Caroline in Locopa

It was a lazy hazy day and not a soul bothered to roam about outdoors because the air was thick and the humidity was suffocating. The town was quite lonesome except for the yonder dog bark here and there. But this was nothing new here in Locopa. Ever since the last big meteor shower 2 years ago no visitors have ventured into this forlorn place and those who manage to stay lead a dull meager existence. It is here that our friend Caroline stumbles onto the scene and where her car dredges to a stop with the sun high in its quadrant this fateful Sunday afternoon.

Caroline’s fiancé William urged her a few days earlier to come see him in California and spend two weeks with him in his family’s villa. He sent her a telegram with a ticket enclosed and a box of the finest dark chocolates. She was absolutely beside herself with happiness, for she imagined that perhaps they would marry the very weekend she arrived. But instead of flying she thought it a thrillingly adventurous opportunity to drive across country to be with him; and of course she’d take a friend along for the fun. She thought of telling William about her whimsical decision but decided against it because she knew he’d oppose. Caroline and Jackie took off on Friday afternoon in the Studebaker her father had gifted her upon completion of college.

The two had been driving for almost 6 hours and decided to stop for a quick bite at a diner off the highway. The people were nice enough, Caroline and Jackie were unassuming enough, and the coffee was just strong enough to keep them awake on the road til at least 1am. What a terrific time they were having recounting good times together in college with the radio low in the background and the warm wind whipping through the windows. After a good night’s rest in a local hotel they continued refreshed for about 4 hours before needing to fill up. Thus they ventured off the highway and followed the signs leading to the gas station where an eager attendant waited on them. Jackie went in to buy gum and chips, yet to her utter surprise and horror as she entered she saw the unfortunate aged owner being robbed and then killed. She was frozen in her tracks; what to do?!

Just as Jackie snapped to, though still pale and shaking, she attempted to run back to the car when she was blocked by the eager attendant behind her and holding a knife to her throat. Caroline heard a muffled scream and wondered what mischief Jackie had gotten herself into. The sight she saw upon peering over her shoulder and into the station was the most horrendous sight imaginable, and all she could do was scream “Jackie no, Jackie!!!” Adrenaline and instinct told Caroline to get out of there as fast as she possibly could as the two men ran to an old pickup and looked to be in pursuit of her. How could this have happened?! How could this be happening to her, simple and girlish Caroline… and poor jovial and striking Jackie?

She couldn’t think but she couldn’t stop because the men were still in pursuit. She wanted to stop and at least call someone; she had to figure something out. She had passed several exists already and it seemed like the pickup wasn’t keeping such close distance anymore. Was this just a trick of the sight and mind? How long had she been driving anyway? She felt emotionally and physically exhausted. Caroline decided she couldn’t take it anymore and took the exit toward Locopa. Oh if only she’d followed William’s instructions, if only he were here to hold and comfort her! Well assuredly she’d be able to find a phone and some kind souls to help her in this dreadful situation this Saturday afternoon. But why is it so quiet here? Where are all the people?…

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