Chapter 24

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Petronia had paced herself during her meeting with Barlow and his girlfriend, limiting herself to two beers. The last thing she had wanted was to lose control of her inhibitions and make an even bigger fool of herself than she already had. She drank one beer before pizza and one afterward.

As she drove herself home, she thought of the memories dredged up of her past with Barlow. Those thoughts filled her with melancholy. It was truly over now, she knew, with no possibility of resurrecting what they once had. Barlow seemed happy with Caroline and there was no reason for the two of them to ever see each other again. She had done all she could for Barlow and had given him the photograph. It was up to him if he wanted to show it around.

She fully intended to come clean with him tonight about her divorce. It bothered her how she  had lied to him. But now? She hadn't been able to tell him with Caroline being present.

What did it matter anyway now that she knew for sure Barlow and Caroline were a couple?

In the dark, a pair of headlights came up on Petronia fast and rode her bumper. High beams reflected from her rear view mirror and blinded her. She slowed and eased her car close to the berm in order to allow the car to pass. Whoever was behind her didn't get the message. She slowed even more and powered down her side window. She stuck out an arm and waved the driver forward.

The driver just hung there behind her.

Why didn't this idiot pass her? A curve in the road loomed ahead of them with a no passing zone.

She sighed and wished she were in uniform. She would give this driver a piece of her mind about following too closely and with high beams. As she neared the curve, her car lurched.

She gasped. "I think that asshole just rear ended me." Her car accelerated.

With a sickening feeling, Petronia realized she was being pushed. "What the hell?" She jammed on her brakes, but that caused her to lose control as the vehicle pushing her continued to accelerate.

She would never make it around the curve. Her car crossed the center line and went airborne as it left the road and nosed down an embankment.

An airbag exploding in her face was the last thing she remembered before passing out.

Lionel pulled to the side of the road, switched off his headlights, and powered off the motor

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Lionel pulled to the side of the road, switched off his headlights, and powered off the motor. He looked both ways. Nobody coming. The sparsely traveled rural road had been the perfect spot for an ambush, especially at night.

The lady cop's compact car had been no match for the Dodge Ram pickup he had stolen from a Harrisburg construction site. Pushing her from the road had been as easy as sweeping aside a dust mote from a tabletop. Now, all he needed to do was finish the job.

Pulling a tactical flashlight from his inside jacket pocket, Lionel got out of the car and made his way across the lane. He stepped down the bank into the meadow below.

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