This is a short story I wrote for a writing challenge – sadly, I didn’t win the challenge but, this was fun to write nevertheless :)
The feet of her pajamas offered no protection as she trudged through the deep drifts. Kate had been crying throughout her ordeal and, when she lowered her head for protection from the wind, she almost missed a light piercing through the trees. As she instinctively turned in that direction, she heard a train whistle…
She knew that she had to cross the tracks before the train came or the men following her would definitely catch her. She was so tired and drained from running, adrenaline coursed thru her body. She glanced over her shoulder and saw a flickering light behind her. She closed her eyes for a second and felt the heat from the fireplace in her house. She had been curled up on the couch with Onyx, her cat, dozing off and on. Her parents were in the kitchen, she could hear their low voices. Her father was excited about a new drug he had discovered. For some reason it was a huge secret and if it fell into the wrong hands, it would be disastrous. Kate didn’t know much about the drug, only that the government was very interested in it and so were other people. Her father had gotten numerous calls all evening and kept hanging up after having heated conversations. A loud slam woke Kate from her lazy slumber and she bolted straight up, dumping Onyx on the ground. Loud, angry voices came from the kitchen, she could hear her mother crying and her father was yelling at whoever was with them. Suddenly her father came running into the room and yelled at Kate to run. Behind him were several men dressed in black, one was holding her mother in a tight grip. Kate’s eyes grew large as fear gripped her, freezing her in place. Her father stopped in front of her, pleading for her to run. All of a sudden he crumpled to his knees, a dazed look on his face. The man behind him smiled at Kate, the bottle in his hand covered in blood. Kate gasped and jumped up, running for the door. She didn’t grab a jacket, she just ran out into the dark. She heard her mother scream but she kept running, too scared to stop. The men were yelling and several came after her.
The snow and wind blew all around her, her fingers were numb and her pajama clad feet were soaked. Hearing the men behind her she continued forward thru the snow drifts. They lived in Wyoming; their closest neighbor was twenty-five miles away. Kate knew the interstate was over the hill past the train tracks so she headed that way, hoping that someone would help her. She had no idea what was happening to her parents. Tears froze on her cheeks and fear gripped her. For a second she almost stopped and went back but her father yelling at her to run flashed thru her mind.
Kate jumped as the train whistle broke the air; bringing her out of her reverie. Her eyes snapped open with the realization she had to beat the train. Not sure how much further the tracks were, she lowered her head and blew warm air over her numb fingers. Her thoughts went over the whole situation. Those men had to have been after the drug her father had discovered. He must have refused to give it to them. Kate couldn’t figure out what kind of drug her father had been working on. He never discussed it with her or her mother. Considering her present situation it had to have been something big. She looked over her shoulder but couldn’t see a light anymore. She thought she heard voices but the wind made it hard to tell where it was coming from. Desperate to get across the tracks, she took a deep breathe and pushed forward. She wrapped her arms around her and kept her head down against the wind. The train light was getting brighter and closer as Kate slipped down the hill. She lost her footing and tumbled head first, landing with a huge thud on her back, the air knocked from her. She could hear the men at the top of the hill and forced herself to get up, willing her legs to move. With the train quickly approaching, she glanced over her shoulder and saw the men racing down the hill. Kate jumped the tracks seconds before the train screamed past, blocking her from the men who had come into the house and terrorized her family. Kate stumbled towards the interstate, her breathing shallow and fast, tears streaming down her cheeks. She waved her arms hoping someone would stop. A car slowed down and a familiar face appeared over the lowered window. She had made it. She was safe.
Copyright © 2015, S. Elisabeth M. Abbott