James Lindquist Books

James Lindquist Books

THE DEAD KNOW NOTHING

 The Final Cup | Back to Eden | Seeking God | Seeking Man | The Cobble Stone Road
| The Dead Know Nothing | 

Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three

Thursday, October 13, 2016
En route to Crescent Lake, Washington
Alex Hansen’s wipers were at full speed and just enough to make the highway visible. The Olympic Mountains protected Port Angeles from fierce winds of a hurricane, but the rain came full force. Squinting through the rain pelted windshield, made it difficult to keep track of the yellow line. Alex never seen weather this bad. He only knew he looked forward to getting home and proposing to Sarah White. He couldn’t wait to change her name, but first, he’d have to get home. As expected, the storm was hitting hard.

First rains did not mix well with oil from well-traveled roads. It made for slippery and hazardous conditions. The surrounding blackness of night hid but 100 feet of the highway. Unaffected, the highway disappeared into the bottom of a continuous curtain of rain. Alex held a firm grip on the steering wheel as if his life depended on it. With the interceding weather, maybe it did. The two-lane highway, in the rain, and in the dark, made Alex’s journey home dangerous.

During the day, West Highway 101 was a lonely and peaceful stretch of road, but beautiful. Traffic was not a heavy occurrence at that time of night, and Alex often saw a deer or two standing near the freeway. He had to watch them close because many times they'd dart across to the other side. It appeared to be a game with them, like birds flying across in front of a windshield.

During the night though, the beauty disappeared into blackness. Tonight, the storm magnified the blackness. His headlights got him through the deluge and kept him pointing his car toward home. Alex’s home at Crescent Lake was 20 miles west of Port Angeles, Washington. He loved the picturesque view that the woods provided for him on the Lake. The drive home relaxed him enough to unwind while thinking of his deck overlooking the serenity of the water. However, tonight his thoughts were elsewhere. Only four miles left.

The weather report yesterday expected Typhoon Songda, turned Hurricane, to hit sometime this evening. For once the weatherman guessed right. Songda hit right on time and its fury pounded everything within its reach. They had predicted the second wave to hit Saturday and be comparable to the Columbus Day storm of 1962. As Alex aimed his car down the 100 feet of road, he wondered what the second wave would provide. It looked like he’d be working at home a few days. As a business owner, he had that capacity. Alex felt lucky in that regard.

Although the mountains provided protection, a few gusts snuck by and blew small limbs into the road. Every time he swerved to miss a limb or other obstacle in the road, his car broke loose. The speedometer only registered 40 miles per hour. He responded to his reflexes and corrected the slide before it caused any undue trouble. Alex knew each curve, every straight stretch so he could push the envelope. Sarah’s blue eyes helped with his focus and kept his momentum going forward.

Despite the storm, Sarah was his only thought, and those thoughts heightened his anticipation. It also exacerbated the danger. He needed to concentrate on the road though, and give it his undivided attention. As much as he needed and wanted to concentrate, his concentration labored. He couldn’t stop thinking about Sarah.

In his excitement and anticipation, his foot had become like led and his steering wheel felt light in his hands. That could only mean one thing, his car was hydroplaning. Before he could react, the car drifted. Although he knew what to do, his instinct took control. His reflex was immediate; he let off the gas and waited for the tires to grab. Experience told him, he would not hydroplane long. However, his car had already drifted because of his current speed and the oily highway mixed with first rains. His wheels did not grab and the car rotated. He was out of control. He could only let the car go where it wanted, keep his foot off the gas, and ride it out.

Alex came to rest on the shoulder. His car had done a 180° plus turn. His car pointed in the opposite direction in which he wanted to go. At least he didn’t end up in the grassy field where he would have needed a tow truck to get out. Alex sat on the side of the road, his heart banging out its disapproval of his inattentiveness. Did he dare move until his heart came back Online? He took a couple breaths to get oxygen back into his brain.

“Well, that was fun,” Alex said. “Don’t mess up now bubba. You’re so close. Only a mile to go.” Alex was still shaking, but once his heart got out of the fat burn mode, he corrected his direction and pulled out onto the highway.

A few minutes later, he turned off the highway onto the last leg of his journey. He pictured Sarah waiting at the window looking for him. His mind's eye produced a 10° rise in the car. Sometimes, women had that effect on men. He was getting antsy and couldn’t wait to slip the ring on Sarah’s finger. Seven minutes later, Alex pulled into his driveway.

He didn’t see Sarah’s car. . .

 


Where in the world was she? He sat in his car for a few moments, shaking all projections out of his mind. Taking a deep breath, he grabbed his attaché case, and made a mad dash for the covered porch. Once inside he shook his head and slicked back his soaked hair. He put his case on the coffee table and headed for the kitchen, looking for a note. It should give him a hint as to her location. Alex smiled, for hanging on the refrigerator was his note. After reading, he frowned and with puffed cheeks, blew out a breath. It read,

Alex, I’ll be a couple hours late tonight. We need to talk when I get home. OK? I made you a sandwich and put it in the icebox right next to the six-pack. Love, Sarah.

Lets talk? That phrase always carried with it, bad news. Alex reread the note as if it had changed. It hadn’t. It still didn’t sound good. Alex tried to shake off the negative vibes, but he couldn’t help it. Sarah's vague note made his stomach queasy, so eating was not a choice until he knew what she wanted to say, and also, where she was.

He tried to make sense of her ill-timed absence and now… her note. He couldn’t understand why she'd drive in this weather? Where was she? At least she signed the note, love Sarah. Common sense told him their relationship was OK. His eyes furrowed as he scratched his still wet head. Did she need help with something or just needed advice? Whatever it was, he was sure he could fix the problem. The big problem? Not knowing.

He grabbed his cell and checked for messages. He should have done this earlier? During the drive, the noise of the rain pounding his car, might have drowned out any audible alerts. Alex found no messages. He tried calling Sarah's cell. No signal. The landline got the same result. Either the weather interfered with the signal or a tower was damaged. Even if he looked for her, which way would he turn once he got to the freeway, east, west?

Were there other notes she may have written to herself, a name, an address, a phone number, directions, anything. What could he do? There was nothing to do. Waiting was not his forte, so he'd have to wait until she got home. Resigned to trust her, he plopped on a bar stool and began his wait. Alex hated doing nothing, but he conceded. It was his only choice, wait. He drummed his fingers on the counter. He'd try her cell again in a few minutes and check for a signal. Tonight’s whole sequence of events hit him square on as he sat there talking to the kitchen. “Where are you at Sarah? Are you OK? Come on honey… call me. Please!”

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