Jean was on highway six and she was doing great time. The road went through the mountains, using tunnels and bridges, to a place with a much nicer climate and where she could finally relax from an exhausting week. Work as a nurse could be very heavy and opportunities to have a few days for herself were pretty scarce. So she decided to grab the car and ask her parents for the keys of the summerhouse they had on that region.
She had not been there for several years, since she had started her career, and her parents were not big fans of going to a house were the weather was warm but there was no ocean or anything to look forward to. There was a pool though and Jean knew she would have to clean it thoroughly before making use of it. Her parents now owned an apartment by the ocean, so this house had been deserted for quite some time. The plan had always been to sell but no one really seemed interested.
Driving was making her back hurt a bit, so she decided to turn up the radio and sing along, in order to male a distraction from her pain. She would sing clumsily after the lyrics were sung but it worked as it made her laugh and enjoy the trip. On every curve, she would stop singing, instead humming the lyrics and looking at the dark road. It was the end of the afternoon and she had been driving for about an hour. She was only about thirty minutes away from her exit went the unthinkable happened: another car rammed her.
The hit from the back make her bob like one of those taxi dolls but her arms kept straight and the car didn’t move so much. She tried to look who had done it. For a second, she thought that maybe someone was having problems and it had just been and accident. But some minutes later it happened again and in a curve. Jean’s heart felt right in her mouth and she decided it was best to speed up in order to loose that insane driver.
She gained velocity quickly and in a couple of minutes she had lost the car, a red car that seemed to old to be still in circulation. Jean noticed the exit was nearby and was trying not to miss it when a police car appeared out of nowhere and she was asked to park further ahead. She stopped the car on a restaurant just off her exit. Stepping out of the car, she fixed her hair and waited for the police officer to come and talk to her.
With that air of superiority many policemen have, he told her she had gone above the limit some kilometers ago and that she had violated the top speed she could be driving on the highway. Jean answered that it was all fine but that they should also give a ticket to the owner of the red car that rammed her twice. She went to the back of her car and showed him the marks of both attacks. The man checked it closely, then grabbed his radio and alerted other patrols to be on the lookout for the red car.
After he had given the ticket to Jean, she was able to go. Her parent’s house was just fifteen minutes down the road on a small plateau between two mountains. The place in itself was very nice but it was obvious people always wanted more and better things so they were all selling these all old houses in favor of newer, more modern ones in places not very far from there.
Jean stopped the car on the entrance and used the keys to release the lock on the main entrance. She opened the door manually (it wasn’t a electric one) and then drove the car into the lot. She stopped the car just by the pool, closed the door and then took out the only suitcase she had brought along.
The place was very dark and moist, the humidity was incredible. She turned on the lights and was amazed at how much work she had to do that night. She only had three full days for herself there and she was to clean to leave everything as it was. So after leaving her suitcase in her parent’s old bedroom, she decided to grab all the cleaning products available and start scrubbing the floor, mopping them, dust the furniture, vacuum and a number of other thing she would have forgotten to do if she hadn’t been a nurse.
She had gotten there around seven and now it was almost eleven and her stomach asked her for food. In the house there was nothing to eat, as they had always disconnected the refrigerator before leaving, in order not to let any electric appliances on the long periods of time they were not there. She had forgotten all about eating when she had grabbed the car, so she went outside and decided to head down the road, where she remembered some stores were located.
They were small family-owned stores, the kind that sells things kids would like on a road trip. No meat or anything raw. No lunches or any form of cooked meals or even microwave meals. Thankfully it was open and the lady that tended to it remembered her. They had a nice conversation as Jean grabbed some yogurts, orange juice, milk, cereal, bread, ham and butter. She also grabbed some candy and a big bottle of soda. The lady asked her if she wanted help to carry all that to her house but Jean refused and told her she could manage.
After dropping the soda bottle five times, she finally arrived to her house and ate a pathetic sandwich before feeling to tired to go on. She feel asleep in no time.
The following day, she put on her swimsuit and ran to the pull, only to realize she hadn’t cleaned that. Someone, according to her parents, took care of it when they were not around but still there were many leaves. She grabbed that long pole they use to catch leaves and she started doing so, sweating like crazy, feeling more and more humid by the minute. As she was halfway through the job, she heard a car coming. She wasn’t expecting anyone so she didn’t looked up to see that it was the red car coming slowly down the road. It stopped a few meters away, far from her sight.
Jean finally looked at the pool: it was clean enough and she just wanted to swim. So she did, for several hours. After that, she decided to lay down in a plastic deck chair and just dry away the water of the pool. It was right then when the two men driving in the red car entered the house and she didn’t heard a thing. They hid behind lush plants and behind her car. She had closed her eyes, tired again from all the exercise. One of the men was holding a knife, the other a gun. This last one raised his hand.
A shot was heard all over the road and many neighbors looked up and down the street for the source. But they could only see a red car parked there.
And also, a patrol car.
The policeman, not the same one that had stopped Jean on the road, had shot first, wounding the one that was holding a gun on the side. He fell to the ground by the pool and his pain had made him drop the gun into the water. The other one was still holding the knife and was pretty agile, grabbing Jean by the neck and trying to suffocate her with his skinny arm.
She fought back but he was stronger and much more crazy. The policeman was pointing at him but the knife was already too close to the skin and Jean decided to do the only thing she could thing of doing: she bit the arm of her attacker, that got distracted for a second. The policeman got the message and shot two times, both to the chest.
In a matter of minutes, neighbors had called the police and ambulances. Both men were alive, one on much worse condition that the other. Paramedics also attended Jean, as she was coughing too much and she had a deep cut on her neck.
She went back home that day, on the ambulance. She would ask someone to go down there and grab her car for her. She only wanted to be home. Jean thought of the men every second of the short trip, their faces mad with anger, the weapons and the feeling when she had heard the gunshot and then the man grabbed her. She felt so helpless and useless. They cured her wounds in a hospital and then released her, late at night.
Once home, she sat on her bed stroking her neck wound and remembering where she had seen those men before. They were family members of a woman that had recently died in her care. Her husband had attacked her and those men were her sons. Jean remembered they wanted her cured instantly, like by magic and they pressured the doctor not to mention their father in the report. But he did. And Jean was too slow the day the woman went into cardiac arrest and died. She had not believed their word, as the woman had been fine just hours before.
Jean couldn’t fall asleep anymore. And traveling to relax was definitively out of the question.