The low growl of an engine cut through the quiet night. Willie looked up, surprised to see an unfamiliar car, a beautifully maintained baby blue Chevrolet Impala – a 58’, by the looks of it – with a soft convertible top, pulling into the gravel parking lot. He was even more surprised when the door opened and out emerged a slender and beautiful woman with stunning eyes and long brunette curls that fell about her shoulders.
Del stopped his pacing and stared as well, his cigarette nearly falling from his mouth. She walked up to the porch and passed between them. She glanced up at the two men and her eyes flitted back and forth, not quite meeting their unabashed gawking. She looked scared, but not scared of them; she walked in the bar with a look of a newborn kitten, something naïve and curious and in wholly out of her depth.
Miles had not moved from his spot at the end of the bar when the car pulled in. He could hear the rumble of the engine outside, the sound of gravel kicked up into the underbelly. There was a buzzing in the back of his skull, a nagging feeling that he couldn’t shake, some unpleasant sensation that the whiskey had failed to wash away. Something’s wrong, said the voice inside his head. You shouldn’t be here. He sat up sharply when the he heard the door slam, and the blood drained completely from his face. He stood, unsteady on his feet, and grasped at the bar for support. His head was suddenly pounding. Danger, said the voice. Escape. Escape.
Doc Brown shuffled over. “You all right, Miles?” he asked. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Miles looked up at Doc Brown, a panicked and desperate expression on his face. “You keep my tab open until tomorrow?” he asked.
“Sure thing, Miles. What’s–”
Before Doc Brown could finish forming the words Miles had bolted to the back of the pub. There was an exit near the bathrooms, and Miles was through it and into the cold air outside in seconds. The room fell silent as he left. Doc Brown stared at the door with a glass and a towel in his hands, completely unmoving. The only motion was Patterson Malone, who stood from his booth and tapped out a cigarette from a fresh pack.
The pub was still quiet as the woman entered through the front, the slam of the door behind her a startling sound in the eerie silence. Doc Brown looked up her, and one by one so did every other head in the room. She hesitated in the doorway, her soft eyes nervously scanning her unexpected audience. Patterson gently brushed past her, cigarette behind his ear, and he nodded politely to her as he exited to the front porch. She stood for a moment longer, clutching her purse to herself in a protective stance, before timidly approached the bar.
“Hello,” she said to Doc Brown. “I’m looking for a man.”