The car swerved to the left. Lacey held onto the handle, bracing herself for impact. They barely managed to avoid another tree. Their branches, twisted and gnarled, slipped free of the woods on either side of the road, grabbing for them. One hundred more miles of this and they would be home free.
“You okay?” David’s knuckles were ghost white, the tension from his body rolling all over the car.
Lacey nodded, swallowing the bile back down her throat. It probably wasn’t an ideal time to mention her motion sickness to this stranger. A boy she’d seen only a few times in her life, but had risked everything to help Lacey escape her. She tucked away the dark curtain of hair falling around her face.
“It’ll be over before you know it, Lace.”
Lacey looked up at him, the
sound of her name from his mouth startling her. Her skin prickled as she
thought of how pleasant it sounded. Usually when she heard her own name it was
filled with repulsion and anger.
David reached out a hand and squeezed her shoulder, the warmth spreading down her back. With another twist of the wheel, they escaped the clutches of a vengeful oak. Lacey was suddenly cold, her body craving the touch of his hand, the hand now holding onto the wheel like a lifeline.
Her stomach clamped down and she held
back the tears threatening to spill. They would never be safe, not as long as
Lacey was in the car. “You don’t have to do this,” she
whispered. The sound of her own voice filled her with disgust. Was this
really her? Or was she some sad, pathetic girl lost in the horror story written
by her step-mother?
David pressed his foot down on the
gas pedal. The car flew through the darkness, the headlights cutting through
the fog settling in around them. The earth shook as more trees uprooted from
the safety of the forest to hunt for them.
“Yeah, I do.” His jaw clenched. “I’m
not going to let her kill you.” His golden brown eyes met hers for a brief
It was all she needed. The depth of his will beckoned to her and she felt safe. Something twitched on the side of her mouth. She bit down on her lip, unsure of the odd sensation. A smile, she wanted to smile. It had been a long while since anything had made her want to do that.
“We’re going to be okay,” he
reassured her again. His hand squeezed hers and she felt that warmth begin to
flow through her veins.
“Watch out!” Lacey screamed. The tree sat in the middle of the road, the thick trunk melting into the black night. The branches were everywhere, surrounding them. David slammed on the brakes, but it was too late. The car spun away into a world of shadows.
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