[Note: hey all I've been out of touch for so long, my writing is a bit rusty. Please bear with me. I hope you like this... unique take on our beloved Jeddie;)]
Janet Meadows loaded up the last of her luggage in the truck of her Nomad and waved to her grandparents, blowing them a kiss goodbye. She was finally heading back to Portland after spending eight months taking care of her grandparents in Rhode Island when her grandma fell and cracked her pelvic bone.
"Are you sure you don't want us to call Anna and Warren and let them know to expect you?" Grandma Lois asked for the umpteenth time.
"No I'd rather surprise them. Besides its only about a three hour drive. With stops I'm guessing about four hours tops. Don't worry Grandma, I'll be fine."
"Said Little Red Riding Hood," Grandpa Eli mumbled under his breath.
"Don't you start," Janet warned and smiled at them before ducking into her car, "I'll call you when I get there. I might be a couple of days though, cause I have so much of stuff to move to my new apartment."
"Alright. We'll be waiting by the phone until then!" Lois called out as Janet revved her engine. Janet rolled her eyes. Why bother trying to talk her out of it? The fact was she loved that her grands were still so protective of her. Even at twenty-five, she still got to feel like a kid when she went to visit them.
She pulled out of their driveway and headed down the street, homeward bound to Portland.
About an hour and a half later she checked the gauge and saw that the tank was only good for another twenty miles. "What kind of a moron gets on the road for a three hour drive and does not think to fill gas in her tank? This chick that's who," She grumbled.
She desperately looked out of her window looking for a truck stop or somewhere she could fuel up her tank, but no such luck. The air was chilly as the October breeze forced her to huddle her jacket taut against her. It would be nightfall soon and she was nowhere near Boston yet.
A clunk, a groan and the aged car pulled to a huffing halt.
"Great. Just great," Janet suddenly found herself wishing she hadn't told her grands to keep her trip home a secret. If she was stranded, she wanted her family to know about it.
She looked at the map in her hands again before tossing it into the back seat. Getting out of the vehicle she looked around and surveyed her surroundings. Rocks, shrubs, marshy land by the stream nearby and in the distance was a white picketed sign. With a sigh she resolved to walk to it and see if there was someone who lived in that direction who could let her borrow their phone or spare some gas. She zipped up her jacket and looked up at the sky. Nightfall was coming and quick. She needed to hurry if she intended to make it back to her car before the darkness set in. She didn't even remember where she packed her flashlight.
Hurriedly she began making her way towards the sign. She hadn't begun a few minutes when she felt someone was following her. A crunch of a leaf, a snap of a twig underfoot and her heart began to race. She whirled around to find no one in sight. Strange. She could have sworn she'd heard something behind her. Her eyes travelled the length of the distance between the spot behind her and her car. She was now about a hundred yards away, so a quick escape in case she needed one, was in the forestry area across the road that looked dodgier than the side she was on. Turning back around she saw a man in blue jeans with a truckers cap atop his head, standing about a hundred feet away from her. Relief swept through her as she picked up her pace and made her way to him.
It was only when she got close enough to see the expression on his face that she realised he was standing perfectly still. He'd been watching her for a while. He'd been standing there with intent. Apprehension gripped her as she got closer and took in his ruddy features. He had coarse stubble lining his jaw and he looked about forty years old. But it was the glint in his eye that didn't sit well with her.
"Lost, lady?" He asked calmly, his eyes shamelessly sweeping her from head to toe.
"Yes, I am. I mean… no. You see I'm out of gas and I was wondering if there was a gas station within the next couple of miles."
"Well I dunno about that. But I do have a truck parked about half a mile up the road," he gestured towards its general direction. "If it pleases you, I could drive you to the next truck stop," he flashed her a smile that made her blood curdle as he took a step towards her. This man had no intension of assisting her at all.
"That's okay," she said quickly turning on her heel, "I'll just call my family from my cell phone," she lied. The truth was, there was absolutely no signal out there in East-Christmas-Nowhere. The man was hot on her heels as he made haste to keep up.
"Oh now c'mon honey. I won't bite. I just want to help. Get in my truck and I'll drive you to a gas station or my name isn't Earle Flemming."
"I said no thank you," she said more emphatically without turning around. Her heart was pounding so loudly in her ears she wondered if he could hear it. The sun was just barely touching the horizon and it would be dark very soon. Terrifying images of being raped and being left for dead in the bushes flashed through her mind and she began walking faster.
The man reached out and grabbed her arm. Tightly. "It's not polite to refuse someone when they're trying to help you. Didn't your mother ever teach you that?"
Janet struggled to free herself from his grip and succeeded, but her success was short lived because as she turned to make a break for it, he wrapped a powerful arm around her neck and pulled her back against him. "Tsk, tsk, tsk. You are just full of bad manners aren't you? Well if your mother didn't teach you to be polite, I guess I'm just gon' have to do so myself. Got that?" he hissed against her ear and Janet cringed.
For some inexplicable reason, a scene she watched in Miss Congeniality flashed through her mind. Sandra Bullock would have been very proud to have witnessed what happened next. She slowly raised her right fist to her chest and held it firmly there. Within a second, as hard as she could she plummeted her elbow into the offender's solar plexus, came down hard on his foot with the short pointed heel of her boot, swung the back of her right fist to make contact with his nose when she heard it crack and the man yelped in pain. Finally she balled her fist and swung it down hard to his pelvic region. The man was wailing in pain by this time as blood oozed out from his nose and his eyes teared-up. Janet made a mad dash for the forestry region she'd spotted earlier as she heard the man curse out a vile profanity and run after her. She could just about see with what was left of the sunlight that streamed through the trees and she felt the leaves crunch behind her but she didn't slow down. She kept running deeper and deeper into the wooded area until she tripped when the cuff of her jeans got caught on a tree bark and she flew forward into a rock. Everything around her faded to black.