“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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