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Published by Kimberly Gilmore

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Published by: Kimberly Gilmore on Dec 03, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Beaufort, GA wasn’t anything like the cities she lived before. Most of her neighbors were born and raised here and didn’t take kindly to outsiders. If she had her way, she’d just hideaway
in her house, but experience taught Kailey that, nothing drew attention more than someone tryingto hide. It took lot of buying stale muffins at bake sales, and salty potato salad at churchcookouts, but Kailey finally managed to charm her neighbors. With her new found friendsthough, came responsibilities, one of which was hosting the book club. Tonight would be her
first night to host and she’d spent more time than was pretty searching through her closet for justthe right blouse and pair of jeans. With her hair dyed a pale brown and green contacts, she didn’t
think anyone she used to know would recognize her. It made her sad, having to make so many
changes, but she knew that working so hard to lose herself in this town wouldn’t mean anything
if she could be tracked.
Halfway to the store, she realized she’d forgotten her 
grocery list. “Damnit.” She tried toremember what was on the list, veggies, chips, juice, wine…Damn. She was going to
have tomake a new list before she got inside the store. She hated shopping without a list because sheusually ended up with way more food than she intended.
She’d just turned off the main road, and turned down the narrow side street that led to one
of the two shopping centers in Beaufort. The sides of the gently curving road sloped downsharply to rows of thick dark trees. During the daytime, this was her favorite street, because ittruly impressed upon her the isolation of living in this tiny town. As she guided her Corollaaround another curve,
ran in front of her car. It was huge, much bigger than any
 person or animal she’d ever seen and pale, with large dark eyes. She slammed on the breaks, a
stream of curses leaving her mouth as the car swerved. She gripped the wheel trying to keep thecar on the road as it swung towards the edge. Just as she managed to get the car under control,another car slammed i
nto the driver’s side of her vehicle. “Holy—“Kailey cursed as the impact
 jolted her car, over the edge of the road. She hit the brakes hard, but still skidded down the steepslope and headed right for the trees Her last thought before everything went dark was,
they found me
 The first thing Kailey became aware of was a dull ache all over her body. Her pulsepounded like a hammer against the inside of her skull and she groaned. Every beat of her heartmade her stomach twist and she swallowed thickly. There was another groan that she thoughtwas her, but realized a moment later was the car. The engine wheezed, and then died with agurgle.The car shifted downward sharply and something scrapped against the metal. She forcedher eyes open and then closed them again when her vision swam. She tried again, opening themmore slowly this time and though the world tilted for a moment at first, it evened out and stayedin focus.
“Oh God,” T
here was a tree in her car. Well, part of a tree in her car. Branches andleaves covered her seats and stuck in through the windshield and the passenger windows. The carwas leaning against the tree, and she could feel gravity pulling her towards the passenger side of the car.
“Anyone in there?”
A masculine
voice came from outside the car, “Alice
, call 911! Hurry
up. I’ll see if I can help them get out of the car.” T
he voice was drew
closer, “Ma’am
, are you
awake? Can you hear me?”
Kailey turned her head, and spikes of pain radiated up the side of her face and down her
neck, “Yeah, I’m here.” Her chest felt tight and it was hard to make the words come out
, I’m sorry, we
didn’t see you until it was too late.”
The person, a man, withthinning hair, and slightly stooped shoulders came into focus.
“I’m going to open the door and
see if I can help you out, okay? Just hang on, okay
?” He kept talking and
Kailey used his voicelike an anchor, focusing on it as he managed to get the door open and leaned into the car to help
her out of her seat belt. “My name
is Ted. My wife is calling 911. Someone will be here soon.
I’m an EMT, so I’ll look you over when we get yo
u out.
They finally managed to get the seatbelt off and he encouraged her to put her arm around his neck as he slipped his arm around herwaist.
“I’ll pull, and you push, we’ll get you out of here
’s throat burned and her vision blu
rred again, and then a sob worked itsway up her tight throat.
“Oh God,” she whispered.
“Shh, it’s okay, I have you,” Ted said,
his voice was low and steady and the soundloosened something in her chest.
“Tell me your name? Do you hurt anywhere?”
“I don’t know,” her body still ached, but she couldn’t pin down where the pain wascoming from. She was shaking so hard she thought she might be crying, but she didn’t feel any
tears on her cheeks.
“Okay, its
okay, I have you
,” Ted shifted getting a better grip on her waist. “I’m going to pull now and you push okay? Tell me your name.”
He pulled and she screamed, as pieces of her insides ground together.
“Oh, you might have a broken rib,” Ted felt along her waist and stopped when she hissed.“We still nee
d to get you out of this car.
Alice get over here and help me.”
Ted, don’t,” Alice’s voice was
so soft Kailey could barely hear it over the poundingof her head.
“You could hurt her.”
“The car is smoking, Alice, we don’t know
what will happen if she stays in there
 Their voices were starting to go in and out of focus and Kailey could feel darknesshovering at the edge of her consciousness.By the time Ted and Alice worked together and managed to get her out of the car, thedarkness was closing in and she welcomed it. They lay her on a blanket from their trunk thatsmelled like car oil, grass, and faintly, of fabric softener.
“Sirens,” Al
ice said
her voice tight, “
’ll be here soon.”
“Did you hear that?” Ted asked,
there was a pause and Kailey heard it now too, ashuffling sound inside the trees.
I just hear sirens.
“I’ll be right back.”
“Damn it, Ted.”
“Someone is out there, Alice.” His voice was moving further away.
we don’t’ have time for this,” Alice said, “Just hold on, okay,” She
Kailey’s shoulder and then her voice faded away.
“Alice!” Something about Ted’s voice
made Kailey start to wake up.
“We have to go.”
“What? Why?”
There was crashing coming from the woods now, sticks breaking; leaves crunching andKailey opened her eyes to see them standing next to her.
Ted’s eyes were wide and Alice’s

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