Sarah, Returned--Chapter 35 (A Steemit Original Novel)
I pass by the police officer assigned to our back door, and he just smiles and nods at me. The news must not have reached him yet. That’s an unexpected bit of good luck. I point toward the front of the house, like I’m just going over there to get something, or maybe talk to the officer at the end of our front driveway. He waves, and I slip around the corner of the house and out of his line of sight in an instant. I’m just unlatching the gate on the vinyl privacy fence when I hear the back door slam. Crap. That was quick.
As I run past the gate, I can see the officer in the car at the front of the house leaning down, looking at something either on the passenger seat or the floor. Excellent. I crouch down so he can't spot me in his rearview mirror, and sprint across the rest of the front yard to the low iron fence with the pointy tips that separates our yard from the neighbor’s. These fences were really popular among the New England elite in the late 1800’s, and they’re pretty, but such a bitch to climb over, as I know from childhood experience.
It’s worth jumping it, taking my chances with a few scratches, and heading down the street to the left, rather than crossing back in front of our driveway to the right. That’s my best chance of eluding both Matt and the officer in the front yard. With any luck, I’ll be out of the immediate neighborhood before the third police car arrives to take me to the psych ward at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.
The gate on our backyard fence slams shut with a bang behind me, and I turn my head just in time to see Matt spot me. He doesn’t waste any time in bounding across the front yard, intent on catching me before I get away, so there’s no time to waste. I scramble over the iron fence, miraculously avoiding tearing my jeans in the process, and I’m off, plowing through the neighbor’s front yard. In another few long running leaps, I reach the freedom of the street.
Only, it won’t be free for long if Matt or a police officer catches me. I know the ones at our house can’t leave, but that doesn’t mean every other police car in Dover won’t be looking for me. Everyone on this street has privacy fences, or I’d just go through their back yards. I’ll have to use the next best thing….the driveways.
One thing about being in the 17th century for so long, is it taught me how to be stealthy. It’s an essential survival skill in those days. Running from one driveway to another, ducking and hiding behind cars as I go, I make it to the four-way stop at the entrance to our neighborhood. Matt is a few houses behind me, and I know he’s getting a glance of me every now and then. It doesn't matter; my opportunity to lose him, at least for a little while, is already here.
Looking behind me as I kneel down behind another car, I wait. When Matt doesn’t glimpse me for a few minutes, he stops running and starts looking around. While his head is turned in the opposite direction, I make a crouching dash across the street, and head off to the right, making myself invisible behind some bushes. The right is the least likely direction for me to go, because what I just did put me in full visibility to anyone who might be looking, though only for a moment. Matt will think I turned left, which would have kept me hidden behind shrubbery. He won’t consider I might have kept going straight, because that would be a stupid move, and he knows it. I would have been in his sights all the way to the main road. No, he knows I’m smarter than that. He’ll think I turned left.
Hopefully, that will be enough to throw him off my trail until I can make my way back up to Central Avenue and hitch a ride. Assuming, of course, I can avoid any police cars on the way. I’m not sure if it’s better for me to be doing this in broad daylight, where I can be seen by anyone, or under cover of darkness, where I can hide in the shadows. This way, I’m more visible to the police, but at night, I would be more vulnerable to whoever is trying to hurt me. There’s not really a good choice here.
Honestly, when did it come to this? Who in a million years would ever have imagined this particular scenario? Me, fleeing Matt, who is intent on taking me in for a psychiatric evaluation against my will? It’s ridiculous.
He never once talked about my mother’s family history growing up, or seemed to have any concerns about me in that regard, until he met Karen. He may know what she is now, but that doesn’t appear to have changed her brainwashing of him toward me. With that, she did an excellent job.
One thing I know for sure….Grandma would be horrified. She always beamed with pride when she told people how Matt and I were as close as brother and sister. She would not approve of Matt’s actions. No way.
Then again, would she approve of mine? She traveled forward in time and stayed there. If she tried to get home, it seems she gave up on that effort soon after she arrived in 1938. What would she think of me wanting to go back to 1699 after I’ve only just made it back to 2017? That’s traveling through a portal three times, assuming I get one to open again. We don’t know enough about it to know if it’s safe. How many people have walked into a portal and never come out the other side? Does that happen? There are just so many unknowns with what I’m trying to do.
I would like to think she would understand me trying to get back to my husband and children; I believe she would even help me. She never gave up hope that her sons were alive and might come back. If she knew there was an opportunity, no matter how small, of me being with my husband and children again, I know she would want me to take it. Who wouldn't understand that desire?
I must have been pondering these questions pretty deeply, because I have no idea how I made it up to Central Avenue. I’m not even tired, and it’s two miles from the house; I’ve been running the whole way, and it feels like I just casually strolled there. You may get younger when you go through a portal, but the muscle conditioning of living the life of a 17th century farm woman for 14 years apparently remains the same. Either that, or I’ve been moving on pure motivation.
“Sarah!” Matt screams behind me. How did he catch up with me so fast? I guess his motivation is as strong as mine.
“Sarah!” he calls again, more urgent this time. It’s not the scream of an angry person. He’s trying to get my attention. But, why?
His voice is coming from far enough behind me to mean he’s not a threat, so I turn my head back to see what he wants. He’s way down at the other end of the block, two blocks away, but I can still see him frantically waving his hands above his head. And….what’s he doing? Is he pointing?
The screech of tires on pavement brings my full attention back to what’s going on in front of me, and just in time to give me the split-second I need to jump on top of the low stone fence bordering the house to my left. As soon as I’m on top, I make a headlong dive into the bushes framing the occupant’s front yard. Just in time. The moment my hands and feet hit the dirt in a modified crouch, there’s a deafening crash, and the whole yard shakes. I think some stones may have fallen off the fence, because a sound below me is just like hail on metal.
I can’t get up. I’m shaking too hard. My brain is still trying to process what my body just did, and why. It all happened so fast, I moved on pure instinct. Now, the same adrenaline that shot through me, that allowed me to make that acrobatic move, is keeping my hands and knees rooted to the ground. A red sports car, coming toward me on Central. I was too absorbed in my own thoughts to notice it, but Matt did. It swerved up on the sidewalk, going right at me, taking out a utility pole, and would have smashed me against that stone fence if I hadn’t dived out of the way.
Oh my God.
My stomach wants to be nauseous, because someone just straight up tried to kill me, but I’m shaking too hard to feel anything other than stunned. In fact, I’m rather surprised I don’t start an earthquake, with all the shaking I’m doing. It’s like it’s twenty below zero and I’m outside naked. No one has ever tried to kill me before, not outright like this, not even the Penacook in the 1689 raid. We were friends. I made sure of it. I’ve seen other people get killed, and have even been chased by a few wild animals, but this…I can’t wrap my mind around something like this.
Who? Who would do it?
I want to lift up my head above the hedges and see the culprit, the one who tried to take me out, but it’s impossible. I may never move from this spot again. My shaking may bore a hole right to the center of the earth.
There’s a commotion down below. Shouting, a police siren, slamming doors. The distinct sound of someone being punched in the face. The fence is only about three feet high, but the hedges I rolled into are higher, and thick; I can’t see anything beyond them.
“Where is she?” That’s an unfamiliar voice. Not Matt or one of the officers from our house. Another one, then? The one Matt called, or just one who happened to be in the right place at the right time?
“Over here, I think.” That’s Matt. “I saw her dive. Let me look.”
Footsteps behind me, then the crunching of grass under a tennis shoe. The tall grass and twisted branches of the shrubbery around me are moved to either side to make room for me to stand up, but I can’t. I can’t.
Large, strong arms around my waist, lifting me up, holding me close against a broad, muscular chest. A lightly stubbled chin resting gently on my shoulder from behind. Warmth. Safety. Love.
“It’s okay,” Matt whispers in my ear, soothing me. “Just relax. You’re safe, Sarah. It’s over.”
Catch up with the entire "Sarah, Returned" series here: