twice she took steps forward but slid back against the little red car where she remained trying to form confusion into something she could understand.
"don't be afraid" the voice beside her said, slipping an arm about her waist; "i've got you."
a hand appeared before her from the darkness;
"take my hand" said the muffled voice she'd heard before, but now it was somehow very clear and far more urgent. she hesitated.
"you have to trust me. take my hand. we don't have a lot of time."
trust was never her best attribute and her confusion was not helping her decision. "i'm sure i can do it myself" she said, then almost as if against her will she reached out took hold and together the three of them moved from the slick slushy roadside onto the solid wet pavement.
it was cold. and dark. her eyes burned. her skin crawled. her lungs ached. she felt disoriented. worse than any of it was that she could make no sense of anything was going on around her. she fast realized she had no idea where she was, why she was there, who these people were or what they wanted from her. a passing thought made her wonder why her instincts were not telling her to run...
"what is going on?" she finally asked.
the once muffled voice let go of her hands, raised one arm, and pointed up the road. she saw then, the figure was clothed completely in white... for that reason her eyes were compelled to follow.
and there laying on its side across the entire road glinting silver against the light from the moon was a gasoline tanker whose contents were trickling onto the road.
"that gas tanker lost control. it fishtailed and rolled several times before it skidded to a stop. gasoline is spilling out of it and they're afraid it may explode. the area is being evacuated and we have to move fast."
she tried to take it in. but it loomed far too large in front of her. she tried to remember. why didn't she know this? her eyes filled with tears and for lack of anything else that made sense she asked; "is he okay?"
the figure in white smiled broadly, spread her arms wide and took her in. "yes, he's fine. already gone home."
nestled against there against its breast something else occurred to her and the next question fell from her mouth in garbled form.
"am i dead?"