Chapter 22

61 3 0

DOMINIC WATCHED THE ROAD in both directions, a long straight tract with a few dips, running generally north to south. He thought for certain the shades would be pursued after Athiel and Rathiel left them in the ocean. At least his clothes had dried out. He felt only a little damp and chill in the crisp night air.

Shifting his bag on his back, Dominic concentrated on the path ahead. By his very damp atlas, he could see they had quite a long walk before the next town. The hair on the back of his neck rose as he made the assessment. He patted it back down and came to a halt. Lena turned to see why, opening her mouth to speak. Her eyes glinted with a reflection of light. She stared with apprehension at something gaining on them. Dominic turned back around. Headlamps flashed along the road in their direction.

"Just a car," Dominic said, walking past the girl.

Lena didn't move. She watched it come and for a moment Dominic wondered if Morgentus's henchman had figured out another way to run them down. The car moved unusually fast. The engine growled as the driver mashed the gas pedal. The lights flashed as it struck ruts in the road. The tinny sound of the radio disrupted the peace. It was too late to run. The car passed, kicking up leaves and dust. The red taillights lit up and it squealed to a halt. Dominic cursed.

"Don't get in that car," Lena advised with alarm.

Dominic gestured. It was a convertible sports car. Candy red. A woman with a scarf over her head was in the driver's seat. She smiled over her shoulder at him. The curl of her red lips put him quite at ease. He couldn't make out the melodic voice over the purr of the engine. He excused himself, shrugging.

"American?" she said with a laugh. "Do you need a ride?"

"Is it that obvious? Where are you headed?" Dominic asked, slowly approaching the car.

"The way you're dressed. I hope to reach Paris, but who knows by morning." She smiled with brilliant white teeth.

"That's where I was headed. My ferry got in late and there were no taxis," Dominic said.

"Just like an American. Too busy to stop. Get in. You can't walk there." She eyed him, appearing pleased with what she saw.

Dominic threw his bag behind the seat and opened the door. This was a nice bit of luck. He climbed in, as Lena ran and jumped into the tiny jump seat, reiterating her warning. The woman took off, pressing down hard on the gas before he could even close the door. He managed to pry it shut without catching a limb, finger, or toe. They passed along the road at a higher  speed than advisable at night on such curved routes.

"You running from something?" Dominic asked.

The woman smiled. Her dark hair peeked out from under the scarf, curling in the wind. She was pretty, as far as human women went. The soft lines around her mouth and eyes spoke of a few years of wisdom. She was in her late thirties, maybe forty. What could she have to run from? By that age, most women were married and taking care of their children. She was thin as a rail, narrow-hipped and small breasted. He doubted she had even one child.

"My husband—a brutal oaf. Are you scared?" she finally answered.

Dominic frowned. He took for granted that others enjoyed a happy life. Then, he was reminded why he was there. His wife had run from him, and though he was no brute, he might be an oaf. He wiped his face with his hand, sorry he'd asked.

"Got rough with me one too many times. I decided no more. I put my life on hold. I was just a foolish child when I married him. Now, I'm taking my time back," she continued.

Dominic rubbed his lip with his pointer finger and watched the road.

"Too much information," she said, laughing.

The Trailokya Trilogy, Book One: The Shadow SoulRead this story for FREE!