Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)
TITLE: Near Miss
By Kathy Bruins
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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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