Best Laid Plans

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My eyes are burning from the tears and I’m starting to hyperventilate. I look up through the tears and can see a blurry image of Dominic and Ludo. Dominic puts his finger to his lips as if to shush me. For the first time, I feel as though I still have a chance, maybe this isn’t the end for me after all. Throughout our relationship, I always viewed Dominic as my hero, and here he is, proving to me that he is my real life super hero. He remains hidden behind a boulder and inches closer little by little. Being the good boy that he is, Ludo is staying by Dominic’s side. I look down at the ground and glance up at Cora. Did she notice me looking past her?

Our gazes meet and Cora sneers, “Don’t worry Luce, I’ll make sure I take care of the mutt in the most humane way. I’ll throw him in the river below us. You know, to let nature run its course.” Everything in me twists again. Dominic isn’t a super human. A bullet won’t bounce off his body. I begin to lose all hope again.

“Oh, stop it!” Cora yells, “I’m over it, bye Lucy,” and she pulls the trigger.

“This is it, it’s all over. I’m a goner,” I think to myself, but something is wrong. Something is different. I open my eyes and see Cora examining the gun.

I start to cry again and that’s when I hear him charging towards Cora. I look up in time to fully catch the moment it happens. Ludo speeds past Dominic towards Cora, she turns instantly to the sound of Dominic running towards us, but she has little time to react before Ludo jumps up and latches his strong jaws around her arm with the gun. Cora’s thin body is no match against the force of Ludo’s weight and speed. I watch in pure shock as Ludo spins Cora around and he goes flying over the edge, still locked on to her arm. I scream in terror as I witness both of them fall out sight.

The screech that comes out of me is primal. I feel detached from myself. Dominic rushes over to me. “Ludo! Ludo!” I cry and we both run and look over the edge. Below us is a rushing river and no sign of Ludo or Cora. We exchange a look and it’s like we can read each other’s minds, we need to find them. Adrenaline pumping through our veins, we run along the cliff until we find a steep, skinny path that has been created by deer to access the river. We deliberately slip and slide our way down the path. When we get to the river’s bank we stop and scan the edges of the river. Please be okay! Please be okay! I keep repeating those three words in my head. I’m not sure whether I intend for them to be more for Cora or for Ludo in this moment. Yes, Cora has done an awful thing and made threats, but that doesn’t mean I want her to go out like this. I want her to get help. We continue running alongside the river in the direction of its flow.

We run as far and as fast as humanly possible. Breathlessly, we stop and concede. With no signs of Ludo or Cora, we feel hopeless. It’s over, it’s all over. We look at each other again and I collapse into Dominic’s arms. My strength is gone and I feel my legs drop from under me. If Dominic were to let go of me, I would fall to the ground, but he doesn’t release me. He holds onto me tighter and walks me over to a fallen tree where he carefully helps me to sit on the trunk. Silently, he paces around with obvious concern. We do not know if Cora is alive or dead and we can’t let our guard down. I can see Dominic’s eyes focused and determined. I know he will protect me until the end. I realize now how faint I am feeling. Lightheadedness kicks in and I suddenly feel dizzy. I call for Dominic and through vision blurred by heavy lids and lashes, I see his look of concern before everything goes black.

“ARE YOU OKAY?” the words boom through my head and awaken me to the situation. Dominic is shaking my shoulder. “You fainted. We need to get you back and get you water. I think you’re dehydrated and possibly having a panic attack. I’ll help you, but Lucy, you need to stay with me, all right?” Dominic’s eyes are filled with an emotion I cannot explain. It’s a mixture of concern for my wellbeing and fright. He’s scared. I don’t know why I didn’t see it before. Of course, he is scared. He’s human and he just witnessed his dog fall off a cliff and his ex-girlfriend being held at gun point. I am being extremely self-centered. I suddenly feel like a burden. None of this would have happened if it weren’t for me. Cora was right. I do make things worse for the people in my life. And now, I’m making this worse by being needy. I must stand up and use what little strength I have to walk myself back to the car. Dominic slowly sits me up and after my head stops spinning, he helps me to my feet and we walk, hand in hand, back in the direction of the car.

In the distance, we hear the sound of an approaching helicopter. We look up and see the Sheriff’s helicopter zooming our way. We flag them down and they hover over us. We’re saved. A few minutes later we hear voices off in the distance. Whistles and shouts to one another, they get closer. A small group of men and women spot us and hurry over.

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