I promised not to leave you hanging, and here I am delivering on that promise (sort of). If you missed part one of this saga, you can catch it here. Also, if you haven’t cast your vote in the WRiTE CLUB final match yet, please do so and that can be done here. Enjoy!
In the rear-view mirror I watched in horror as Cami sprinted unfazed towards the semi-trailers thundering down on her, and the blanket.
“CAMI,” I hollered while fumbling with the seat belt. When the restraint came loose I started out the door and realized the car was rolling forward again. Cursing loudly I reached back to the center console and rammed shift knob into park, then was out the door running.
The stench of burning rubber hung in the air and black skid marks scarred the road for just over a football field in length, leading from where our car came to a rest to just beside the squirming blanket on the road. Cami had covered half that distance already, running in her bare feet, ignoring the rapidly approaching semi-trailers.
My heart, already pounding in my chest, skipped a beat when I heard a chilling sound. It was the faint, but unmistakably wailing of a baby. This couldn’t be happening. I urged my travel weary legs to move faster. Although my wife was sprinting at a pace I’ve never seen her use before, I was still making up the ground fast.
The trucks, a pair of them running side by side like some twisted heavy weight drag race, were closer than I first thought and gave no indication of slowing down. Cami was undoubtedly difficult to spot wearing a black tank top and blue jeans against the dark back drop. I had been doing 80 miles an hour in our car when I hit the brakes and it took us almost 400 feet to stop, the trucks were probably doing close to that speed and because of their size and mass it would take them considerably longer. A couple more seconds and they’d be unable to stop in time.
I ripped off my yellow beach shirt and started frantically waving it over my head as I ran, screaming “STOP” despite the utter futility of it. As each second passed with no result my anxiety grew and the more animated my waving became. See me! See me! Please dear god let them SEE ME!
I was rewarded by a plume of white smoke emanating first from the back of the truck on the left, then the other. When I heard the almost rhythmic sound of tandem tires fighting for traction against a concrete surface, I let the wind take my shirt and set my sights on Cami. It was going to be close.
The truck on the left with a red cab must have been almost empty because it was having no problem stopping short, but the one of the right was a different story. Just as it pulled past the other truck its trailer began to jack-knife across the road. I reached Cami just as she was picking up the baby and using strength I didn’t know I had, scooped them both up and lunged to the left out of the path of the careening trailer.
The truck and trailer came to rest midway between us and our car. I set Cami down and took a few steps towards it, staring in disbelief. Imprinted on the side of the trailer was the logo for Gerber Foods.
I turned back to Cami, standing there with the blanket clutched tightly to her chest. The bundle in her arms was oddly still, and silent. When our eyes met the emotion of what had just happened silently passed between us. I cannot recall ever loving her more than I did just then
Both of our attentions switched to the blanket. Using a special kind of tenderness, Cami pulled apart the corners and pealed it open. When the last layer fell open her expression froze. Something was wrong.
The blanket obscured whatever it was, so I took a step closer. Cradled in her arms, unclothed, with a cell phone taped to its chest with a piece of black electrical tape, was a very life-like doll.
Sorry about that, not the conclusion you were looking for? But isn’t that’s the ear-mark of any thriller/mystery worth its salt, the need to turn the page to find out what happens next? I do have a third piece I could post next week…if there’s enough interest that is. Let me know what you think.