She wished he would leave her alone. She even considered putting up the optional privacy window between the front and back of the car. Of course she wasn’t okay. Didn’t he understand just how serious this situation was?
“Want me to turn the radio to that funky station you like?”
The “funky” music he referred to was a hip-hop channel that played a combination of some rock, some rhythm and blues, and a bit of rap. It was actually the most listened to station of the area. It was also Patrick’s favorite. The old man had odd
tastes. One of her grandfather’s rules was that the station had to be turned off, or tuned into a classical station unless otherwise requested by the passenger. That rule applied to Chappell family or guests. Patrick was asking if she wanted that
music so he could listen to what he really wanted to. She wondered if he knew she was onto his little deception.
“Sure,” she said.
“Here you go.”
A new Justin Timberlake song filled the car. It didn’t help Angelica to relax. Her chest burned with stress and fear. The air she breathed actually hurt. Her life as she knew it could be over.
After another couple of minutes, Patrick tried again to start a conversation. “This will blow over, honey. Trust me. Everything does. People aren’t going to blame you. Everybody loves you.”
He was so wrong on so many levels. The public would want someone to blame and she would get that honor. She would be crucified. She expected that reaction and it was justifiable. She knew the burden was hers. Truth be told, she didn’t care what people thought and never had. Why should she? She never saw anyone outside of the lab anyway. She didn’t care if people hated her because of Krytonix. She did care that people were going to die because of her drug. It was her failure. It was her responsibility to figure out what was wrong. People’s lives were on the line. She accepted that accountability.
“Oh shit. Hang on.”
The hair on Angelica’s neck stood up when she heard the panic in Patrick’s statement. Her stomach nosedived to her feet and returned in utter turmoil. Her eyes darted to the road to find the source of the problem. They were close to home, a quiet part of town where tourists didn’t venture and traffic was far less dense. The road was curvy, leading to a steep grade to the top of a deserted hillside that held
the Chappell Mansion.
“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit,” Patrick said again.
They were traveling much too fast for the winding road, even heading uphill. Patrick was wildly stomping on the brake, but nothing was happening. The car continued to accelerate as if he held the gas to the floor. He fought for control of the steering
wheel, but it looked as if it simply rotated round and round with the ease of an arcade game. Patrick’s face was flushed bright crimson and sweating, his eyes wide and glazed.
“Do something!” Angelica cried in desperation, torn between shock and fear.
It was obvious Patrick was doing his best. The sharp curve before them would be upon them in seconds, and unless some kind of miracle intervened, they were going straight ahead—over a sand dune and into the ocean.
Angelica grabbed onto the seat and held as tightly as she could. The car continued to accelerate. Everything seemed loud. Patrick was groaning. The radio was blasting. The roar of the tires was like drums beating a tune of anticipation.
In the last second, when all possible hope of rescue was gone, Patrick screamed. Angelica dipped her head in her lap and closed her eyes. The Lord’s Prayer was on her lips when she felt the car lurch into the air and plummet into empty space.
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