Chapter 1


It was coming.

            Engulfed in the thick, frosty mist, there was no way to tell where I was headed- I just had to keep running. Through ragged breaths I strained to keep sprinting, I couldn’t stop until I was safe.

“Just a little farther,” I gasped, the words scraping like sandpaper against my sore throat. No matter how hard I pushed, the cold was faster. An icy chill began settling on my skin, seeping in like poison. Hot tears sprung to my eyes as I continued to struggle. “I can’t give up- I won’t give up!” I growled. My hand shot up to remove the tears as renewed strength seemed to fill my body.

            Momentarily blinded as I wiped my face clear, a large rock sprung from the ground. Letting out a surprised cry, I reached out to stop my fall only to find I was grasping at air. My body met the rocky ground with a thud and pain shot throughout my being. Paralyzed by the sharp rocks burrowing into my skin, I was helpless as the ice crept up. Only it was more than just the cold – there was something menacing taking hold of me. Any attempt I made at moving was futile; I could only lay there hopelessly as I felt my head being lifted. Gripping fistfuls of my blonde hair, it smashed my face down hard into the ground.


            My eyes shot open, but instead of bloody darkness I found myself squinting against the sun. A groan escaped my lips as I lifted a hand to my temple where my face had just rammed into the car window.

“Bahahaha! Jeez Taika, you okay?” inquired the girl to my left, concerned yet stifling giggles. “What a way to wake up!”

            My eyes were finally adjusting. It had just been a stupid dream. Looking out the window, I saw the backside of a deer springing into the forest as we began to pick up speed once more.

            “Yeah I’m fine- what just happened?” I asked, stretching out my arms in an effort to get the tense muscles to relax.

            “Oh that deer just sprung out of nowhere! Luckily no one else was on the road so it was pretty easy to avoid it. That was a close one, huh?” Sable let out another silvery laugh, “This trip is getting exciting!”

            With those words, the tan Italian girl pressed harder on the gas pump, sending us another ten miles over the speed limit. I couldn’t help but smile as I peered over the seat in search for cops. Seven hours on the road and no ticket yet, which I found rather surprising.

            “Just let me know when you want me to take over,” I said while unfolding my sunglasses, though I doubted Sable was planning on handing over the wheel any time soon.

            “No way!” she exclaimed, brushing a strand of long black hair out of her bright sapphire eyes. “If you start driving I’ll get bored and wind up cracking open a four loco.” My eyes widened,

            “I thought we were just bringing Corske?” I exclaimed, afraid of what may happen were Sable to drink a can of the notoriously strong alcoholic drink. There’s no doubt she’d easily be taken advantage of stumbling about on a foreign beach looking as gorgeous as she did.

            “Oh relax,” she laughed. “I won’t drink it all at once. Besides, we are young and this is our time to be free!” With those words, Sable extended a manicured finger towards her iPod. Before I could reply music was blasting through the speakers. With a raised arm swaying to the beat of the music, Sable began to sing along with the song and I couldn’t help but follow along. My potential fears and worries melted away along with the icy residue of my dream. It was Spring Break – the first Spring Break I had been on without parents and limitations.

            Rolling down the window so that I could feel the wind against my face, I embraced the warmth of the southern sun and the feeling of freedom.


            “Almost there!” I shouted- my smile was so wide it felt as though my face may split. Sable let out a high pitch hum while scarfing down the last of her sandwich. She had sat in the passenger seat for the last hour and I could tell from her continuous shifts of position Sable was becoming more restless.  

            “Can we just move to Georgia?” pleaded Sable, her full lower lip protruding to form a pout which could push any man to buying diamonds or whatever she desired. “The air is just so clean- it’s so much fresher than Cincinnati’s stench!” Her button nose twisted into a look of disgust. Ducking my head under the visor to make sure I was taking the right exit, I waited to drive under the large green sign before replying.

            “Well discard bipolar Ohio for the time being,” I grinned at her, “because we are now entering Jekyll Island!” Sable giggled in delight, pressing against the restraints of her seatbelt so that she may force as much of her slender body out of the dusty car and into the rejuvenating summer air. Normally I would have tugged her back in, but I didn’t blame her. After a full quarter of living in a concrete jungle like Cincinnati, the forest on either side of the road was a welcoming sight. Of course Cincinnati had Burnet woods and its own botanical gardens, but neither competed with the lush shades of green and liveliness the State Park exuberated. Besides, she looked magnificent, like one of those models you see posed by the ocean. Her hair flowed in the wind in fluid motions, dancing in the light just as she danced through life. Then again, if Sable didn’t retreat from the window, I wouldn’t be too surprised if a few male drivers lost sight of their direction and run right off the road.

            Traffic began to slow and the seductive Sable slid back into the passenger seat. Without the wind hammering at our ears, the music seemed so loud that it may blow off the covering of the speakers. Twisting the knob significantly so the heavy base resembled a faint heartbeat, I did a quick once over through the car. Wrappers from our earlier fast food snacks littered the ground and a bottle of Corske jutted out from one of our duffle bags. Narrowing my eyes, I noticed a change in the alcohol’s volume and immediately turned my gaze to the near- empty plastic coke bottle in Sabel’s delicate, tanned hand.

            “That’s odd,” I murmured, though lifting my voice enough so that she might hear. Sable arched one of her brows in curiosity, questioning me with her sparkling blue eyes. My own eyes now focused on the road once more, I jerked my head toward the back seat. “It seems that although all of our alcohol was sealed at the beginning of the trip that bottle of Corske has been opened.” While still looking straight ahead I intensified my gaze while keeping an edge to my voice. Sable’s confusion continued to increase until I turned my head and stuck my tongue out. The worry which layered her face broke apart as she laughed and finished off the last of her mixed drink. She didn’t even flinch as the alcohol sloshed down her throat.

            “I thought you were actually upset for a second there,” Sable smiled, flashing her white teeth.

            “Oh I’m still upset. I can’t believe you started the fun before I had a chance,” I chuckled. It really wasn’t that shocking Sable would sneak the Corske into her coke. While you could hardly call her an alcoholic, there was no doubt Sable loved anything that provided an edge to excitement – whether that meant almost crashing into a deer and totally a car or guzzling down cheap 80 proof Vodka while having to maintain a certain normalcy in public. It’s not like either of them were actually in legal possession of this stuff.

            “I think we’re closer now…” I leaned forward in order to better see just where I was going. “Can you help me figure out where I’m going?” From the corner of my eye I saw Sable nod as she too began looking about.

            “Ah!” she cried out, her arm extending so nearly the whole length was in front of my chest. “To your left- that’s the hotel!”

By the time we found a parking spot, the sun was beginning to lower. Though still warm, the sun’s rays had lost their intense heat which made you feel like the sausage in one of those pigs-in-a-blanket snacks. It was now I began to realize just how little sleep I got last night and the exhaustion of being in a car all day was taking toll on my body. Sable, however, radiated energy. Hastily securing the Corske, Sable hoisted the duffle bag onto her lean, yet strong, shoulder while dragging her suitcase behind her. Stuffing the trash which decorated the interior of the car into a larger bag, I quickly disposed of it in the nearest can before grabbing my belonging as well. With the slam of the trunk and double, triple beep of the car signaling its security, I headed to the lobby after Sable.

The End

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