I could only see a few yards in front of me as the rain pelted against my windshield, the ominous clouds could not have been any darker making it nearly impossible to see to drive. The highway only had two lanes with curves plus a steep drop off if you went over the edge, landing you in the river below. The swift current would have a car disappear completely in seconds.
I should not have started out tonight as the forecast had warnings the road conditions were a danger with the storm reaching very high winds. Stubborn me wanted to get a head start on my vacation. I had only a week off planning to get to my cabin in the mountains to have as much time relaxing as I could.
Rounding a curve a silhouette of a body showed in my headlights, it was hard to make out if it was a person bent over or an animal, slamming on my brakes I skidded, stopping just before reaching it.
A man stood before my window, with a bundle in his arms, first I thought it was a baby until I opened the door to see a dog wrapped in a jacket assuming it was his as he only had a shirt on. Opening the back door of my car, he laid the wet coat with the dog on my new tan leather seat. Getting out and fetching a clean blanket from my trunk asking him to lift the dog while I slipped the dry one on my seat. All I got was a grunt.
He got into the drivers side without a word, I was speechless finally getting my voice to say I drive my own car and for him to get either in the back with his dog or the passenger seat. Starting up my car, he said if I wanted to stay here, it was fine with him as he put it into drive. Having no choice I jumped in soaking wet, my car seats would be ruined for sure.
I wanted to know why he was out here on such a terrible night that is when he said his car crashed into a barrier giving him and his dog time to jump before it went head first down the cliff. I told him he had a nerve to think he was a better driver than I was at least I stopped in time before I hit him.
He wanted to know where I was headed some second sense told me not to tell him so I said I was visiting friends in the next town. Another grunt before asking me who they were, I snapped back it was none of his business and to stop at the nearest place that he could get help to carry on his trip, he had not given me any information about himself.
The rain had let up some and I could see a slight dim of lights a mile or so away. Telling him to stop when we reached the town, all I got was another grunt. I turned on my radio all that came through was static in the mountains. Turning on my cell phone there was no reception either.
Before we reached town he drove off the main road into a narrow dirt road, I would have missed it as the overgrown trees hid the entrance. I could see a light down the roadway. I was starting to worry was he taking me to his place to be dropped off then I could be on my way or did he have another reason. Was he a rapist or a killer?
As soon as the car stopped, he let the dog out and gave him some command that I did not understand the dog stood erect waiting at my door. Leaning over quickly I locked all doors before he had a chance to know what happened. His face showed surprise then a loud laugh as he dangled my keys at the window.
Walking towards a rundown cabin, the light I had seen was from a porch, his only comment was I could sleep out here or in his warm bed with him. This man was a lunatic, how could I get away with the dog staring at me through the window.
My plan for a relaxing holiday was disappearing quickly. The rain was just a drizzle on the trees, he had started a fire as smoke arose from the chimney. Would the dog be friendly if I fed him my chocolate that was in the glove compartment, remembering that dogs got sick or died eating chocolate, did I have enough?
Climbing into the back, I opened my trunk digging for a few things that probably would help get me out of here in one piece. The dog watched every move as I threw him a large bar of my favorite chocolate, he sniffed then it went down his throat in one piece, waiting until he digested it, the next one went out the window, the third and forth I was so glad that I had a sweet tooth. He lay still after the forth one. I waited.
Opening the door quietly he lifted his head slightly, a low growl then his head back down on the ground. He was not feeling good at all. I put on other jacket secured my gun which I always carried when staying at the cabin I only hoped he stayed that way, as I certainly did not want to shoot him to bring his master outside. I crept to his side and hit him hard on his head he was out cold. Then I started to run up the road towards the highway, hoping a car would come by, keeping to the side I started to jog, a cars headlights beamed up the road coming closer I was about to start to wave when I recognized it was my car. He knew I was gone.
I ducked into the bush but he had seen me, he jumped out yelling I would pay for hurting his dog and came crashing through the trees towards me. The rain had started again, pelting heavily as my feet sunk into the soft wet ground, I headed farther into the thickness of trees, and many logs had fallen small mice scurried over and around them. My foot caught on a branch that lay beside a large log I went head first banging my head making far too much noise even with the wind rustling the trees. Thunder roared above then lightening lit up the area, I could see him, looking around wondering which way I had gone, I stayed down behind the log hoping he would go in the opposite direction. No luck I could hear his heavy boots coming closer stopping to listen every few steps he took. He had a long handled rifle in his arm, I was sure he would shoot to kill and bury me out here among the trees.
My eyes adjusted to the darkness after the lightning had lit the sky, his must have had the same effect as he walked so close his foot brushed against my hip as he passed muttering under his breath as I held mine. Reaching for my gun it must have fallen out of my pocket when I tripped, as I knew it had been there before I went down.
He had kept walking away from me deeper into the bush, I started feeling around for my gun in the wet leaves, hoping to feel the barrel against my fingers. His boots got closer, so close I could smell his odor as he stopped not making a sound, he knew or had heard me and was trying to figure out just where I was. I could feel movement under me a snake slithered under the log. At least I thought it was a snake I had a fear of all slithering creatures. Holding,a groan back in my throat.
“Come out, come out wherever you are” he chanted as the thunder roared once again. Praying no lightning exploded, if he saw me he would shoot, and I could not even move my hands to look for my weapon. Shouting over the thunder, he kept repeating he was the cat and I was the mouse and he would get me. My body was soaking wet as I lay trying to hold my breath, shivering I was sure he would hear, I pulled my jacket up over my mouth.
How long would he stay and look for me, he must be soaked through too. Thunder roared then a strike of lighting hitting a tree as it crashed down he ran for cover, he was not fast enough as his leg was caught under the heaviest part of the trunk. A loud scream vibrated in the quietness of the forest and then a low groaning. Peeking over the log all I could see was part his mangled leg as lightening again lit up the area. This gave me time to spot my gun laying a few feet away from foot.
Gradually moving my body, I peeked up over the log. He saw the movement immediately, lifting his rifle to aim he got off a spray of bullets, this man was not giving up even if he could not walk. He had shot ten rounds that I counted he had another five to go if it was a Winchester that I saw. It certainly looked like the same kind as my Dad had. My head down I inched down the log, picking up a piece of bark throwing it as far as I could laying down. Another two shots rang out. He had at least three maybe more bullets left.
Circling as silently on my stomach I made my way around behind him trying not to make any noise as I went. Coming up behind him, I swept his rifle out of his arm with my foot. He stared, not saying a word, looking down at his leg that had started to bleed. He knew if I did not get him help and left him here, animals would start to feed on him. I emptied his rifle putting three bullets in my pocket, turned and walked to my car.
My car was sitting only a few feet from where I exited the bush, running I jumped in to find no keys in the ignition. I search the seat, the visor nothing, He had taken them with him, I had to go back and get them from him. Rain and wind seemed to increase out here on the road, Picking up a piece of a tree branch I headed back into the forest, wondering if I could find my way back to where my predator lay. Searching I could not see him I was sure I had the right place, he was not there but I could see where he had laid, a hole under the tree instead of his body. He had dug the wet ground and gotten his leg loose.
I heard him before he appeared in front of me, too late to run he came at me swearing, he was charging his one leg dragging, it did not seem to slow him down any. I swung the tree branch at his face, he grabbed my arm throwing me to the ground. Reaching I pulled my gun from my pocket firing two shots with him against me, he went down on his knees his look of surprise showed as he went down in the mud face first. I shot him again to make sure he was dead, waiting I saw no movement on his splayed body.
Searching his pockets, I heard keys jingle, no pulse he would not bother any other woman again. Rushing to my car I stopped thought a moment, I had waited too long for my holiday to have the police at my door. I had to go back to get my shell casings, the third shot in his back showed he was murdered.
Standing over him, I saw his knife in his belt bending over his still warm body I shivered and dug out the one in his back. Turning him over I sliced into his chest removing the other two bullets. His blood oozed onto the ground.
Picking up the shell casing I put them, his knife my bullets in my pant pocket. His body would not be found for a while in this weather, by that time the rain would have washed footprint and any other evidence away.
I headed to my car, I could still get to my cabin before breakfast to start my holiday.