The Loyalty Box
  
The Loyalty Box
Published:
9/22/2015
Format:
E-Book (available as PDF files) What's This
ISBN:
978-1-46896-513-1
When Karl Seabury nearly knocks over a distressed woman on a dark lane, he thinks she's running from some opportunist rapist. He helps her escape, and that's his good deed for the day. He has no idea that by tomorrow he will be on the run with this woman, framed for a triple murder and hunted by three renegade cops who need to silence them at all costs.
Nobody wants to run someone down in the road, but for a long time afterwards Karl Seabury wondered if things might have worked out better if his truck had slammed the woman into bloody oblivion. He was piloting 3,500lbs of Ford engineering along a road as wet as a solid river when something came at him. He didn't even see a shape, let alone a woman, just a hint of colour that extracted itself from the black wall of trees on his right. Instinct pistoned his foot hard onto the brake. There was a screech of rubber that sent birds panicking from the treetops like gravity-defying leaves. His seatbelt cut hard across his chest as he was thrown forward. Before he had time to wonder what the hell had happened, it was all over. The box van sat stalled and silent, headlights illuminating the curving road ahead and a woman in a sodden summer dress. He reached for the handle to open his door, missed it, cast his eyes away from the road to locate it, found it, started to open the door, ready to unload foul language, and let out a yelp as the door was wrenched from his grasp as if by a fierce gale. She was right there in the doorway, a face that had been gaunt and terrified in the headlights now gaunt and terrified in the van's interior light. "What the Jesus are-" Karl began, but froze when she grabbed his shirt in two tight fists. "You gotta help me!" she moaned. Autopilot kicked in. On a bright summer's day, he might have told her to calm down; might have stepped out of the van and led her to the side of the road to seek an explanation. But it was dark and eerie out here and that was firing an alarm in his mind. He grabbed the woman under the arms and yanked her up and literally threw her across him and into the passenger seat. Her head smacked the window but she didn't seem to care, and neither did he. He twisted the ignition key and stamped and pulled at all the appropriate pedals and levers and the road started to vanish beneath the vehicle. By the time he hit second gear, the woman had already slipped out of the seat and crammed herself into the footwell. And then it happened again. This time the shape was black, just like the night, and he didn't see a thing until it stepped into the funnels of his headlights. He recognised a humanoid form, but the mental alarm was in full-flow and this time his foot stayed away from the brake. He did not want to stop out here again, ever. Instead, he tugged hard on the steering wheel, and the silhouette in his headlights vanished off to the side. It flashed by his side window then was gone. He was glad he hadn't hit it even before he realised it was a man in dark clothing. He looked in the driver's wing mirror and saw the shape in the road, saw a dot of white high up in the blackness that must be a face, staring after him. Then the face turned to look the other way along the road, as if searching. Karl gripped the steering wheel hard and faced forward again. Nothing ahead but the road and the trees and the headlights.
Peter Ackers is a thriller writer living in Britain.
 
 


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