Her spidey senses were tingling again. Something was going to happen and soon. She focused all of her energy behind her eyes, trying to force them to see where she needed to be. After about a dozen of these types of crime watcher phenomena, she felt like she was finally getting the timing down. But forcing herself to see more than what wanted to reveal itself to her ahead of schedule took some doing. She was already defying the laws of science in her premonitions, but she was willing to beg, borrow, and steal from any realm of alternative realities to push the clock forward in her brain. Pressure was mounting from behind her closed eyelids; she imagined they appeared to be bulging out of her skull, pushing against the skin so hard they look as if they might erupt. Fortunately for her, she couldn't see her own reflection with her eyes shut- only those of others. Gritting her teeth together, she pushed down, trying to birth the information she needed to come out.
And there it was.
A gas station off the freeway; it was familiar territory- she knew exactly where it was and when she needed to get there.
She needed to leave now to get there in time to stop the heinous crime that was lurking in the shadows, unknowingly waiting for its prey. It wasn't always like that- in fact, most of the time they were pre-meditated down to the last detailed "what-if". But not this one- not the one her brain was telling her was going down in the side parking lot of the gas station. She saw this crime clear as day. He was a trucker, tired and hungry from another day's travels and the nagging "bitch" of a woman on the other side of his headset. Too bad he married her if he hated her so much from the get-go. She sensed there was a pregnancy involved, but couldn't see an actual child. This was new- where did the kid go? Or maybe their energy wasn't powerful enough or old enough to be seen yet by her?
This was all so new to her- she had no clue how it worked yet or why it did for that matter. The only thing she did know was when this all began- just a couple of months ago, after she'd survived a somewhat serious car accident. Being the passenger in her friend's vintage Honda with no seatbelt on her side. There wasn't even the option to buckle up if she'd wanted to. Now, to be fair, she never had gotten into the habit and more than likely wouldn't have used it, anyway. Even so, the option would have been nice to have. It wasn't his fault though- she knew that. No one could make her do anything she didn't want to and still couldn't. She figured her stubbornness was one reason she'd been chosen for her new superhuman power; without it, a person probably wouldn't follow up on the hunches and just let the gift go to waste. But her stubbornness kept her real, tough, strong against the elements that got thrown at her. And boy, there had been so many elements.... she was thankful for her thick skin. It'd always saved her and now it was saving others, too.
The wind whipped through her open car windows. AC was set to 2-80. Two windows down and eighty miles an hour. She needed to keep cool so she could think on her feet. Choosing to keep the radio off while driving to one of her visions was another tactical choice. The less noise, the less distraction; she'd always be known to have a loud mind flooded with busy work and overly tedious details. At the back of it, she often wondered if she had adult ADD but was never took the time to get tested for it. A possible positive result could push her back over the edge she had just climbed back onto.
Speeds were changing. Fuck. She was slowing down; why was everyone braking? It's the freeway for fuck's sake... let's get her movin' folks.
Then she saw them. Flashing cherries, about nine different sets as far as she could tell; one most likely belonging to an ambulance. Huston, there appears to be an accident. Shit, she didn't have time for this now. Her head jogged to her right to see if she could tell when and where the nearest off-ramp would be. Squinting her eyes hard against the evening glow of the setting sun, she made out a sign in the distance. Five miles until the next available exit. That's going to take forever. She's not going to get there in time. She hadn't been in this kind of dilemma yet with her newfound gift, and she was panicking.
Torn- that's the best way to describe her at that moment; she felt like she was literally splitting into two separate humans. One questioning what other options there might be and the other discouraged and bedraggled. Which half of her would win this?
Ok, let's hear the other potential options out.
A- she could off-road and risk her own injury and/or arrest.
Option C sounded a lot like the other half of her right then; the two were starting to gang up on the singled out wanna-be shero. She knew how ridiculous it would sound to the cops and how dangerous it would be to put herself in a position where they might question her motives. It's not like she had a clean background or anything. One look at her record and they might just think she's the criminal calling in their own committed offense. Fuck that. Too risky. She couldn't go with option A either, because of well, pretty much all the same reasons. She and cops didn't have a good track record. She had to go with option D. wait until the crash gets cleared and hope to God that the woman prostituting in the lot hasn't been killed yet.
Forty-five fucking minutes pass. She's moved two and a half miles thus far, but things seem to be slowly picking up speed again. At least this is the narrative she tells herself to stop the overwhelming anxiety that slowly consumes her every thought. Her fingers tap wildly on the steering wheel. She hits the gas a little harder than she intended to, forcing her to stomp on the brake pedal. The driver in the car alongside her to the left notices her lurch and swivels their head to glare at her. Fuck you buddy, fuck you. If these people only knew how important it was for her to break through this barrier of bullshit, maybe they'd make better choices about their eye rolls and jaw drops.
Tapping the gas pedal, she's moving again. They're all moving. 10, 15, 25, 40, 55 miles an hour. It's not the eighty she was going, but she'd take it compared to the zero she was sitting in for what seemed like the last year and a day. Flying up to the exit, she veered off and ran a couple of country road stop signs to pull in full-force at the gas station. Her eyes scoured the lot, the sidewalks, even inside the station for the leggy blonde in tiger-print tights. Nothing. Maybe she's in the bathrooms. Or maybe, just maybe, she's already laying bloody in the back of that semi trailer. Her eyes recognized the rig, and she started trying to make a plan for investigation as soon as she did. There wasn't a moment to lose here. Just as long as they hadn't already been lost.
She parked her car alongside a black pickup, hoping to use the oversized beast as a block. Opening her car door, she ducked down and creeped closer to the semi. She could hear its engine running. She couldn't recall if the driver ever turned it off while he was in the store or not. All she knew was that if he'd already been in and out of the store, the woman was probably already dead. Crawling along the sides of the trailer, she tried to look into the driver's side mirror. If she could just see his reflection- she just needed to know if he was in the damn thing or not. Her hand rested on the back tire as it rolled forward.
No, he's pulling out! He's leaving! That means he's already.....
A trail of it dripped down from the trailer's gate as it pulled away. The best thing she could think to do was jump back into the bushes and snap a picture of its license plate. Steadying her hand on a set of branches, she felt something warm and wet ooze into the palm of her hand. She looked down to see her hand covered in blood; straight below her a chunk of scalp with long blonde hair still attached.
She vomited, wiped her mouth with the back of her shirtsleeve, and ran in the station's side door to wash the evidence off before she could tell the employee what she'd seen. He'd have to call the police and give them the information she provided because fuck if she was staying for that show.
She had a semi to catch up to.