Short Stories

The Escape

Light from the street lamps barely penetrated the dense fog that filled the night. The fog lights on my Challenger weren’t doing the trick either. Though I had driven these streets a million times since I was fifteen, I wasn’t going to speed through them. You never knew what might jump out at you, and that wasn’t a risk I was going to take.

Screeching tires broke the sounds of the main street. Headlights rushed towards my car. I swerved to the right, running over flowered bushes, praying that whatever idiot behind the wheel would gain control. But in my rearview mirror, I saw one of the worst things ever. A body was sent flying in the air. I threw my car into the park as fast as I could. Looking back at it now, the way my car was propped up on the curb sitting on destroyed bushes, I could understand what happened next.

“Did you just hit that man?” My accuser was a young waitress who just rushed out from a building.

“What? No. I was trying to avoid the other car.” But there was no sign of another car—just the mangled body of the man lying in the middle of the road.

“Don’t go anywhere. I called the cops.” Her command was lost on me when her voice started to shake.

It wasn’t as though I was going anywhere. I bent down to the man and checked his pulse. He was dead. I didn’t need to check his pulse, really. After working five years in the E.R., I could tell by just looking at the blood loss that he was dead. His left arm had the bone protruding from it. His legs were twisted around each other. I’d seen something similar to this before when I passed an accident on I95. But the driver was going easily over 80. There was no way this driver should have legally been going over 45, and with this fog, even 30 was too fast for my taste.

“Ma’am, could you come with me please?” The officer walked us over to his car. “Could you tell me what happened, please?”

“Sure, I was driving when headlights came at me. I swerved to miss the car, and that’s when I saw that the other car had hit this man.” I watched as the officer wrote down everything I said.

“Ma’am, where is your car?” He looked around but saw nothing.

“It’s right over here.” But when we got to where my car should be, it was gone. The bushes weren’t even touched. “What?”

“Ma’am, are you sure you left your car here?” He frowned at me like I was an idiot.

“No, sir, I am not. I just got off a twelve-hour shift at St. Lawrence hospital.” I saw him about to call me ma’am again. “Please, my name is Claire Wallace. You don’t have to call me ma’am.”

“The same Claire Wallace who was dating the mayor’s son?” The officer was getting flustered.

“Yes, but that was almost a year ago. Why does that matter?” This man was acting really weird, and I was exhausted. I don’t know why he kept asking so many questions.

“Ma’am, that is who the victim is. You’ll have to come with me.”

“Claire, what happened?” Trent finally asked when we left the station.

“They think I killed Chris.” It took me a moment, but I was sitting in my car. “How did you get my car?”

“Brad saw it on the side of the road. I picked it up before you even called. You scratched the hell out of the side.” Once he turned the key and the engine purred, I started to relax. “Let’s get you home before you do any more damage to this baby.”

The fog hadn’t lifted in the three hours since the accident. It was almost ten in the morning, and it was still covering our town. Before we pulled into the garage, I saw a cop car waiting down the road. It gave me the creeps.

“Guess they are seeing if you’re trying to skip town.” Trent locked the door behind him.

“I don’t know why they think I would want to kill him. I left the druggie, not the other way around.”

“I know, babe. But the Mayor is a wack job, and the apple doesn’t fall far from that tree.” The smell of fresh coffee had filled our house – I had the best boyfriend. Even when picking me up from the police station, he had thought of me. “What would you like to do today?”

“Try and figure out how two cars just disappeared this morning. I mean, there weren’t even tire tracks from the other car, and when the cop went looking for mine, he thought I was crazy.”

“Don’t get mad at me, but are you sure there was another car?” My death stare answered that question. “And did you do anything to your car?”

“What? No! Never in public. Not after how the Mayor reacted when she barely saw me use magic.” I had been so careful not to use magic. The Mayor had, for all intents and. They purposely started a witch hunt since she found out that magic was real.

Trent’s head quickly turned towards the back window. The blinds helped prevent people from seeing in and did wonders for exposing intruders on the other side. There was no doubt in my mind that the large build on the other side was a cop. This whole situation was getting weird. I was not going to be under surveillance for a crime I didn’t commit.

“Can I help you, officer?” I know I shouldn’t have used magic. The man was clearly startled. “Oh yeah, you shouldn’t stand on those rocks. They aren’t very sturdy.”

“I’m sorry, Ms. Wallace, I was just making sure you got home since you seemed a bit out of it at the station.” This wasn’t the same officer who brought me in. This man was larger and had an attitude about him.

“As you can see, I have made it home. And if you wouldn’t mind leaving, I have had a long night.” I walked back to the sliding glass door. “Next time, officer, please use the front door.”

I slept throughout the day and was only woken when I heard Trent’s keys unlock the door. He was at our bedroom door before I even had time to put my robe on.

“Pack your things. We’re leaving.” He was already pulling the suitcases from the closest. “What’s wrong?”

I stood there frozen.

“I overheard one of the partners today. The Mayor is coming after you. She is telling everyone you killed Chris with magic.” Trent’s magic was stronger than mine. His clothes were already filling his suitcase.

“You’re fucking with me. How does anyone believe her?” I couldn’t focus enough to use magic. I had to pack everything with my hands.

“Claire, we live in the deep south. Sometimes I wonder if these people know what century it is.”

Who knew someone I dated for six months would cause so much trouble. I could not believe we packed our lives away so quickly. We only brought pictures, our laptops, my jewelry, and some clothes. We could start somewhere else. After we pulled away from the house, three cop cars started to follow us. I ducked myself out of view till it hurt to be bent that way.

Once I knew I could sit up, I cloaked myself with invisibility, but it was making me sick. As we drove past a few cops, Trent would wave, and my heart would race. There were a bunch of them he knew from past cases. Then it happened–lights and the shrill of the siren. I kept yelling for Trent to floor it, make the car floor it, or at least something. Just not stop. The officer who was at the scene of the accident walked up to our car. A bright light shined into the car. I knew the light was dancing off of me. I could see the flicker. I could feel the invisibility wavering in and out. That is all I needed was to show this man that the Mayor was right.

“Step out of the car, please.” Trent stepped out of the car, and the two men embraced. “Safe travel requested?”

My invisibility failed me as my mouth fell open. “Thank you, brother.” He didn’t mean as a blood brother. This officer was one of us.

“You know where the safe house is?” Trent nodded. “Good, they are waiting for you. Sister, you made the worst enemy.”

As he walked back, he called out to the other officers. “They are heading west on I-45 in a blue Chevy Tahoe.”

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