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Authors: Melinda Leigh

She Can Scream (39 page)

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No! She couldn’t sit here and wait for water to fill the car. She’d drown. She had to get out now. Water inched up the glass. The sense of confinement suffocated her. Her heart catapulted blood through her veins.

The window.

She pressed the lever. Nothing happened.

Oh, no. It had to open!

Did electric windows work underwater? The car shifted again, the hood dropping thirty degrees. Sliding forward, Abby braced her upper body on the steering wheel.

Water advanced beyond her calves to her thighs. Her winter running tights were designed to facilitate moisture transfer, not
keep water out. The cold bit into her skin like teeth. Pain and numbness spread up her legs and reached for her body with a greedy splash.

Tears leaked down her cheeks and terror sprinted through her heart as she pressed the window button harder. The glass lowered. Yes! Her flash of relief was cut off by the flow of water. It poured through the opening and washed over her torso in an icy fall. She had an exit, but now the car was flooding even faster.

With a groan, the car tipped as the weight of the engine pulled the vehicle deeper into the eddying river. Abby fell forward as the car went vertical. She lost her grips on the wheel. Her world tilted. Her forehead slammed into the dashboard. Blood spattered, but she felt nothing.

The water rose, swallowing her pelvis and chest in the span of two panting breaths. She twisted her body sideways to fit through the opening, but the force of the water pouring through the window pushed her back into the vehicle.

Frigid liquid enveloped her neck and face. The shock seized her muscles. Her breathing sped up in a reflex to the agonizing cold. She pressed her face to the ceiling to suck in a last lungful of air. But the car dropped again, turning as it sank. Her body tumbled like clothes in a washing machine.

Where was the window?

Disoriented by the car’s shift, she searched with frantic desperation. Icy water stabbed her eyeballs. In the murky underwater scene, she saw it.

There!

Her arms tangled in her heavy wool coat. She shrugged out of it and pushed her shoulders through the opening. Once her hips cleared the window, the current pulled her free. The surface was a bright layer just above the car roof. Lungs burning, she
stroked upward, toward the light, away from the darkness below. Her head burst free of the water and she gasped. Oxygen flooded her brain. With the infusion of air into her body, her limbs went from cold to numb to dead weight in an instant.

She could barely move to keep her head above the surface. Dirty water sloughed down her throat, choking her. She looked for the bank, but the water carried her farther from the vehicle, toward the center of the rapids that bubbled white down the center of the waterway. With one final desperate lunge, she grabbed the bumper of her Subaru protruding from the surface. She’d never make it to shore. She’d escaped the car only to drown anyway.

Acceptance washed over her, as numbing as the temperature, then sadness. Her poor high school students would grieve. Her only friend and fellow teacher, Brooke, and the young neighbor Abby tutored would be devastated. Zeus, too, for as long as his dog memory would allow. That was it. She hadn’t let many people get close. Her mother was dead, and she hadn’t seen her father in three years, since the last time she’d come close to dying, when he’d made his lack of interest clear.

Loneliness rivaled fear in her heart as the current tugged harder. For the second time, she was facing death alone. But if she could do it over again, would she change?

Could she change?

It didn’t matter. She wasn’t going to get another chance. Her frozen fingers faltered, then slipped. The wet metal slid out of her grip. Icy water closed over her head.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Tannock Photography 2012

Melinda Leigh abandoned her career in banking to raise her kids and never looked back. She started writing as a hobby and became addicted to creating characters and stories. Since then, she has won numerous writing awards for her paranormal romance and romantic-suspense fiction. Her debut novel,
She Can Run
, was a number one bestseller in Kindle Romantic Suspense, a 2011 Best Book Finalist (The Romance Reviews), and a nominee for the 2012 International Thriller Award for Best First Book. When she isn’t writing, Melinda is an avid martial artist: she holds a second-degree black belt in Kenpo karate and teaches women’s self-defense. She lives in a messy house with her husband, two teenagers, a couple of dogs, and two rescue cats.

BOOK: She Can Scream
2.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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