by Lindsay Buroker
Copyright Lindsay Buroker 2014
The car bumped down the muddy one-lane road, ferns and rhododendrons slapping at the windshield. When a pothole with aspirations of becoming a crater came into sight, Tara swerved, trying to avoid it, but one of the tires slipped in. Brown water sprayed up, painting the windows. The car halted with a definitive lurch. The smartphone flew off the dashboard and disappeared under the empty passenger seat. Again.
Tara nudged, pumped, then finally floored the accelerator, but the wheels refused to catch on the mud.
“What are the odds of some kindly stranger with a winch coming along?” She had a vague notion that four-wheel-drive vehicles with winches and tires big enough to belong on tractors were the norm on this side of Puget Sound. “Except that I don’t think the people who live down this road drive anywhere.”
Tara rolled down her window to stick her head out and eyeball the hole. Yup, it was a big one. She sighed and looked over her shoulder, intending to throw the car into reverse. But someone was coming. A black Jeep Wrangler barreled down the road toward her, the mud-spattered vehicle having no trouble with the rugged terrain.