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Sara and The Wolf

Summary:
Sara meets Dan while searching for a friend who disappeared from Seattle the year before. They develop a relationship and face a challenge.


Notes:
There are 10 chapters. The whole thing is written and I'll keep posting it... I originally wrote this for my sister. She liked it but said it wasn't as good as the original. I agree, but it sure was fun to do.


1. Chapter 1

Rating 3.5/5   Word Count 2037   Review this Chapter

Ch 1 Sara

The light was lovely; coming through the trees and dulled by the fog off the coast. Everything had a sort of surreal quality like nothing existed just past the boundary of the fog where she couldn’t see beyond a hundred yards or so down the road. The trees and shrubbery came right up to the edge of the road on both sides and glistened wetly with the damp from the air. It was kind of magical in a way, the sparkle and shine of a little world bounded by a barrier of soft gray. Even so close to noon there really wasn’t much direct light on this part of the coastline.

Traffic was light on this stretch of highway. The engine of her compact car hummed and a CD of classical music played on low volume. With the windows open just slightly, the smell of the ocean filled the car. The car itself was a ten year old Mazda she purchased used from an elderly woman who had rarely driven it and taken good care of it when she did. It had barely reached the 10,000 mile mark on the odometer when she bought it almost a year ago. Now the mileage was closer to three times that amount.

Sara was tired. She wasn’t sleepy, she would have pulled over and had a nap if she felt like she was going to nod off at the wheel. She was just tired. There didn’t seem to be a point to her going on any farther but somehow she knew that going back just wasn’t an option. She couldn’t give up like everyone else and just let Anna become some file on a shelf in the missing persons department of the County Sheriff back home. Somehow, just continuing to drive kept her from feeling like she had given up the search. Anna hadn’t given up on her, she wouldn’t give up on Anna.

She had been so angry at first, angry with herself for not going to Seattle with Anna, angry at Anna for not returning her calls, angry at everyone who wrote the whole thing off as a young twenty-something running off with a boyfriend her parents didn’t approve of and just not bothering to call home. Sara new it hadn’t been like that. Anna liked Roy, she liked him a lot, but she had called a few days before she was supposed to fly back and told Sara all about her plans to move into a great condo right after graduation and Anna was going to start her own jewelry line because the company she had been interning for in Seattle was going to back her. Anna had only mentioned that Roy had been impossible to get in touch with for a few days as a secondary part of the conversation. She was so excited about her future plans. When she didn’t check in for her flight it didn’t make any sense. After a week with no word and with Roy going missing as well, most people said it was just a matter of adding two and two together. Sara just couldn’t believe it.

Sara switched all her last courses to online, bought a used car, took some cash out of the settlement money she had inherited and hit the road in search of Anna. She had traveled to dozens of places that both Roy and Anna had lived, no one had heard from them. She went to Seattle and checked with all the places Anna had stayed or visited or used her credit card in. Nothing. It was like Anna had never existed. The only clues she had were in the rash of murders in Seattle around the time Anna had been there. Sara even remembered talking about the risk on the phone once. Anna had brushed it off saying she wouldn’t be wandering around in any back alleys and that she would carry pepper spray with her all the time.

Anna had disappeared and the murder spree had ended. More than a dozen people had been reported missing in the couple of months surrounding the time Anna vanished. The police had said the rate was high, but not completely unheard of, and that people moved suddenly and lost touch all the time. Sara knew better, Anna was like that with some people, even her own family, but the two of them had been more like sisters than friends for a couple of years. Ever since the accident.

Sara shook herself, she didn’t want to think about those dark days and the pain filled memories. She glanced in the window of a passing car, something that had become a habit, looking for Anna’s familiar profile. There had been a few times when she had seen similar features and matched speeds with other vehicles just to be sure. It was always the same, some feature, chin, nose, something about the hair was so like Anna’s but then it was just some stranger, behind glass, going somewhere. She couldn’t drive after dark because all the cars going by with their tinted windows made her anxious she was somehow missing something.

Suddenly there was a kind of shrieking squealing noise from the front of the car and then nothing, no engine sounds, no acceleration. Sara’s heart skipped a beat but there were no cars in her rear view mirror and as she pressed the brake the car responded. Sara toggled on the emergency flashers and let the car keep rolling as far as momentum would take it. The strains of classical music were suddenly very irritating and she stabbed her finger at the button to turn off the player.

When the car came to a complete stop on the side of the road Sara left the flashers on and searched through her purse for her cell phone. No service. She tried the ignition a few times and then gave up.

“Great.” She said loudly, heaving a sigh as she pulled the latch to release the hood.

Even though she was on the shoulder of the road there wasn’t much room if a car should pass suddenly. She got out carefully and went around the front of the car to raise the hood. It took a few seconds and a little awkward peering around to find the latch but the hood itself went up easily and she twisted up the bar that propped it open. She stood staring down into the workings of her car and wished she had taken an interest in car repair at some point in her life. As it was, the car didn’t give her any clues as to why it had suddenly ceased to function.

She leaned in a bit closer and suddenly the faint scent of hot metal and engine oil sent her backpedaling away from her car towards the trees and fresh air. The memories overwhelmed her, just flashes, the explosion, the heat, the stink of things burning, the tiny points of pressure like being flicked over and over again by little rubber bands, then the pain. She knew the story from what witnesses had told the police. A car had run a red light and hit a truck carrying some kind of construction equipment. The car she and her family were in had been just behind the truck. The impact had ripped her world apart. Her parents and sister had died. Somehow she had ended up with only a few bad burns and a jagged cut on her cheek before being pulled from the wreckage by passing motorists.

She had been forced by her situation to take a break from many of the physical activities she enjoyed and a few she had a passion for. She had just never had the heart to go back. Before the accident her future had been in dance and theater. Afterwards it had been in books. She gave up tennis, hiking, climbing, things that just reminded her too much of spending time with her family.

Well meaning people told her how lucky she was to have survived with just the one scar. She had been lucky, the piece of glass that struck her cheekbone just under her right eye could have done a lot more damage just an inch higher. The scar there had faded considerably and if she wore sunglasses the bottom rim would cover the faint line. It wasn’t that she cared that much about her appearance, just the opposite in fact, since the accident she had almost never worn any make up or spent more than a few minutes making herself presentable. It just didn’t seem to matter.

She went back to the car and grabbed her backpack stuffing a few essential items into it. Just as she finished stuffing things into the bag a tan minivan pulled up and a woman leaned across the passenger seat to roll down the window and ask, “Do you need some help?”

“Thanks, that would be great. My car died and my cell isn’t getting a signal. Do you have a cell phone?”

“Sure,” after looking through her bag the woman in the van offered her phone across to Sara. “The signal is weak but that’s better than none at all.”

Gratefully, Sara used the phone to call her insurance to find her a towing service in the area. She had seen a mile marker not too far back on this stretch of highway. She was on the 109 but had been on a 101, 105, and a few others that day. All of them ran along the coast. Anna had loved the beach, with nothing else to go on Sara was going from one coastal town to the next posting fliers for her missing person and asking people in town if they had seen Anna. At least it was something to do.

The voice on the other end of the line promised a tow truck and said it would be coming from the town of Forks, just a few miles north of where she was stranded. She thanked the woman in the van, turned down the offer of a ride, and sat in her car to wait. Two more vehicles stopped to offer her assistance before the tow truck finally arrived.

The tow truck driver had decidedly Native American features and while pleasant and polite didn’t seem eager to strike up a conversation. Sara wasn’t going to force the issue. She sat back and watched the trees slide past while listening to a football game being broadcast over the radio.

It wasn’t long before they were pulling into the yard of a mechanic shop in Forks, Washington. There wasn’t much to set it apart from any other car repair shop she had been to before. In the office she signed the paperwork and was told it would be the next business day before they would have a good estimate on when her car would be repaired. There was a small motel just a few blocks from the repair shop. She took her bag and walked to the motel and checked in.

She tried to tell herself the same thing she had over and over hundreds of times before; the name of the town changed but nothing else did. I’ll find her in Forks. Someone in Forks will recognize her picture. At first she had been so sure, but after a few months the searching had become her life rather than just a motivation to go forward. Now she was only a day away from the one year mark since Anna's dissapearance and the loudest voice in her head was telling her Anna wouldn't want her living like this.

The only real purpose in Sara's life was in hoping Anna was out there somewhere, the friend who had taken her in when at eighteen she had been left alone and broken. Anna with her ever changing string of parents and step-parents so full of their own problems that they were almost eager to believe their daughter had found a happy marriage and left them out of it. Anna, the sister that had chosen her and been chosen by her, making them almost closer than family because of that choice.