Crossroads (A YA Thriller)

woman in state of fear
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Here’s your first sneak peek at a thriller short story I’m working on that features an 18-year-old recent high school graduate who gets into some serious trouble while working at a sleep-away summer camp . . .

Crystal drove around the Pine Barrens in Charlie’s red Jeep Cherokee for hours, in a blind panic. Tell someone what happened to Charlie, or stick to the plan? She drove around in the dark, lost. Time was running out. She had to make a decision or it would be daybreak.

The scenario played over and over in her head. At day break the lifeguard goes down for her morning swim and finds Charlie’s body by the shed. The whole camp goes into a state of hysteria. When the excitement starts to die down, someone notices that she didn’t show up to lead the morning drama group, and puts two and two together. No matter what she decided, she was doomed.

She stopped and belted out, “What are you doing?” Holding on to the wheel for dear life her pulse pounded through her palms. She was starting to feel light-headed from hyperventilating. It was time to make a decision. One thing was clear, she had to get across the state line and ditch the car before dawn; but after driving around mindlessly for hours on unmarked dirt roads, Crystal had no idea where she was.  “Where’s the highway?” she cried as if someone would answer. 

Closing her eyes, she took a series of long deep breaths to slow down her breathing. It sort of worked. When she opened her eyes again, the clouds had parted and shafts of moonlight filtered through the trees illuminating parts of the landscape. Refreshed, she checked the rearview mirror one more time, just in case. The moonlight seemed brighter; she could make out a clearing in the distance, a cranberry bog glowed red in the light, it felt like familiar territory. She knew there must be a paved road nearby.

Headlights zoomed by in the distance, marking a major crossroad ahead. Crystal’s whole upper body relaxed and her hands fell from the steering wheel. She decided to make a run for the bridge and ditch the Cherokee in Philly, so she inched along in the dark with the lights off until she reached the county road. 

Once on the highway, Crystal felt relieved and made good time. Except for an occasional truck in the oncoming lane, there was no traffic. She could see the route was clear all the way ahead to the next light. That’s when her adrenaline peaked and the crash came down around her. The straight broken centerline slipping past her at sixty miles an hour had a hypnotic effect. In desperate need of sleep, Crystal believed if she closed her eyes for only one second she might be able to rest them just long enough to keep going.  <<MORE TO COME IN LATER POSTS>>

CALL TO ACTION: I’m trying my hand at a thriller. It’s a major departure from my last story and I am curious what you think. Please leave me a reply below to let me know what you think of this sneak peek.

2 Replies to “Crossroads (A YA Thriller)”

  1. This is a good start. Panic feels good. First paragraph draws one in and the last one makes you want more.
    It is amazing what you can happen in a second or two with your eyes closed at 60 mph. I know, woke up with the front of my car under the trailer of an 18 wheeler one night… another second and I might not have woken at all.


    1. Thanks, Patrick. I’m trying my hand at older YA / New Fiction with this mystery / thriller style story. It’s fun to branch out.

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