Until November(3)

By: Aurora Rose Reynolds

I sent him a picture of Beast when I told him he was coming with me. Dad was shocked. He told me that girls were supposed to have little cute dogs for pets, not things that looked like they would eat you.

“I know, Dad, but he’s a really good dog.” As if he knows we're talking about him, Beast lifts his head and barks. “I know, sweet boy,” I coo at him.

"Yeah, I guess it's not such a bad thing that he can help me scare off all the guys who start sniffing around."

“Ha ha, Dad!”

"Well, baby girl, I’ll call you in a few hours to check on you."

“Okay, Dad. Talk to you then.”

Hanging up with my dad, I have a smile on my face. I wonder how different my life would be if my mom would have left me with him rather than take me with her. I also wonder why she took me to begin with. My mom met my dad at a graduation party when she was eighteen. They had one night of drunken, unprotected sex and I was born nine months later. Two weeks after that, my mom took off with me to live with her cousin in New York. Growing up, my mom wasn’t involved at all. I had a nanny from as far back as I can remember. Her name was Mrs. B. She lived in the apartment next to us. She was the person I always counted on. If something happened, I would go to her. She would bandage me up or tell me that I shouldn’t cry over boys because they were all stupid. She was the only parental figure I’ve ever really known and when she passed away, I felt like my world crumbled around me. My dad found me not long after Mrs. B’s passing.

At first, I was angry and refused to reply to any of the letters he sent. Then one day, I received a huge box stuffed full of cards from birthdays, Christmas, Halloween and every holiday in between. Some looked old and some looked new but they all said the same thing. “Dreaming of when we will spend this day together.” Since then, we talk every day and he has become one of my best friend’s.

“Okay, boy, were gonna go take a break. What do you say?” Yes, talking to my dog is now becoming a habit. Most likely, a bad one. I need to make sure that no one is around when I do it or I'm going to end up looking like one of the crazy people who think their animal is sending them messages from the other side. That would not be a good thing. I have enough problems without adding insanity into the mix.

I pull off at the next rest stop and park close to the area designated for dogs. I let Beast out and he shakes his coat and stretches his legs in front of him. We walk over to the grass and I hear another vehicle pull in. I turn around to see if the person getting out has a dog as well. I don’t want to break up a dog fight, and I have no idea how Beast will react to other dogs. I notice that the car that pulled in is still running and no one is getting out.

The car is a silver Ford Edge with New York plates. The windows are tinted so dark that you can’t see anything inside. Something buzzes across my skin. Beast must feel it too because he starts to growl. Trying to act casually, we start walking back towards my car. I see the back passenger-side door on the Edge open. That’s when I run with Beast running right along beside me. I get my door open and he jumps across my seat.

I'm just able to get the door closed when I see a guy walking in my direction. He’s wearing a black hoodie and black jeans. The hoodie is up so I can’t make out any details of his face, but I know he’s white because his hands are resting on his hips. Without a second look, I put my car in reverse and press the gas pedal. Boxes go sliding as I turn my car to get out of the rest area. I slam the car into drive and start speeding away. I don’t see the Ford Edge in my rearview mirror. My heart is going a million miles a minute and I keep checking for any signs of the Edge. Fortunately, it’s nowhere in sight.

I start thinking about the whole situation and realize that my imagination is going a little crazy after being attacked. I mean, really, what are the chances that someone from New York would follow me just to try and hurt me again. A few hours later, there’s no sign of the Edge when I check my GPS. I have less than two hours until we get to my dad’s. Looking down at my gas gauge, I see that I have to stop soon to fill up. With that thought, my once calm heart starts to speed up again.

It’s after seven at night and the interstate is quiet with just a few cars traveling but there are lots of semis on the road. The next exit offers every kind of fast food available so I'm hoping there will be a lot of people there. No, not just people. I'm hoping for the scary trucker type of people. I exit the interstate and pull into the most well lit gas station around. There are a few other cars getting gas so I get out and go inside to pay. There is a Dunkin’ Donuts and, like a parched man in a desert, I find myself standing in front of their counter. After getting my coffee, paying for gas, and getting another bottle of water for Beast, I step out into the parking lot. Looking around, I walk quickly to my car.

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