A soft rustling of branches overhead preceded a downpour of soggy leaves. Sam ignored them. “Get over here and help me.” She waited until Marie bent to lift Mark’s feet. “That’s good. Now, easy does it.” They inched toward the car.
Another soggy batch of leaves landed on Marie. She shook them off.
Together they got Mark inside. At first, because the car was going so slow, it was ok. With Marie behind the wheel they made it out of the parking lot without any problem. Once on the main road Marie’s right leg started to shake. She couldn’t keep it on the gas pedal. She stomped on the brake. The car jerked to a stop that snapped her head forward.
This happened five times before Sam offerd another solution. “Okay. Put the car in park,” she said through clenched teeth.
Marie started to pull to the side of the road.
“No. You don’t have to do that,” Sam yelled. “Nobody’s going to come along or hit you.”
It didn’t take anymore to convince Marie. She stomped on the brake and turned to Sam. “You should have done this in the first place.” She pressed her lips together hard. It took massive effort not to bight into them.
With the car at a complete stop, Sam instructed Marie how to set the park brake. Pull back hard on it. Now get back here and take over for me,” Sam demanded.
That wasn’t a much better idea than trying to drive the stupid car, but Marie had given up that choice. She got in the back seat.
“Just try not to jostle him too much,” Sam pulled Marie’s hand down on the blood-soaked hoody. “Press here. It won’t be long before we get to the collection site. Someone there has to know how to help him.” Sam frowned. She closed the back dor firmly, before she climbed into the front seat. It didn’t take long for her to guide them over the bridge, into town. She sped through three intersections without stopping or even slowing down.
In the back seat with Mark, Marie kept her head down. She leaned close to him only partly to make sure he was still breathing. The added benefit was that it kept her from looking forward or realizing how fast Sam was driving.
Sam slammed on the brakes, bringing the car to a screeching stop. She rolled down the window. “Over here,” she screamed. “We need help.”
Marie looked up.
Two dark figures, came running toward them. “What’s wrong?” The first, a man, asked when he got close enough to be heard. His thick blond hair slicked close to his scull gave the impression of no hair at all.
“Mark’s hurt.” Sam got out and jerked the back door open. “Move out of the way.” Sam slid in to take Marie’s place. Johnny, Helen help me get him out of here.
Once outside the car, Marie had a strong urge to start running. She would have, but she had no idea where to go. Home was too far away. Besides, all the buildings around had dark hollow eyes that stared at her. In one a glimmer of a light flickered as if it came from a flame. Eerie shadows danced out onto the street. Who could be in there?
“What are you looking at?” Sam asked.
Marie jumped. “How’s Mark?” Her hoarse voice quavered.
“Don’t know. They’re going to try to help him. Nothing I can do. Wish I had some medical training,” sam grumbled. “Come on. Get back in the car. I’ll take you home.”
That sounded like such a good idea, Marie didn’t even hesitate. She climbed into the passenger seat.
“Once we get there. I want to talk to you about coming with us.”
“I told you before I’m going to stay here.”