Beyond the Mist, p.1Lori Ann Ramsey / Fantasy
Beyond the Mist
Lori Ann Ramsey
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
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Copyright © 2016-2017 Lori Ann Ramsey
Johanna cut into the wedding cake with shaky hands. Mack smiled down at her, handsome as ever in his black tux. As they shoved cake at each other and the crowd roared with laughter and applause they made their way to the dance floor for the last dance before preparing for departure for their honeymoon. Clinging to one another they couldn't take their eyes off the other as they swayed. Each wanted to just get away for the long anticipated honeymoon, the time to seal their love.
Johanna met Mack while on a singles cruise fifteen months earlier. The swaying ship had come through a storm and landed on gentle waters finally in the Caribbean Sea. Johanna up to that point was having a miserable time. Her friends had given her a surprise twenty-fifth birthday gift of a cruise for singles. She reluctantly agreed to go though being confined on a ship in close quarters for four days with a bunch of strangers did not appeal to her at all. She was more the outdoors type of girl who enjoyed back-packing and being with people she knew.
It was a day before the ship was to come back to shore and Johanna endured the gropes and dances with strangers. No one had appealed to her and the stormy seas didn't help. She just wanted to stay in her quarters and pray the ship didn't capsize and sink. But the next to the last night she sat in the lounge watching couples walking by hand-in-hand marveling at the speed at which people seemed to fall in love when up walked Mack Steinberger. He gave her a small smile as he sat down uninvited and took to watching the people with the same distaste. His handsome face and deep brown eyes warmed her as she took in his manly features. She hadn't noticed him before. They ended up laughing about how they were having an awful time and hated being around strangers. They were surprised at the end of the final night when they found themselves dancing in each other's arms and not wanting to part.
Luckily for Johanna Mack lived nearby by an hour and a half and seeing each other wasn't as much of a stretch as some couples had to face once they landed back on shore. They often laugh about being the couple that almost wasn't since each one felt the same way about being on the singles cruise. Mack had attended with a group of friends and only because they begged him to be the fourth ticket holder. Within six months Johanna found a job in Mack's town and moved to be near him. The two were inseparable, though they lived apart they spent every waking moment they could together.
Six months earlier Mack popped the question, just shy of knowing each other for a year. Johanna wanted to do things right in her eyes and they had a long engagement. They married in Johanna's hometown which Mack knew well by now. Over two hundred family and friends attended the large church wedding for the couple. Johanna glowed in her body hugging white wedding dress that came down and spilled onto the floor behind her. A spray of silvered sequins came down the left side like a waterfall that widened as it reached the floor looking as if someone were pouring sparkling water over her left shoulder. Her veil hung from the back of her head in a thin layer of fine lace that reached her mid-back. Her honey blond hair pinned under the veil except for the two curls that bounced freely over her ears. To Mack she was the most beautiful woman in the world. He twirled her around basking in her presence and anticipating their honeymoon. It had been a long wait for the couple that wanted to wait to consummate their marriage on their wedding night.
Johanna's father hung back wanting to give his daughter a final hug and a word with his new son-in-law. "You take care of my baby girl," Donald Aspen said to Mack.
"I will, sir," Mack said as the two shook hands vigorously. Donald ended up embracing the young man who had captured his only daughter's heart.
Johanna's mother Sally and step father Alan stepped up to give their final farewells.
After each changed into their departure outfits they made their way through the crowd, throwing the bouquet and garter and reached the car, a fully restored 1957 Chevy Bel Air. The turquoise paint job shined without any blemish, the turquoise and white interior spotless. Johanna couldn't help but smile upon seeing the car. A Just Married message spelled across the back window with the promise it would wash off with just a little mild soap and water. The trailing cans Mack removed when they went a block up the road.
Johanna smiled across the car at her new husband as they drove on out of town on the five hour trip to the coast. They chartered a small boat to take them to Harper's Island just south of the Padre Islands in the Gulf of Mexico. The island had one home and the remainder was a paradise of waterfalls, forest, and beaches. The island is private owned by the CEO of the company Mack works for in South Western Texas. Mack checked his watch and gunned the gas. "We can't dawdle. The boat captain will wait until seven and then if we don't make it we'll have to sleep in here," he said smiling over to his wife.
"It's okay. I had plenty to eat with our luncheon. I'm good until we get there."
"Good, because I'm only stopping when necessary," Mack said as he maneuvered the vehicle onto the freeway. They drove for a couple of hours before stopping to stretch their legs and get more gas. Neither one was hungry so they hopped back in the car hoping to make up for the time not wanting to miss the boat to the island.
They were about 90 minutes from making the destination when the traffic became heavy. Mack pulled off the freeway and entered a less traveled state highway that wound around to the coast. As they traveled they crossed a few vehicles but the road was less crowded than the freeway.
As they approached an intersection Johanna noticed a car sail through but it didn't look quite right, in fact it was almost transparent. She stared ahead trying to decipher what she just saw. A single drop of rain came down as if in slow motion. She watched it flying down seeing the reflection of the turquoise car beneath and the horizon beyond. The overcast sky held an eerie light as the sun seem to sit on the verge of setting in the West. The drop finally landed on the windshield, just the one drop. It splattered sending out a half a dozen smaller drops that smeared across the glass before drying. But the main spot remained wet with a shimmer of color.
The Chevy reached the intersection and within a split second a car came from nowhere on their right side. A red truck with chrome wheels. A young teen boy behind the steering wheel widened his dark brown eyes as he approached the turquoise antique car. Another car came up from behind too quick. The sound of metal scaping against metal and the squalling of tires filled the air. Someone screamed. Someone gurgled as if they had gone underwater. The terrible sound of crumpled metal rang throughout. Johanna reached instinctively for the dash, she felt her head bend severely to the right, she saw her husband move forward and partially through the windshield before the steering wheel caught his belt and stopped, but too late the sound of shattering glass and the smell of fresh blood filled the compartment. Searing pain and then nothing hit Johanna. She blinked and the next second they sailed in through the intersection unscathed.
Shocked, Mack and Johanna looked at the other in disbelief.
"Did you..." Johanna started to say as she turned around to the scene behind her. She saw what looked like another turquoise car toppled on its side, two other vehicles unrecognizable, the red truck and a dark gray something behind it. Steam billowed up.
Mack stared ahead, shaken but keeping the same speed as before.
"Shouldn't we go back?" Johanna asked as she turned to look again, the scene fading fast in the background. The sun seemed to stand still, casting the eerie golden light. The rest of the sky kept a gray blue appearance as if there were a thin layer of high clouds but there were no definition in the sky. It was suddenly very