Illusions of Evil

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Authors: Carolyn Keene
decided. The next day she’d track him down no matter what.
    Gradually her thoughts strayed to her date that night with Ned. It would be wonderful to be alone with him. A long-distance relationship wasn’t easy, but Ned and Nancy were trying their best to make it work.
    â€œEarth to Nancy!” George called out.
    Nancy shook herself out of her reverie. “Sorry, George. What?”
    George laughed. “Nothing in particular. I just wanted to make sure you were still there.”
    For the next ten minutes Nancy kept her mind on the road. Below and to her right, the river wound its way south to River Heights. The road meandered through the woods, then curved back toward the cliffs above the river. A gravel shoulder and guardrail were all that separated it from a two-hundred-foot drop. After a few miles, Nancy realized that the car behind her was perilously close. She sped up, and so did the other car. When she slowed down again, the other car remained close behind.
    â€œWhat’s wrong?” George asked.
    â€œI think someone’s tailing us,” Nancy answered.
    Then, with a screech of tires, the black sports car sped up and started to zoom around them on the left, forcing Nancy to steer the Mustang toward the gravel shoulder at the right.
    â€œWhat a jerk!” George said.
    The windshield was tinted dark so Nancy couldn’t see the driver as the sports car started to pass.
    All at once the black car veered toward Nancy’s Mustang, ramming her front left fender. Nancy clutched the steering wheel, but the Mustang jolted and swerved wildly.
    As the black car pulled past them, Nancyfought to straighten the wheels of the Mustang. It was too late. The front end of the Mustang hit the gravel shoulder and skidded toward the guardrail.
    Nancy saw a slice of the river shimmer before her.
    George screamed, “We’re heading right for the edge!”


    N ANCY DESPERATELY HELD ON to the wheel, trying to control the Mustang. She hit the metal guardrail anyway and felt it give way.
    â€œLook out!” George screamed.
    Then without warning Nancy felt the wheels bite into the rough shoulder of the road. The Mustang came out of the skid! Nancy turned the wheel to the left until the car was straight and reentered the lane.
    Fifty feet up the road was a scenic lookout, so Nancy slowed down and pulled in, her heart pounding, her hands almost welded to the wheel.
    Both girls sat in stunned silence for several minutes.
    â€œAre you okay?” Nancy finally asked George.
    George let out a deep breath. “Fine, considering that a maniac just tried to kill us.”
    Nancy opened the car door and looked back up the road, but the sports car had long since disappeared around a bend. “You didn’t happen to see the license plate number, did you?”
    George shook her head. “I could make a stab at the first few letters. But it all happened so fast.”
    â€œI know,” Nancy agreed. “And the car’s windows were tinted, so I couldn’t see the driver at all.” Frustrated, she hit the steering wheel with the palm of her hand. “Well, I guess I’d better get out and take a look at the damage.”
    The front left fender was pretty banged up, but the car was still operable.
    â€œWe were lucky,” George said as she came around from the passenger side and bent down to inspect the damage. George ran her hand over the dent. “Well, whoever the driver was, he lost some paint,” she said slowly.
    Nancy leaned in close and scrutinized the scrape mark. George was right. There was a trace of black paint over the dented blue metal.
    Suddenly she sprang up. “I know I’ve seen a black sports car someplace recently,” she said, leaning her hands against the hood. “Where was it?”
    George remained silent so that Nancy could concentrate.
    Then a dark look passed over Nancy’s face. “Mikhail

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