Pandora's Daughter


PHILLIP CALLED HER WHEN she was getting on the freeway.  She pressed Connect on her cell phone earpiece for hands-free operation.  “Everything all right? I don’t want to be a worrywart but I knew you got off duty a couple hours ago.  If you’re out having a drink with Scott and Jana, just tell me to buzz off.”

Lord, she was glad to hear his voice.  From the moment he had walked toward her at her mother’s funeral, she had felt his warm sense of belonging whenever she was around him.  “No, it was just a rough night.  I had a few problems.  I’ll tell you about it when I get home.  I’m on my way.  What are you doing awake anyway?  It’s after two in the morning.”

“I was dozing.  The football game didn’t end until midnight.  We won in the last four seconds.  I was too wired to relax.”

“Hoorah Falcons.”

“Damn right.”  He paused.  “What kind of problems?”

 “A fourteen-year-old boy died on the table.  I couldn’t save him.”


“Yeah.  How about having a cup of hot chocolate with me and you can tell me about the game?”

“Sounds good.  I’ll have it ready.  How close are you?”

“I’m on the freeway.  Twenty minutes.”  She frowned as blinding lights glared in her rearview mirror.  “Cripes, I’ve got a tailgater.  It’s a truck, I think.  He must be drunk.  At this time of night you’d think he’d realize that he’s got plenty of room to pass me.”  The lights were suddenly gone.  “Okay, he’s passing in the left lane now.  Good riddance.  I hope he gets a tick— What the hell!”

The truck had slammed into the side of her 4Runner!  She fought the wheel as she pushed toward the side of the highway. 

“What’s happening, Megan?”  Phillip’s worried voice in her ear.

No time to answer him.

The truck slammed her again.

Crazy bastard.  He’d rammed her against the low bridge over the river.  One more hit like that and her SUV might roll over and go into the water.

She barely managed to straighten before the truck slammed into her from behind, sending her wheeling wildly in a circle.

Straighten out.  Get off the bridge.  She had a better chance going down the embankment.

She straightened back in her lane and pressed the accelerator.

“Megan!”  Phillip’s voice.

The truck was next to her again.

Get off the bridge.

She stomped on the accelerator and momentarily left the truck behind her.

Twenty yards and she’d be across the water.

The truck was gaining on her.

He hit her rear door as she reached the end of the bridge.

The 4Runner went off the highway and began bouncing down the embankment.

She had to stop it before she reached the river,

She stomped on the brakes and skittered sideways, slid fifteen yards before she was stopped by a pine tree.

Her air bag went off, pinning her to the seat.


She could see the truck stopped on the road above her and a silhouette moving toward the embankment.  He was tall, thin, wearing jeans and a cowboy hat.

Her OnStar program was telling her that her air bags had gone off and that they’d notified 911.

But the man on the bank was already starting down the ridge.

The she heard the sirens.

Hurry.  Dammit, hurry.

The man hesitated and then turned and started climbing back up the embankment.  A moment later he was in his truck and driving away.

She felt limp with relief.

Thank God.

Copyright © 2007 by Johansen Publishing LLP.