Chapter 1 – The Chase
Her steps quickened at the sound of footsteps behind her. It was just a matter of time before he caught up with her. Yet his pace seemed to increase. She started to run, but still heard the sound of his boots hitting the wood planks that stretched out in front of her. He was drawing closer to her. What would she do if he caught up to her? How long could she run, before her feet hurt. She was wearing heels and they were taking a toll on her feet as she increased her speed. Turning to look at him, she saw he was only a few feet away. Who was this man chasing her and why? The darkness of the night prevented her from seeing him.
Her destination was a half mile away. If she could increase her speed she may be able to make it to the meeting point in time. Wearing a dress from the 1800’s as beautiful as it was slowed her down. She never expected someone to be chasing her. What would he do if he caught up? Would her friends see her or would the darkness make it difficult for them. She heard him closer now, so she picked up her pace, running as fast as her feet could take her, knowing that if she did not he might…no she would not think about that now.
Her eyes remained focused ahead. From this distance she could see the meeting place and barely made out the figures waiting for her. Relief washed over her, but it quickly faded as she felt a hand grab her shoulder and within seconds he pulled her in a tight grip covering her mouth with his gloved hand. She fought with every ounce of her being. As she struggled, he whispered a name, a name she did not know. “Claudia, why are you running from me? I would never hurt you, I just want to talk.”
Now that’s odd, if he wanted to talk, why wouldn’t he call out her name?
Struggling seemed to make his grip tighter, so she stopped and he slightly relaxed his grip. It was then she used the full force of her leg and thrust her heel into his groin. He immediately released her from his grip. She flew out of his reach and ran with as fast as she could, finally reaching her destination.
Her friends were waiting unaware of what had occurred. “Took you awhile. Did you learn anything that can give us insight into the murder of Jameson Wright?” Breathing hard she simply shook her head no.
Once her breathing regulated, she relayed her encounter with the man who had mistaken her for a woman named Claudia. One of the team members asked if she was alright. She reassured them she was fine and that if it wasn’t for her daily running back home, he would certainly have caught up with her sooner. Knowing where to injure a man to temporarily incapacitate him helped. The men in the team shuddered as they knew exactly what that pain felt like. The women slightly chuckled to themselves.
The team leader interjected, “Well, let’s be on our way and report what we learned here. It appears there is not anything else to share, although I am curious about the relationship she had with this man. You didn’t happen to get his name did you?”
“No, I was rather busy running and trying to escape from his hold on.me.”
“Okay then, let’s get to it.” His hand was poised ready to press the sequence of numbers to return them toward home. The team members ran to the.place.that would bring them through the portal while the team leader proceeded to sequentially press the numbers on the console. He quickly ran to the rest of the team. Just as the portal opened, they saw a man running towards them. “Claudia, Claudia, why did you run away? Who are these people?”
The woman he called Claudia quickly ran out towards him giving him another kick in the groin. He doubled over in pain.”I am not Claudia and whoever she is, you should not pursue her this way. If you love her then woo her and don’t ever scare or hurt her. She deserves better than that. I cannot stay to explain anymore. What you will see as we leave will both frighten and amaze you, but I assure you telling anyone will make the townspeople think you are crazy. Nod your head if you understand.”
She ran back to her team and slowly each of them stepped through the portal. The man now recovering from the pain gaped in awe of what he was seeing. She was right nobody would believe him. Why did that woman look exactly like Claudia? Who were these people and what were they doing here?”
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