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Alison Meets With Simon Part Three

Her cell phone rang. Simon suddenly felt panicked.

"Don't answer that," he said.

She had fished it out of her purse, beside her on the bench in the park.

"Why not?" she asked as she checked the screen. "It's just my mom."

She raised the phone to her ear. Simon almost grabbed her arm. His eyes wide, fear exploding in his chest.

"Hi mom."

A white van stopped on the street bordering the park.

"Alison," he said harshly. "We have to go." He stood up, reached for her.

She gestured to give her a second. "Yeah mom, Thursday is still good for me."

The window of the van rolled down and the rifle barrel emerged.

"Four o'clock," Alison said.

Simon stepped away, trying to put distance between them, to keep her safe, and realized too late, the knowledge crashing like thunder through him. He wasn't the target.

"K mom, see you then."

He reversed his momentum, shifting to throw himself on her. To cover her, hold her, save her. Too late.

The blood erupted from her head. The gunshot crashed like thunder through the park. He landed on her and tackled her off the bench. Her blood splattered across his face.

Too late.