A Sleepy Hollow Inspired Chase Scene
by P.T. Michelle
If you don’t remember anything else from the short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, you remember the chase scene! Irving sets the scene with a quirky, flawed character in Ichabod Crane who fully believes in the supernatural. Painting Ichabod into an interesting backdrop of a small, sleepy town full of old legends and a rivalry for a woman’s affection, Irving sets up the perfect scenario for Ichabod’s inevitable run in with the Headless Horseman on a lone dark road sprinkled with creepy night sounds, shadows around every corner, and patches of dense woods.
When I write a chase scene, especially one that takes place in darkened woods, the Headless Horseman scene is usually in the back of my mind. Whether the Headless Horseman was real or not, Ichabod’s fear certainly was: will he be able to out run his pursuer? the fear of learning the villain’s identity–is he real or supernatural, and what will happen to him if he’s caught? I try to incorporate all those emotions within my own characters.
Check out the chase scene below from my YA BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS.
“Shit!” One of them yelled as I disappeared into the bank of trees.
“She’s just a girl. She can’t get far. Go around, I’ll follow her!” a gruff voice ordered.
I entered the forest on a well-worn path, running straight ahead. When I saw that the woods only went so far in the direction I was headed, I veered off the path. Staying within the thick protection of the trees, I alternately cursed and praised the darkness. I’d run a quarter mile in when I heard the blond guy’s gruff voice sing-song “Narrr-ah”, then deepened in a growl of anger, “Come here, you little bitch!”
Panic shot through me, but my lungs were on fire, so I quickly stopped and threw my back against a thick oak tree, doing my best not to pant or make any noise.
I thought back to the day Ethan had helped jumpstart my car. I’d assumed I’d left my headlights on, but now with these two psychos chasing me, I realized those guys probably turned my lights on to drain my battery so they could “offer” me a ride. That’ll teach me to lock my car.
Why were they after me? And why did the names Kurt and Jay sound so familiar? I wracked my brain trying to remember, but the fear pumping through my veins scattered my thoughts like the leaves falling from the trees around me.
The blond one had stopped running. The underbrush rustled as he walked a few steps, then stopped. Probably listening for my footsteps in the thick leaves.
I heard the dark-headed guy running through the woods too, but he’d run the opposite way from me and had apparently doubled back.
“Jay, that you?” The blond, not more than ten feet away from me, yelled out in the dim light.
“Yeah, I haven’t seen her yet,” Jay answered from afar.
“Go to the edge of the woods and make sure she doesn’t come out that way,” Kurt said. His friend immediately headed off to his right, away from us.
Rustling kicked up once more. Every leaf-crunching step brought him closer, making my stomach twist. He was less than five feet away now.
“I know you’re in here, somewhere between Jay and me,” he said. “You’ve already cost me fifty bucks. Don’t piss me off any more.” His footsteps stopped, then thumped the ground hard, followed by a grunt of annoyance.
I can’t believe he’s after me over fifty dollars. So the “pretending to be offended that I’d dissed them” was just an act? Still, I had no clue why I’d cost him any money at all. I scanned the woods, looking for a path I could take that would allow me to work my way around toward the soccer field and my car in the lot beyond.
Nara Collins is an average sixteen-year-old, with one exception: every night she dreams the events of the following day. Due to an incident in her past, Nara avoids using her special gift to change fate…until she dreams a future she can’t ignore.
After Nara prevents a bombing at Blue Ridge High, her ability to see the future starts to fade, while people at school are suddenly being injured at an unusually high rate.
Grappling with her diminishing powers and the need to prevent another disaster, Nara meets Ethan Harris, a mysterious loner who seems to understand her better than anyone. Ethan and Nara forge an irresistible connection, but as their relationship heats up, so do her questions about his dark past.
Once Nara combines her prophetic ability with Ethan’s power to outsmart Fate at his own deadly cat-and-mouse game, she’s more determined than ever to help Ethan learn the meaning behind the raven sword tattoo that suddenly appeared on his back after their confrontation with Fate.
During her quest to uncover the tattoo’s secrets, Nara enlists the help of some new friends and discovers her own surprising connection to Ethan.
While Nara digs deeper into the mystery, her desire for answers leads her down a dangerous path full of powerful and ruthless enemies. Swept into an age-old battle, Nara quickly learns that keeping one’s enemies close can be a necessary evil, making an intangible enemy she can control far more preferable to the human enemies she can’t.
Read an excerpt
P.T. Michelle is author of the young adult series BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS. When P.T. isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading or taking pictures of landscapes, sunsets and anything beautiful or odd in nature.