Safe Travel Shrine
Joanne Faries

The mall lights glowed dim and cast eerie shadows in the lot. Customers had cleared. Mall security sat at the entrance. Only a few cars remained. Kaylee hurried to her Chevy Tahoe. A clerk was accosted on Tuesday. For Kaylee, who was rammed a month ago Friday, this walk was torture. She hastened her step. Eyes darted from parking lot corner to corner, mace can ready in her left hand, keys in her right, and her purse dangled from her neck onto her stomach. She gave a quick nod to the mall cop, but his head was bent over a light source. Useless, totally useless.  

Kaylee hopped into her seat, pressed locks, put on her seatbelt, and started her SUV. She touched her St.Christopher dashboard statue, praying to get home safe. As she exited the lot, another car appeared behind her. She drove quickly to get through the light, and the car didn't press to follow. Bright beams loomed in her rear view mirror. She checked St.Christopher and he swayed to the right. Okay Chris, we'll turn right. The other vehicle turned too, and Kaylee broke into a sweat. It's happening again. I'll be followed, rammed, and accosted. Now what?  

As she veered left, right, and turned based on St.Christopher, he shook like a hula girl, his open arms sending signals, only this time not of peace and soothing harmony. Now it was travel to save her life. Panic driving. Her breath accelerated along with her foot on the pedal. St. Christopher urged her onward. It began to rain and she turned on her wipers.  

Hurry my child - evade your pursuer. Bless you for believing in me on your journey. St.Christopher's voice rumbled in her brain. Traffic was non-existent, but the other car still followed, edging closer. She pressed the gas to increase her distance.  

Her cell phone rang. She ignored it. Then it buzzed. Reaching into her purse, she glanced at the text. What are you doing? It's me, right behind you. Going to escort you home, but you're driving nutso. Slow down.  

She glanced at her statue. Danny? Danny's behind me? Do you believe that St.Christopher?  

Her phone rang again. As she crested the hill and answered, her car hit a puddle. Tires lost traction control. The SUV swerved. She dropped the phone to grab the wheel and overcorrected. Her Tahoe spun into the concrete divider. St.Christopher tumbled from his perch and a blast of pain enveloped Kaylee. She vaguely heard Danny scream her name from her phone.   

As she lost consciousness, her mind filled with an image of a roadside wreath and St.Christopher's statue nestled in the ribbon.    

First published: November, 2012
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