Mad Rush

**Note:  This is still a work in progress (WIP).  It is subject to change at a moment’s notice.

Chapter One 

“Get off my ass!”

Headlights in my rearview mirror sped up, fell back, and sped up again. The light, blinding white.

I flipped the mirror to night-view. “Another drunk driver,” I complained. “Just what I need tonight.”

Flashbacks of the killer who stalked me, taunted me, and nearly killed me, raced through my mind. I still couldn’t bring myself to call Raid by his real name. I rubbed the scar on my throat, glanced at the white lines on my arms made from the knife and recalled the madness of that night. A foreboding terror crept back in like a snake, fear coursed through my veins.

I had only left the house to clear my head, which I still often did. Living on the streets for eleven years had left its mark. Since I moved in with Levon last year, after a serial killer had me in his sights, every once in a while I’d feel trapped. And the only way I knew how to set myself free was to leave. And drive. No matter the time.

I stuck my arm out the window and gestured for the car to go around.

It stayed on my tail.

I swatted at the car again. “Go around!”

It was a dark SUV. Anymore than that I couldn’t distinguish.

I took a right and circled back towards home. Then I thought about the ominous vehicle following me to my door. It couldn’t be Raid. Could it? Had he returned to darken my life once again?

“Go around!”

The truck wouldn’t get off my ass!

Bright beams of lights flooded my new Hyundai Sante Fe. The dark truck gunned it. I coasted curbside to let it pass. Instead of going around it hugged my driver’s door. The driver jerked the wheel and rammed the side of my truck.

I swerved, slammed on my brakes. My rear-end fishtailed on black ice.

My heart pounded. I turned my head for only a second to see where the dark truck was. When I glanced back up a snow bank was directly in front of me. I spun the wheel to the right. Then to left. Tried to veer out of a lurching back-end. Tried to get control of my truck when–

Crash! The tires rolled up the snow bank. I cut the wheel again. My fingers lost their grip and I let go of the wheel.

The force of the impact tossed me around the interior like a rag doll. I couldn’t hold on; it happened so fast. I vaguely remember my face smashing the windshield and the sound of shattering glass. I must’ve struck my head on the dash, too, because I didn’t recall much after that. Except for my SUV coming to an immediate stop.

Silence encompassed my crushed truck as it laid on its passenger’s side.

Am I dead? I wondered.

I opened my eyes and felt warm blood trickle down my forehead. My vision wasn’t clear. Everything had a fuzzy outline. A blurred view. My head throbbed. Sharp pains shot to my right shoulder as I struggled to breathe. I couldn’t move, but knew I had to figure a way out. I needed to get my mind focused, my thoughts clear.

Footsteps stomped around the perimeter of my truck through the icy wet snow, and then stopped. The vehicle rocked back and forth as though someone was climbing up to the driver’s door.

“Who’s there? Help me, please! I’m hurt!”

The driver’s door opened and a silhouette appeared in the moonlight. “Next time you won’t be so lucky,” he or she whispered. I couldn’t tell if it was male or female.

“Who are you? Please, help mm-mm-me. . .” My words dissolved into the silence of my freezing cold grave. My world went black, as if the batteries of life had run out. As if someone had erased my life with one swipe. One flick of a magical wand.

When I regained consciousness I was alone again. Shivering. Frightened. Weak. There was no way to measure time, or for me to see what awaited outside. I pondered whether my parents had experienced the same feeling the night they died in the accident. Did they live long enough to worry about us kids? Did they cry knowing they’d never see us grow to adulthood?

The next thing I remember was waking up in a hospital room. Levon was asleep in a hard wooden chair next to my bed. His legs hung listless over the arm and his head seemed too heavy for his neck, pulled backward over the other side.

I gazed at my sweet man. His light African-American skin, his full lips, his closed amber eyes, twitching as if he were dreaming. He breathed a heavy snore, rousing him from sleep. His long legs dropped to the floor and he rushed to my side. “Shawny, honey, are you all right?” He swept my bangs out of my eyes. “I thought I lost you.”

Images from the crash surged through my mind. “It wasn’t my fault. Someone tried to run me off the road.”

“Honey, your truck slid on the ice. You hit a snow bank. You were lucky to come out of it with only a separated shoulder, two broken ribs, and a few stitches.”

“No. I swear. Someone tried to run me–” I saw the skepticism written across his face. There was no reason to continue. He wasn’t going to believe me anyway. His mind clearly made up.

“Rest. You need to rest. You’re body’s been through a terrible trauma.”

I sprung up in bed. A sharp, agonizing pain shot to my shoulder– now in a sling– and forced me back down. Lying back on paper-thin pillows, I felt defeated. Like no matter what I said or did no one would believe my story.

My concession seemed to quiet Levon. “That’s my girl.” He smiled and kissed my forehead. “Are you thirsty? Can I get you something to eat?”

I wanted to scream, ‘Someone followed me! Someone did this to me! This was no accident!’ But I didn’t. I couldn’t. The pain drained me of energy. My body felt broken. My soul damaged. My spirit temporarily crushed. I couldn’t take another round of being chased by a psycho. I didn’t think I’d survive another killer in my life.

“Objection!” A Perry Mason wannabe– the defense attorney on the case– rose to his feet in a huff. He must’ve had a change of heart because he lowered his voice and cowered to the judge. “To the word ‘psycho’, your honor.”

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