By Abbie Johnson Taylor

Copyright 2005


The snow fell in a wall of white, obscuring Zoe’s view of the road and the darkening sky. “Why didn’t I stay where I was?” she asked herself, as she drove at a snail’s pace along the Shirley Basin Road that wound its way from Medicine Bow to Casper, Wyoming.

As the car’s interior grew colder, she fiddled with the heater knob, but nothing happened. “Dammit! No heat!”

She pulled to the side of the road, ignoring the sliding noise the tires made. She searched for her gloves, but they weren’t in her coat pockets or her purse. “I must have left them at the convenience store in Medicine Bow.”

After taking several deep breaths and warming her hands in her pockets, she said, “I should go back. There are people in Medicine Bow. There is warmth in Medicine Bow.”

The engine whined, and the tires skidded on the ice under the newly fallen snow. In a frantic effort to free herself, she gunned the engine and rocked the car back and forth. The motor continued to whine as the tires slipped deeper into the drift. After a few more minutes of struggling, she switched off the engine and stuffed her cold hands in her pockets.

The night was silent except for the wind and the soft thud of snow pelting the car. Shivering, she zipped her winter coat as high as it would go. After tightening the hood around her face, she wriggled her toes inside her boots. With a sigh of resignation, she buried her hands deeper in her coat pockets and settled herself more comfortably.

“It doesn’t matter,” she told herself. “If God exists, and this is His way of punishing me for running away, so be it.” She touched the bruise on her cheek she received the day before, hoping that was the last time Dirk would hit her. Resting her head on the seat back, she closed her eyes and let herself drift, knowing this was dangerous.

Several sharp thuds on her driver’s side window woke her. A car idled behind her, its exhaust creating an eerie specter in the freezing air. Turning her head, she gasped in horror when she saw the angry face outside the window. It couldn’t be. Since she had no relatives in Wyoming, his chances of finding her were slim, she thought, but there he was, Dirk the jerk.

Her panic rising, she turned the key in the ignition and pushed the button to lock all doors. Her heart sank when he removed the spare key from his pocket and unlocked the driver’s side door. He yanked her out into the freezing cold, slammed the door, and pinned her against it, delivering a hard blow to her cheek.

“How did you find me?”

“I followed your tracks,” he said, as he struck her a second time. “I found these on the counter at the Super America in Medicine Bow.” He removed her gloves from his pocket and tossed them into the snow.

“You never did have much sense.” He hit her a third time. “I figured you’d be stranded out here somewhere.”

He released her, and when she bent to retrieve the gloves, he delivered a sharp kick to her backside, sending her sprawling in the snow.

Anger rose within her, but before she could do anything, another male voice called, “Hey, what’s going on?”

Startled, Zoe leaped to her feet, as Dirk yelled, `You stay out of it, butthead! This is between me and Zoe.”

She turned to see a snowplow idling behind Dirk’s car. The driver hurried to her side. Looking into his face, she saw nothing but concern. He put a hand on her shoulder. “Has this guy been hurting you?”

Dirk lunged forward and grabbed the driver’s arm. “Hey, keep your hands off my girl.”

“You’re the one who needs to butt out, Dirk the jerk!” Zoe cried. “I may not have much sense, but I know enough to leave a rotten excuse for a boyfriend like you. Go away!”

Dirk let go of the driver’s arm and took a step back, looking as if he’d been punched.

“You heard her,” the driver said. “Get away from here now, or I’ll call the cops.”

Dirk hesitated for a moment. Then, without a word, he turned and walked to his car. As he drove away, Zoe  began shivering.

The driver picked up her gloves and held them out. `Are these yours?”

She could only nod, as she took them and put them on.

“It’s nice to meet you, Zoe. I’m Tom. Let’s see if we can’t get your car out of that snowdrift.”

Remembering why she’d pulled to the side of the road, she said through chattering teeth, “I don’t have any heat.”

“Okay, come get in my vehicle where it’s warm, and I’ll call a tow truck.”

He held out his hand. She took it and walked with him, not looking back, only looking forward.


Back Story


When I wrote this in 2005, I’d just gotten married. I’d been using an old Mac computer, and my late husband had given me, as a wedding gift, a new Windows machine. A fellow author in one of my local groups had just published a book of daily writing prompts.

I thought these would be a fun way to learn how to use Word Perfect in Windows. The prompt I used for this story was something like “She forgot her gloves.” Needless to say, this was one of the first stories I created on that Windows computer.

When I originally wrote it, in the end, the scene between Zoe and Dirk turns out to be a dream, from which the snow plow driver awakens Zoe after spotting her car in the ditch. But thanks to suggestions from participants in my weekly fiction critique group, I created a better ending. This story appears in the current fall/winter issue of Magnets and Ladders, which can be read here. I hope you enjoyed it.


Abbie wears a blue and white V-neck top with different shades of blue from sky to navy that swirl together with the white. She has short, brown hair and rosy cheeks and smiles at the camera against a black background.


Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography

Photo Resize and Description by

Two Pentacles Publishing.


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