Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: TEXTING (05/18/17)
TITLE: Under the Cover of Darkness
By Holly Westefeld
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Paralleling the gas station property, I turn the corner and
follow the sidewalk to its end, then trudge along the edge of the
road, glad my jacket has white striping on the sleeves.
The half mile of woods between the gas station and my turn for
home is quiet tonight, except for the breeze rustling the budding
branches, and a pair of owls calling to one another. The repose
is disrupted by a car passing me on the other side of the road,
in desperate need of a new muffler. Instead of fading in to the
distance, though, it slows. It is too close for the nearest
intersection, and as its volume increases, I realize it has
turned around and is heading toward me. I step off on to the
dirt, never fully trusting that oncoming vehicles will not stray
in to the breakdown lane. One this loud always sounds closer
than it usually is.
My pace falters with the less secure footing, but I try to pick
it up when I realize the car has stopped beside me and a male
voice calls through the passenger window. "You need a ride?"
"No, thank you."
I am barely beyond the noxious exhaust when a car door slams and
footsteps approach. A hand grabs my elbow. "I said, you need a
I try to remember why I opted not to send a group text seeking a
ride from the bus stop. I twist my elbow out of his grasp. "And
I said no, thank you."
I barely take a couple of steps before his arm encircles my neck.
I grab his thumb, jerking it back and down. Pivoting, I shift my
grip on the handle of my cane and aim for his throat. I do not
connect as solidly as planned. He wrenches the cane from my
hand, and I hear it land in the brush.
Regardless of whether it will reach the gas station or nearest
home, I emit my best blood-curdling shriek, and scream "fire" for
Undeterred, he circles behind me and tries to clamp a hand over
my mouth. I bite down hard. His fist slams in to my diaphragm,
then the side of my head, and I am too breathless and woozy to
continue the struggle.
He drags me to the car, shoves me in the back seat, jumps behind
the wheel and speeds off. "You give me any more trouble, I have
a pistol up here that will stop it cold."
It's probably just as well that I don't have the breath to tell
him he wouldn't want to mess up his car. Time for a new
strategy. I stretch out across the seat, back to him, head
toward the passenger side. Good thing he was too arrogant to
search me and find my weapon.
I pull my phone from my pocket, (glad I charged it when I was
asked to stay late at work), make sure it is on vibrate, grateful
that the car's racket covers me lowering the volume of the
synthetic speech. I deftly change the settings to give all apps
access to my location, then dial 911.
"911, what is the nature of your emergency?"
"Where are you taking me?"
The driver guffaws. "Don't guess it matters if you know... I
like Florida this time of year."
"I was already late getting home. My family will have the police
searching for me."
"Then I'll be real careful to obey all the traffic laws,
"Have you been abducted?"
I whisper, "Yes."
"We just instituted the text-to-911 system. Can you safely text
us and share your GPS location?"
My fingers move over the darkened screen. For all the times I've
wished to be as efficient with my phone as my sighted friends, I
am thankful now for no flickering screen to hide. I tap `share
location,` type `Am blind, says has pistol,` then tap `send.`
"We have your location. Police are on their way. Are you
"You're in the back seat?"
"Please send your location again."
I send it.
"They're getting close. Any idea what type of vehicle?"
"Sedan, I think."
"They're very close. Can you slip your hand up by the back
I do, as far to the side as possible. I hear a siren and
As soon as I hear the officer's voice, I open the passenger door
and dive out, vowing to send that group text next time..
To learn more about text-to-911, click here.
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