It was nice to be behind the wheel, to be in control. The Mustang rumbled around me, welcoming my gentle, knowing touch. It felt right sitting in the driver’s seat. My flip flops were tucked under my seat, my bare toes caressing the pedals. I cared nothing for the radio, and let Dominic play with the limited choice of stations.
Allison sprawled across the back seat, her nose buried in her book. It amazed me that she could be comfortable like that with the hump of the drive shaft through the middle of the seat, but that was beauty of youth.
Nobody talked. Each of us isolated within our own little world inside the car. But, inside my little bubble, I couldn’t help worrying about what waited for us up the road. The farther north we went, the more constricted I felt.
I followed Dominic’s plan to take seventy-seven up to the lake at first. But a nervousness came over me on the highway. I got off in Canton and took a more scenic route. It was just as straight, but being a smaller road that went through towns it took longer.The timing didn’t matter much since we were staying in Ohio for the night.
“Check your mirror, Ella,” Dominic muttered, almost under his breath.
A quick glance at him showed his gazed trained on the side-view mirror out his window. He jaw was clenched. Not good. I turned to mirror by my head.
About a quarter mile behind us was a nondescript, dark blue Chevy sedan. It could be nothing. We were on a long, straight road that was a connecting line between several towns. Still, the fact that Dominic was on edge put me on edge.
“I think you should turn off. Just to make sure.” His eyes never left the mirror.
I turned right at the next road that intersected our path. It was a narrow, two-lane road that wove between freshly plowed fields while bobbing and dipping over gentle hills. It was a peaceful little road. A nice family ride in the country type. Except for the dark blue Chevy that appeared in my rearview as we crested another hill.
I found another little road on the left and took it. One should never jump to conclusions, so I was making sure. This road made a sharp S-turn about a hundred feet down, cutting off our view of the intersection. The road was too twisty for me to keep a good watch behind us. That was Dominic’s job. He watched the side-view and pulled down the visor to watch the vanity mirror as well.
My nerves were bunched in knots as I waited to know if the car was still behind us.
“Allison, honey. Make sure your seat belt is tight, please.”
She sat up straight and cinched the belt tightly over her lap before pulling the shoulder strap as tight as she could get it. She didn’t even question me.
The road made another sharp turn then dipped into a deep valley. We were blind to what might be behind us, but it was a comforting thought to know that they would be slowed down as much as we were by the geography. More even, considering the difference in the cars. However, we were also blind to what lay before us since we had never been down these roads before.
We came to a curve where two other roads joined this one in a mutated Y shape. Not knowing if the car was still behind us, I took the hard left onto the first road. I hoped that we would disappear in the bends and valleys before the other car could see us. If it was even there.
This road, however, curved a bit before straightening out and climbing a hill, placing us in plain view. A glance in the mirror showed that we were visible even from the road we had just left.
And there was the dark blue Chevy. It slowed as it approached the intersection. Then it stopped. Reversed. Turned to follow us.
Dominic looked at me. “You know what to do.” His voice held confidence in my ability to get away. Then he turned to Allison sitting behind him. “Keep your seat belt on, but try to stay low. Your mom is the best driver I know, but these roads are twisty and we’ll be going fast. If you curl up in a sideways ball, you’ll be fine.”
I heard her shuffling around to do as he said. “Like this?” came her somewhat squished voice.
“That’s perfect.” He smiled at her before turning back to the front and tightening his own seat belt. “Go, Ella.”
I dropped the car from fourth to third gear and pressed the accelerator, launching us forward. As the gear wound out, I shifted with a sidestep, not lifting my foot from the gas. The Mustang hunkered down to the road as we approached the top of the hill. The other side was a gentle slope that curve to the right. It would have been an easy turn at the speed limit, but as we crested the hill close to sixty miles per hour the car’s wheels left the road for a full second. A second was eternity in a flying car. Timing was imperative. I lifted off the gas slightly, held the wheels straight, and waited for impact.
The jolt from landing barely had time to slam the body to the ground before I yanked the wheel and slid the car around the turn. The tires squealed like pigs a slaughter as the rear of the car raced the front end around the turn. I feathered the gas as we slid. When the road straightened out in front, I pulled the wheel around again, stomping on the accelerator as the car lined up straight.
We were on another long straight stretch, but I wanted off this road. I stared at the farm up ahead, trying to see if the driveway was paved. We would leave tracks in gravel, dirt, or grass. The entry looked to be a dusty gravel, but luck was on our side in the form of a tractor rumbling around and kicking up dust.
I took the chance and pulled in slowly. As I the car behind the large barn, the tractor gave further aid. The farmer pulled up behind us, blocking us from any travelers on the road.
“Allison, sit up,” I said, trying not to snap. She obeyed immediately.