Written to Ganet’s prompt:
a package arrives in the mail the day after New Year’s. (Or more mysteriously, on New Year’s Day.)
Mail didn’t usually arrive on federal holidays.
Heck, in Caroline’s neck of the woods, mail barely arrived at all.
But there it was, the mail van pulling up, the package sliding into the box.
Caroline checked her phone, her computer, and the TV (Which was playing an endless stream of “best of”) to be sure, but yes, it was New Year’s Day. And yes, there was a package sticking out of her mailbox.
She walked down the driveway, donning three coats and two pairs of mittens, boots over two pairs of socks, and two hats, to get there.
She pulled the package out and looked it over. It wasn’t ticking, it wasn’t funny looking; the address was printed on a professional-looking label and the return address was a company she’d never heard of out of New York City.
She took off two pairs of mittens and one hat before she opened the package, back in her kitchen.
Six photographs of a half-unearthed building of a style she had never seen before.
Three sketched-out maps, suggesting a layout of buildings that matched some of her strangest theories, back when she’d been an academic, before Todd and Winne had messed everything up, before she’d taken a job as a book store clerk just to pay the mortgage on a three-room cabin.
A new ID, in a name she’d only ever used on some very private chat rooms. A passport to match. Seven thousand dollars in cash, mostly in small and old bills. A one-way plane ticket to someplace she’d never heard of. Leaving in four hours from their local dinky airport.
She didn’t even look back. She packed enough clothes for an overnight bag, enough toiletries for three women, and every notebook and pen she could fit in the bag. She put the mittens and hats back on, turned the thermostat down to 55F, and drove as fast as she could for the airport.
Todd and Winne had only ruined Caroline. They had never gotten their grubby fingers on Susan.