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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)

TITLE: Near Miss
By Kathy Bruins


Walking towards the house, she hoped the storm would hold off until she reached it. Liz wondered why someone would cut the wires under the hood of her car. Through the increasing breeze, she thought she heard footsteps behind her. The darkness augmented her nervousness. As she walked, she slightly turned her head to the side and looked out of the corner of her eye. She saw movement. Panicking, she began to run. She felt a presence nearby. Could a neighbor hear her if she screamed? Liz prayed, Lord, please help me escape.

An arm grabbed her from behind pinning her against the tree. She whispered, “God, is this it for me?” Loosening his grip, Liz was able to turn around and look into the face of Thomas. He motioned for her to be quiet. Then she heard it…the snap of a twig about twenty feet away. Not daring to breathe, she held onto his arm for support.

Just then, a car drove around the corner illuminating both Thomas and Liz…and the perpetrator. Liz caught the flicker of metal and felt a whoosh by her face as a knife stuck into the tree they leaned against. The attacker ran into the waiting car as it spun off. Thomas ran towards the car to try and get a license number, but it was too late.

Walking back to Liz, he took a handkerchief from his pocket and loosened the knife from the tree. “Are you alright?” he asked her.

“Once my heart slows down, I think I will be.”

“Any idea who our friend is? He seemed pretty intent on following you. I saw him come from behind a tree after you left your car. I cut in between a couple of yards to get ahead of him.”

“I’m so glad you did…thank you.” Pausing to get her thoughts together, she looked at Thomas, “I don’t know who that person is, but so many strange things have been happening ever since my sister was murdered a couple of weeks ago.” Liz told him about how she was called to an accident, where she found a locket worn by her missing sister in the pocket of a dead woman’s jeans. It still felt unreal to her to know that the woman who died was in fact her sister, Judy.

Thomas seemed not sure what to say to Liz in her pain, but he put his coat around her as the rain started. “Look, why don’t we take my car and get some coffee. We’ll talk more once we get warmed up.”

Liz smiled and nodded. “That’s sounds so good…thank you for taking care of me.”

Thomas grinned, “I’m glad I could help, but I sense you do a fine job at taking care of yourself.”

“I’ve just had my fifth Tae Kwon Do lesson…you better watch out.”

Laughing, he said, “Like I said, I sensed…”

The coffee shop had few customers when they entered. Most of them were finishing their dates with coffee and conversation, or perhaps trying to sober up after a night of partying before going home. Finding a booth in the corner, Thomas and Liz slipped into it. The waitress brought coffee to their table. “Looked like you might need some java…nasty weather out there. Anything else?”

Her nametag read Sara. She was thin with loose blond curls. It looked like life wasn’t always easy for her, but she came out strong. Sara could read people well, and responded to what she picked up. Liz liked her. “You’re pretty perceptive. Coffee is just what we need, thank you.”

Thomas looked as Sara walked back to the counter, “I sense…”

Knowing what he was sensing, Liz added, “I’m sure she can. She’s probably a graduate from my class.”

After taking a sip of his coffee, Thomas said, “Okay, let’s talk about you now. I wonder if it’s safe for you to go home…there’s no telling how much they know about you. Is there another place you can stay for awhile?”

“I think I will be okay there,” Thomas began to disagree, but Liz continued, “but I promise I will be very careful. I’ll have my gun, plus my attack dog, Charlie, guarding the door.”

“Charlie, eh? He sounds pretty mean to me.”

Liz made a mean face. “The meanest Golden Retriever you’ve ever seen. Just last week, he chased a red squirrel from the bird feeder and up a tree. Even though that squirrel angrily chattered, Charlie stood his ground.”

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This article has been read 661 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/31/07
Lots of mystery and intrigue here....

I was puzzled by quite a bit, though--almost as if there was a back story I'm not aware of. I didn't understand her emotions in the first paragraph, for example, or exactly what the relationship is between her and Thomas...several other questions, including the lighthearted mood at the very end--isn't she still in danger?

Maybe this just needs to be a longer piece--your characters are very interesting and I'd definitely want to know more about them.
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/01/07
This is definitely fearful, with the suspense building and the mystery offered. If Thomas were identified in some way at the beginning, it would make the story clearer. I would definitely like to read more. It sounds like the beginning or the middle of a much longer story.
Dee Yoder 09/03/07
I would like to have more information, too, because the characters are really interesting and real. I'd like to know more about the MC and the other character. Good mystery getting started here!
Marilyn Schnepp 09/03/07
Such obvious danger and they make with the jokes? Plus chasing a squirrel up a tree is a far-cry from stopping a knife thrower! Wow! Suspenseful, fearful and intriguing - but so light hearted in the end. But this author's mind is keen, writing is good, and enticement to read more is a Must! Good job!
Patty Wysong09/03/07
Great descriptions and suspense!! Makes me wish for a higher word count. She's brave going home alone after that--even with Charlie there. *grin*
Mark Bell09/05/07
"I sense..." (lol) a much larger work at play here. There are some big unresolved story lines. But, well written, and very captivating.
Lynda Schultz 09/05/07
I remember the beginning of this story — or at least the last episode. And if I remember correctly, I asked for more, and here it is. More to come too, I see. Good!