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In the Running

In the Running by Lloyd Dee
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When your world disintegrates, not even waking in the arms of an attractive man helps. Yesterday, Reenie discovered her fiance was unfaithful, saw him commit a murder and ran; today, she wrecked her car. This is no time to fall in love. Or is it?
Awe-Struck Publishing; September 1999
151 pages; ISBN 9781928670155
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Title: In the Running
Author: Lloyd Dee
Maura could feel the panic rising again. It was fluttering inside her like a bird trying to get out of a cardboard box. Its beak and talons were tearing at the flimsy walls of her self-control, its wings beating hard. The thudding strokes were almost up to the base of her throat.
And now, drops of freezing rain were flattening on the windshield. A Jeep Cherokee towing a heavy old wooden boat eased itself carefully onto the road ahead of her. Maura drew a long exasperated breath.
she wasn't going to be able to pass him any time soon with the strong Northwest wind buffeting the boat. Halfway up a long, steep grade, the trailer began to weave more erratically behind the Jeep. Maura, reluctantly, slowed down to leave a few more car lengths between them.

Suddenly, a white-tailed deer materialized out of the dense tangle of evergreens and dashed across the road in front of the Jeep. As the driver swerved hard to avoid the animal, the boat trailer swung around ninety degrees and snapped free of the trailer hitch.

Maura couldn't believe her eyes. The trailer with its massive load jerked to a stop, then began to veer crazily back down the hill, casting sparks like a Fourth of July sparkler as its metal tongue dragged over the old, potholed asphalt. It was gathering speed as it headed straight for her.

She floored the accelerator and cranked the steering wheel to the left. The boat streaked past her, narrowly missing her rear fender.

The heavy old station wagon lurched as its tires plowed deep into the soft shoulder. Maura wrestled the steering wheel but the hulk had a mind of its own. The gravel sucking at its tires slowed it a bit but not enough to prevent it from careening down the steep bank. No matter how hard she tried to control the steering, the nearly treadless tires found their own route in the soft loam. Her scream was shrilling in her ears as the twelve-year-old Buick made jarring contact with a century-old birch.
Matt held his breath and watched in horror as the heavy car teetered, then dipped and slid inexorably into the deep gully. The driver's shrill scream wavered on the air for a long second before the sound of splintering glass and the screech of rending metal ripped through the wet woods

Matt slithered and stumbled through the soggy undergrowth. Getting the driver out wasn't going to be easy. The right front wheel of the car rested on a three-foot stump, jamming the driver's door against the birch clump.

A strong reek of gasoline stung his nostrils. He prayed the leak was a small one as he heaved a massive piece of birch off the passenger's door, then clambered up to tug at the handle. The damned door wouldn't budge.
In the silence of the wet woods, he heard the steady dripping of gasoline from the ruptured gas tank.

Then he thought he heard something else. Yes, there it was again - a faint moan. She was alive!

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