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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Don’t Look Back (04/19/12)

TITLE: Caught in the Headlights
By Amanda Brogan


“Turn around!” Caden slammed harder on the accelerator, plunging the used Pontiac from 80 to 100, as a startled Jenny whipped her thin form around in the passenger seat, facing forward. Back pressed against the seat, arm braced against the door, and large brown eyes doubled in size, Jenny was the very picture of fear. In the orange-white glow of the lights from the car behind them, she looked like a deer caught in the headlights.

The lights were getting brighter again, the pursuer amping their speed to match Caden’s.

A shrill scream sliced through the car and Caden realized that his name was embedded in it. “Caden!” Jenny was staring into her side mirror, her breathing frantic – erratic. “They’re right behind us!”

“Don’t look, Jenny.” Caden glued his eyes to the road ahead and his foot to the floor.

“They’re getting clo–”

“Jenny! Don’t look behind us, okay?” His tone was firm, urgent but caring, as if he were a father warning his child to jump out of the path of a semi. Or a guy telling his girlfriend to … “Just look straight ahead. Straight ahead, Jenny.”

He grasped the wheel with every ounce of strength that his fingers contained, his knuckles turning white as Jenny’s face. Pavement blurred, engines roared, dark met light in a harried clash as the two cars’ headlights pierced the frigid black night.

“We’ll never … never …” Jenny gulped in a breath, “We’ll never outrun them. We’ll never make … make it to the docks!”

A car appeared in their lane and Caden jerked the wheel, swerving to evade it, and eliciting a pinched squeal from Jenny. He glanced in his side mirror to see their metallic hunter follow suit, nearly side-swiping the slower moving car upon re-entry into their lane.

Tires screeched, lights swayed, adrenaline rushed through Caden’s veins. He felt his resolve deepening with every inch his enemy gained. He would protect her. No matter how close they got, Caden would give his last breath to protect the girl in the seat beside him.

“Are they … are they still …” Jenny’s breathing still came in short, quick bursts.

“Just watch the road, Jenny. Watch the road, okay? Don’t pay attention to what’s behind us.”

But she didn’t watch the road. She squeezed her eyes shut and focused all her energy on drawing oxygen into her lungs.

An even better idea. Caden thought.

The car was gaining. Faster. Closer. Almost close enough to ram the bumper of the speeding Pontiac. Blinding light flooded over the seats and reflected in every mirror.

“Please, God, show me a way of escape!” His rushed prayer was no more than a whisper, but Caden knew that God could answer.

Light flashed in his eyes even brighter than before, but this time it wasn’t all from the car behind him. It was also from the vehicles ahead of him. Two cars – traveling in opposite lanes.

Caden wished he could close his eyes like Jenny.

There was no time to calculate. No time to do anything but react. In a blinding second, Caden whizzed past the car in front of him, barely re-entering his lane in time to miss the oncoming car in the opposite lane. A deafening clash of metal-on-metal ripped through the air.

Caden didn’t need to check his mirror. He knew that those monsters were no longer chasing them.


Car doors slammed. Caden dashed around the vehicle and grabbed her hand, running with her to the waiting motor boat.

They climbed in and the little vessel roared to life – churning the still, sea air into a steady, hair-whipping breeze against their faces. Caden thought he could taste freedom in the sea-washed wind.

Beside him, he caught a glimpse of Jenny scanning the streaming ripples of water left by the boat. He had to yell above the motor, but his voice was gentle, “It’s okay. They can’t follow us anymore. You’re free.”

Even in the misty glow of a crescent moon, Caden could see the vulnerability in her soft, round, doe eyes. “Why’d you do it?” She blinked. “Those traffickers – those disgusting slave traders could have killed you. But you rescued me anyway.”

Caden felt a softness in his own eyes. “When you’ve dedicated your life to loving like Christ, you go wherever it takes you. No matter how dangerous.” He gazed ahead, past the boat lights and into the hazy cloak of night. “And you never, ever look back.”

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This article has been read 432 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Fitzpatrick04/26/12
You had me on the edge of my seat for the entire adrenalin pumping ride. Wow! Great descriptions and the heighth of climax had me practically breathing hard along with the girl and grimacing as the car behind them grew closer. I was so relieved that they made it.

This man's witness was not spoken in words but shown through action and self sacrifice. Rescuing someone from the captors of darkness and bringing them into the light, at any cost, can often mean our lives, just as Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice for us so we could have salvation and victory.

Praise God! Thank you for writing this piece-it speaks to the heart!!!!
Margaret Kearley 04/27/12
Amazing! I felt I was holding my breath right through this and was so rellieved with the outcome! Your story-telling and descriptions were magnificent. Guess its no coincidence that the name Caden means Fighter! Thanks for such a great story with a great message at the end.
Catherine Maher04/27/12
Very surprising ending. Wow! Intense and captivationg. I could not figure out why they were driving so eradic until the end and it all made sense. Great job showing.
C D Swanson 04/28/12
Riveting, compelling, suspenseful, and absolutely brilliant. I loved it...I was in the moment and felt as if I was right there with the MC's. Beautiful job, well written and extremely touching.

I loved the entire piece.

God Bless~
Helen Curtis04/29/12
An excellent and emotive piece.

I would love to read this as a longer story/novel; I can imagine this would make very compelling reading, looking at who the girl is, where she's from, how she ended up in slavery and how she was released. Fantastic storytelling, well done.
Lillian Rhoades 04/30/12
Whatever I say would be repetitious.

!!!!***** :-)
Allen Povenmire 04/30/12
Certainly you had us right there in the back seat, turning back and looking ahead for the danger that you kept hidden right up to the end. I'm outta breath from riding along. Well done!
Laura Chambers 05/01/12
Wow! Looks like we don't need to look any further for a first place winner!

You'd have my vote! (If we could vote. :))
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/01/12
Well, that got my heart to pumping--after I quit holding my breath. That was really a wild ride. Have you thought of writing a thriller novel? I think you could.
Ada Nett05/01/12
“When you’ve dedicated your life to loving like Christ, you go wherever it takes you. No matter how dangerous.” He gazed ahead, past the boat lights and into the hazy cloak of night. “And you never, ever look back.”

Loved that ending line. Following Christ into the dangerous places is where we are always the safest no matter what the outcome may be. You wrote a fast-paced exciting piece from beginning to end. Good job!
Laura Manley05/02/12
Wow! More of us should dedicate our lives to loving more like Christ!!! This story had me riveted. Your descriptions were astrounding and the dialogue was perfect! This kept my interest from the very first paragraph. Excellent writing!
Graham Insley05/03/12
If a said a 'novel' approach, would it be a hint. This certainly could be an extract from something much bigger.

Great job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/03/12
OOOHHH this was suspenseful. The details fantastic. I could hardly wait to see from what they were running. I've heard more and more about sex traffickers lately. You did a great job of bringing this topic to the forefront so that we might be able to fix it.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/03/12
Congratulations for placing 15th overall!