It was a moonless night, cold and dark. The fine mist that hung in the air started thickening to form a light drizzle. A boy and a girl walked alongside a roadway, looking over their shoulders frequently and ducking off the pavement to hide from the occasional headlights. He held her up when she began to falter, helping her stumble along until they were finally forced to stop and rest under the cover of some brush.
“It’s okay, babe. It’s gonna be all right,” he told her.
He took off his denim jacket and draped it around her frail shoulders. She started convulsing, her small body racked with violent tremors, her breath coming in ragged gasps. He held her tightly to his chest, murmuring soothing words that he didn’t really believe.
When the seizure finally subsided she moaned, “Oh no … What will it do to the baby?”
“Wait here,” he said firmly, brushing the fine brown hair back from her forehead. “I’m going to get us a ride.”
The trucker flipped his wipers on and rounded a bend to see a lone figure standing with his thumb out. His first impulse was to keep going, but years on the road had given him a sixth sense about people, and this kid looked too young and skinny to be a threat to anyone. Besides, it was raining. He sighed, pulled over, and sat idling.