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Authors: Karen Malone

Far Country

BOOK: Far Country
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Far Country



 By Karen Malone

















To my family, for hours of
patient reading and re-reading, grammar correcting, and helpful suggestions, and
especially to my husband, Jeff, who has always supported my dreams.  I am
truly blessed to have all of you in my life.


And also to my English
teachers, Mrs. McKay, Miss Higgins and Mr. Marshall - your efforts to introduce
me to great literature, and to teach me grammar and punctuation were not
entirely wasted!  But especially to Mr.
who gave me a 'D' on my first essay, and then forced me to sign up for his
Creative Writing class.  Thank you.






Cover Design by Amanda


Model: Eric McLemore









All characters mentioned in this book are a work of fiction.
Any resemblance to real person(s) is purely coincidental.  For purposes of
the story, some places/topography of the park mentioned by the characters may
also be fictional, or not strictly accurate descriptions of actual places
located in Hanging Rock State Park.




Table Of Contents


Ch 1

The Wreck

Ch 2

Five Years Later

Ch 3


Ch 4


Ch 5

Nightmare in the Hospital

Ch 6

Dealing With It

Ch 7

New Job Description

Ch 08

Facing Old Memories

Ch 9

River Run

Ch 10

Reaching Out

Ch 11


Ch 12


Ch 13

Second Chance

Ch 14

Running on a Hunch

Ch 15

Going Home

Ch 16

A New Creation

Ch 17

Lazy Days of Spring

Ch 18

A Day at the Beach

Ch 19

An X-Ray of Life

Ch 20

Just Gracie

Ch 21


Ch 23

The Longest Day

Ch 24

Better Late Than Never

Ch 25

Vacation Bible School is for Adults

Ch 26

Beth and Steve

Ch 27

Truth and Consequences

Ch 28

Home Again

Ch 29

Unexpected Results

Ch 30

Last Dive

Ch 31

Nowhere To Go

Ch 32

Rescue Mission

Ch 33

In Denial

Ch 34

Starting Over

Ch 35

The Consequences of Oversleeping

Ch 36


Ch 37

Near Disaster

Ch 38


Ch 39

Meetings All Around

Ch 40

Small Steps

Ch 41

Not So Merry Christmas

Ch 42

What Friends Are For

Ch 43


Ch 44

Three Hundred Dollar Falls

Ch 45

When a Good Plan Comes together

Ch 46

The Wedding Bells Express

Ch 47

Mountaintop Experience

Chapter  48


Ch 49

Begin Again




Ch 1
The Wreck


rain was so cold

It ran down the collar of Steve’s suit jacket, soaking
his neck.  He shivered uncontrollably and wiped the water off his face,
staring numbly at the bottom of the steep ditch. The twisting, two lane back
road that he had taken to the island lacked street lamps, yet even the slashing
sheets of rain couldn’t completely hide the crumpled form of the little sports
car.  He couldn’t look away from the wreck. He couldn’t stop shaking.

Thunder crackled almost overhead, and in the split second that the lightning
flash lit up his surroundings, he could see that a stream was beginning to run
swiftly through the bottom of the ditch.  Soon, he knew it would leak into
the passenger side of the car. He hadn’t noticed water in the ditch a few
minutes ago, when he had crawled painfully up the muddy banking. He started forward,
thinking he ought to make sure Sarah’s head wasn’t in the water, but then he
stopped, already defeated. He knew he could not crawl into the twisted interior
of the car again.

In the distance he heard the approaching wail of sirens.  He had called
911 before trying to climb out of the wreck.  In a minute they would be
here and would know how to reach Sarah.  There was nothing to do, but

The phone in his pocket suddenly blared out the opening notes of ‘Pomp and
Circumstance,’ and Steve winced at the sound of the ridiculous ringtone Sarah
had downloaded onto both of their phones that morning.  His thumb punched
the button reflexively – anything to kill the mocking tones! But the voice on
the line was almost worse.

“Steve?”  Steve’s eyes clenched shut in helpless despair at the sound of
his friend’s voice. Panic flooded through him.
 David! What could he
say? What should he…?

“Hey man, where are you two?” Came his friend’s laughing voice. “Did you lose
the directions to the beach house or something? It’s

late!  Can you believe all this
’ rain

The faint wail of the siren grew louder. Steve stared miserably at the
headlights of the approaching ambulance, afraid to speak, knowing instinctively
that actually saying the words would make this nightmare all too real. He
glanced at the ditch again and his heart turned over.
Sarah! She was still
in the car! How could he tell David?
 His breaths started to come in

David’s voice shouting into the air snapped him back. “Steve? What’s going
on?  Is everything okay?”

Steve drew a deep shaky breath and forced himself to speak.  “No, uh…I –
we had a wreck, David.”

David’s concern was immediate and sharp. “What? Are you hurt? Where’s Sarah?”

“She’s – she’s still in the car...” Steve took a shuddering breath of air and
found himself  blurting out to his best friend what he feared the
most.  “I couldn’t get her out, David! She wouldn’t wake up!  I’m
scared…I think –I think she’s dead…”

David’s howl of grief cracked the protective shell of numbness that had made it
possible for Steve to call 911 and crawl up the embankment so the ambulance would
see him and know where to stop.  The sound of David’s cry pierced
him.  His shaking grew more violent, and he collapsed onto the grass even
as the ambulance rounded the same curve where he had lost control, and pulled
to a stop almost directly in front of him. 

Moments later a paramedic dropped beside him, shining a light on his
forehead.  Steve winced as the light stabbed at his eyes. He tried to push
the woman away. “No! Sarah’s still down there. Please get her out!” He begged.

The young paramedic reached for him again, her voice soothing, calm and
professional. “Easy, hon.  We already have a team going down there, see?”
She flicked the light toward the ditch and now Steve could see that a fire
truck had pulled up behind the ambulance and four men were already setting up
equipment around the car. She moved the light back to study his forehead.
“They’ll get her out in no time,” she told him comfortingly. “But you’re hurt,
too, and you’re bleeding pretty bad. Can you stand up? We need to get you out
of this rain!”  Gently, she helped him to his feet, and in the light from
her flashlight, Steve realized that more than just water was running down his
face.  In fact, the phone was covered in sticky red blood.

The phone…

Steve could still hear David screaming at him though the receiver, but he could
only stare at it.  What could he say to David? 
It was his fault!
He had been too proud of that car - his graduation gift from his parents. 
After the rusty
he had driven for two years,
the black classic Corvette had been an unexpected surprise. It had been his
pride – for less than a day.  He groaned.
He had wanted to
show off to Sarah. Show her what the car was capable of, so he'd taken Old
Road to test it out on some curves.
He had
shown her, all right

he had killed her!

The paramedic glanced at the phone in Steve’s hand as she guided the trembling
teenager back toward the ambulance.  He could barely put any weight on his
right leg and his right arm was hanging unused.  The goose egg on his
forehead hinted of a possible concussion and there was a good chance that he
had internal injuries as well. It was clear that shock was setting in quickly.

“What’s your name, son?” She asked as she helped him to the back of the

The boy was slow to respond. His voice was weak and

“Steve,” he whispered.

“Who’s on the phone, Steve?”  Steve stared at the phone again, still
unable to respond to the frantic cries issuing from the receiver.

“It’s David,” he told her at last.

“Is David a friend, or a family member?” She asked, prying the phone gently out
of Steve’s numb fingers.

“No – yes.”

“Which is it, Steve?” She asked again, lifting the bloody phone to her ear.

“Both,” Steve answered. “My friend... Sarah is his sister - his twin.”

“Your friend in the car?”  She asked him, her eyes widening in sudden

The boy nodded miserably.

The paramedic took a deep breath, praying silently.
Oh Lord, how many lives
will be damaged from this night? This careless moment?
She handed Steve off
to her partner and spoke into the phone.

“David?” She spoke loudly, cutting through the voice on the other end.

“Who is this?” The deep voice was at once demanding and terrified.  She
had heard that particular combination too many times in her three years as an
EMT. Needing to know, yet dreading the truth.

“My name is Angela, David. I’m a paramedic. Steve was pretty badly injured and
he’s being seen now. We are still working to get your sister out of the car.”

“Is it true?” He demanded wildly. “Where are they? Where’d it happen?”

“Near the beach road,” she told him and then frowned at his first question. “Is
what true, David? What did Steve tell you?”

“He said my sister is dead!”  The voice cracked on the last word. 
Angela could hear the gasping breaths as the young man she was speaking to
fought to maintain control.

BOOK: Far Country
4.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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