Chapter 22 in No Escape

  • June 13, 2022, 8:22 a.m.
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  • Public

They arrived in Klamath Falls just after four that afternoon. The weather was cooler and dryer compared to San Diego.

They were checked in at the Super Budget motel by a friendly, petite Indian woman named Serena. Her thick Indian accent was hard to understand at times yet Shania and Lauren liked how she put them at ease, along with her husband and his parents, all of whom owned the place.

They entered the room and found it to be small, yet in nicer condition than the others had been.

“The best thing about this place is that they’ve got internet access,” Lauren said.

“But what good would that do us?” asked Shania.

“A lot. I’ve got a laptop so I can contact Courtney without having to go to the library.”

“Are you sure that would be a wise thing to do?”

“Tracing e-mail is much harder to do than phone tracing. Also, if your e-mail address doesn’t have your name in it, you could be anyone. You just have to watch what you say. I’ll send a quick message saying that shopping has been loads of fun and sign it with a bogus name. She’ll know it’s me. If the authorities check on who the e-mail address belongs to, they’ll also get a bogus name because I didn’t use my real name when I signed up for it.”

“But if they find it belongs to a fictitious person, wouldn’t that raise red flags?”

Lauren nodded. “It may, but suspicion on the part of the cops is one thing, finding and proving guilt is another.”

“I see your point,” Shania said with a slight nod.

“The one thing we can’t do just yet is let anyone know where we end up settling. If we mailed that information, the cops could intercept it at the post office. They could also read it in an e-mail or hear it over the phone if they decided to tape Courtney’s phone calls, then they could come to wherever we’re at and see that it really is us.”

“Do they even know she’s your friend?”

“Not off the bat they don’t, but I’m sure there are ways they could find that out. If anything, they’ve got traces set up on my parent’s phone and mail right now. Same with Mindy’s.”

“Poor Mindy. She must’ve been grilled like hell by the police.”

“It’s possible.”

Shania lay on the soft king-size bed looking thoughtful.

“You ok, babe?” Lauren asked her a minute later.

She nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine. I just feel like an escaped convict who was locked up for some violent crime or something. Don’t you feel like a fugitive yourself?”

Lauren mulled the idea over in her mind, then said, “No, not really. I can see how some people may feel that way, but instead, I just feel like we’re simply escaping and hiding out from people who want to see you wrongly locked up. You hungry?”

Shania nodded. In fact, she hadn’t realized just how hungry she was until now.

“Come on.”

She rose to follow Lauren. Cautiously, Lauren opened the door and peered outside. She held her arm out behind her to keep her inside until she was certain that no one stood outside waiting for them. “Ok, come on,” she said.

They stepped outside and found the air was now getting heavy with moisture.

“Think it’ll rain?” asked Shania.

“Don’t know.”

“Where are we going?”

“I thought we’d go to that nearby Denny’s I saw on our way in.”

“You don’t think it’s too crowded there?”

“No,” said Lauren. “With your hair dyed and my wig, we should be fine. Your face may stand out a bit, but I have a rather plain, ordinary face that blends in quite well.”

“Insulting my tastes, are you?” Shania said, playfully punching Lauren’s arm. “I don’t go for the plain, ordinary types. I go for the special beauties.”

Lauren smiled as they approached the highway and crossed it, coming to walk against traffic until they reached the restaurant. The two stiffened as a police car slowly came towards them. The fact that the officer behind the wheel was eyeing them intently didn’t help to ease Shania’s sudden tension.

She waited in the parked sports car that her father helped her to get, despite her mother’s objections.

“Maureen, you’re going to end up spoiled for life!” her mother had insisted. “You just have to work for and get some things on your own.”

She lit up a cigarette and relaxed in her seat. Getting the address had been easy. She simply looked it up in the phonebook. Then she jotted down the address and drove over to the residence where she parked her car and staked out the area. The condominium was on the end of a row of perhaps five units, each with its own garage and driveway in between.

She’d only been there a half-hour when a young woman with long limp blond hair exited the unit she’d been studying and got into a minivan. Was this a relative? A roommate? As soon as the woman started up the van, she crushed out her cigarette and turned the ignition. She let the van back out and get a bit of a head start so she wouldn’t give herself away, then headed off after the van. They wound through some pleasant residential streets and onto a busy street where the houses became businesses.

A moment later, the van turned into a drive-thru of a fast-food joint. Before Maureen could follow, a car jumped in front of her.

“Asshole,” she muttered.

It was ok, though, since the woman would probably take her food back to the condo.

Due to the way the drive curved around the building, she was unable to see all but a corner of the van’s back bumper from where she was. It seemed to take forever between the time the woman was served and she was served.

“Finally,” she said with impatience when she was asked to order through the microphone. She ordered a drink and some fries.

Another bout of “forever” had passed by the time she reached the window. The sun was setting fast as she paid for her order and headed for the condo. Once there, she saw that the woman had indeed returned. She parked her car as far away from the condo as she could while still being able to see anyone who may come or go. She cut the engine and opened her window. Then she began to eat her fries.

Although there was light visible in the windows of the condo, she couldn’t see inside because the blinds were shut. There was no way to tell if anyone else was inside.

She waited until 9:00. When no one appeared, she decided she’d go home and call Gary. They’d made plans at the office today to get together that night for a good romp in the sack.

She would return tomorrow, she told herself as she pulled away from the curb and headed for her posh townhouse.

Later that evening, Lauren phoned the woman who was to aid them in finding jobs and it was agreed upon that she, Melanie, would come to their motel room the following morning.

She arrived at 8:00 sharp. “Welcome to Oregon,” she said in a singsong sort of voice as she entered the room.

“Oh, thank you,” Lauren said with a smile.

“I’m Melanie,” said the woman, extending a hand to Lauren.

“I’m Lauren.” She turned to face Shania. “And this here is my cousin Shania.”

“Hi, Shania.”

“Hello,” said Shania with a slight smile.

Shania liked Melanie right away and sensed that the fifty-something-year-old woman was a mellow, homebody type with kids. It wasn’t just her well-rounded body that suggested this, but her overall being. She pictured her spending a lot of time in her kitchen baking treats for the family, knitting and sewing afghans and booties for possible grandchildren, curling up by the fireplace with a good book on cold, snowy days.

The three chatted pleasantly and Shania soon learned that the divorced woman did, in fact, have a few grown kids, but no grandkids. “Their jobs leave them little free time for much else,” she explained.

“Yes, I understand that with the cost of living today, one can’t afford kids as easily as they used to,” said Lauren.

“You got that right, honey!” Melanie answered with a chuckle. “The dollar just doesn’t go very far these days. Had I waited twenty years to have my kids, I doubt I’d have had the time for them, let alone enough money to keep everyone clothed and fed.” She pulled two large manila envelopes from a briefcase. “Now, down to business.”

“Ok,” said Lauren.

Melanie handed them each an envelope. “I have new identities here for you both. Birth certificates, driver’s licenses, social security numbers.”

“Wow!” Shania exclaimed. “How did you get that?”

Lauren and Melanie chuckled.

“Sorry, can’t reveal my sources,” Melanie said. “I also have the name and address of a doctor who will take care of Shania’s arm.”

“Oh, good,” said Lauren. “I know she’d love to get that cast off as soon as possible.”

“Your husband did this to her?”

“Uh, yes,” Lauren replied, thinking quickly. “She went to intervene during one of his attacks on me, and well, the rest should be obvious.”

Melanie shook her head sadly. “Some sick puppies in this world. Anyway, with your new identities, I recommend you head over to a place called The Job Factory. I’ve got it marked on the town map that I’m also going to leave with you. They’ll have a list of all the local job openings that are available. I also recommend you stick with minimum wage jobs and not try for anything fancy. And try to avoid jobs that put you around a lot of people, such as a waitress would find.”

“Ok,” Lauren agreed, nodding her head. “We’ll get started right away.”

“Not before you two have thoroughly memorized your new names and social security numbers, as well as the phony backgrounds that have been provided for you. If one of you tells someone you’re cousins one day, then sisters the next, you could raise suspicion. It’s very important to remember the members of the family that have been provided for you, as well as where you’ve lived, where you’ve worked. You want to blend into society as much as you can without standing out or drawing any unnecessary attention to yourselves.”

“I understand,” said Lauren.

“Lastly, I think it’d be best to avoid looking for places to rent.”

“Where would we live then?” asked Shania.

“Instead of a house or an apartment, you’d live here.”

“Here?”

Melanie nodded. “Most motels have monthly rates. This place charges six-hundred and fifty dollars a month, and this includes all utilities, of course. The organization will pay for the first month, figuring that by the time the second month rolls around, you’ll be employed. Minimum wage here is just over seven dollars an hour, so you should easily be able to afford the rates here, even if one of you chose to work part-time.”

“Six-fifty isn’t a bad deal at all,” Lauren said.

“Maybe the owners of this motel or the ones across the street from you could use a housekeeper,” Melanie said.

“It sure would be convenient to work here since we have no car yet,” said Shania.

“Until then you can always hop a bus to work. Just try to get jobs that are on bus routes. The map also points out these routes, so familiarize yourself with the town as well as with your new backgrounds, ok ladies?”

“Yes, ma’am, and thank you very much,” said Lauren.

“You should even get in the habit of addressing each other by your aliases,” Melanie continued as she counted out the cash that would pay for a room with a kitchenette for a month.

Lauren took the money and Melanie turned to leave, telling them to call if they needed anything.

“Well then,” said Shania once Melanie was gone. “Guess it’s time to get down to business.”

“It can wait another half hour,” said Lauren, reaching to pull Shania towards her.

Embraced in Lauren’s strong, loving arms, she tilted her head back for a sensual kiss. A moment later, Lauren peeled her shirt off and then Shania’s. Shania felt her need suddenly surge as she began to tug at Lauren’s pants. Once the two were fully undressed, they made love quickly and passionately, unable to hold back for long.


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