Excerpt:Her father was still fussing angrily as he reached across her to
slam open and shut the glove compartment as he tossed in the ticket.
The police car had disappeared behind them, leaving them in the dark
by the side of the road. Her father threw himself back in his
seat and sat there, his arms dropping from the steering wheel. He
made no move to restart the car.
“It’s too bad,” said Cordelia soothingly, “but it can’t be helped
now. Let’s go on.”
But her father had become curiously silent.
“Tato?” asked Cordelia, suddenly worried. “Are you all right?
Her father’s hand had come up to his heart.
“Are you all right?” She asked again urgently.
He turned his head slightly towards her and shook it, ever so
“Your medicine! Where’s your medicine?”
He didn’t answer her, but closed his eyes as she sought quickly
and awkwardly through the pockets of his blazer, through the glove
compartment. No medicine; he must have forgotten it.
“An ambulance, Cordelia,” her father murmured.
An ambulance? But how would she call one, here on the deserted
highway? Oh, a car was coming, its lights cutting the darkness ahead.
The driver would have a cell phone – everyone did. She struggled from
the car, the beginnings of panic making her more than usually clumsy,
and rushed into the middle of the highway, holding up a shaking hand
to the car.
The car slowed, she could see a man and his wife looking her
over as the headlights caught her. She was standing in the middle of
the lane, waving her crutch. But as the car came to a near standstill
and she headed towards the passenger window, the driver suddenly
stepped on the gas again and departed at full speed.
“Stop,” she cried after it “Stop! Stop! Please! We need an
ambulance!” But the car didn’t stop. She knew they were afraid of a
trap, she knew it was reasonable, and she cursed them from the
bottom of her heart, her breath coming in a sob.
What to do now? She looked up and down the highway, but there
were no signs of light anywhere – not another car coming or a house
light or anything. She turned back to her father.
The door on her father’s side was open and a dark shape was
kneeling there; it rose. She stifled a scream.
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