Logan chuckled at her. The dichotomy between her apparent youth, and actual age, still amused him. She made an interesting addition to John’s life, because she’d add the sort of bumptious energy he didn’t get much exposure to. In fact, he’d avoided that sort of thing for as long as they’d been friends.
John’s “sin,” if it could be called one, was that he was often too serious. Etty would change that for sure!
The rest of the drive passed that way, Logan, and Etty, chatting about random things while the other two napped in their seats.
Donna snorted, and snapped awake, as soon as the truck turned onto the road leading to Logan’s house. John woke up a little more gently, and yawned expansively as the truck rumbled on the gravel of Logan’s driveway.
“I really slept most of the way here?” Donna asked, rubbing her eyes.
“You did!” Logan merrily replied. “Etty’s hand massage skills are formidable.”
“No kidding.” John commented from the back seat. “Maybe that’s what we ought to do; send you to Massage Therapy School, so you can get licensed to practice in Virginia?”
“You have to be licensed to touch people here?” Etty asked, surprised at such a thing.
“Guys, you’ve forgotten something really important,” Donna said, unlatching her seatbelt. “Etty doesn’t have a birth certificate, Social Security Number, or anything. You can’t send someone to school if they don’t have identification, and some kind of educational history.”
John let himself out of his seat, frowned at Donna’s logic, and opened the side door of the truck. He turned back to look at his wife, and Donna, who was watching him from the top of the passenger seat.
“I really don’t like it when you’re the logical one, Donna.”
He hopped down out onto the rocky car path, and waited for everyone else to get out before organizing removing the leftovers, and cleaning the inside of the truck’s kitchen.
Donna’s feet hit the gravel, and she bent over at the waist, groaning as she stretched her back out.
The sound of her stretching nearly masked the noise of something landing on the ground behind him. John pivoted on his heel, and came face to face with a mound of smelly fabric, and a set of black, weeping eyes. A wiry hand shot out from the rags and wrapped around his throat.
Etty screamed. Donna went up on the balls of her feet, and flexed her knees, getting ready to launch herself at the newcomer.
John grabbed the bony wrist, and tried to pull away from the grip that was threatening to cut off the blood flow to his brain. It wasn’t working.
“Oh, lad, don’t you be fightin’ me. Water freezes cold. Heart sparrow-quiet. I’ll deal with you soon enough.” The awful-smelling man said to him, and his resistance drained away.
When John was limp under his hand, Herring turned to Etty, and spared a quick glance in Donna’s direction.
“Miss, don’t you go jumpin’ at me, or I’ll tear this lad’s throat out before I kill you. I came here to talk with this young girl.” He pointed at Etty with his free hand. “Oh, and you, tall fella, don’t you think I don’t notice you sneakin’ around the back o’ your vehicle. I’d stand still, if I were you.”