It was well past midnight when Linda started on her way home from one of her girlfriend’s houses. She had drank a few while they watched a scary movie, ate popcorn and talked about the boys in their class. She knew even before twisting off the top of the first Budweiser that she was underage and had to drive home in a few hours, but didn’t care. It was peer pressure at its finest. Or, at least that is what she persuaded herself into thinking. Not that it would hurt matters to escape her troubled high school days with a beer or two and talking about the same people that were busy gossiping and spreading the news about her being pregnant around school. So, as she had gulped one beer and been asked if she wanted another one, she felt at ease and didn’t let the normal inhibitions of her upbringing and conscious get in the way. So she said, “Sure, why not…another brewskie sounds just fine.” So she took it, twisted the top off and had taken a long draw from the cold bottle.
Since she had only drank two beers that night she felt fine to drive, so when her best friend, Jessica, asked if she was, ok to drive home she had replied, “You betcha, sweetheart” and gave her a quick hug and kiss on the cheek before she turned away and strolled to her beat-up old car. Sure it was a piece-of-shit and her friends made fun of her about it, but those jokes were made in good fun, not by trying to hurt her. She could handle those. The remarks she couldn’t handle were the ones going around school that she got knocked-up by a meathead from the football team. Which was more or less true, but her personal life was nobody’s business but her own. Shit, not even her closest friends, the ones at the house she had left only a short time ago, knew the whole truth. They had never even asked her about it, even with her little buddha of a stomach seemingly stretching outward more and more each passing day. They were her true friends and loved her unconditionally. Linda figured when the time came to spill the beans about her actually being pregnant, they were the ones that would embrace her and not make fun of what had happened.
So, she turned down one side street to another and finally pulled onto the country road that would lead her back to her mom’s house, she was wrapped up in thoughts about being pregnant and didn’t seem to notice the speeding car behind her creeping closer and closer with every passing quarter mile. Not that she would have seen the car anyway, not with its lights completely off – even its parking lights.
As she traveled down State Route 48, she decided that tonight would be the night she would wake up her mom and tell her about the life growing inside her. She didn’t have to worry about telling her dad, as she never knew him, after he ran out on her mom – after she told him about being pregnant sixteen years ago. Her mom was young anyway, many of the boys in her class even called her a ‘MILF’ and had had her when she was only nineteen, so Linda hoped that if anyone would understand her situation, it would be her. Linda wondered if it was the beer she had drank that was giving her the courage to wake up her mom and tell her tonight or if it was just time to fess up to her mistake.
Whatever the reason, a calming presence began to pass over her, the moment before she felt a thunderous jolt from behind.
Yelling, “SHIT” while trying to keep the car on the road; she peered through the rearview mirror. Looking back, she could tell that another car was behind her, but couldn’t make out the make or model of the vehicle. Nor could she see who was in the driver’s seat. Not that it mattered at this point and time. The only thing that really mattered was keeping her car on the dark country road until she passed over the Winslow Creek bridge and then would be able to make a quick right turn into her driveway only two miles further down the road.
Only a mile to go…I can make it…I know I can.
The car rammed her again.
Luckily, the car was old and didn’t have any airbags. If the car would have been equipped with them, Linda was sure with the pounding jolt she had now taken both times now, it would have been hard enough that they would have activated and probably blown up so big and fast, it would have crushed her tiny face. But it didn’t happen, so she was not only able to keep her face intact but able to keep her hands on the steering wheel and keep the car under control. For how long, she had no idea, especially if the asshole behind her rammed her again, but for now, at least, she was fine.
Muttering, “Asshole,” Linda pressed down on the accelerator.
The car began inching itself up to sixty…sixty-five, seventy miles per hour.
At this rate of speed she would be able to pass over the upcoming bridge in a minute or so, keep flying down the road and whip into her driveway before the car would be able to catch back up with her and ram her, again.
But, that is not what happened.
Trying to look through the mirror, while still keeping one eye on the road, the compartment of her small car suddenly burst full of light. The car hadn’t caught fire from the blows to the back of the car where the fuel tank was located, but from something else. Looking back, Linda realized that it was coming from behind her.
The car had finally turned on its headlights and then switched on its high-beams.
Half blinding her, Linda looked ahead, gripped the steering wheel a little more tightly and eased down on the accelerator, again. The car began to climb past seventy and close in on seventy-five miles per hour.
Soon, she would be upon the bridge and even closer to home – her sanctuary. She thought of it being her sanctuary, even with having to tell her mom about the pregnancy, just because she would be safe from the maniac that was trying to do god only knows what to her.
A moment later came the hardest jolt, yet.
She and the car went flying.
Off the road, down the embankment and out onto the frozen river.
After doing a three-sixty two or three times the car came to a rest.
Trying to slow her breathing down, Linda was glad the river had frozen over after the last snow storm or she would have been toast. Well, not exactly toast, as that kind of bread is warm and crunchy. She would be more like bread pudding, all cold and sopping wet. In any event, she was glad there was a barrier of ice between her and the ice-cold water below. She continued to think that even as she heard the ice begin to creek and crack.
Hearing those sounds, sent panic through her glands. Adrenaline kicked in, as well as her fight-or-flight response. Should she get out of the car and make a run for the edge of the river or should she just sit still and hope someone comes along and pulls her to safety? Either way, Linda knew she would have to make a decision and it would have to be soon.
That is when it happened. Two horrible and bone chilling things, at the same time.
She looked up towards the embankment she has just come from and saw a dark figure running down the hill with something that seemed to be glistening from the moon in one hand and the ice beneath her start to pop, crack and give-way, as the car snapped through the frozen river and began sinking towards the murky depths below.
When Linda awoke there was bright light all around her. Even though she hasn’t opened her eyes yet, she could tell it was all encompassing.
Someone was whispering in her ear, a soft and calming presence.
She thought back to the last memory that she could remember. A car following her, smashing into the back of her beat-up old car, flying off an embankment, crashing through the ice-encrusted river and her car sinking to the bottom. She remembered what it sounded like hearing the car windows begin to crack and break under the pressure of the flowing current below the top of the frozen river. How it felt when the windows couldn’t hold up any longer and the icy water burst into the car, engulfing her warm body. She remembered the feeling of death and doom that entered the car with the rushing water. She had tried to hold her breath as long as she could, but it was only a matter of time. The seatbelt was holding her prisoner and she wondered why states made it a law that all drivers and occupants of a motor vehicle had to wear them. At that instant, she remembered vague stats from her driver’s education class, that a small percentage of people would die because of not being able to get out of their seatbelts before death came calling for them. All of this was rushing through her mind, as someone continued to whisper sweet nothings in her ear.
A dark figure?
Now, the other memory of the accident came flooding back to her, oh so similar to the icy waters that had rushed into the passenger’s compartment of her car.
There was a dark figure running down the hill, carrying something that seemed to glisten in the moonlight. It had to have been the driver of the car that rammed into me, sent me flying over the embankment, and was coming to get me!
Then her eyes snapped open, saw the figure, a large man, standing above her and she let out a blood curdling scream.
When Linda woke up the second time, she opened her eyes expecting to find the large man still hovering over her. But, he wasn’t here. No one was there. She was alone. Alone in what seemed like a small room, draped in white sheets.
Linda attempted to move her arms and legs but it was no use. She noticed they were tied down, by her wrists and ankles to the bed-frame.
She screamed, again.
She wasn’t sure if she was trying to get the large man to come back in the room so she could ask him why he was doing such a thing or if she was just so scared by the thought of being tied down to a bed, that there was nothing left that she could do now except scream and hope that someone else, someone besides the large man would come to her aid and rescue her from whatever was about to happen to her.
She hoped it was the latter, but that’s not what happened.
Just then, a figure came running through the sheets that surrounded the bed, ran up to her and slapped a piece of duct tape over her mouth. She tried to scream again, but all that came out was a throaty cough. But, at least her eyes hadn’t been taped shut, she was still able to see the man; a large, rotund man, that seemed shockingly familiar but at the same time very different. She was confused about the familiarity of the man, but couldn’t place it. Now wasn’t the time for a reunion or trying to figure out who her capture was, it was more of a time to try and figure out a way to escape. But, as she looked around, with her hands and feet still firmly tied down to the bed, she couldn’t think of any way that she could escape.
Just have to wait and see what presents itself and then get outta this place, she said to herself.
But, she knew she was only fooling herself. It didn’t look good for her now, not with being tied to a bed, her mouth duck taped and the somewhat familiar looking large man now walking over to a metal stand that looked to be loaded down with shiny tools of some sort.
Oh my god! What is he going to do to me!
She was crying now. Snot bubbles were exploded out the end of her nose and thick white mucous was beginning to run out of her nose, over her duck taped mouth and down her cheek. She tried screaming again, but all she could manage was a weak throaty gurgle that remained inside her mouth.
“So,” the large man said, turning around with a large chrome saw in one hand and a long hook of some kind in his other hand. “I bet you are wondering why you are here, Miss…Linda, is it?”
Linda shook her head up and down.
“Well,” the large man continued, “Let me see if I can explain it to you.”
Linda blinked twice trying to clear the blurriness from her vision.
“My name is, Tony. Heck, I don’t have to tell you my last name, but I might as well,” he said, letting out a loud chuckle that made his belly shake this way and that. “My first name is, Tony, but feel free to call me, Mr. Gibbons or Dr. Gibbons, if you would like. Not that you’ll be calling me anything, not with your mouth taped closed and all,” the man finally finished saying, letting out another devilish laugh.
With everything that she had just gone through, Linda’s mind was foggy as hell, but even so, she tried to rack her brain for a recollection of the name – Dr. Tony Gibbons.
Then it struck her, like the icy waters that had rushed into her car, attempting to drown her.
OH MY GOD!!! Gibbons…Tony Gibbons…that’s Anthony’s father!
Anthony Gibbons was a senior in her high school and the captain of the football team. The same senior football player that she had slept with a few months ago and just a week before told that he was going to be a daddy.
And this is HIS dad!
Oh, shit…he’s gonna kill my…
Was the last thing that went through her mind, as Anthony’s dad, slowly started towards her, carrying the same large chrome saw and the long pole with a hook on the end, that she had seen sitting on the metal tray just a few minutes ago.
When she regained consciousness and opened her eyes, her mom was standing over her with a not-so-happy look across her face.
Linda’s abdomen hurt like hell, as did her mouth, arms and legs. She then remembered the night’s events, well, not all of them, but enough to understand why things hurt the way they did. It didn’t help matters now, not with seemingly being stuffed into a grocery cart, sitting on the lawn outside her house and her mom clearly pissed off about her being out past curfew.
“Young lady…where in tar-nation have you been,” Linda’s mom snapped.
“Uhhh…” Linda muttered out of her dry mouth and raw, cracked lips.
“Don’t give me uhhh Linda Meyer Davenport…I want some answers…and while you’re at it, how about explaining where your car is at, how you got home, why you smell like alcohol and for god’s sake, why you didn’t call and let me know you were going to be out this late past curfew!”
“I, uh, well…see, mom…”
“You know what, young lady, I don’t even want to hear it…climb your ass out of that shopping cart, however the hell you ended up in that thing and get your ass in the house, up to your room and into bed. We’ll have a nice long chat early tomorrow morning over breakfast.”
“Ok,” Linda muttered, clamoring over the side of the shopping cart.
When Linda got to her room, she walked into the adjoining bathroom and flicked on the light switch. She still didn’t quite understand all the events that had taken place that night, but knew she would have to come up with some pretty good answers since she was going to have to tell her mom everything in the morning – not that it wasn’t morning already Linda had noticed, with her alarm clock radio reading 4:15 – after entering her bedroom and walking through it to the bathroom door.
“What a mess,” Linda muttered white looking at herself in the mirror above the sink.
Her clothes were still damp and had a crusty film on them from the dirt and soot from the river. Her hair was mussed and she looked like she hadn’t slept in days. She put her hand up to her mouth and exhaled – the warm stench of stale beer filled her nostrils.
“Shit…no wonder mom could tell I’d been drinking.”
As Linda reached down and picked up her toothbrush and squirted a little paste from the nearly gone Crest tube, she began to think of how she was not only going to have to tell her mom about being out past curfew, while drinking at Jessica’s house when her parents were gone, but that she had crashed her car into the river – the first night after getting her driver’s license. But, those weren’t the only things she was going to have to explain. She was also going to have to come up with some way of explaining how she got home and how she was going to have a…
That’s when it hit her like a ton of bricks.
The figure coming down the embankment towards her…Dr. Gibbons, Anthony’s dad…how he…how he…
Linda took the toothbrush out of her mouth and threw it aside. She then spit a white frothy concoction out of her mouth, into the sink and quickly looked back into the mirror as she raised her shirt.
The image staring back at her, was one of a high school girl, one that had made a bad choice about sleeping with a guy only because he was part of the ‘in crowd’ and getting pregnant as a result of it. A girl that had made another bad decision by going to a friend’s house, drinking and trying to drive back home that night.
But, it wasn’t the sleeping with an older boy or drinking and driving that made bile rise up her throat and into her mouth.
It was seeing the jagged stitches running across her belly and knowing what Dr. Gibbons performed on her just a short time ago.
This time…she was able to scream.
But, at least, now, she would be able to leave her being pregnant out of the story that she was going to tell her mom in the morning.
A single tear formed, ran down her cheek and slashed onto her crusty shirt. It brought back the memories of the icy water from the river breaking through the windows of the car, crashing in and over her body.
She broke down and wept.
Copyright © 2013, Ty Schwamberger