Friday, November 1, 2013

National Novel Writing Month; Day One - When I Wake Up

If you've read my blog before you know this is a recurring dream/nightmare of mine.  The book I intend to write for the NaNo Challenge is on organizing, but also how I do it in my day to day life.  And those days usually start with adrenaline filled mornings.  Here's a look inside my head: No Edits...  :)

Organizing in the Mayhem

Ahead of me the road stretched out for miles.  The area was so remote that street lights were few and far between.  We were currently driving in the middle of a National Forest.  I’m not sure which one, but the trees lined up right next to the street leaving very little space to pull off if you had an emergency.  Not a single car had passed me in the last thirty minutes so when the headlights of one came rushing towards me I was startled.  The kids were in the back asleep.  Their movie had ended an hour before and the steady hum of the road and the warm air from the heater had lulled them to sleep.  I had lost myself in the quite, not even sure if I’d been thinking anything or just resting my mind for a change.

But the headlights were coming fast, they didn’t seem to see me, or they had some expert driving skills they were about to execute or hit me.  I wasn’t prepared to test their skills so decided to look for a pull off.  None was in sight and I estimated within the next few seconds my kids were going to be rudely awaked by the impact.

There, on the right was a pull off, if you could call it that.  Maybe half the car would fit, but it would allow the crazed driver behind me room to pull around in case he took the double yellow line as an excuse to push me off the road so as not to have to pass and break the law.  Seriously, what was this guy’s problem?  

I turned my blinker on, not sure if the driver would even notice and I did my best to ease the car to the small shoulder and timed it just right so that I was out of his way when he drove even with me.  But he didn’t continue, instead I could see his break lights flash and I heard his tires squeal, during his 180 degree turn I caught sight of silhouettes, at least two other people were in the vehicle, I could see now it was a black SUV with no visible identification.  Were those guns I just saw? 

My heart raced, what do I do?  Their vehicle blocked my way and I couldn’t turn my car around fast enough to avoid whatever they had planned with those weapons.  Before my mind went in to full panic mode I reached for my own weapon.  Never having had to use it, but being well trained I checked the magazine, the safety and placed it in the back of my jeans.  “Kids, Kids!  Wake up.”

I never took my eyes off the vehicle in front of me.  No one seemed to be moving.  “Kids, I need y’all to take your seatbelts off and get out of the car.  While speaking I made sure to turn the interior lights off so when they opened their doors it wouldn’t spot light us.  I told the oldest, “You hold their hands and you don’t let go.  This turn off means there’s a house or some building in the vicinity.  You run till you find it.  If someone is there call 911, whoever lives or works there will know the address, let them know there are three people in a SUV that tried to run us off the road.  If no one is there, find a safe place close to the building and I’ll find you.  Is that understood?”

I heard her meek, “Yes ma’am.”

“Don’t let go of their hands.  I love you.  Now RUN!”

She slid out the back door, followed by her brother and sister.  They were still sleepy and stumbled.  “Baby, shut the door.”  I was hoping the people wouldn’t realize anyone else was in the car.  Or at least it would take them awhile to figure it out.  I watched my kids as they walked away from me into the darkness of the forest.  I couldn’t tell if they looked back, but I mouthed I love you one last time.

When I felt it was safe and the kids out of sight I turned the interior lights back on.  I wanted to make sure all their attention was on me.  At the last second I remembered the map and pocket knife I left in the car for emergencies.  Surely nothing as dire as this, whatever this was, but anything was better than nothing.  I filled my pockets with these items as well as my cellphone, even though there was no connectivity maybe there would be at some point.  I knew it was unlikely, but I had to take the chance.

Still no one in the other vehicle moved.  It was now or never.  I opened my car door; I took everything in my power not to look to see if my kids were visible. I just wanted to run after them and take my chances, but then they’d be a target.  That wasn’t an option.  I slid out of the car, making sure to pull the keys from the ignition.  I might come back.  This might just be some stupid prank.  But it didn’t feel like it and that was good enough for me.

The moment my shoes hit the pavement three doors opened; I didn’t stop to think at that point.  Instinct took over and I ran the opposite direction as my kids.  Away from them, feeling like I was abandoning them to the elements, but praying I was keeping them safe from these men.  I knew they were men now.  They raised their voices in shouts and orders.  I didn’t understand the language which frightened me even more.  What if they were saying everything was okay?  What if I was leaving my kids to fend for themselves because of some irrational fear.

But the voices didn’t sound nice.  They weren’t pleading for me to wait, but orders; it was definitely orders being shouted.  At first I heard the gun report.  Then I felt the wind rush past my arm.  The sleeve of my shirt was tugged tight against the back of my arm and a hot pain cut across my bicep.  Shots had been fired, at me.  At me I repeated while in a head first run.  Not my kids, me.  That was good.  I mean, it was bad, but I was the target and that was the objective.

Just run, run, don’t look back, don’t hesitate, just run.  And ran I did.  I knew branches were ripping at my clothes and face, but I didn’t care.  I could feel the moisture that was a mix of sweat and blood but I didn’t care.  I had to run.  Another shot was fired, this one hit a large rock near my thigh.  I could feel the pieces hitting my leg, but I kept moving forward.  I was getting further away from the car and the kids.  I wanted to make sure all three men were following me.  I didn’t want a single one off looking for them.  

I had to find higher ground.  I needed to see what was going on and maybe find that lost cell tower signal.  I could see to my left a rise in the forest floor.  Not much, but it might help me do a head count.  I hugged a row of trees and made the quick trip up the hill, finding a large tree that had fallen ages before I hide and took the time to catch my breath and check my weapon.  How far was I now, a mile, two maybe.  Could the kids have gone the same distance?  How long would it take me to get to them?  Were they scared?  I could feel the pressure behind my eyes and knew tears would make aiming harder.  And I didn’t have ammo to spare.  Three men, I had a few shots a piece.  Could I do it?

I saw the first man come in to site, he’d lost me and was looking around.  Another man was close behind him.  They spoke in that foreign language.  They were angry words.  The third man showed up soon after shrugging his shoulders.  Was that shrug because they couldn’t find me, or did they know about the kids and couldn’t find them?  Either way I counted three men and that meant no one was after my kids.  My job was done… or was it?  

If I doubled back would they hear me, I couldn’t be quiet with dry needles layering the ground and by the time I reached the kids the men could be back at their car.  How could we escape and still I had no idea why they were following, much less firing at me.  I had to decide what to do.  And the conclusion I kept coming to was making me sick to my stomach.  But they were sitting ducks.  All three had their weapons ready, they came after me, and in the process my kids.  I didn’t need to think any more.

I laid flat on my stomach; I had had time to catch my breath as the men planned their next move so I took aim.  One last calming breath, I’d need to fire off at least three shots, maybe more.  It wouldn’t take them long to figure out where I was hiding and their weapons held more ammunition and judging from their attire and behavior, taking human life came easy to them.
I said a quick prayer; I didn’t ask for forgiveness, I asked for perfect aim. 
My first shot took us all by surprise.  The four of us jumped in unison, the one I aimed at landed on his face.  The other two looked down at him in shock, I didn’t let mine take over, I shot again, this time I hit his the man closest to me in the neck, it was a good shot, he’d bleed out in seconds.  The third man, finally realizing what was happening to his companions tried to duck and run, but I caught him in the leg.  He stumbled and tried to get up, by my forth and finally shot stopped him for good.  I waited a few minutes to make sure no one moved.  

I said a prayer of thanksgiving and I got up and ran.  I had to find my kids.  Nothing else mattered.  Who they were what they wanted didn’t matter, I needed my kids in my arms and I needed to get us to safety.  I felt the same branches again, this time I could feel each cut, each pump of my heart, the ache in my back from laying so still, I worried they’d gotten off the path or that maybe there was a fourth man who didn’t jump out of the car with the other three.  Was there a trap waiting.  Dear God were my kids okay?

I saw the road, both cars still in the same place, no signs of life.  I slowed down to make sure no one was watching as I crossed the deserted stretch of highway.  Once on the other side I spared a glance into the car to make sure the kids hadn’t gone back and that the men hadn’t check on our things.  The car seats might still have been warm or their DVD player.  Did they have time to check?  The fear started to flood my emotions.  I couldn’t stop the tears, they stung my eyes and flowed into he cuts on my face.  The physical pain was nothing compared to the thought that my kids were scared or worse.

I ran harder, my lungs screamed for me to stop; my throat was so dry I could feel my esophagus was sticking to itself.  But I wouldn’t stop, I couldn’t.  I had to find them.  In the distance I heard something, at first it was faint, I couldn’t make it out, but I opened my ears up and focused, but never stopping my pace.  That’s when I heard the voices, so clear, almost melodic. 

It was hard to focus with the rustling of branches and the crunch of dry leaves, but finally the sound of music penetrated my thoughts.  In the background I heard call letters; maybe the kids had run to a radio station tower.  The music was louder now; I could almost make out the lyrics when I felt a hand gently brush my back.  How could that be?  I was running, no one could gently rub my back. 

Suddenly I was pulled from the forest.  The ground, the trees, the cuts the aches, all were gone and I found myself in the my bed, my husband telling me the alarm was going off and it was time to wake up. 

I wiped the tears from my eyes and took a deep, shaky breath.  “The kids alright?”

He didn’t respond, I rolled over, “Are the kids okay?!”

“I just heard the youngest yell she’s hungry.  So I’m assuming so.”

I exhaled the breath I’d been holding… and stretched. 

“I guess my job here is done.”

The husband didn’t ask.  He usually doesn’t.  My dreams tend to vary from the bizarre to the mundane.  But nothing else mattered, the kids were okay and three bad guys laid dead in the forest of my imagination, never getting their hands on my family. 


  1. Wow, you had me holding my breath. Amazing story, Christine.

  2. How cool. You could write stories like this too.


Thanks for takin' the time to read my stuff. :)