Home > Never Look Back (May Moore Suspense Thriller #7)

Never Look Back (May Moore Suspense Thriller #7)
Author: Blake Pierce

 


PROLOGUE


Jenna Brand's breath was burning in her lungs. Adrenaline surged through her veins. She'd been running for what must have been half a mile along a narrow pathway through tall, green ranks of corn, but at last she thought she'd lost him. She’d gotten away from the terrifying man pursuing her.

Gasping, she stumbled to a walk, checking behind her. Never had she dreamed — not even in nightmares — that she'd be chased into a corn field by a dark-clad, threatening figure wielding a scythe.

She'd headed out on an early evening stroll, and he'd jumped her as she was passing the field. She'd seen the vicious, curved blade of that weapon glinting in the setting sun, and she'd clearly seen the intent in his eyes, in the way he rushed toward her.

In terror, she'd plunged straight into the field, racing along the narrow paths between the closely planted rows of crops, fearing at any moment to feel that blade in her back. Her lungs were on fire. He'd chased her hard, and she'd fled like a frightened rabbit from a fox.

Now, her breath was coming in deep, pained gasps. Her heart was thudding hard, echoing in her ears.

The corn plants were tall, green-leafed, crowding against each other, and rustling in the late summer breeze. Within their rippling world, it was stiflingly hot and felt strangely airless. Worse still, she couldn't see where she was.

Or, more importantly, where he was. That was the biggest danger. Was he still following? She checked behind her, seeing nothing but the dense, waving corn plants, which blocked her vision, soaring high into the air. She guessed they must be more than eight feet tall. But if he was nearby, tracking her, she wouldn’t hear him over their whispering, rattling leaves. The breeze effectively camouflaged any sound of approaching footsteps.

Was he out there, lurking somewhere in the corn?

Her heart was pounding in her throat. Feeling terrified, she stood, shoulders heaving as she listened. She fought to quell her panic, trying to think calmly. Panic was the quickest way to get killed.

If she was going to survive, she had to pay attention. She couldn't call for help because she didn't have her phone with her. She hadn't thought to bring it along. Now, she was wishing she had.

Without the phone, she needed to get help, and get to safety some other way. But how? What was the best course of action?

She decided she'd be safer out in the open. At least she'd be able to run and see where she was going. And she might be able to call for help in time. Someone might be around. If she could get back to the road, then she might spot one of the farm workers in the area, heading home.

Had he given up on the search? Who was this man anyway: so strange, so creepy, as if he was a figment of her nightmares brought to life?

And how could she get her bearings again in this huge, rustling field? Getting out wouldn't be that easy, she realized with a chill. Not when she was completely disoriented and so exhausted her legs were quivering.

Even now, he could be hunting her. She spun around, staring in every direction, hating the constant noise and the movement that disguised every other sound.

But she had to act. She had to get out of this field, especially with the shadows lengthening. What if she was trapped here as it grew dark?

That thought was chilling. No, she needed to find a way out of this field.

Wishing she could see above the corn, Jenna paced forward, going slow, trying to use the fading sunlight to orient herself along the twisting rows that crisscrossed the sloping hillside. She turned often, checking behind her, all her senses flaring.

Except suddenly, she saw something ahead. Her eyes picked it up instantly; it was unmistakable.

A dark shape, looming through the corn. Jenna caught her breath, feeling fear surge again. He was there, in front of her. Waiting for her.

A small cry escaped her lips before she clamped them together, realizing that she mustn't make a sound, because he couldn't have seen her, but any movement or noise would surely alert him.

He was standing very still. She could see glimpses as the corn moved and rustled. He must have found a hillock to stand on because, from her vantage point, he looked taller than the corn.

She had to get away from him.

Jenna moved carefully back — easing away, not daring to take her eyes off him but hoping he wasn't somehow alerted by her presence — trying to keep her breathing quiet, trying not to make a sound or movement that would alert him.

And then, the worst happened. Behind her, a rock under her foot shifted and she stumbled heavily, lurching sideways into the corn, the stems crackling and bending as she fell.

Panicked, she scrambled up, knowing this was it: the headlong flight would now begin again as he must have heard. Must have seen.

But the figure ahead was totally still. As a gust of wind caused the corn to sway and nod, Jenna realized what it was.

The shape of a scarecrow, dressed in ragged black, tall, and motionless. She'd just spent minutes trying to creep away from a bird scarer.

Jenna let out a breathy laugh that was almost a sob. It was okay. That lurking figure was not dangerous. And now, having realized what it was, she could orient herself. The scarecrow was near the edge of the field. She remembered seeing it on her walk.

Unless there was more than one, she thought suddenly, with a flare of doubt, but then shook her head. There could not be more than one near here. She hadn't seen more than one.

Feeling more confident now, she moved forward, past the looming shape of the scarecrow, with his tilted head, black hat, and coat made ragged and threadbare by the endless assault of the blowing wind.

There was the path ahead, leading out of the corn. She could see a glimpse of darkening, grassy fields. She could see a road, and the faint shimmer of headlights as a car passed.

She could get help there. Someone would help her, she was sure.

Jenna raced past the scarecrow, speeding up now, wanting to be out of this field, out of the danger, out of the oppressive mass of leaves that was hot, airless, and felt like a prison.

But not her prison anymore, not for long. She was about to get out. She'd made it. She'd reached the field's edge. Now, she was just a few yards away.

And then, a dark shape loomed on a cross path and Jenna screamed in fear. He was there, the man with the scythe. He'd been waiting for her, knowing she'd choose this route. He'd anticipated which way her terrified flight would take her.

"Come here," he said to her, his voice strangely hollow, strangely empty.

"No!" she screamed. "No!" She turned, knowing her only chance was to run again, to rush blindly back into the corn and try to outpace him. She found a new surge of strength even in her exhaustion, the strength she knew she needed to save her own life.

But it was too late. His footsteps behind her were fast, heavy, and inexorable.

They were gaining. He grabbed her shoulder and spun her around to face him.

Jenna saw a flash of metal and she screamed again. The scythe came down, and this time, that wicked blade was coming directly for her. She felt a clean impact that knocked her right off her feet.

She sprawled in the corn, the blue sky telescoping in, fading to gray.

Darkness swiftly followed.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE


Deputy May Moore climbed out of her car, feeling expectant and excited as she stared at the building ahead of her. This was where, at last, she might find clues to her sister Lauren's disappearance.

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