A Dangerous Love (Chapter 3, page 1 of 11)

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Chapter 3

In every mirror, dust obliterated her past. The radio channel played nonsensical songs from the 60's in a barely successful mission to lift her spirits. Ahead was nothing but a narrow dirt road lined with mature Oak trees and brush. Wildlife hid behind that wall of green, but it was too late in the day for them to be hopping out on the road. The evening sun made eerie shapes in the forested landscape. The clever cost savings idea of sleeping in the car didn't sound so safe right now.

She was on the washboard ruts before she realized they were there. The rear end of the car danced sideways, bouncing like a horse kicking up its heels. She let up on the accelerator long enough to gain control of the vehicle. Somewhere up ahead was a sharp turn. She applied the brakes and the dust cloud caught up, cloaking the road so thickly that visibility was down to the front of the car. For a moment she felt the dull aching pain of being utterly alone. Solitude had always been her friend. In fact she had avoided - even pushed away those who might want to claim close friendship. Acquaintances were shallow and many, but if a person had one true friend in a lifetime, they were blessed. Connie was a friend like that.

The sharp curve arrived before her memory of it. All her skills were occupied simply keeping all four wheels on the ground. The car weaved in a cloud of dust, throwing gravel at the trees. She gripped the steering wheel as the vehicle plunged down a steep hill. Her heart attempted a painful escape through her throat. At the bottom of the hill a sharp turn waited. Beyond that, less than three feet separated the road from the edge of a cliff. Only low brush could grow in so small a space . . . no trees to prevent a vehicle from plunging into the forested mountain ranges below and beyond.

A scream caught in her throat as she frantically locked the breaks. The car spun around at the bottom of the hill, spraying gravel in a wild circle. She had a brief impression of a man on a horse, and then they were behind her. She desperately fought the steering wheel for control, but the car weaved all over the road.

The car made one more circle in the road and then lunged at the cliff. Over the dusty hood, the yawning valley beckoned, and then . . . the sound of metal grinding against rock. The car abruptly halted its progress, slinging Lisa against the steering wheel with bone jarring force. For a few moments the car hung there, the back half solidly on the ground, the front hanging precariously over the cliff. And then the car slowly tilted toward the gaping canyon below. Again it stopped.

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