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Dreams falling through the air crashed down on those staring out glass windows. Laughter and harsh
comments echoed in the spaces of youth. Home was seen in the distance, but the ride was far from over.
Stepping onto sidewalk, Crissa turned to watch the yellow beetle move up the road. Faces pressed against
glass, mocking her. Loud words and laughter tried to reach her but fell hard against concrete. The bus
disappeared from her sight, stealing away her tormentors of tomorrow, and she started to walk home.
A tan Cadillac drifted beside her, but she pretended not to notice. She could tell that a man in his mid to late
thirties with dirty blond hair sat comfortably in the driver seat. His hands massaged the steering wheel, but
his eyes were locked on her. His lips softened into a smile, but something sinister lingered behind honey
spoken words. And finally Crissa stopped to focus on the man.
"Can I help you?" The man seemed taken back at her words. "You are following me, aren't you?"
"I'm actually lost, young lady." The smile remained in place. "I thought you could help me."
"The highway is not too far from here." She resumed walking up the road. "Turn around, and you will find
"I'm sure it is." He laughed slowly. "I'll still get lost. My sense of direction is not a very good one."
"I'm not supposed to talk to strangers." She glared at the man for a long moment. "You are a stranger."
She tried to walk faster, but who was she kidding? "Maybe someone else can help you."
"Do you see anyone else around?" His eyes remained on her. "There's only you." Fear touched the back of
her throat. "I found you." She stopped walking. "Where do you live?" She blinked but did not respond.
"Why did the bus drop you at the bottom of this hill, if you are walking up it?"
"Because I like to walk."
"And because you were being teased by those boys on the bus." Crissa tried to hide her concern, her fear,
but he saw it. "They don't know you."
"Do you?" His smile flickered but then spread. "Do you know me?"
"I would like to. Come on. Get in, and I'll drive you to your house."
"I thought you were lost, trying to find your way home."
"Yeah, but I'm offering you a ride. Come on. It's chilly out here. The October air is only going to get colder."
"I like the cold." Crissa remained standing beside the car. "What should she do? She always took this walk
to escape the confines of her bullies. Nobody ever bothered her until now, and she knew better. She knew
not to get into the car, but would he go away? Would he drive off and forget her, and would he find another
prey?" She shook her head. "No thank you."
"I'm not asking." His smile was completely gone. "Get in the car." His eyes narrowed. "Now."
"If I were you, pal, I would drive off." He laughed at her words. "Seriously. You don't know me, and you
do not want me."
"Crissa, I do know you, and I do want you." He leaned toward the open passenger-side window. "I'm not
going to ask again."
"If you get out of your car and come near me, I will scream on top of my lungs, and somebody will save me
from you." He laughed again. "What's so damn funny?"
"Are your neighbors home? Do you see anyone outside? Are there any cars on the road?" Crissa gazed
around the neighborhood and saw nobody, nothing that would save her. "Around this hour, people are
either still at work or first leaving their job, and your parents won't be home for another hour, at least." Her
head snapped toward him. "I do know you, and I know how your brother is supposed to meet you
sometimes where the bus drops you off, but lately he's not around. So, where is he? Why isn't he here to
protect you from me?"
"He's at the arcade." Crissa stared down at her feet. "He's with his friends." Tears stung her eyes. "There
was no escape. She could run, but how far would she go to escape the car, to escape him? She was trapped
like a deer in headlights, and he knew it." She gnawed on her lip. "Okay. Okay." She reached for the handle
on the passenger-side door. "Just don't hurt me." Her eyes locked with his. "Please."
"I wouldn't think of it." The smile was back in place. "We'll spend some time together, and then you'll go
"Just like that."
"Just like that." He watched her get in the car and then laid a hand on her pants. "You won't be harmed."
He squeezed her leg and then let his hand drift up her leg toward her blouse. "You might even like it." She
looked away from him, praying silently for rescue. "You might want me to visit more." She still refused to
look at him as his fingers pushed against her chest. "We should go." She closed her eyes as he withdrew his
hand. "Your parents will soon start looking for you."
The radio suddenly switched on. Loud static roared through the car. Warped voices spoke rapidly but
made no sense. The car shook as the static increased, and the man quickly reached out to silence it. But
then the car died.
"What the hell!" The man tried the ignition, but nothing happened. "Piece of shit!" He slammed his foot on
the gas. "Damn it!" He glanced at Crissa, who watched him in fear. "What the hell?"
Before he could react, Crissa jumped out of the car. She bolted up the road but then stopped to look back at
the man. She could see him struggle with the driver-side door, but he couldn't get out. And the ignition
roared to life.
Looking over her shoulder, Crissa knew she had a long way to go to reach the top, and he would be on top of
her by then. She could run to one of the homes nearby, but was anyone home? Would anyone let her in?
Would anyone save her from him?
Suddenly, the car bolted toward her but then quickly flew backward down the hill. The man was seen
struggling with the wheel and then attempting to open the door. The car continued its decline until it
reached the bottom of the development and then came to an abrupt halt, and the driver-side door started to
"Oh no," Crissa gasped.
Something flashed by, and metal against metal slammed together. A construction truck spun around in a
circle and flew toward Crissa, stopping only a few inches away from her. But Crissa hardly flinched as her
eyes lingered on what was left of the car, the man half in, half out of his vehicle.
"Hey! Hey! You alright?" The driver of the truck struggled to exit his vehicle. "You okay, kid?" Crissa
realized he was talking to her. "You hurt?" She broke out into a run up the hill. "Hey! Hey! Get back
here!" She didn't stop until she reached the top. "Stop, kid. Stop!"
A safe distance away, Crissa left the road and walked into a small patch of woods. She fell against a tree and
started to cry. Her head rested against her knees, and a sob escaped her lips. Tears fell gently along her
skin and down into the soft earth.
A gentle hand was felt on top of her head. Her gaze slowly lifted toward a man with a caring smile. Tears
continued to fall, and he brushed a few away. And then he held his hand out toward her, and she slowly took
"Don't worry, Crissa. We'll clean up your mess. Nobody will have to know." He stared down at her like a
father gazing at his daughter. "We'll take care of you." He led her away back toward the road.
REVIEW STORE: Did you enjoy Melissa's short story? Please tell her so. We know she will appreciate
your feedback. CLICK HERE to write a review of "Ride Home".
NEW REVIEWS: These are as much chapters as they are short stories. Easily crafted into a new book by
the skillful hands of Melissa Mendelson. Each installment fills in a tiny gap in the slumber of the author.
Each dream a pleasant new writing. You make us want to know more and more about Crissa and her
guardian(s) with each new piece. Don't stop! *****__J.M. Humperjohn.
I think I get it now. (Sounding a little like Joe Biden) Neither a CIA agent nor a ghost, Crissa is a recurring
character in a dream that the author is able to re-enter at will. Quite a feat, Miss Melissa. I have never been
able to do that. . . re-enter a dream, especially the really good ones that I'd love to jump back into. Can't wait
for Ride IV. Nice work. *****__Captain Apple Jack.
Reading about Melissa's book Silent Dreams, helps a lot. These short stories could be dream plots. Each one
telling us a little more about Crissa. I'd like to know what Crissa looks like, and where and when she goes to
martial arts class. But that is all in the good hands of the author. Thanks for your great stories, Melissa.
A provocative series of stories with a compelling and recurring theme . . . victimization and how it can be
overcome with whit and strength. It matters little just who Crissa is or where she is from. What matters is
her ability to deal with personal crisis in a firm a consistent manner. Nice writing. ****__Barbara A. Sabo
OTHER WORKS: To enjoy other works by Melissa R. Mendelson, CLICK HERE.
|"Ride Home III: White Chalk Lines
By Melissa R. Mendelson
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Like a deer in the headlights, fear crept in.