Corrie shoved her way through the underbrush, branches snagging on her clothing and raising angry welts on her skin. Breathless, she glanced behind her as she struggled through the vacant lot. Her view was obscured by a jungle of vegetation, but she could hear a furious crashing in the distance, and the tops of small trees shook with her pursuer's passage. Hurry, she thought, plunging forward into the dense tangle of untamed bushes and vines, the pale glow of a streetlight like a beacon in the distance.
She didn't recognize the man who was chasing her, but Corrie knew, if he caught her, his intentions couldn't be pure. There was no other reason for a stranger to follow a woman down a deserted street in the middle of the night.
Not for the first time, Corrie cursed her bad luck. It seemed like anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Like the espresso machine jamming right before closing, or the stillness of her car's engine when she'd turned the key in the ignition. Or the man who was now pursuing her, on the one night she'd decided to walk the six blocks from the coffee shop to her apartment.
Her foot caught on a root and she fell headlong into the dirt. Her shoulder scored a glancing blow off a mossy rock. Damn, she thought. This is it.
The crashing noise was getting closer. Then she heard a man's voice, stern, commanding, "Come Here!" The noise stopped. Then started again, in the other direction! She poked her head up over the bushes and could see, silhouetted by a streetlight in the distance, a man fixing a leash to a Labrador's collar.
Corrie's pulse was still racing, her hands still shaking uncontrollably, wild thoughts shooting like lightning through her mind. Yes, once she'd got the machine unjammed, that was one strong cup of espresso...
Opening: Joie.....Continuation: anon.