The scenery whizzed past like lightening, not that she was looking at the scenery. Rachel Friedman ran like the wind, her legs aching and her heart pounding, but she was going to be damned if she was going to go back and face them. Of all nights to get cold feet, her Hens night, with all her friends, and now she'd gone and made a bumbling idiot of herself. The day had started out alright, with the last of the RSVP's and final arrangements coming in for the wedding. Jonathon had insisted on using the historic mansion on the outskirts of town for the ceremony as well as the reception, which in reality she didn't mind, it was the fact that she had no say in the matter that bugged her. The Hens night that night had also started well, with her friends meeting down at the local pub for drinks before heading out for a night on the town. Then came the stripper. Rachel's eyes popped out of her head as the act started before her, the bloke tossing clothes all over her. He was just about to whip off his g-string when she ran. At first she didn't know why she ran, then as time progressed and she plunged deeper into the surrounding bush, her mind worked it out. Jonathon, she was going to have to sleep with Jonathon. She was going to have to touch his... She shuddered at the thought, a cold shiver that zipped up and down her spine, making the hairs on her neck stand up. Hearing voices and running feet behind her Rachel plunged further into the dark scrub. Hours later Rachel stumbled over a large root sticking out of the ground, grunting as her weight hit the dark moist earth she rolled and clutched her now screaming ankle. Tears of anger and frustration coursed down her sodden face, her hair sticking in a matted mess to her skull. She was lost, totally utterly lost. After what seemed an eternity Rachel rolled over and wiped the last of the tears from her streaked face. It had started raining since she had fallen, big wet drops from the sky colliding with her flushed hot skin. It seemed as though the world was mocking her, the sky with rain and the earth with the root that caused her to fall. She hissed as a large droplet of rain impacted with her swollen ankle. Whether it was broken or not, she didn't know and frankly didn't care. All she wanted was for the world to swallow her up whole, to take her away from the hell called life and back to the carefree place that was her childhood. Her sharp mind switched into action, and she realised that she would be losing valuable body heat. Winter in Goulbern could be hell with its frosts and occasional snow, and the way the weather was turning, snow was a real possibility. Rachel looked around herself in the darkness, looking for shelter to escape the icy rain and wind. Looking up a rocky hillside she saw a haven, a cave large enough for her to huddle in and hide from the weather and her life. Gathering her strength she carefully stood on her good leg, getting her balance before testing her weight on her ankle. Surprisingly enough it was not broken, for she could put some of her weight on it without it screaming too much. Gritting her teeth she hobbled the 200 meters to the cave and collapsed under the rocky ceiling, her eyes closing in exhaustion as her weary aching body slumped to the ground. Her breaths clouded the icy air in front of her as her mind slowed down to a crawl, unconsciousness being a welcome thing in this freezing wasteland of snow and pain.
Felix Friedman picked up the phone on the fourth ring. He knew something was wrong, yet he couldn't quite put his finger on it. "Hello?" he said, hoping that it was just Rachel asking about something to do with the wedding. "Is this Mr Friedman?" a formal voice came down the line. "Yes, is something wrong?" worry started to etch into Felix' voice, he was now positive something terrible had happened. "Mr Friedman, My name is Sergeant Robert Donohue from Golbourn Police. I'm afraid I have some bad news about your daughter Rachel. She's gone missing." The phone dropped from Felix' hand, he starred at the wall, this couldn't be happening, not his Rachel, not his precious Rachel.
Morning came with no developments for the search party. Rachel Friedman, 19 teenager, engaged to Jonathon Goldstein, Sydneysider by birth, just graduated the Police Academy was still missing after 12 hours of frantic searching. The horrifying weather conditions had not helped the search in any way either, the sleet and occasional shower of snow blanketing any footprints or clues that could assist in finding the wayward teenager. Sighing the officer in charge of the search gazed off into the distance, willing the youngster to come out of hiding. He silently prayed that she hadn't fallen victim to foul play or the icy cold conditions of the night, she was too young to die, far too young to die. He turned when one of his team called out to him. "Sir! We may have found something, come over here!" The Sergeant hurried to where his officer was pointing, as he neared the scene he saw something sticking out of the snow, actually two things sticking out of the snow. A broken root, splintered as though someone had tripped over it, and a shoe. At once he knew what was going on. Crouching close to the snow-covered ground he looked around the surrounding countryside, trying to put himself in the poor woman's position. Where would she go, what would she have seen from here. His eye caught a series of caves about 200 meters up the hillside. Leaping to his feet he shouted to the search teams within hearing range. "Up there! I think she's gone up there!" he pointed to the caves and started up the steep hillside himself, eager to find the damsel in distress. A short time later another shout echoed around the hillside. "We've found her! We've found her!" Several teams converged on the cave at once, all eager to unravel the mystery behind this young woman. The Sergeant finally entered the cave and crouched beside the cool body of the woman. His breath caught in his throat, they were too late, she had died overnight. Automatically he reached for her corotid artery, willing the blood to be moving. After a second his fingers were moved ever so slightly. Not believing it, he waited. They moved again, and again. A slow but rhythmical pulse, a sign of hope, a sign of life. The search turned rescue teams were charged with a new energy as they waited patiently for the chopper to arrive. The girl hadn't responded to any stimulus and was still unconscious. The team doctor had arrived and administered some adrenalin to reverse any shock, as well as covered her with as many blankets as the crews carried. They could only wait now, but the hardest part was over, they had found her alive. The next day Rachel awoke to harsh lights, disinfectant smells and Jonathon. She groaned aloud as his fuzzy face became focused, hell she didn't want to have to deal with him right now...or ever for that fact. "Rachel, what were you thinking? Running off like that? Everyone was worried sick! How can you justify the effort that the entire community has gone to just to bring you back here. I mean really Rachel, how could you even THINK of doing something like this?" Jonathon seemed to continue his ranting while Rachel's mind rattled through several rude and cutting remarks. She didn't know where they came from but she thought better of saying them right now. Next week was the wedding and she didn't want to appear to have cold feet. As much as Jonathon annoyed her, she did she some positives in marrying him. The prestige, the money, the career advancement, the challenge of trying to change his arrogant behaviour. Rachel Friedman was never one to back down from a challenge, even if the challenge WAS living with Jonathon Goldstein. She tried a different tactic, one that would totally throw him off. If he was expecting a fight she would give him the opposite. "I'm sorry darling, I really don't know what came over me. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me" She inwardly grinned at the look of shock that came over his face. *Hell he didn't expect THAT one* she thought as he remained silent, the look of shock still etched onto his features. If he wanted to play mind games, she was sure as hell going to beat him at it! Maybe this wasn't going to be that bad after all.
ENDE! Part 6 coming whenever I get around to writting it :)