Gina worked nights at the hospital as a nurse and typically spent the last hour of her shift sitting at the nurse’s desk watching the clock tick to 2 A.M., the time she could grab her things and jet out the door to her apartment, where her bed was calling her name.
This night was no different than any other. At 2:10 A.M., Gina, suppressing a yawn, shuffled through the parking lot to her waiting car, tossed her stuff into the passenger seat, and put the car in drive.
At the next intersection, she sat waiting at the red light, drumming her fingers against the steering wheel as she listened to the music on the radio. Seeing that the other light was yellow, she lifted her foot off of the brake, ready to go at green, and then jammed her foot against the brake again when a truck rolled through the last second of the yellow light. The driver made eye contact with her but looked back at the road and drove out of Gina’s view.
Gina went through the green light and continued on her way to her apartment. Suddenly, bright lights surrounded her from behind. She looked into her rearview mirror to see that pickup truck that had gone through the yellow at the last intersection. The driver, the silhouette of a man in a baseball cap, was tailing so close to her that if she hit her brakes, he’d go right into her back bumper.
The driver was flashing his brights urgently. Gripping her steering wheel tighter, Gina took a deep breath. Perhaps he had an emergency and she was driving in his way, but why didn’t he just go around her? There was no other traffic around. He had all the rest of the road to go wherever he needed.
She stuck her hand out the window and waved him around her, but the driver wouldn’t go around. Still, he flashed his brights and kept on her tail. Gina kept driving. She turned down a side street that she knew few people traveled on. If he followed her, she’d know for sure that she was the one he was after. Without signaling, she whipped her car to the right and turned down the side street. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw in the rearview mirror that he had turned as well, and was still right on her tail, still flashing his brights on and off.
Her cell phone had fallen out of her purse and rested on the floor of the passenger side, far out of her reach. She wouldn’t be able to safely retrieve it and call for help without possibly running into something, and she sure wasn’t about to pull over to grab it. The last thing she wanted to do was stop, especially out here with no one around.
“God help me,” Gina prayed to herself. The police station wasn’t far. She picked up speed, hoping to catch the attention of a cop on patrol, but none were out.
The lights of the police station came into view. Her salvation. She’d pull over and run inside for help. Surely he wouldn’t follow her to the police station and have the boldness to do something to her in front of an officer. But he was right there, right in her rearview mirror.
She pulled her car to the curb in front of the police station doors, and the truck pulled right behind her. Before she could fumble open the door, the driver had jumped out of his truck, a gun aimed right at her. “Get out of the car!” he yelled. “Get out of the car!”
Gina locked her door, hoping a cop would hear the commotion and come outside to help her. With shaking hands, she fumbled with her phone to dial 9-1-1, but stopped when she heard the driver’s voice say, “He’s in the back! He’s got a knife!”
Gina looked up from her phone. The driver was talking to an officer who had come outside, and the next thing she knew, the officer pulled out a gun, pointed it right at her car, and yelled, “Get out right now!”
The back door of Gina’s car suddenly opened, and out stepped her ex-boyfriend, who she’d recently gotten a restraining order against because he’d threatened to murder her. At the officer’s command, he raised his hands, and in one of his hands, he held a knife that then clattered to the ground when he was told to drop it.
With her ex in custody, Gina was sitting in the waiting room of the station, trying to hold her Styrofoam coffee cup with her trembling hands. Coffee sloshed out of it and spattered onto her scrubs every time she tried to take a sip.
“I didn’t mean to frighten you,” said a male voice, and Gina looked up to see the driver of the truck. “I was going through the intersection and I saw him in the back with his knife raised like he was going to stab you,” the driver explained. “I didn’t know what else to do except pull a U and follow you. My brights scared him. As soon as I flashed them, he ducked back down, probably hoping I’d go away. I’m glad you drove to the station. Smart choice.”
“He must have gotten in my car and hid there while I was on my shift. I’ve got to get that back door lock fixed.” Gina brushed away a tear and smiled at the driver who had saved her life. “Thank you.”
“You don’t have to thank me,” the driver said. “I just hope that bastard is put away for a while. Have a safe drive home.”