Read Chasing Tara (Bryant Station Curves) Online
Authors: Rayne Rachels
Bryant Station Curves
Copyright © 2013 Rayne
All rights reserved.
For more information about the author, please visit http://raynerachels.blogspot.com
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are the product of the Author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
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The engine sputtered a couple of times sending trembles through the old blue sedan. The car’s speed dropped. Tara pushed down on the gas pedal, but instead of going faster, the car’s momentum continued slowing until it finally rolled to a stop on the side of the road. The engine made a series of sputtering noises and then it died. The silence was eerie.
“No! No! No! You can’t do this to me!” Tara yelled as she banged her hands on the steering wheel. She turned the key off and back on hoping the engine would roar to life. The starter made several clicking noises, but the engine did nothing. Tara turned the key off and on again. The starter made a couple more of the same clicking noises, and then, it too quit working.
Tara rested her head on the steering wheel. “This isn’t happening. Couldn’t you have waited one more mile?” She pleaded with the car. The old sedan was not much to look at, but at the time, it was all she could afford. Tara bit down on her bottom lip. Tears stung her eyes. The old clunker was definitely not the SUV she had been driving, but when Donald caught up with her in Beaumont, she did not have much choice. The SUV and its personalized New York license plates stuck out like a sore thumb. She had to ditch it and find a new car, and this dead paperweight happened to be the only thing available without too many questions.
She lifted her head and shoved the strands of auburn hair out of her face. She rubbed her eyes to get rid of the tears threatening to fall. Crying would not change anything. The car was dead. Donald was chasing her, and she was still stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Well, not exactly the middle of nowhere, but close enough.
Tara turned and looked at her daughter in the back seat. Luckily, Haley was still asleep in the car seat, her head resting against the padded side.
Thank goodness for small favors,
She pulled her attention back to the car. Tara knew it could not be out of gasoline because she had filled it about thirty minutes ago, when she stopped at the truck stop outside of Milano. It
wasn’t the battery either, because the radio and lights still worked.
Grabbing the key, Tara turned it and waited for the clicking noises, but the only thing that happened was the radio and lights dimmed. Tara turned off the key. She stared out the windows at the late afternoon sky. It would be dark soon, and with the darkness, the temperatures would drop. Without the heater, the car grew colder with each passing minute. She had to make a decision.
Tara glanced at Haley. No way could she and her three-year-old daughter stay in the car overnight. They would end up freezing to death.
Tara reached for her purse and pulled it closer to her as she chewed on her bottom lip. She reached into the over-sized bag and pulled out her cellphone. Her hands shook and her mouth went dry as she stared at it. If she turned the cellphone back on, she could call for help, but would help reach her before Donald did? Did she dare to take that chance?
Tara took a deep breath and let it out. She started to put the cellphone back into her purse but glared at it for a couple of seconds. She threw it onto the passenger floor. The cellphone bounced a couple of times on the worn carpet before it came to a stop. She knew the GPS feature was disabled, but she couldn’t take the risk of using the cellphone. The last time she made a phone call with it, Donald somehow managed to track the call and found out where she was. Tara shivered. She and Haley had been lucky. They escaped, but just barely, and something told her they would not be so lucky a second time. Donald was too desperate.
She stared out the windows again, but this time she did not see the landscape or the sky. Lost in her thoughts, she wondered if she would ever be safe from Donald. She let her fingers brush across the bruise on her right cheek. It looked horrible and hurt even worse, but Donald’s face looked even worse.
Tara smiled. Her momma was no fool. She was tough and she made sure Tara knew how to defend herself. If only her momma had taught her what to do about a crazy brother-in-law. Tara shook her head. She wasn’t a beautiful girl, especially at her current size eighteen, but her hourglass figure attracted more attention than she wanted, and more often than not, it was the wrong type of attention.
Tara shook the thoughts from her head. She had to deal with the current situation, and there was only one option left. Tara had to walk the last mile to Bryant Station. She could do this. It was only one mile. It
wasn’t a big deal, except she would have to leave her stuff, what little she had left, and hope no one stole anything.
Tara slipped her arms back into her jacket. She wished she had her long coat, but that was back in the
condo in New York, along with the rest of her belongs she had to leave behind when she and Haley ran.
“Possessions can be replaced,” she told herself as she grabbed her purse and the car keys. She got out, closing the door to keep as much of the heat inside the car as she could. Tara opened the trunk and grabbed the extra blanket she brought with her; now glad she had grabbed it. The trunk closed with a bang.
A loud cry came from the backseat. Haley was awake.
Tara rushed to Haley’s side of the car and opened the door. She unbuckled the straps holding Haley snug into the car seat. Hugging the little girl close to her chest, Tara wrapped the blanket around them, hoping it, along with her body heat, would keep Haley warm.
“It’s okay, baby girl. We’ve just going for a walk.” She rocked Haley as she cooed and whispered to her daughter, until the child fell into a fitful sleep.
“Thank you,” mouthed Tara. Carrying a sleeping Haley was easier than carrying the wide-awake and squirming Haley. After making sure, she had her purse and the backpack filled with emergency supplies for her and Haley, and she had locked all of the car’s doors, Tara, carrying Haley, started her trek to Bryant Station. If luck stayed with her, Tara would get there before she froze to death.
Ben turned his head sideways until he heard a pop, then he turned it to the other side until he heard the pop again. He sighed and readjusted himself in the front seat of the large SUV. Normally popping his neck helped relieve the tension, but today it was not working. Even his skin itched and tingled. Something big was about to happen. He just knew it, because even his bear had started pacing back and forth.
“What’s wrong? Do you have ants in your pants?” asked Lisa Mathers as she glanced at Ben. She smiled at him before she turned her attention back to the road.
Ben snorted and rolled his eyes. “Ants in my pants? Are you for real? You couldn’t come up with something better than that lame line? Come on Aunt Lisa, I’m not two years old,” he said with a grin on his face.
“Well, you know two year olds can’t sit still either. Besides, shouldn’t I be the one who’s nervous?” She glanced at Ben again and winked. “After all, I’m the one getting married in a few days.”
“Aunt Lisa, you and Uncle David are already mated. Why would you be nervous about the wedding?” Ben shook his head. “I just don’t get it.”
Lisa laughed. “Don’t worry. It’s a female thing.” She glanced at him and winked.
Ben turned and stared out the window at the barely visible landscape. The electrical poles and trees were merely shadows against the fading light. The steady passing of the shadows and the warmth inside the SUV caused Ben to doze.
They are here, and they need help. They need you and your father just as much as you and your father need them. You must listen and protect your little sister so her mother can protect both of you.
The Great Mother Bear’s musical voice was beautiful.
How will I know them?
Ben had never asked her questions, he usually just listened, but this was too important.
The Great Mother Bear chuckled.
You will know.
“Ben?” Lisa forehead wrinkled with worry at the strange look on the boy’s face. She knew the look was not because he was asleep, but more like he was in a trance.
“Huh?” Ben blinked several times and shook his head.
“What happened?” Concern filled Lisa’s voice. David, her mate and Ben’s uncle, had told her about Ben’s connection to the Great Mother Bear. It worried her, though it did not surprise her, especially after the visit the Great Mother Bear had given her.
“Nothing.” He shrugged his shoulders. He did not want to frighten Lisa or make her think he was crazy.
Lisa took a deep breath and blew it out as she decided what to say. She glanced at Ben again. “Mother Bear just spoke to you, didn’t she? You can tell me, because she’s spoken to me too.” Lisa decided honesty was the best situation.
Ben’s head whipped around and stared at Lisa. “Who spoke to you?”
“The Great Mother Bear.
Ben’s jaw dropped.
“Don’t look so surprised.” Lisa smiled at him.
When?” Ben was shocked. Other than his mom who died when he was a baby, he did not know of anyone who the Great Mother Bear had spoken too.
“She came to me when I was in the hospital, just before I woke after the wreck.” Lisa glanced at Ben. “The bear residing in me was one of her guardians,” she said in a soft voice.
Ben leaned back in the seat and stared out the front window. “You’re the first person, other than my mom, who the Great Mother Bear has spoken to, at least as far as I know.”
“It just makes me weirder than the normal person, or should I say the normal shifter?” Lisa grinned.
“No, it doesn’t make you weird. It makes you more special. I know I’m not like the others because of I talk with her, but you don’t have to worry about me. I have to worry about you and help you when I can.” Ben turned so he could study Lisa. “I knew you would be Uncle David’s mate. I wanted you to be Dad’s mate so you would be my mom, but Mother Bear said there was someone else for my dad…someone who was already my mom, though she doesn’t know it.”
“You wanted me to be your mother?” asked Lisa. She could not believe the weight Ben had put on his shoulders. He was just a child. He should not be so worried about everyone else.
“Yeah, I did.”
Lisa felt tears forming in her eyes. “I’m honored you wanted me for a mother.”
“At least I got you for an aunt. Besides, you will be a great mother to my cousin. I can’t wait to see her. She and my new sister will be best friends, and I’ll watch over both of them.”
Lisa gasped. “How do you know I’m pregnant? No, don’t tell me, it’s because I smell different, isn’t it?” She glanced several times at Ben who grinned at her. Lisa finally just shook her head and focused her attention on driving.
“It was something like that,” said Ben. He leaned his head against the headrest. Because of his connection with the Great Mother Bear, he knew many things…things that had not happened yet, but he could not tell anyone. All he could do was help push the people involved in the right direction and hope they made the right choices. Some days it was frustrating, like today. He knew something was up, and based on the conversation with Mother Bear, he knew his new mom and sister were on their way. He had to be ready for them. Ben hoped his dad was ready for them.
For the next several miles, a calm silence fell over the two. Lisa concentrated on the darkening road while Ben stared out the window until the SUV’s headlights glanced off a car on the side of the road. Ben sat up and stared at the car even though he
couldn’t see anything in it. “Aunt Lisa, stop!”
“Why? What’s wrong?” asked Lisa as she pulled over to the shoulder of the road.
Ben turned in his seat trying to see the car out of the rear window. “Back up to the car we passed on the shoulder.” His heart pounded against his ribcage. This was it. This was the sign that would change his world. He just knew it.
Lisa backed up until the backup light on the SUV bounced off the front of the car. Before she even put the vehicle into park, Ben opened his door and jumped out of the SUV.
“Ben, come back here!” she yelled after him. “Great. Just great! It’s an abandoned car and we have no clue if someone’s still in it or not,” she grumbled as she grabbed a flashlight out of the center console and turned it on. “Ben, get back here!” she yelled as she climbed out of the SUV.
Ben had his face plastered to the driver’s side window when Lisa caught up to him. “I don’t think anyone’s here, but I’ve got to make sure. Can I have the flashlight?”
“Ben, it’s not safe for us to be doing this. We have no idea who this car belongs to, and it’s freezing out here.” The bear now sharing her body kept her body temperature warmer than a human’s body temperature, but out of habit, Lisa pulled her coat tighter around her.
“Please, may I have the flashlight?” Ben pleaded with Lisa.
“Why do you need it?” asked Lisa.
“I have to see inside the car.”
“Please, Aunt Lisa. It’s important.”
Lisa stared at Ben. She had never seen Ben act like this. It scared her. She shoved her hand through her short blonde hair. “Move over.” She pushed Ben out of her way and shined the light into the interior of the car. “What are you looking for?”