THE PROHIBITED: VIOLET'S JOURNEY

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CHAPTER 3

Delilah ran as fast as she could with Violet tightly in her arms and the bag on her back. The baby’s bag was all she had time to grab as she escaped. With Violet in her presence, she knew that she would not be hurt, but she didn’t want to rely on Violet’s protection. Getting to safety was her only focus. She ran through the tunnel until she struggled to breathe. She stopped to catch her breath. It would take the Intruders time to find the exit if they found it at all, but the exit was exposed. She needed to reach it and the car that was waiting for them. All Delilah knew was that she had heard gunshots, Jacob yelling, and then many voices. She knew it had been the Intruders. She was unsure if the precious child that she now carried through the tunnel was an orphan.

Delilah felt a great responsibility to Violet’s parents and the potential of this unique child. She continued to run, and then walk at a quick pace, and then run again. She prayed that Violet would not cry or whimper. She just needed to reach the exit, which was a mile from the hidden escape door. Their kind had taken great pains to create the safe house and escape route that she was now so dependent on to get away. The lighting in the tunnel was amateur at best, but she was able to make her way, and that was all that mattered. So, she continued to run.

After thirty minutes at this pace, she knew she was near the exit. She could hear the sounds of the creek near the exit. She kept running, catching every breath possible as she cradled Violet snuggly in her arms. Her lungs were burning, her arms were heavy with the child, and the bag pounded against her back with every footstep. She began to slow her pace as she deliberately and quietly approached the exit. She stopped and listened for any movement or voice that might be lurking in the night. There was only the sound of the water so delicately streaming over the rocks.

Delilah readjusted the bag and the baby and made her way up the slope of the exit. She looked around, praying to God. Nothing was waiting for her here but the car. She saw the black Toyota parked near the creek, just where she had left it. She pulled Violet closer and ran towards the car.

Delilah pulled open the door to the back seat and placed Violet in the car seat. She secured her tightly and quietly shut the door. She ran around to the driver’s side door, opened it, and pulled off the cover to one of the vents where she had hidden the keys. She sat in the driver’s seat and turned on the car. It started right away. Delilah slowly drove the creek’s length to a dirt road that directed her across the field. She kept the headlights off in case the Intruders were looking for her. Violet did not make a sound.

Delilah’s heart continued to beat with urgency. She wasn’t out of danger yet. She needed to get to their secondary safe house, but she knew that meant she would have to get onto the main road. This also meant she would have to eventually turn on the headlights and be in the open and exposed. Her heart raced as she made her way to the main road. She slowed down and scoured her surroundings. She couldn’t see any traffic on either side of the road. However, for her, this wasn’t a good thing. She couldn’t blend in. All she could do was hope the Intruders were looking for her elsewhere.

Delilah pulled onto the road and slowly gained traction on the asphalt. She took in a long deep breath and turned on the headlights. She began to drive, looking frantically into the rearview and ahead of her—please God. Let us get there safe. Please don’t let them find us. The only hope Delilah had at this moment was her prayers. She was reliant on her prayers and had a strong faith in them. However, at this moment, her fear loomed large, leaving little room for faith.

Delilah continued to drive past fields and meadows. It was an exceptionally black night with no moon and few stars in sight. She concentrated on driving and praying while the road noise crept in through the small crevices of the car. She was driving and praying. She had gotten into a rhythm. She only had a few miles to go. Violet sat in the back, sleeping peacefully. This child had no idea of the nightmare that was taking place. Delilah, on the other hand, was fully aware. She gripped the steering wheel until her knuckles turned white. This was the longest and most crucial drive of her life.

Only a few more miles. She continued to battle her fears. Impending doom surged through her veins. Her heartbeats betrayed her by skipping and frantically beating randomly. She could barely catch her breath. Suddenly she could make out the lights of the small town ahead. This was a safe house that only she and a few other midwives were aware of. It was rarely used, but it was so valuable to her survival. Just one more mile. As she slowed her speed, she passed the dollar store. Then the gas station. It felt to her like an eternity had passed. She needed to take a right after the grocery store. Just then, she saw headlights behind her in the far off distance. Her heart instantly began to beat erratically in her chest.

There was no one on this road at two in the morning on a Sunday night. She didn’t remember the grocery store being this far into town. She didn’t dare go over the speed limit for fear that a small town police officer would pull her over. The lights were still in the distance but seemed to be catching up quickly. God! Please! She begged as the sign for the grocery store appeared on her right. It lit up with the word MAGGIES. As she slowly passed the glowing sign and the store, she turned off the headlights as she turned right. She did not apply the brakes so the car behind her would not see them. She took the right turn slowly and found a mechanics shop behind the grocery store. She pulled in and found a spot between cars that were parked for repairs. She hoped the Intruders would not discover them if they passed by.

Delilah slowly leaned up against the steering wheel, trying to see if the car would turn or keep going down the main road. She waited frozen in time. Her breath began to fog up the windshield. She wiped it with her hand as she kept watch. Then she saw the headlights getting closer. “Please God. Please God. Please God.” Delilah begged in a whisper. The lights appeared from the corner of the grocery store.

Delilah held her breath, preparing herself to sink into the seat if the car turned. Just then, the car passed on the main road without slowing down. Delilah exhaled slowly. She sat back, and took in another deep breath. And then another and another. Tears began to roll down from her breathtaking golden eyes. She turned her head slightly and looked at Violet. Violet was still peacefully sleeping. Amazing! Delilah thought to herself. This child, who was only a few hours old, had already been through so much, and she was blissfully unaware. For a moment, Delilah was lost in the beauty and innocence of this child and looked upon her admiringly. Moments went by as she tried to regain regular breathing patterns. The sleeping child calmed Delilah. Her heart began to beat normally. Her muscles began to relax. She found relief in this moment. However, it wouldn’t last long.

From the corner of the windshield, she saw headlights speeding past on the main road. This car was going well over the speed limit and passed by them instantly; however, it didn’t turn. Delilah sat up from her calm and started the car. The quiet of the night screamed through her ears. She began to drive out of the parking lot and back into reality. She kept the headlights off and tried desperately not to apply the brakes so the taillights would not illuminate. She turned away from the main road, up the side street for about a half of a mile, and eventually took a left at Dry Creek Rd.

She continued past older established homes on large lots with trees lining the street. She came to a modest house set on the back of a large lot. Foliage concealed the majority of the home but for the driveway. She slowly drove up the driveway and maneuvered the car to an old garage that sat on the back of the property. She stopped the car but left it running and walked up to the old garage, where she lifted the door. She pulled the car into the garage, got out, pulled down the garage door, and reached into the car to retrieve the baby and the bag.

Delilah was exhausted. She finally felt as if she were safe, but she could never be guaranteed. She opened the garage’s old side door and made her way to the home’s back entrance. Instead of entering through the back door, Delilah began to remove dirt and debris from near the home’s foundation to reveal a panel. She tried to be as quiet as possible. She reached for the old wooden board to pull it open. She gave the panel a few tugs, and it slowly opened to reveal a small set of wooden stairs. It was a very small opening, but Delilah was able to wiggle her and Violet through the space. She reached back for the bag and then pulled the panel closed. She would have Dan replace the debris in front of the hidden entrance soon. As the panel closed, the darkness set in but for a small light in the distance.

This light was always left on for cases such as this. Delilah scooted her and Violet down the steps and through the small opening. She saw what was once a crawl space that had been built into a living area. Delilah walked over to a light switch on the side of the makeshift wall and turned it on. The basement was damp, with two rooms surrounded by carved out earth. She made her way to one of the doors and opened it. There was a bed and a bassinet. There was a changing table with baby supplies and a rocking chair in the corner.

She made her way to the bassinet and placed the still sleeping Violet gently onto the blanket. Delilah placed the bag on the bed and sat on the edge. She breathed a sigh of exhaustion and relief and then began to cry. The tears shot from her eyes without mercy. She lost control and laid herself down in a fetal position as her mind, body, and soul relived the events of what just took place. She was lost and scared. She was unsure of what she was supposed to do. Were Violet’s parents alive? Even in her worst imagination, did she prepare herself for what she had just been through? No. So, she cried until sleep took over.

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