Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Wednesday Writings #8 - Driven

Today's "Wednesday Writing" is a continuation of a story started back with Morning Machinations, and then continued in Communication Between FriendsDaydreaming Decisions and then Off to the Park.



Gabby nervously drove down the road. She didn't have a car and didn't drive very often. Add to that the fact that the car cost more money than she'd earned in her life and she felt both excited and a little frightened. She'd misjudged the parking lot exit and had driven over the sidewalk, squealing tires and swerving to recorrect herself and line up on the road. She giggled as she thought about Julie's reaction to her speeding away like that. Glancing in the rear view, Gabby saw Julie pull onto the road behind her and speed to catch up.

Gabby turned onto the main road and accelerated up to the speed limit. She had to consciously stop herself from continuing to press the pedal down. She could feel the smooth power of the car and absolutely loved it. She wondered what she was supposed to do with the car after she dropped off the book. The note had said to return home for more instructions but didn't say anything about the car. Looking at the clock in the dashboard, she decided to deliberate about that later. She had only a few minutes left to reach the house and deliver the book. She turned off onto another side street and then pulled to the curb as she glanced at the map.

After a moment of orienting herself, Gabby pulled back onto the street. She noticed that Julie was now right behind her, following closely. The sun was setting behind them so Gabby could only see the silhouette of her friend but she could feel Julie's eyes glaring at her and was sure her friend would have plenty to say once they stopped. Gabby made a couple of quick turns deeper into the neighborhood and then saw the landmarks from the map.

A large old barn with peeling paint, broken boards and overgrown grass and weeds.

A rather ordinary house painted with an extraordinary pattern of green and yellow horizontal stripes.

A huge oak tree with branches extending halfway over the street.

And then, a small red brick house with a high pitched roof and the numbers 323 painted on the black mailbox by the front door. This was the place.

Gabby pulled to the curb and turned off the car. She stared at the map again to be sure then stepped out of the car holding the book and the note. As she walked to the front door, she heard Julie's car door slam shut behind her.

"Are you sure about this Gabby?"

Gabby kept walking slowly forward. She didn't want to look Julie in the eye. She knew her friend's face would be etched with concern, maybe even a little fear. After all, that's what Gabby was feeling. She felt that if Julie's look confirmed her own fears that she might lose her nerve and turn around. She didn't know what to make of everything that was going on, but she didn't see how it could hurt her. Moreover, it seemed to be of benefit to her to keep going. She'd already made $200 today for doing almost nothing. She'd gotten to drive her dream car. If she delivered the book, there might be more or the same. If she didn't, the adventure might end.

"I really don't know Jules. But it can't hurt anything, right?"

When she reached the door and pulled the keys up, she tried to fill her face with bravery and resolve and then turned to see if Julie was following her. Julie stood staring back from halfway up the lawn. Julie's face was much as Gabby had expected it to be, her eyes drawn slightly closed with worry and pleading. Gabby cleared her throat as she felt a lump begin to form. She turned back to the door. Part of her wanted to knock, but instead she put the key into the knob, turned it, and pressed the door slightly open.

A cool whisp of air fell through the small opening and sent a shiver up her arm. She felt herself falter. Her breathing became shallow. Her throat and chest started to constrict. She suddenly worried that something might be waiting on the other side of the door. Her mind was suddenly flooded with fears.


Gabby jumped in spite of herself as Julie stepped next to her and spoke. She felt the color melt out of her skin. Her blood went cold and she shivered again.

"Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you." Gabby looked at Julie who smiled back.

"Let's deliver this book and get out of here." Julie continued to smile at Gabby as she spoke. She nodded and Gabby looked back to the door. She pushed it the rest of the way open and the girls stepped inside.

The house was cold and dark. The only light came from the door they entered. All of the windows were covered with full curtains. A heavy ticking of a clock came from a nearby room but otherwise, the only sound was that of the girls breathing and walking along the dark wood floor of the hallway. Julie looked along the nearby wall for a lightswitch but found nothing. Gabby continued to walk down the hall, her gaze focused on a dark rectangular object she assumed to be the trunk in which she was to place the book.

From the exterior of the house, neither girl imagined the inside would be so large. The hall seemed to go on forever. The darkness helped add to the illusion as it was difficult to tell what existed where the blackness became too deep. The wall was lined with picture frames. Julie pressed the door open all the way to let in as much light as she could. As Gabby stepped closer to the trunk she caught some motion out of the corner of her eye. She let out a small shriek, turned to face the motion and jumped backwards away from it at the same time. Even in the dim light, she quickly felt foolish on realizing that she stared at her own terrified reflection in a mirror hanging on the wall between a pair of picture frames. As she looked at her own face, she became more worried about her actions. Looking in her own eyes, the illusion was broken and Gabby was forced to admit that she felt an acute sense of terror.

"Gabby? Are you ok?" Julie watched as her Gabby stood completely still staring at the mirror. She quickly crossed the ten feet of floor to stand beside her friend and wrap her arms around her shoulders.

"Come on Gabby. Let's get this over with."

The two girls turned again to the trunk and continued walking. It only took a couple of steps to reach it. Their eyes were adjusting the mostly-darkness and they could see the end of the hall a few feet away curving into what looked to be a library or sitting room of some kind based on the large shadows of chairs and shelves. As they stopped in front of the trunk, Gabby took a deep breath to steady herself. She tugged at trunk lid but, as she expected, it was locked. The key clicked in the lock softly and the lid made a subtle jump as the lock released its tension.

Gabby pulled open the lid and was confused to see that the trunk was completely empty. Not trusting her own vision, she brushed her hands around the felt-lined edges of the trunk before placing the book inside. She then pressed the lid down, turned the key in the lock and stood beside her friend. The two girls turned and walked quickly down the hall and out the front door. They practically ran across the lawn to the cars. Gabby's heart was pounding. She took a final look over her shoulder then turned to look at Julie.

Julie stared back with a sheepish half smile and patted Gabby on the shoulder.

"That wasn't so bad, huh Gabby? Now let's go get some dinner or something. Your treat, right?"

Gabby smiled back. Sometimes Julie got on her nerves but most of the time, she really loved her friend and was glad to have her by her side.

"Sure thing. But we're going in my new car." Gabby walked around to the driver's side door, grinning at her friend. "I'll meet you at your house and then you ride with me."

Gabby slid into the smooth leather seats and started the car. She smiled as it purred to life. She rolled down the window and started down the road, feeling the warm air flow in. She looked in her rear view mirror. Julie stared after her for a moment the climbed into her car. Just then, a police car came zipping down the road in front of Gabby. As it passed her, the sirens started blaring and it skidded to a stop at an angle in front of Julie's car.

Gabby stopped the car and looked over her shoulder. She saw another police car coming from the other end of the street. It too turned on its sirens and lights and proceeded to box Julie in. The sirens stopped but the lights kept spinning. The officer from the first car threw open his door and stood behind it, drawing his gun, pointing it towards Julie and shouting something at her. An officer from the second car quickly did the same. Gabby started driving again, turning her car around.

Suddenly a black motorcycle zipped in front of her and screeched to a stop directly in her path. The rider hopped off and ran over to Gabby's window. His build was familiar but it wasn't until he flipped up the visor of his helmet that Gabby recognized Evan staring at her.

"Don't go back Gabrielle. Your friend will be fine. But you must leave here now." His voice was as calm as it had been in her vague memory, but it was filled with strength and intensity that excited her. She felt a slight jolt rush through her as he spoke. As if her heart had jumped. No, not her heart. Her entire soul. The reaction was exhilerating and she nodded wordlessly as he spoke.

"Follow me. Do not look back. I promise you that your friend will be alright. For now, you must trust me and follow me. Can you do that?"

Gabby stared in wonder at this mystery man. He alternated his gaze between her awestruck face and the police standoff at the other end of the block. The second officer on the scene was looking at the conversation happening at the BMW window and started pointing and saying something to the other cop. Evan's eyes narrowed as the policeman climbed back in his car.

"We go now! Follow close. Go where I go. I will keep you safe."

Without another word, Evan climbed onto the motorcyle, spun it around and sped off down the block. Gabby looked back and saw that the second police car was backing up and working itself back onto the road. She put the car back in gear and floored the gas. A second later, she was close behind Evan, both of them accelerating quickly through the quiet subdivision. At the same time, police sirens blared to life behind her. Looking in the mirror she saw the police car speeding up behind her.
Instinctively, her foot let up on the gas and hovered for a moment over the brake. Then she remembered Evan in front of her and turned her focus on him. As she did, she felt the same strange sensation she'd felt earlier as she tried to remember their meeting at the party. The world around her felt like it was slowing down. Like she was in a fog. Like suddenly nothing existed but the two of them. She felt strangely tied to the man on the motorcycle in front of her.

The motorcycle's turn signal blipped for a second and then the bike turned tightly onto a side street. Without any thought but keeping him in sight, Gabby pulled on the steering wheel and screeched around the corner. Another couple of turns like that and they were on the highway, though in Gabby's mind, it was just another stretch of road laid out before them. She sensed the gap widening between the two of them and she pressed the gas pedal to the floor. The motorcycle zipped off an exit and twisted up a curving road onto the side of the mountain. Gabby followed close behind anticipating the turns now before the turn signals flashed the driver's intention.

Then, the motorcycle began to slow. Gabby turned onto an unpaved road and coughed slightly as the tires kicked up dust. She pressed a button and the power window slid closed. Ahead of her, a large dust cloud whirled around the rider of the black motorcycle. There were times when all that was visible was a flickering red taillight. Then suddenly, the dust cloud doubled in size. Gabby watched as the motorcycle spun around and around in circles kicking up dust all around him. She put on the brakes and brought the car to a stop. The next thing she saw unnerved her even more. The motorcycle stopped briefly in the middle of the cloud. It looked like the rider stood for a moment. Then suddenly the motorcycle was racing towards her out of the dust and back down the mountain road behind her.

Gabby's eyes widened in shocked confusion. She hit the gas and cranked the wheel but then hit the brakes again when she realized there was no way she could do a U-turn on the skinny dirt road. Even a three-point-turn was unlikely. She thought about shifting into reverse and backing down, but wasn't sure exactly how far up they'd come and she definitely wasn't confident in her ability to back down a skinny mountain road. She started forward in dismay, hoping for a turnoff nearby. As she started driving, the dust began to settle and she saw a black backpack lying in the road where Evan had traitorously turned around. She stopped the car and got out.

For a moment, she stared back down the hill. The dust trail from the motorcycle was almost completely settled, erasing any trace of his hasty retreat back down the mountain. Gabby walked to the backpack and picked it up. As she did so, she realized that the light was failing quickly. The sun was nearly down. In spite of tremendous curiosity, confusion and anger, she carried the backpack back to the car and tossed it onto the passenger seat. Fighting back the alternating urge to cry or to break something, she continued to drive up the mountain in the hope of finding a pullout where she could turn around and start back downhill before it got too dark.


Brian Miller said...

trouble is getting deep...dig all your twists and turns....

Okie said...

Thanks. The risk now is that I've been twisting and turning so long...I need to get some forward momentum.