Any and all attempts to stay upset were thwarted by sheer fascination. Caleb had never seen a zombie before (not entirely sure if they existed or not), but he was reminded of one when, while driving, he glanced at the run out of the corner of his eye and saw her staring straight ahead, eyes wide, body stiff. Her hands gripped each other in her lap, arms locked, and reminded himself to check later for any damage. The Boss would have a conniption if he returned the man’s new favorite employee in anything less than mint condition. You break it, you bought it. Hopefully the rule wouldn’t apply if he returned her in a physically fine but mentally unstable condition. The latter wasn’t his fault in the least bit.
Which, of course, begged the question- what in the world was she so afraid of?
He paused at a light, then made a slight left onto Main, the one street that would take him to most of his stops. First up was Lela Carmichael, librarian and local notary. The New Hope Public Library was tucked behind City Hall, along Main and Culver on the other side of the street. Caleb moved forward past the library to the next light, hooked a u-turn then coast back the way he came until he saw the sign for Culver, a small pathway too well-paved to be called an alley but too narrow to really be a street. And yet it had its own street sign anyway, as this was the only vehicle access point for many of the buildings that lined it on either side. He parked in a metered slot, put up the sign that said he was on deliveries so that he wouldn’t get a ticket, then reached for his clipboard.
Ms. Carmichael wasn’t your standard one-sandwich customer. Her tastes varied based on how attractive she felt that day. If she hit the right combination of not-so-plain skirt, blouse and the shoes that had the little heel in them, that meant she was going on a date with another potential Mr. Carmichael that night, and she’d get the #12 Garden burger with no cheese and dressing on the side. But if she had the black skirt, bulky sweater and ugly sneakers on, she would order a #42 Double Bacon Cheeseburger with onion rings and a piece of cake.
Looked like tonight was date night. Her name was on his list next to a number 12, so he drew a check next to her name and reached for the cooler pack-
-which was on the ground, next to the still frozen werewolf. She hadn’t moved once since they left, and he was trying to remember if he had seen her blink. The short trip gave him an idea, a rather stupid one really, but it was the only one he could think of that would explain her bizarre behavior.
“Hey, Runt. Snap out of it. Hello?” He tried waving a hand in front of her face which produced no response. “You aren’t seriously afraid of riding in cars, are you?”