Chapter 1: Three days of fear.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 208
Comments: 1

Jessica Moreland was a twenty-two year old living on her own. She was a brunette with long hair that went to her shoulders, and deep blue eyes.

She was just coming home from a long shift at work and was looking forward to taking a shower and going to bed. It was a little after ten o’clock. She was walking to her apartment building when she felt something cold and metallic placed against her head as a man’s voice called out. “Freeze.”

She certainly did, resisting the urge to scream. “You keep quiet, you. You understand me?”

“Y-y-yes sir.” She said softly.

“Good.” The man hissed. “Now turn around and head back towards your car and get in the passenger seat. If you attempt to get into the driver’s seat or start running to try to escape, I will put a bullet in you. Is that understood?”

“P-perfectly.” The terrified girl said.

“Now, make sure the driver’s side door is unlocked, and the keys are in the ignition. Got it?”

“Yes.”

“Good. Off you go then. And if you try any funny business I will end you.”

Jessica slowly walked toward her car in a daze, her heart racing. She opened the passenger side door and sat down inside, leaning over to open the door across from her, and placed the keys in the ignition. Her mind was trying to think of ways to escape the situation, but she couldn’t come up with anything that wouldn’t almost guarantee she got a bullet in her. Her breathing was escalating as she saw the man emerge from the shadowy alcove and approach her car. One hand was in his pocket, surely holding the gun. He opened the door and sat down, starting the car.

He turned towards her, but the light wasn’t good enough to make out more than the vaguest details. “Now you listen to me closely, you little bitch. I have no interest in you. You are simply a tool for me to get what I want. If you keep your stupid little mouth shut and don’t give me any trouble you can be on your way by tomorrow. Now doesn’t that sound nice?” When she didn’t answer he pulled the gun out of his pocket and aimed it at her head as her eyes went wide. “I asked you a question! If you don’t like my offer I can off you right here and now.”

“N-n-no! That…that sounds fine.” She cried out, her heart feeling like it was ready to explode in her chest.

He put the gun down, but still held it in his lap as he put the car in drive and took off.

Jessica didn’t know what else to do but keep quiet. She didn’t know if he was telling the truth, but it was better to do what he said than risk provoking him into violence by being rebellious.

They drove around for quite a while. She didn’t know what he was looking for. Several times he drove past the same streets or blocks of stores. The man had said that he only wanted to use her for something and then let her go. Was he waiting for something? Was he looking for a certain place? Or was he just stalling to be sure that cops weren’t looking for her before going to where he intended?

She couldn’t be sure, but according to the time on the display it was after midnight. He pulled into a parking lot for a bank. “Go withdraw some money and come right back here. Like I’ve told you, don’t mess with me.”

In her mind she cursed that it was payday. Her account was full. “How much?” She asked.

He considered it, then said, “Two hundred…no. One should do it.”

She didn’t question why he lowered the amount instead of raising it. She marveled to herself how she could feel so normal in this situation by being annoyed at having to pay the three dollar out of network fee, when he was planning to take a whole lot more from her.

When she was done she once again considered her options, and like before she knew she didn’t have any that wouldn’t end with a bullet in her if she ran. Even if she refused to leave to bank, she didn’t know if the door glass was shatter or bullet-proof. Even if it was, the only thing stopping him from coming in normally was having a bank card to put in the slot, and she highly doubted he didn’t have one.

So, resigned to continue her experience, she left the bank and got back in the car. She wordlessly handed over the money, but he didn’t take it. “Put it in your pocket. Don’t need my fingerprints on it.”

She complied, wondering where their next trip was on this frightening journey. She closed her eyes, not feeling tired in the least, but to try and rest her spirit and prepare for what was to come.

A half hour later they pulled into another parking lot, mainly empty. He shut the car off, and it was only at that point that she opened her eyes. “Listen carefully. I want you to go in there and book a room for two for one night. This is a cheap-ass hotel so no one should question anything. And if I see any cops or you don’t come out, I’ll shoot as many innocent bystanders as I can, got it? I’ll let your cowardice rest on your conscience for the rest of your life.”

She shivered, and nodded. “Yes, I understand.”

She opened the front entrance to the hotel and saw a man sitting at a desk reading the newspaper. He looked like the type of person who would be at this kind of lower-class establishment. He was fat, unshaven, and reeked of body odor. He didn’t even acknowledge her even when she was standing right in front of the desk. He only responded when she spoke up.

“Yes?” He responded in a bored voice without even looking up.

“I…I need a room for two for one night.”

He turned his chair and rolled it to the shelves with the room keys. He grabbed one and threw it on the table as he rolled back to his paper. “Forty bucks.” He said in that uninterested, jaded voice.

She placed the money on the counter and he hit some buttons on the register. He ripped off the receipt, and handed it to her along with the key. “Have a good night.” He said in a mock imitation of politeness.

Right before the door closed she could have sworn she picked up, “Annoying late night motherfu-”

She certainly felt annoyed at the service. He hadn’t even looked at her once. Not even in a leering way, the one time in which she would have felt okay with that. If she managed to escape the clerk could have corroborated her story, but without actually seeing her how could he do that? She sighed. What would it matter? A scummy guy like that probably wouldn’t be interested in being in court anyway.

She had to once again control her desire to run or plead for help. The man who abducted her may be just bluffing, but she had to consider that he wasn’t. What if some woman just taking her dog her a walk came by? What if some teenagers just out on the town and having fun walked by? What if a woman was coming home late with her young children and just going into their house came by? Could she really just take the chance of escaping if some random people who had nothing to do with this were put in danger because of her actions?

She growled to herself. ‘He really thought his psychological tricks out, didn’t he?’ She mused. ‘He knew exactly what to say to keep me following his orders.’

When she was almost to the car her abductor came out. “What’s the room number?”

“Um…” She looked at the key. “It’s room 313.”

He looked around at the various rooms, and then started walking away. Without being told she followed behind him. After looking around for a few minutes, they found their room. She opened the door at his request, and the two of them entered as he closed the door behind him.

The place was the very bare minimum of adequate, just barely avoiding crossing the line into uninhabitable. Dust was simply swept into a corner instead of being properly thrown out. The bathroom was filthy and smelled of waste. The floor of the shower was full of what looked like mold. The paint was chipped and faded The beds looked like old bedsprings that had been salvaged from a dump, and the sheets were stained. There was no other things of notice for comfort. There was no TV, no dressers or desks, and no little decorative touches like paintings on the walls.

“Give me the rest of the money.” He demanded. She put her hand in her pocket and pulled out the sixty dollars she had left. She didn’t ask why he didn’t care about fingerprints anymore. He yanked it from her hands and told her to get on one of the beds and keep quiet as he left the roof with the key. She didn’t know where he was going, or how long it would be. Would now be a good time to call the police? She put her hands in her pockets and cursed. Her cell phone was in the glove compartment of her car since her job had a strict no cell phone policy. She took a more detailed look around the room, and there was no phone. ‘I guess it’s just as well.’ She thought. ‘It wouldn’t do to be on the phone when he comes back in.’

She didn’t know what to do with herself while she waited. There was no food or drinks, not that she’d want anything that came from this filth den. Even if the bathroom wasn’t as unhygienic as it was she wouldn’t want to be wet and naked if he returned in the middle of her shower. There was nothing else to do, so she laid down on the bed and closed her eyes. There weren’t any windows except in the bathroom, and even that was so tiny it might as well not even be there for all the good it did her. Her only other option was the door, which she knew she couldn’t risk, not knowing how long it would take to do whatever he was doing.

She focused on just taking deep breaths. She couldn’t panic. She couldn’t let herself lose control. She had to keep her wits about her and wait for an opportunity to present itself.

She heard the click of the door about ten minutes later. He came back in holding a few bags. He set one of the bags on the floor by his bed and told her to get up. As she complied he emptied the contents of the bags on the bed. There were various food items. “Pick some things to eat and keep your mouth shut. If you don’t like the selection than starve.”

She didn’t know if she’d be able to stomach anything but she picked up a few items she cared for and took them back to her bed. As scary as the situation was she felt the quiet was driving her insane. “So, do you have something I can address you as, or should I just call you mister?”

He looked dispassionately at her. “Bruce. Bruce Tanner.”

“And what is it that you do for a living?”

He looked more confused now than annoyed. “What is this? 20 questions? What do you even care that…” His eyes turned cold and narrow, but his lips pulled up in a sly smile. “Ah. I get it. You little minx. You have my ‘name’ and next the occupation and then what town I live in and then what block I live on and what friends I have. You just want information you can use to tell the police.”

“No!” She responded emphatically, but she couldn’t stop a shiver out of her voice as she saw his hand patting his pocket. “I just…I just want to feel something normal in this abnormal situation. That’s all.”

“Well, I have nothing more to say to you. I’m not interested in feeding you information for the pigs. By tomorrow this should all be over. If you play your assigned part than everything should go my way. I’ll turn my life around.

“Now, hurry up and finish eating and go to bed. We have a long day tomorrow.”

She wasn’t sure if she wanted to know, but she asked, “And just what is my ‘assigned part?’”

“Don’t worry about that right now. Just do what I tell you.”

She ate whatever she could stomach, and then went to the bathroom. As she looked in the cracked mirror she had another flash of dissociation as she found it distasteful she would have to wear the same clothes two days in a row. She sighed as she placed her hands on the two edges of the sink. “Man, I really need to work on my priorities.”

She came out and sat back down on her bed. “You all taken care of now?” Bruce asked.

She nodded and said, “Yes. I’m ready to sleep.”

“Good.” Bruce stood up and picked up the bag he had placed on the floor earlier.

She didn’t pay him any mind until he told her to lay down. She looked toward him and her heart started racing again as she saw what was in his hands: several coils of rope. She could easily think of the most scary reason for that.

Now her mind was speeding as fast as her heart. ‘I’m going to get raped. Maybe he’s some jaded virgin who just wants to get his first time no matter how he has to do it. A big day tomorrow, but maybe he wants to start early. Then what? I know too much. He’ll kill me. He’ll kill me so I can’t talk. Is my life really about to end in this crummy little hotel? I don’t want to. If I have to die I don’t want it to be after being ravaged.’

“Please!” She begged, tears beginning to stream down her eyes. “Please don’t do this! I don’t want to. This is wrong. I can’t-”

She stopped talking as he pulled out his gun. “Enough! Don’t start with the water works. That is just too annoying. Now do what I tell you. Don’t push me.”

Shivering and still crying silently she slowly laid back, breathing in short little jerks as he took her arms and tied them to the bedposts. Taking out a pocketknife he cut off some pieces of the blanket. He tied one piece around her eyes so she couldn’t see, then stuffed her mouth with the other one, effectively gagging her.

Her whole body was twitching and racked with tremors as she waited, waited for the end. But…even after a few minutes…there was nothing. No hands undoing the buttons of her blouse; no fingers trailing sensuously over her flesh; no lips kissing her neck at a cruel mockery of real intimacy; no dirty talk; and nothing grabbing at her pants.

She was a little off, though. There was certainly some dirty talk from Bruce. He was sitting on his bed cursing up a storm. Finally he stopped. “No…no. It might be crazy, but this can be done. It will be done. Yes…there’s nothing to worry about. Everything is going to start going my way. Yes, yes it will.”

Sometime later Jessica heard some light snoring from the other side of the room, and It was only at that point did she start relaxing. So, for the moment at least, he had no interest in her body. She tried the ropes, but they were too tight, and she quickly gave up on them to avoid rope burn.

She felt herself drifting in and out and consciousness. Part of her wanted to rest, but most of her wanted to stay awake. Even if she couldn’t do anything, tied up as she was, she still wanted to retain some semblance of power, and sleeping in this state would be the ultimate show of powerlessness. But after a while she gave in to her desire to sleep.

BANG BANG BANG!

She was suddenly jolted awake by someone rapping on the door. Bruce snapped up, aiming his gun at the door.

“Maria! Hey, Maria. Come on, open the door.”

The blindfold came off and she saw a very angry face right by hers. He put the gun to her forehead. “You dirty bitch! You called someone while I was out getting food?”

She shook her head forcefully.

The door rattled as it was hit a few more times. “Come on, Maria! Open the damn door.”

“Who the hell are you?” Snapped Bruce.

“Oh, man. My girlfriend is cheating on me. I can’t believe…hmmm? Oh my gosh. I got the wrong room number, dude. Sorry, man. I’m a little drunk. Didn’t mean to disturb your sleep.” With a laugh the voice faded.

Bruce pulled the gag out of her mouth. “What is your name, anyway?”

“J-Jessica.”

“Well, Jessica, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll let you sleep without the gag as long as you’re quiet. Even if you go and scream your head off, no one could possibly get to you before I put a bullet between your eyes. Deal?”

“Y-yes, Sir.”

“Good. Now go back to sleep.”

Unsure if he would get mad or think she was plotting something she asked, “Can I have a little more slack for my arms? I feel uncomfortable.”

He fixed her with an exasperated stare, rolling his eyes before going to the bedposts and giving her about a foot of extra room, making sure that her hands still couldn’t touch each other before he put the blindfold back on and going back to bed.

This time she allowed herself to sleep. She didn’t know what he was planning to do with her in the morning, but she would be better prepared if she was rested.

She was awoken by him shaking her. She had been deep in sleep and dreaming so at first she didn’t remember the events of the night before and why she didn’t have free movement in her arms as she went to stretch and yawn.

As the blindfold was taken off and she looked into the face of her captor it all came back to her, making her breathing speed up. She again felt a desire to cry, but held it back. He finished untying her wrists, and told her, “Take care of your business, then we’re leaving.”

She walked toward the bathroom on shaky feet. She went to the bathroom automatically, a dazed look on her face. When she was done she stood up, then collapsed to the floor, sobbing in fear. She tried not to be too loud, but she couldn’t hold it in entirely. What was in store for her today? Would he truly let her go now that she had seen his face, or would he use her for whatever insidious purpose he had in mind, and then dispose of her and throw her body in a ditch somewhere? She thought of her family, who she might never see again, who may never even know of her fate. Why hadn’t she talked to them more, called them more often? ‘I don’t want to die, here.’

Eventually she felt the ebbing of her emotions, and slowly stood up, her face blank and empty as she wiped away the tears. She left the bathroom. If the man had heard her crying or saw her red face he didn’t show it as they left.

At his order she turned the key in to complete the checkout. It was the same man from the night before. Once more he barely paid attention to her as he focused on his newspaper. A part of her wanted to grab his attention, but found it would likely do no good in the long run. With the extremely substandard conditions, he wouldn’t want police snooping around the place if he might have to actually spend money to get the place fixed up.

She got back in the car, and they drove off. She looked out the window, just trying to focus on the little unimportant things along the way, because she’d lose it if she kept thinking about her predicament.

They had been driving for about an hour when he pulled into a gas station. He handed her twenty bucks and told her to go pay. She handed the money to the cashier, who didn’t seem to notice her feeling of despair, or just didn’t want to pry. After fueling up they were off again.

“So, Jessica…” Started the man. “You have a cell phone?”

“Yes.” She answered, still looking out the window, hoping for something that would give her a way out of her predicament. She opened the glove box and went to give it to him, but he didn’t take it.

“You’re making the call here. So, here’s the situation. You are my bargaining chip. That is your only involvement in this plan. I’m going to dictate a call for you. You are to say only the things I tell you to say. If you start deviating and try to give away things that would help the cops identify me or where we currently are…” He patted his pocket. She got the message. “Now, call the cops. Tell them your name, that I’m holding you hostage, but not that we’re in your car. I want five million dollars in exchange for your safe return. For now that’s all that I want you to tell them. Got it? Good. Now make the call.”

Not that it made the situation much better, but she felt a little bit of relief that he was only out for a payoff. It meant, at the least, that he had no plans to sexually assault her.

She called 911 and heard a woman’s voice on the other end. “911, what is your emergency?”

“H-hello. My name is Jessica Moreland. I am currently being held hostage by an unknown man.”

“Since you are making this call does that mean you’re alone?”

“No. I am not alone. He is here next to me, and told me to make this call. In return for my safe return he is requesting a ransom of five million dollars.”

There was a short silence, then, “Do you know your current location?”

Her eyes shot to Bruce, then back to the phone. “I am not allowed to give out that information.”

“Understood. Where would he like to make this exchange?”

She turned to the man and repeated the question. He put his hand over the phone and whispered in her ear.

“He says that he hasn’t decided yet. He requests either your name or a number where we can reach you throughout this.”

“My name is Cindy. My extension is 4785.” She rummaged around in the glove department, pulling out a pen and writing it down. “He wants me to hang up now, so I have to go.”

“Ask if he’d permit you another thirty seconds to brief you on survival strategies.”

“Fine.” He responded. “But I want to hear what’s being said. Put it on speaker.”

She complied. “Okay. Go ahead.”

The dispatcher said, “Keep in mind that the most important thing in these situations is your safety. Do not put your life at risk by making a foolish or stupid move, like trying to take the gun away or attacking him. This money can be replaced. You cannot. Don’t take matters into your own hands. Let the police handle this. Making false moves is one of the top reasons hostages are killed in these situations. Do whatever he tells you, and don’t do anything to aggravate or provoke him.

“Do you understand?”

“Yes.”

“Call back when you’re ready to make the trade.”

“I will.” She hung up.

“Turn your cell phone off.” Said the man.

“Why?”

“Police can trace cell phone signals, but only if they’re on.” Jessica hesitated, not wanting to lose her only possible lead for her to be rescued. “Come on, now. You just heard what the dispatcher said. Do as I say and don’t make me angry.”

She didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. She closed her eyes and held the button until it made the shut off sound, then threw it in the back seat, feeling that dead, empty feeling she had felt in the bathroom. Quietly she cried as they drove, once more looking out the window for something, ANYTHING, which would distract her attention, even if only for a moment. Sometimes it worked, most of the time it didn’t. Even when it did, as soon as the moment of interest passed, she found herself back in the present, being used as a bargaining chip for a ransom demand. There were so many ways things could go wrong.

She only noticed they had stopped when she heard the car turn off. He handed her some money, then said,. “Go buy a bulky looking vest. I don’t care what shape or size or how good it fits..”

She didn’t know what this would accomplish, or how it fit into the whole ransom thing, but she didn’t question. What was the point?

She found herself sinking into despair, no matter how hard she tried to fight it. All that kept popping into her head was images of her family. Her father, tall, always making the corniest jokes and getting the family to laugh. A man who always made sure she had food in her belly and a good head on her shoulders. Her mother, stern and with high standards, but the way those features were used didn’t turn Jessica off. It made her want to excel. Her little brother, just turned twelve, annoying, whiny, always had to have his way…but when things were really bad and they didn’t want to tell their parents, the two of them acted like the closest siblings in the world. And in just about another month was the first birthdays of the twins, one boy and one girl. Dirty diapers, running noses, loud…adorable, wide-eyed, innocent, laughter, tiny.

She pictured the barbeque they had had three months ago to celebrate her first time going out into the real world to make it on her own. Her brother cheering at the fact that he could move into a bigger room, but away from everyone else made her promise to visit. Her dad flipping burgers, his jokes just getting older and older, but still she laughed at them. Her mother weeping from her first ‘baby’ leaving the nest. The twins just crawling around, not knowing what was going on, but wanting to join in, calling out the short version of her name. She picked one of them up and tickled their tummy, getting a delightful reaction, before she moved on to the other to repeat the process, their laughter filling her heart with hope and joy.

“Hey!” Came the harsh voice of her abductor, the gun pointed at her out of view quickly pulling her out of her memories and reminding her that that time was over. This was the only thing in her life right now. “Get going! Don’t make me repeat myself.”

Trembling, she asked in a rush before she could stop herself, “Am I really going to go home after this?” The question seemed to throw the man off. “Please! Am I ever going to see my family again?” Tears were dripping down her eyes, hoping against hope that her end wouldn’t be because of this man.

The man turned away. “You’re hurting your chances.” He said indifferently. “Don’t screw with me. I told you before. I don’t want the waterworks. Just do what I tell you and don’t piss me off.”

So he wouldn’t answer. Did that mean she was dead no matter what? She felt herself in a daze again as she walked into the store. She barred herself from thinking of her family anymore. If she did she would start bawling right in the middle of the store. She didn’t want to draw that kind of attention to herself. As she looked over the various vests she came to thinking that there really weren’t bulky vests. They’re supposed to be small with thin material, to be worn over a shirt. She eventually settled on one that fit fairly well.

As it had several times before, her mind tried to focus on her options. And, also like it had done several times before, she realized she had no other alternatives to following the man’s orders. She had to assume his threat to kill random innocents if she ran was still in place. She couldn’t be sure he was bluffing, but she wouldn’t take that chance. Even if she made the clerks or customers aware of her situation, and cops started looking for her car, it still wouldn’t do her any good. If any cop stopped them for any reason, he would immediately assume that she had instigated the police to come. In that case, he may well shoot her, or just shoot the cop as soon as his guard was down. Besides, he was already planning to meet with police somehow in order to get his hands on the ransom anyway. Why force the issue if he was already going to have a showdown with them? As the dispatcher had told her, her safety was top priority, and she shouldn’t take matters into her own hands.

She got back in the car. The man looked over the purchase, and seemed to find it acceptable. Another hour or so of driving. When she took the chance of glancing over at him, she found him looking around on both sides of the road. She didn’t ask what he was looking for. From his actions so far, like making her go various places to go pick up items where she’d be on camera, and going off on his own to buy rope, made her think that he was just making plans up as they went along. He didn’t seem particularly bright.

They pulled into a driveway. “Let’s go.” He said. He unlocked a door heading into a garage. There was a chair just inside facing a corner which he told her to sit in. As she did her mind once more turned to the mundane, thinking, ‘So, what. Am I being punished for misbehaving or something? I’m probably going to miss work today. Not that I’d really be in the mood for working even if I was freed right now.’

She heard noises coming from the other side of the garage, but she didn’t turn to look to see what he was doing. Most of it sounded mechanical, clinking and clanging.

After a while she heard his footsteps coming towards her. “Here. Put your lovely new vest on.”

She put her arms up in the air and he placed it on her. She immediately noted as it settled into place that it felt heavier than it should have. She looked down and squeaked. She looked up at him in wonder, seeing a strange device in his hands. No! He most definitely wasn’t stupid. He had strapped a remote bomb to her!

She began panting. She felt she was about to lose it. The operator had said to do whatever he told her, but she had no frame of reference for what to do if she was planted with a bomb.

The man rubbed her cheek, making her recoil. She didn’t want him touching her. Grudgingly she allowed his touch, feeling disgusted. “Just relax. Breathe. This is only my insurance policy. I have no desire to push this button. If the cops don’t think I’m being serious, than they won’t want to pay for you.”

Relax? RELAX! How on earth was she supposed to relax when he could make her explode with the push of a button?

He put a coat over her, and back to the car they went. “Get your cell phone and call the cops. Let’s get Cindy back on and arrange the trade. Won’t you be happy that it’ll all be over soon?”

‘Over how?’ She thought dimly, wanting to scream and shout and pound something. Sitting still with this device on her was making her increasingly antsy. She retrieved her phone with shaking hands. She was shaking so hard that at first her phone fell right out of her hands. She felt like she was breaking down again. Sick of listening to this stranger who saw her as little more than a tool…still, she followed his advice. She took several deep breaths. She tried to convince herself that he was not going to push the button, that she was going to go home after he got what he wanted. It worked to the extent that she got her tremors under control enough to dial the police.

Hearing a man dispatcher this time she briefly explained the scenario and requested to talk with Cindy. She was transferred to another line.

“This is Cindy. How are you holding up, Jessica? Are you injured?”

Breathing fast she looked at the man. He waved his fingers in a shooing motion and said quietly, “Say whatever you want except what I look like.”

Her breathing was speeding up to the point she thought she might hyperventilate. “I’m not good! I’m not good at all! He hasn’t hurt me. Yet. But…but he has attached a device to a vest which I think is a bomb. He’s threatening to blow me up if anything goes wrong.

“Save me!” She begged, starting to sob. “Please! Save me! I want to go home! I want to see my family again! I…I don’t want to die! Please…”

“Jessica!” Cindy’s voice said sharply. “You can’t afford to lose control right now. I fully understand that you’re in a scary situation, but you must keep your head. Leave the crying for when you reunite with your family.

“I’m not saying this to be cruel, but the longer we talk, the longer you stay in his control. Take a minute to compose yourself, then talk to me again.”

She closed her eyes, clenching her fists. She took a shuddering breath. ‘Save the crying for my family. Yes. I want to see them. I want to see them again. So I must calm myself.’ She spent the next three minutes just focusing entirely on her breathing, her racing heart beginning to slow, her heavy panting beginning to become full breaths. When she felt as stable as she thought she was going to get she said, “Okay. I think I’m ready now.”

“Okay. Now, if you’re calling me back, does that mean that he has found a place to make the exchange?”

She looked towards the man, and asked the question. “He says that he wants you to come to this address.” She rattled off the place he told her. “He wants the money in bills no larger than twenties, and no ink pads. He says if these demands aren’t met, he’ll push the button. We’ll call back in an hour, so make sure everything is set up.”

“Alright. Please hang in there. We’ll do all we can to rescue you.”

“Thank you.” She hung up, and like before he told her to shut it off as they left the garage.

As they drove along he said, “There’s no need to panic. This should go nice and smoothly. In order for you to not worry…well, not worry as much, I’ll tell you exactly how things are going to go down.

“I’ve got a mask, and I’m going to go and get the money. I’ll tell them I have a dead man’s switch attached to that device on your chest.”

“Dead man’s switch?” She asked quietly.

“Works the opposite of a regular remote. Instead of pushing the button to activate it, it’s letting go of the button that will trigger it. Pretty much means if cops try to run in and tackle me to the ground, or try and shoot me, that it will mean the end of you too. So if I die, than it will mean you will die too. But since you’ll be telling the cops that, it means that they won’t take that risk.

“Now, even after we get the money, I’ll still need to hold onto you.”

Her heart started going again, not liking the sound of that. “Why?”

“As insurance. They won’t want to part with that money easily. So when I take off in the car after the exchange, they’re going to give chase. I’ll tell them that unless they back off I put a bullet in you. Again, they have to make your life a higher priority than the money or my arrest, so they’ll comply. Once I think that it’s clear, I’ll take you back to the garage and tie you up. When I’m out of town I’ll borrow a phone somewhere and tell them where to find you.”

“Is that really okay?” She asked blankly. “To leave me alive?”

“Look, I really have no interest in your life. Like I told you at the start, you’re just my insurance until I get out of this mess. Just play your part and cooperate and you can go back to your regular life. It’s really nothing personal against you. It was just your bad luck that you were the first person who walked by. But if you cause trouble for me and ruin this plan then I’ll take you down with me before I go to jail.”

“You keep beating around the bush a bit. Can you answer this in a straight yes or no? Assuming everything goes as you want it, if you get the money and evade the cops, are you really going to let me live?”

“…Yes. Even if you tell the cops what I look like I have no criminal record so they won’t know my face. You don’t scare me. I sent you in for all the items we need so I’m not recorded. The money at the ATM? My fingerprints in the car and hotel? How can you prove it wasn’t a consensual getaway? Remember, that was the night before you reported you were kidnapped. I was wearing gloves when handling the device. There is no evidence against me you can use, so I have no reason to finish you off. Good enough for you?”

Although he sounded pretty sure of himself, she was sure he was wrong. There had to be some kind of evidence that could link him to the crime, but why insist on that? His arguments for releasing her sounded pretty strong, though. Still, she once again found herself wondering how smart this guy really was. If police could really trace cell phones, than couldn’t they see from where a call originated? So wouldn’t there be cops watching the area around the garage to see if he returned to it once they figured that out? Yet he said he would bring her back there to keep her hidden until he could escape the city? It seemed stupid, but…but he was also smart enough to make a homemade bomb. Well…there are all different kinds of intelligence . That was the only explanation she could come up with.

“Hungry at all?” He asked as they came upon a fast food place.

“No.” She said, noticing he seemed a bit different now. He had been playing the tough guy, but now he seemed pretty happy. She guessed he was pretty confident that it was going to go easy.

“Come on, now. You need to keep your strength up. I would like you to eat a little something.”

She repressed the urge to roll her eyes. “Fine. Get me some chicken nuggets and a small diet soda.”

“’Get you?’”

“Oh, right. No camera’s for you.” She said exasperatedly.

After getting his order she went in and bought some food. She felt a little self-conscious at the coat. It wasn’t boiling, but it was a warm day. She was afraid that the bulge in her coat might make people suspicious, but she got in and out without incident.

They sat in the parking lot, him wolfing down his food, she eating slowly. “So, how are they?” He asked jovially.

“Who?”

“You certainly whined enough about them. Jeez, is your family worth that much to you?”

Before she could stop herself she slapped him as hard as she could, panting and glaring angrily at him.

He looked at her and smiled, unnerving her more than if he had scowled at her. “I’ll overlook that, just this once.”

After finishing off the food they began driving again. “Make the call.” He told her. “Make sure they’re ready. And tell them I don’t want a big crowd because of an evacuation. I want this to go smoothly.”

“Evacuation?”

“You’ll see.”

She turned her phone on and requested Cindy again from the dispatcher that picked up. She told Cindy all that she was able, only keeping secret about the man’s looks, and that he was planning to run off with her even after getting the ransom.

She also queried about what would need to be evacuated. “Well…his requested site for the money is a baseball field that is right across the street from the middle school in the area. In order to avoid mass panic we have posted several officers in the school, telling them that it’s much safer to stay inside than to risk the danger to their lives by taking all the students out. As far as they know, it’s only an unconfirmed threat set in the general area and the officers are only there for protection. We don’t want any lives to be lost unnecessarily. This is another reason why we don’t want to drag this out. We want to bring this to a close as soon as possible before the kids are meant to go home.”

“Okay. We should be there soon, I guess.”

“Got it.”

She hung up. Without being told she turned off her phone again. She looked at him with distaste. “You’re seriously going to do this across from a school? For god’s sake! Are there no lows you won’t sink to for your own purposes?”

“Now, now. I have no interest in killing them either. This is only to keep the cops on their best behavior. With innocent children at risk they’ll be even less likely to make a foolish move. If you want to ask how low I’ll sink, I’ll use whatever dirty tricks I have to if it means getting what I want. The threat should be good enough. If they don’t know I’m bluffing, it’ll restrict what actions they’ll take. That’s the only purpose of doing it there. It avoids useless interruptions and excess chaos. Until we’re far away from the school the cops won’t dare give chase.”

He took her phone as they approached the school. “Alright, coppers. I’m ready to make the trade. I’m coming out to get the money myself. If anything should happen to me I blow my hostage to smithereens. Of course if my hostage just so happens to be tied up near the school it will only ensure a bigger body count. Don’t mess with me. Shoot me or knock me out if you wish. But if my hand comes off this switch it will spell the doom of a lot of innocents. Until I have this money and get away from the school I don’t want anyone following me. I especially don’t want any helicopters in the area. This will all be over soon.”

They pulled onto a residential street near the school. He tied Jessica’s hands behind her back in the seat. “I’ll be back soon. This should prove to be fun.”

She saw an almost maniacal grin on his face. Her attention immediately went lower when she heard a click. She saw his hand holding down the switch. “Well, if you blow up, it’s not my fault anymore. I warned them.” He patted her cheek. “But they’re not stupid enough to do anything.”

And he was off. Her heart wouldn’t stop going. It felt like her heart was in her throat. She could do nothing but sit here helpless, not knowing if soon she would just be barbequed. She closed her eyes and thought of her family. She couldn’t stop crying, wondering what was coming next. All she knew was that if here is where she was truly to meet her end, than she wanted to spend it with her family, no matter if it was only in her head. She thought of the worst times and the best times, the times that made her laugh, and the ones that made her cry. Anything and everything she could remember.

The man had his mask on, and scanned the area for cops. There didn’t seem to be any at all, which was odd. Than surely they were watching from afar. He could see the bag with the money on the pitcher’s mound. He walked casually. There was no one else on the street. He kept a tight hold on the switch, holding it in front of him to make sure it could be seen. When he got to the middle of the field be picked up the bag and moved it to the top of a bench. He opened it and looked through it with his one free hand. He couldn’t be sure that it was all there, but he didn’t have the time to figure it out.

He left the area with no trouble, which he still felt was strange. Sure, he didn’t really expect them to take action while the school was threatened. But to give no indication that there was a police presence at all? He had to guess that they’d thrown a tracker on the bag.

He walked back to the car, untying Jessica’s arms after he threw the bag in the back.

“Well, that went well enough, though I’m sure I’m being watched.”

A sense of relief went through Jessica. She was still alive. She was still…alive. She might get to see her family again yet.

“So, Miss Jessica, are you curious?”

“Curious?” She responded.

“Would you like to see what happens when I let go of this button?”

“What! No!”

“Here goes.”

“No!” She screamed as his hand moved off the trigger. She closed her eyes but nothing happened.

With a dark laugh he threw the object in the back seat. “It’s a fake. The threat alone would be good enough to get them to do what I wanted. Besides, trying to collect bomb materials often leaves a trail. It’s much easier to just make something that people think is a bomb.”

“You…you bastard!” She cried out, feeling a sense of unreality that she was still alive and it had all been a lie.

“What are you so mad about?” He asked. “Didn’t I already tell you? I have no interest in their lives. Or your life either, for that matter. I’m just in this for the money. Would you be more content if that had been the real thing?”

She didn’t answer, looking out the window.

They had only gone a few blocks before they stopped. He threw the mask in the back seat. He took out a few bags and quickly went through the money to see if there were any ink pads or tracer bugs. There didn’t seem to be either, but he couldn’t trust his eyes on this. He emptied out the bad into his own duffels.

“Let’s go.” He told her. They got out, and she wondered where they were heading now without a vehicle. They were on the corner of a residential road.

They went to a car that seemed no different from any other in the area. “Now we’re carjacking?” She said, annoyed.

“Not at all.” He replied, going in his pocket and hitting the button to open the doors. “I’ve been preparing for this heist for quite a bit. Of course, your car won’t do any good as a getaway car. Since they know that you’re the hostage, they’ll most likely have gotten your license plate number. Now get in the car. I’ve got some business to finish up.

He went back to her car, and came back in a minute with a different set of clothes on. “There. Now I’m completely covered. New car, new clothes. Police don’t know my face. You still present a minor problem, but you’ll be taken care of soon. Now is the time I start my new life. I can finally escape from this hellhole.”

He laughed hysterically as they drove away. He seemed so pleased with himself. Jessica never felt so disgusted with someone in her whole life. Sure, he may not actually intend any harm, but the idea that he so easily made such horrifying threats and didn’t care one bit was just appalling

They drove around, leaving the school and her car far behind.

“So, what do you say?” He asked jokingly. “How about coming with me? After all, I’m a millionaire now. I know most of you chicks like getting with rich guys.”

“Is this funny to you?” She asked bluntly.

“Why yes, it is. It isn’t every day you can scam the country for five mil by making a bunch of totally empty threats. I wonder why more people don’t do that.”

“Please just stop talking!” She growled out, her face red. “Or pretty soon I won’t care if you can overlook it a second time.”

“Now, now. Peace. You’re going to be freed soon. You should be happier, not angrier, that I succeeded.”

She didn’t know how to respond to that.

He drove a bit recklessly, so caught up in the high of his successful theft that he took corners sharply, and ignored just turned red lights. “Will you stop it before you get us killed?”

“Hmph. You’ve suddenly grown a backbone since you found out that bomb was fake, haven’t you? Ah, well. It doesn’t really matter. You’ve been a wonderful victim.”

She slammed her fist onto the dashboard, having to hit something.

“Oh, relax. I’m just trying to lighten the mood.” He said as he ran another light that had just turned from yellow to red.

His joking demeanor ended immediately as the two of them heard the sirens and saw the flashing lights behind them.

“Shit! Shit shit shit!” He growled, now hitting his own hand on the dashboard. “Not now!”

He pulled over, pulling out the gun from his pocket. And Jessica found herself back into the fear and terror from before. “Don’t!” She said emphatically, putting her hand over the gun. “Think about it. You want to avoid attention and get out of town, remember? You think shooting and killing a cop in broad daylight on a main road is going to help anything? Like you said, there’s no way in this situation that you can be implicated unless I say anything. And I won’t, I promise. I don’t want anyone to have to die here.”

He looked at her angrily, a growl escaping his throat, reluctantly conceding her point. He aimed the gun at her now. He pulled a blanket from the back seat and put it over her under her neck. “Pant and let out some moans from time to time.” He demanded.

His request bewildered her. How was acting like they had been having sex supposed to do anything in this situation?

The cop was at their door now. The man had put the gun back in his pocket. “Sir, are you aware that you just ran a red light?” The cop looked at Jessica oddly, who was breathing hard as commanded and making sure to look away from him, lest he recognize her face.

“Yes, sir.” The man said meekly, sounding panicked. “I’m very sorry. It’s just..my wife here is about to have a baby.”

Unseen, Jessica’s eyes widened. She let out a moan that she hoped sounded like a labor pain. She had never had children or been in the room with someone who was having one. All she had to go on were TV shows, so she didn’t know if it was anywhere near realistic enough to be convincing.

Apparently it was enough, because the cop said, “Don’t worry, sir. I’ve been through this a bunch of times. I’ll give you an escort.” The cop headed back to his car, putting on his flashers and siren and driving off.

The man followed behind the cop. Jessica let out a small sigh of relief that no one had gotten hurt. But now what? If they followed the cop to the hospital it would quickly be found out that she wasn’t actually pregnant. Unless the man was hoping the cop would quickly take off as soon as they went inside. What was he going to do now?

Her question was answered as the man suddenly made a sharp U-turn, nearly hitting several cars as he went the opposite direction and making a turn as soon as possible. He hit the gas, being careful to not go too far over the speed limit so as not to attract another cop.

He pulled into a grocery store parking lot, parking at the rows of parking spaces farthest from the store. He waited for a bit, telling her to hold the bags of money. As a man holding his grocery bags walked to and opened one of the cars nearby he turned to her and said,. “To answer your question, yes. This time we have to.”

She got out of the car with him. They went up to the shopper as he put his bags in the trunk.

Her abductor offered a hand in taking the stuff from the cart.

Together the two of them got them in. The shopper closed the trunk. As he turned to thank the man he was met with a gun to his face. “Give me the keys and get in the backseat.”

“W-what?” The man’s face had gone pale.

“You heard me. You got quite a spread there. Shopping for your wife, your kids? Would be quite a shame if these groceries never made it home, now wouldn’t it? That kind of terrible news isn’t necessary, is it? Now, do as I say.”

Slowly, he went into his pockets and handed the keys over, and then went into the back seat.

“You.” He said to Jessica. “You get in there with him.”

“Are you going to hurt him?” She asked in a small voice.

“No! Alright? Now shut up and do what I tell you!”

They pulled out of the parking lot, and it was a quiet, tense ride. Her abductor had once more dissolved into an obscenity filled rant. She was too scared to say anything that might cause him to snap. And the poor man who had nothing to do with this had his head in his hands, clearly fearing for his life. But it was not his own life he was worried about. He was scared of the pain his family would go through if he was killed.

After driving around for a while, driving randomly to be sure there were no pursuers, he pulled off onto a residential block. “Alright there, old man?”

The man felt some resentment at being called old, but he replied, “Yes.”

“Do me one quick favor, and then you can go home.”

“What is it?”

He handed over two keys. After instructing him on how to find the garage he told him, “Go bring my car here. After making a cell phone call in front of the garage before the cops might be looking out to see if I return there. But you have a different build than me, so they likely shouldn’t give you any trouble. Oh, and don’t get any dumb ideas like calling the cops and telling them where we are. This girl in the back here is already my hostage. I’ve already let her know I’m not going down alone.”

“I understand.”

It was a tense wait. The longest ten minutes of both their lives. When the car pulled up she left the car and moved to the other one with the bags of money.

The two men traded the keys to their cars. “Well, it was a pleasure doing business. You may go now.”

“Really? That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“What about that girl? From the bags in her arms it seems you already got what you were after, so why don’t you let her come with me?”

“Silly. She’s my insurance policy. If I let both of you leave you’d just call the cops on me right away. As long as I don’t have any trouble with them I don’t have any reason to hurt her. Get my drift?”

“Yes.”

“Don’t worry. By tomorrow she’ll be free. You’ll probably hear about it on the evening news.”

“Let me stay too, then.”

“Sorry, one hostage is all I need. I don’t need any more problems than I have right now. Now get out of here.”

It was clear that he didn’t want to leave, but he also didn’t want to push this kidnapper into violence. So, with great reluctance, he got into his car and drove off towards his house.

The man got into his car and drove off. There was no more showboating or recklessness. He drove below the speed limit, stopped for the yellows, waited five seconds at stop signs. They eventually pulled off into a path that led into the woods.

“Never thought I’d ever come here again. Feh. Having to use both my last resorts. So annoying. I suppose that’s what I get for being stupid.”

After driving for ten minutes they came up to a cabin in the woods. It was a decent looking place. “Come on.”

The two of them went inside after he unlocked the door, and he turned on the light.

The two of them sat down on the couches. The man looked different once again. He had went from cold and cruel, to joyous, to meek and compliant. Now he seemed depressed. He sat there, cursing up a storm again.

Finally, he stopped, and looked up at her. She couldn’t identify what the man was feeling. “I’m sorry.”

The words weren’t said sarcastically or mockingly. They almost sounded genuine. “For what?” She asked.

“This extra bit of trouble. This was all supposed to be over by now. This cabin belongs to my family as a summer home. I never thought I’d actually have to use it. You’re going to have to stay one more night. The word of your captor might not mean much to you but I promise that, one way or another, you’ll go home tomorrow.

“I need to go cool my head. I’m gonna take a shower. If I don’t I might just snap and do something I’ll regret.” With that, he left the room.

She sat there, waiting. For some reason it never occurred to her to try to leave. She had become so used to following his commands that the thought of running just didn’t process.

The man came back about twenty minutes later. “Man.” He said condescendingly. “You truly are a stupid woman. But I guess it evens out, as I am quite a stupid man. I just left you completely unsupervised and you didn’t do anything to take advantage of that.”

“It wasn’t worth the risk if you’re going to let me go tomorrow.”

“Heh.” He sat down. “Let me ask you something. Do you really think I’m going to just let you go like that?”

Her heart-rate shot up again. She tried not to imagine that meant what she thought it meant.

“I’m asking you.” He continued. “Do you trust me?”

She took a deep breath. “I trust enough that I think you’ll release me. You let that other guy go when you were done with him.”

“I see.” He pulled out his gun. “Let’s up the difficulty a bit. Do you think I could kill you?”

She closed her eyes, taking a shuddering breath. “I know you could, but I don’t think you would do it. You had a lot of chances to do a lot of other worse stuff.”

“You really are stupid, aren’t you? Look at me.”

Hesitantly she complied. He was standing thirty feet from her, but the gun is what held her attention as always. It was pointed right at her.

“Bang.” He said with a smile.


Submitted: September 26, 2012

© Copyright 2021 naruto17. All rights reserved.

Chapters

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

katiebug88

Amazing kmu?

Sun, September 30th, 2012 4:54am

More Action and Adventure Books

Other Content by naruto17

Short Story / Young Adult

Book / Action and Adventure

Poem / Poetry