Tamara’s Troubles


Here’s the next segment of What Happens Next? (Psst, like the new title?)

******

Brandon, chest slicked with sweat, emerged from the woods. Illuminated in the moonlight, his muscled bulk appeared twice its normal size. Dark veins trekked along his arms and legs. His eyes flashed a luminous green. Fangs spilled over his bottom lip. He smiled, revealing two rows of uniformly sized, sharp-edged teeth. “I told you, escape was impossible.” He clicked his long, claw-like nails.

Jack’s satisfied laugh sounded behind me.

It couldn’t be true. Fangs? Claws?

Brandon snarled. “You look scared, Tamara.”

“What are you?” My heart slammed against my ribcage. Adrenaline squeezed my chest.

“Really? You don’t know?” He rolled his eyes. “And I thought you were one of the smarter ones.”

“But we…” Spent time in the sun. Time alone. Time…together.

“Wah, wah. You always do this. I’m bored. Let’s just finish her already,” Jack whined.

My boyfriend turned vampire raised a hand. “I’m not done yet.”

“You take. Too. Long.”

Brandon stepped on the pavement. “You got a problem with how I do things?”

Jack shoved past me. “Yeah. I got a problem. Like I said. You take too long. You’ve had the past month to play with her. Time’s up.”

The two monsters lashed at one another, vying for dominance. Jack growled and lunged at Brandon. The impact sent both of them barreling back into the woods.

I stared, slack jawed, as the trees swayed and snapped from their battle.

Go. Run! My self-preservation instinct screamed.

I listened and took off at a gallop toward town. At my best, I could run a six minute mile. That meant I’d be at Anne-Marie’s in less than twenty.

Hopefully, Brandon and Jack forgot about me. Their crashing faded the more distance I put between us.

A pair of headlights blinded me. The car approached fast. I shifted to the side of the road and waved my arms, still running.

“Hey! Stop!”

The vehicle slowed and veered toward me. I dodged out of the way, relieved someone came along.

The passenger window opened before the sedan came to a full stop.

“Hey. You okay?”

I didn’t ask permission to get in. Locking the door behind me, I yelled, “Hurry, I’m being chased.”

“All right, all right.” The man drove on. “Who’s chain’ ya?”

“No, no, turn around! Don’t go that way. I need to get to town.” I hated the high-pitched tone of my voice, but if the monster pair saw us, they’d probably split the car in two. Heck, Brandon had snapped a tree in half.

“But I’m heading this way.” Mr. Middle-aged, dressed in a polo shirt and khakis, glanced at me.

“You don’t understand, they’ll hurt you too. They’re…” I stopped, at a loss for words.

His brow wrinkled. “They? Who?”

“Never mind. Just please turn around.” We rounded the bend and nearly crashed into the felled tree. I screamed and grabbed the dash, breaking a nail below the quick.

The driver swerved just in time, sending the sedan into a fishtail. He counter-steered and righted the car with stunt driver deftness.

“What the hell?” He looked in the rearview, then at me. “Did you set me up?”

“What?”

“Did you know that the tree was there?”

“No, of course not!”

The man frowned and pulled the car over.

I glared at him. “Why are you stopping?”

He stuck a finger in my face. “I don’t appreciate getting pranked by some stupid teenager. Look at you. You’re covered in dirt. Probably high. I bet you thought it would be funny to get an old guy to wreck his car, right?”

Why would I have to be picked up by a crazy man? “I’m not–”

“Get out.” He unlocked the doors.

“No, please, I–”

“Get out!” He reached across me, opened the door, and shoved me to the ground. He drove off before I could even stand.

The night around me was quiet.

Back to square one.

*******

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