I thought Midwesterners were supposed to be nice

I don’t believe in God or any other sort of force that is controlling or guiding people’s actions.  I don’t think that there is a design or plan to the universe.  There’s no intelligence, benevolent or malign.   

But when roadblocks keep piling up that prevent you from getting to a goal, it can feel like the universe is out to get you.  So I get why people could think that.   

Being arrested and put in jail was a hard detour from Chicago but at least that was just time lost.  And money, most of my money.  Getting shot in the head on the other hand would really make it hard to get to Chicago. 

I exited I-80 near Iowa City so I could stretch my legs and mess about on my phone.  It’s only an 8-hour drive from Kansas City to Chicago but I don’t have the stomach for long hours in the car like I used to.  Once I would have done that straight through no problem. 

As I was trying to exit, a rust-colored Tahoe pulled in front of me and screeched to a halt.  I didn’t think much of that alone.  With all the driving I do, I’ve lost count of the number of times some moron has almost slammed into me. 

A second later when a cream-colored Lancer bracketed me in from behind, I got a little concerned.  But it was the next second later, when a battered old blue Explorer pulled up beside me and I saw the shotgun pointing out the passenger side that I got really concerned. 

All I managed to do was throw my arm up over my face.  Which is stupid.  Maybe I wouldn’t have had time to cast a spell anyway, but I need to work on my instincts.  

The only reason I’m alive is because I happened to be wearing that old coat from the Bessie Love collector.  The one that belonged to a 1920’s serial killer blood mage.  I had it on because it was an abnormally chilly day and the heat doesn’t work in my 2005 Ford Freestyle Limited Edition.  I had that car because after the $1875 fine and the $60 dollar a day jail bill, I was too broke to afford to get new seats in the shitmobile so I swapped it for the Freestyle.  I never wear that coat, but I stopped the car, dug it out, and threw it on because I was cold. 

Stacked coincidences like that could be a reason why someone would believe there’s order to the universe.  Could be that I had some kind of magic subconscious premonition?  That seems like a very roundabout way to work things, magic.  If someone’s going to try and blow my head off, how about a dream warning or something?

The coat really must be bulletproof like the professor said because instead of my arm being shredded off my body, it just felt like an MLB pitcher hurled a bunch of D-batteries into my arm as hard they could.  I’m pretty sure something broke in my elbow.  Safety glass isn’t supposed to be able to cut you, but when it’s exploded into your face by a shotgun it sure does. 

Two more guys with shotguns came out of the passenger side of the cars bracketing me as I cast my blinding light spell.  I summoned smoke as well but not only did the gunmen not panic, they must have ears like a wolf because when I opened the car door one of them got a bead on me and fired off a blast.  I had the lapel of the coat over the head but it was like getting hit in the ear with a hammer.   

I sprawled/fell/slithered out of the car.  I crawled for the ditch and even that noise was enough for one of the shotgun men to zero in on me and hammer me in the butt.  If you know what I mean.  The coat took most of the blast but it only reaches mid-calf and I felt pain stabbing through my lower leg.  For the first time ever I wished I was normal lady height, if I was shorter a man’s long coat would probably have saved my legs from getting riddled. 

I should have just crawled away but at this point I was pissed.  I cast my strength spell as I got up and flipped the Lancer over on its side.  Through the smoke I saw the woman in the driver’s seat.  She didn’t look like an assassin.  She looked like a mom.  She also looked terrified as I lifted her into the air.  Like she was seeing Satan himself. 

Good.  She’s lucky I didn’t rip her head off. 

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