Chapter 1: Andrea Steals a Talisman and Commits Murder.
Janet raised the gun with trembling hands and aimed it at her sister. Putting a hole in Andrea’s smug face would make her feel better. She had ruined Janet’s life and she didn’t seem to care. On the contrary, Andrea thought it was funny. Janet had always been the good one, the hard worker.
Her sister had never done an honest day’s work in her life. She was in and out of jail for everything from shop lifting to drunk driving. Each time, Janet dutifully bailed her out. When the police knocked on her door the night before, she assumed that there was another warrant out for Andrea’s arrest. She never even suspected that her ungrateful sister had stolen her driver’s license.
Andrea flashed it every time the police pulled her over during the past three months. Now Janet had a police record. Her sister even dropped her driver’s license at the scene of a home invasion. The only reason she wasn’t behind bars was the fingerprints found at the scene were traced to Andrea and Janet had an alibi for the time of the crime.
Janet had just confronted Andrea at her apartment and Andrea laughed at her. That was all the thanks she got for trying to help her over the years. Janet finally snapped and took the gun from Andrea’s hiding place in the back of her top dresser drawer. She would make her care one way or another.
Janet held it inches from Andrea’s face. She wanted to pull the trigger and relieve the burden of having a viper for a sister. Janet gripped the worn handle until her arms ached and her hands throbbed. Andrea lost interest and turned her back on her sister.
A knock sounded at the door and Janet dropped the gun onto the bed between them. Andrea whirled around and looked at her sister with wide eyes. The knock came again, this time more insistent. Janet backed towards the bedroom closet. She had just enough time to hide before the door splintered inward.
Andrea screamed and shots rang out. The sound of Janet’s own voice filled her ears before she was aware that she was screaming. A thud sounded on the other side of the door and then everything fell silent. Janet couldn’t move. She was angry when she aimed the gun at her sister. Janet could never hurt Andrea. What if she had just been shot? Janet’s heart felt as though it might burst through her chest.
Suddenly, the closet door opened. Janet felt another scream rising in her throat and stifled it with both hands. She just knew it was the intruder coming for her. Janet went limp with relief when Andrea’s frightened face appeared. Perhaps Janet had just imagined the whole thing.
Janet was still trying to convince herself that what she heard was a car backfiring and not the report of a gun, when Andrea pulled her to her feet. The sight of a body lying in the floor amid a widening pool of blood confused her frightened eyes.
A scream caught in her throat when Andrea jerked her forward through the door. She was moving so quickly that Janet tripped over her own feet. Down the stairs they went, charging out into the cool night air. This wasn’t supposed to be happening! Janet had to go to work the next morning. She needed to go home and iron something to wear. Who would feed her dog? Janet stopped running. Andrea tried to pull her along but she yanked her arm free. Things were spinning out of control. She needed time to think.
“Come on stupid,” hissed Andrea.
“I’m not going anywhere with you.”
Andrea shoved her sister into a shadowy doorway, pinning her to the door by her neck. Janet couldn’t breathe. She struggled but Andrea only tightened her grip. She pressed her face next to Janet’s ear and whispered.
“Look you idiot, we have got to get out of here. The police are probably on their way over here right now. A dead man is bleeding on my floor and our fingerprints are all over the gun. Call me crazy, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to hang around here.”
Andrea released Janet and ran down the sidewalk, disappearing in the shadows. The distant wail of approaching sirens could be heard. Janet looked up at the lit window of her sister’s apartment. Neighbors were beginning to peer out of their windows. Janet scuttled off after Andrea. Her shaky legs threatened to pitch her headfirst to the ground but she kept moving. Andrea was scaling a fence when Janet caught up to her. Janet tried to follow suit and succeeded in ripping her pants.
They ran for what seemed like hours with Janet trailing behind her sister. She was dying to stop and rest. Everything was happening too fast to absorb. Andrea fairly raked her sister through the underbrush at the edge of the neighborhood park. Janet lost her shoe. When she knelt to retrieve it, Andrea nearly wrenched her arm out of its socket.
“Leave it,” she snapped.
Janet pulled free and went back for the shoe. She put it back on and looked up in time to see Andrea run into a stand of trees several yards away. Janet followed suit and emerged alongside a highway ramp. Andrea was waving her arms, trying to get a passing motorist to slow down. Janet couldn’t believe her eyes.
“What are you doing?”
“What does it look like I’m doing?”
“I’m not getting into a stranger’s car Andrea. They might be a serial killer or something.”
“If you have a better idea, then let’s hear it.”
Andrea glared at her sister and crossed her arms expectantly. Janet almost got indignant, but the fear in her sister’s eyes was unnerving. Andrea shot her an exasperated look and turned back to the road. Janet blinked back the tears stinging her eyes. Why did she always feel so foolish, when her sister gave her that look?
A truck pulled alongside them and Andrea wasted no time clambering inside. Janet wavered for a moment. Ladies just didn’t do things like this. Besides, Andrea had been awful to her all evening. Janet was still mentally rehashing their argument when the sound of approaching footsteps startled her.
Someone was running through the trees behind her. Andrea looked over Janet’s shoulder and her eyes widened. Janet dove into the truck and slammed the door. A hulking figure flew into the clearing moments after they pulled off. Janet suppressed a shriek. The sisters’ eyes met. Janet was about to ask what the hell Andrea had gotten her into, when Andrea shook her head slowly as if to say, “I’ll explain later.”