Sarah, Returned--Chapter Seven (A Steemit Original Novel)

in #writing4 years ago (edited)

I stick to the back streets, the ones people only use if they live here. These hidden, sometimes unpaved roads go for miles between houses and get almost no traffic. Perfect for hiding.

I’m sure Matt gave Jacob my plate number and asked him to call the police. I'm positive Jacob won’t call. It still doesn’t mean I’m safe. Karen probably placed a call of her own from her cell phone. She's not one to leave anything to chance. 

That means the police are almost certainly looking for me. If I’m found, it will go much easier if it’s Matt and Karen who do it. However, I do not intend to be found tonight, or for a while. That’s why I‘m taking every precaution to ensure I stay out of sight. 

While it's tempting to get lost in Concord or Manchester, the only two large cities in the state, it’s not a good idea. Most people think crowded streets mean anonymity, but I know the cities are traps. More people means bigger police departments with cruisers patrolling the streets. Law enforcement is in communication with each other; if there is an order out in Dover to find me, that command will get transmitted to every police department in the state. More police in Concord and Manchester means more opportunities for a patrol car to spot me. I'm not taking that risk. 

Crossing over into Massachusetts or Maine is another tantalizing option. Like going to New Hampshire's big cities, though, it isn't a practical choice. If I could get over the state line, that would be perfect. Once I cross it, there is little anyone can do about me. I haven’t committed a crime, unless Karen is going to claim assault with the key incident, so there’s no reason for out-of-state police to help locate me. A multi-state manhunt wouldn't be called for scratching someone with a key, anyway. The risky part of leaving New Hampshire is getting to the state line.

There are multiple locations where I could cross. The problem is the journey. Even crossing over in an out-of-the-way border town like Plaistow means getting on some moderately populated roads to get there. There simply isn't a route to the border that is remote enough to be police-free.

I knew before I left the house that hiding out somewhere near home is my best option, at least for tonight. My car is too visible and recognizable to use anything but back roads tonight. Daylight may bring enough traffic cover in the nearby small towns to usher me over the state line without being noticed. I’ll make that call when the time comes. 

I want to call Carter and let him know what’s going on, but I need to get a burner phone first. Any call I make on my own phone can be traced. As a precaution, I've turned it off completely. With it powered down, it won't ping any cell phone towers. I don’t think the police will put those kinds of resources in their search yet, but Matt and I are on the same phone plan. All it will take is one call from him to AT&T to learn where the most recent activity on my phone originated. Even if I stay ahead of him, that’s enough information to keep him on my tail, and I want him as far away from it as possible. 

What I need to do is buy some burner phones and pre-paid debit cards. Unfortunately, most of Strafford County closes at 10 pm. I only know a couple of places that stay open all night, but I don’t feel comfortable stopping anywhere yet. The police, or Matt and Karen, will go to Carter’s apartment, if they haven’t already; it’s the most obvious place for me to go, and where I actually was going before the incident with the key. When Carter hears I’m missing and what happened, he’ll guess what went down. Like me, he hasn’t trusted Karen from the moment he met her. Until Jacob, Carter was the only one who took my side about the Evil Queen. I’ve always been grateful to him for it. He will know I'm safe, and will contact him as soon as I am able.

As I drive around the county, zig-zagging my way around the back roads, my frustration fades, and a tiny kernel of anger forms in its place. The longer I drive, the larger it gets, until I’m absolutely fuming with rage. It’s not at Karen, though it probably should be. My fury is directed solely at Matt.  

And, why not? He brought the Evil Queen into our lives, he brushed off my concerns about her, and he is now siding with her against me regarding my actual sanity. What a jackass. Grandma would never have allowed any of this. Then again, if she was home, and not putting on the dementia act when Matt met Karen, they wouldn’t have gotten together in the first place. The pre-Karen Matt was sweet, sensitive, smart, and sexy. He’s had plenty of short-term girlfriends, most of whom wanted to be his wife. He wasn’t ready to settle down, and let each of them know it. He was happy being single, and in no hurry to change that status.  

When Karen came along, Grandma was in assisted living, and not likely to last much longer. A man with a life-changing inheritance coming soon was a delicious prospect for her. She got her claws in Matt and forced him to love her by bending his iron will to her stronger one (or hypnotized him with her magic vagina….I haven’t decided which one it is yet). If Grandma had been here, in her right mind, I’ve no doubt Karen would have moved past Matt and onto more lucrative pastures. Who needs to wait around for what may be a few years for that inheritance when there are plenty of other heirs to fortunes in the sea?  

Matt let it happen. Magic vagina or not, I place the blame firmly on him. 

After about four hours of driving, I check my gas gauge. Crap. I’m nearly on empty. I’ll have to stop soon, but I don’t want to take the chance of my car being seen under the bright lights of a gas station. I’m going to have to ditch the car until morning. I’ll blend in much more seamlessly with other patrons if I fill my tank at a bustling station during the day.  

Since I can't stay at a hotel until I've either crossed the state line and/or secured a restraining order on Karen, as the parking lot of every hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast in the county will undoubtedly be searched for my car, I have to make a decision on where I'm going to hole up for the night ASAP. The question of whether or not it will be somewhere I'll be safe to get some sleep is also important. 

It’s too risky to sleep in the car. Even if I stash it well, there’s always a chance the police will find it. I can’t let them catch me unawares. I might be able to outwit Matt and Karen if they find me first, but if it's the police, there won’t be any chance to escape.  

What to do, what to do?  

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