Monster:Angels of Chaos MC(2)

By: Zoey Parker

I see sheets of snow falling from the exterior of the car and realize I am nearly snowed in. Holy shit. This person is my new superhero, whoever they are.

I see a dark figure looming outside the car, beside the driver’s side door. I lean forward to unlock it and watch as it opens. An absolutely immense figure in a black hooded parka slides behind the wheel. I can’t see their face; a heavy scarf covers most of it.

“How long have you been here?” The voice is deep, resonant. Of course it’s a man; otherwise I’d be dealing with the biggest woman I’d ever known.

“Since around eleven this morning. What time is it now?”

“Way after eleven,” he replies, his voice grim. “I don’t want to alarm you, but you wouldn’t have lasted much longer out here. It’s a miracle I even saw you from my window.”

“Your window? Do you live around here?”

“Not far. Less than a quarter mile off the road. The wind died down for a little while and your car stood out against the snow.”

Thank God I went with red, I think.

“You’re nearly out of gas.”

“Yes, I know. I was going to stop to refuel along the way. I didn’t count on fighting my way down the road in this mess for hours.”

“Do you even watch the news? They’ve been talking about this storm for days.”

“They have?” I’ve been so busy at work, I completely missed the alerts. But I still don’t like the snotty tone in his voice. Whether or not he’d saved my life, he didn’t need to talk to me like I was some sort of idiot. I was doing a good enough job of talking to myself that way as it was.

“Listen. If you stay out here, you’ll freeze to death. Do you even have a blanket?” I shake my head, feeling lame. He sighs, the exasperated sound of a put-upon parent with a willful child. “I’ll take you back to my house. It’s not far; you’ll be able to walk it. I can’t in good conscience leave you out here.”

To his house? I don’t know who this guy is. He could be a serial killer or something. Maybe this is his thing, waiting for storms to roll through so he can lure young girls to his house for God only knows what.

He sees me hesitating and naturally knows why. “We can’t spend too much time before you decide whether or not I’m a serial killer. It’s fucking cold as a witch’s tit in here, and getting worse. You’re not dressed for this. Either come with me or freeze to death. Keep in mind the roads are impassable, and the car was nearly buried when I found you.”

I know I don’t have a choice. It really is a matter of following him to his house of potential horrors or dying out here. I tell myself that there’s at least a chance he’s not a murderer. I have no chance out here.

“Okay,” I reply, throwing my useless phone into my purse. “Lead the way.”

I only hope I don’t live to regret this.

Chapter 2

I’d been working at the coffee shop for less than a year when I first heard about the Angels of Chaos.

It was a Sunday morning and the place was jumping, just as it always was after church let out. Amy and I were like a well-oiled machine, though, working together seamlessly to keep the line moving. I knew I’d hit the jackpot when I hired her. She needed next to no supervision, totally able to read a situation and go with it. When a shot of espresso was finished brewing, she’d start the next without asking. When a tray of muffins was running low, she’d go to the back to get a new one. She wiped down the tables as soon as customers left so new ones could sit down, kept the milk and creamers full, everything. I knew I could count on her.

This left me free to take orders and chat up the customers. “Mrs. Stephens! That’s a large no-foam skim latte and a blueberry muffin, right?” I’d ring up the sale, getting things in order while asking whether her daughter had decided on a college yet. Mr. Brown was a small black coffee and a cheese danish. His wife had just gotten one of her knees replaced, so I asked after her and told him to give her my best. The Jenkinses always brought in their three-year-old, and I gave him a special little treat while I fixed their coffee.

This was what I’d always seen myself doing: running a little place the townspeople could visit and feel as though they belonged somehow. Like I cared about them—because I did. When they walked in and heard their order being called out even before they spoke, they felt valued. That’s the sort of treatment that keeps customers coming back for more.

“How do you manage to keep it all straight?” Mrs. Hauser asked, handing me a ten dollar bill. “I’d go crazy trying to remember everything and everybody.”

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