Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Blowout (04/28/11)
TITLE: Dark Night Waiting
By Marita Vandertogt
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The tire lay beside the car, drained flat, like Elsa. She flipped on her flashers, her high heeled shoes sinking into the mud as she stood outside the car and waited. It was midnight. The road was empty. Who was going to come down this narrow out of the way place this time of night, except someone just as lost as she was. Or maybe a little more sinister. Elsa kicked the tire, leaned into the car to get her purse, and started to walk. Even the cell phone batteries were dead. Why didn’t she plan better. Why did she assume everything was fine, as long as she thought it was. Didn’t she teach her daughter about always being prepared.
Elsa began walking, the spikes of her shoes slowing her down on the muddy wet road. Okay, she thought. Next smart move is to remove these things and toss them. They cost a bundle, but right now were totally useless. She flipped them off her feet, kicking them into the air. One landed on the road directly in front of her splashing mud on thin bare legs. She picked that shoe up and tucked it into her purse. After all, she might need to use the spike to kill food for her breakfast. She didn’t have a clue how far out of town she actually was. The trees along the roadway stood like black protective figures, but protecting what, she wasn’t sure. The moon showed its face every now and then, the thin black fingers of clouds playing peek a boo with the night, and giving just enough light from time to time to see her way. Another note, she said to herself. Flashlight in the car. With batteries.
As she pulled at the long silver earrings, tossing them into her purse, Elsa caught the sound of a motor, not far away. But no headlights. The skirt of her dress was snug, making walking hard. She wasn’t going to wear it. But Tom said it looked great. She was going to wear the silk pant suit and now wished she had. Tom would start to wonder where she was now. She didn’t know whether to slip into the ditch and hide until the motor sounding thing passed, or try to flag it down. She stood still looking down the road for what felt like hours, for something to change, either the motor to stop or show itself for what it was.
The next thing she saw were two large headlights, high in the air. It came toward her slowly, the sound getting louder. A tractor, she said out loud. Of course, a tractor. Surely sinister characters didn’t drive tractors. She felt safer, almost relieved and stood until the machine got close enough to see her. A blonde head stuck itself out of the side door. “Need a ride lady? That your car down the road?” His voice was young, with a twang and a bit of a laugh. “You ain’t dressed for these parts ma’am.” He said as he pulled her into the cab. “And you gotta learn to change a tire. Why don’t women never learn to change them things.” Elsa listened to him talk, relieved that she was rescued by a young blonde kid on a tractor, and not a dark figure waiting for its prey.
“So when are you going to turn this thing around?” she asked, pulling her long dark hair into a pony tail behind her head.
“Oh”, he said. “Yah, well.. thought I’d take ya down the road a bit. My house is just down there. My mom would like to meet you. Then I’ll bring you back.”
“What?” she said getting a little anxious now, clamping her hand around the high heeled shoe in her purse.
“Yah, we don’t get much company. Momma likes it when I find strangers stranded on the road.” He looked directly at her and smiled.
Of course, she thought, not everything sinister had dark hair. She grabbed the handle of the door.
The next morning her car lay on the side of the road the way she’d left it. The tire still flat against the ground. One shoe lying in a puddle of water in the ditch.
Two officers stood taking it all in.
“We better call it in,” said a young blonde officer. “This looks bad. Real bad,” he repeated, in a soft twang, smiling from the corner of his mouth.
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