crazy guy who is supposed to be the Great Beast of the Book of Revelations.”
“That’s… slightly better to understand,” he noted out loud. “But why you? How you get caught up in this?”
Rebecca took another breath and held the top of her swollen stomach. “I met him online. I went to the next county to see him and his friends. He was so wise and charming. He helped me write many of my essays in high school. You know, the ones that I got As on, those were his words. But…”
“He hurt me.”
Daniel growled and clenched his fist. “He better keep running.”
Rebecca shook her head, “He also hurt Zeek.”
Daniel raised an eyebrow, “Your cousin? How?”
“You notice how one of his eyes is fake? It’s because Sid through a dart at him and it landed in his eye. Plus he… nevermind.”
“He what?” he asked, his voice raised. He grabbed hold of her wrist. Rebecca pulled away.
“If I tell you you’ll never touch me again.”
“That’s impossible. I’m marrying you, Rebecca. We’re having a child. Nothing some sick whack job did will change that.”
She still shook his head. “The things he made me do to Zeek, I can never forgive myself, nor do I expect you to. Zeek was too young to remember, thank God.”
Daniel clenched his fist again, “That asshole is good as dead.”
She wheezed a small laugh. “He always said to be dead is to be the wisest.”
“Let me take you home babe. I promise you, you’re safe with me.”
Rebecca looked at him. “Smile for me. I know when you smile everything will be okay.”
A tear rolled down Rebecca’s cheek as Daniel forced himself to smile.