The traffic was as aggressive as usual for a Friday. As she pulled off the freeway, dusk gave way to night and Sacramento became a blaze of headlights. A vehicle behind her came up too fast. Kit touched her brake and adjusted her rear-view mirror, but she couldn’t see anything except a dark van, its windshield reflecting back the light.
So pass me.
She slowed down more so that the van could go by.
Instead, it slowed.
OK, don’t pass me.
Lots of vans in Sacramento. No reason to worry. But she did have to wonder why this one seemed to be following her, though now keeping its distance. Kit turned off at the intersection, glad to be free of the glare. She let the cool breeze blow back the hair from her face. Fifteen more minutes and she would be home.
At the stoplight on Broadway, she glanced in her mirror again and saw a van merge into the lane behind her. Same one? Maybe it was heading to the fast-food place in the brick-front shopping center to her right. She squinted to see better but the streetlights reflected off the van’s windshield and distorted her view of the driver.
Only one way to figure this out. Kit steered into the next lane and took a sharp left. Probably a paranoid move on her part but she already felt her heartrate slow down.
A yellow glow cut across her vision from behind. Any vehicle. It could be any vehicle, she thought. She slowed; so did the van. She sped up. So did it.
As she shot through the red light, Kit remembered everything that had happened to bring her to this moment and knew she had to just drive, just run, get away as far and as fast as she could.
John Paul didn’t live far from here. She could call him. But first, another stoplight. Kit grabbed her phone, dropped it and realized she was shaking. Carefully she picked up the phone again and sent a text to John Paul.
Need help. Just passed Stockton and Broadway. I think there’s a van following me.
His reply popped up immediately. Come here. My place.
She no longer knew exactly where she was. Sweat soaked her shirt and her slick hands could barely hold onto the wheel.
Not sure how. Find me. I’ll go around the block back to Jack In The Box on Broadway.
Headlights sneaked up behind her again. They looked the same and she took an illegal left turn.
Her phone buzzed and Kit looked down. John Paul. She took the call, pressed speaker and slammed the phone down in the seat beside her.
‘I can’t talk, John Paul. It’s a van, and it’s . . .’
Headlights washed over her again.
‘. . . right behind me.’
The van nudged closer but she still couldn’t make out the person inside it. She pulled over to the curb and waited. The van paused, then backed up and went right. Kit began to tremble. Tears filled her eyes.
‘It’s OK,’ she said to herself. ‘It’s just a driver who made a wrong turn. Weird coincidence. That’s all. It’s OK.’
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