She groaned as trickles of light entered her dark prison. She stifled a whimper as she smacked against a shovel. She feels the sweat slip down her spine as the cold metal touches her. She’d seen the movies, she knew what it was for. The tears ran down her face as she pulled at her bonds, she’d been trying for hours since he’d grabbed her and she had no luck freeing herself from the zip ties. She felt panic sink in and shuddered as she fought the vomit back down her throat. She looked wildly around at the dark interior of the car’s trunk, hoping for a way out.
She wished to god that she had not gone to that parking lot, she knew it was on the edge of the bad part of town, but she hadn’t been able to resist the Middle Feast’s food. She cursed her need for chicken Shawarama but knew it was hysteria kicking in. She’d walked away from that food truck nibbling her chicken and onions a happy carefree eighteen year old and had left the parking lot somebody’s victim. He’d grabbed her as she’d been unlocking the door and she’d tried to scream, but it had been no use. With a swift punch she’d seen only darkness.
She had no idea really how long she’d been unconscious, an hour, a day, Oh God wasn’t anyone looking for her? Did anyone even notice she was gone yet? Her parents were divorced, her mom worked all the time and her brother was so stoned that no one noticed her. She began to cry again her eyes darted around the cars trunk, in the taillights dim red glow she saw that the car did have a release hatch on the inside, if she could just reach it. She stretched with her bound arms and just missed it. She was crying harder now as her sweaty fingers scrabbled on the lid of the trunk. She knew her fingers were bleeding but this was her only chance, otherwise she was done. She kicked with her foot in frustration and felt the taillight wiggle. Hope sprang up in her and she kicked and kicked again until with a crack and a quick tinkle of sound it bounced out letting in the cool night air.
She nudged her foot out the hole shaking it wildly, hoping for help, hoping someone would see. She waived it wildly barely noticing that the car was slowing down and eventually stopping. She whimpered again as the car came to a gravel crunching halt. She jerked her foot back in, numb with terror as the slam of the door rocked the car. The footsteps moved closer, each step smashing gravel into the dirt as he came closer. She knew that she had one chance when he opened the door and she had to take it. She willed herself to stay calm, willed herself to stay still, to cower. She didn’t want to admit to herself that she was scared as hell.
The foot steps stopped and the trunk lid slid up revealing the outline of a man. She pulled back but he reached his big hands in for her. The touch of his hand on her sleeve set her off. She fought with everything she was worth. She hit and punched and finally managed to kick him in the nuts. He growled and released her as he cupped his privates and bellowed in anger. She didn’t waste any time, springing up and out of the trunk she forced her numb legs to work as she ran. She heard him behind her, knew he was trying to catch her, but she wasn’t going to be anyone’s victim.
She stumbled and got up as quickly as she could. She could hear other cars nearby and sprinted through the scrubby woods toward the highway. She could smell the leftover bits of busted tires and could hear the crunch of broken glass as she ran for it. She could smell the asphalt and to her it was the best smell in the world. Her sketcher caught on the side of the road and she almost tripped. She righted herself but went down anyway as a large calloused hand closed over her ankle and pulled. She screamed and kicked as she turned over, she lay in the shadows by the side of the road, the light was only inches away and she could feel his hand gripping her leg.
“Don’t be afraid” a cold voice hissed as he pulled “you’ll like it.”
“Screw you” she screamed as she pulled at her leg. She kicked out and connected with his face. A sickening crunch made her feel a surge of hope as his large hand dropped off her leg. She scrambled forward and into traffic, not really caring if she got hit, anything was preferable to the woods, the darkness and the man with the cold voice.
Cars screeched to a stop inches from her and she stood in the glare of the headlights crying and sobbing hysterically, never feeling more glad to hear anyone call her a stupid bitch. She stood in the warmth of the light shivering and avoiding looking at the shadows.
She nestled under the blanket and nursed her coffee, not sure if she would ever be warm again. The cold seemed to have seeped into her bones. It had been two weeks since the kidnapping and she still couldn’t sleep at night, still couldn’t be alone. The television studios had called to discuss the possibility of making her story into a movie and she was repulsed by it. She wanted to tell them to all go to hell, but knew her mother wouldn’t let her. She knew her mother thought she should tell her story, make it all public, accept her own bravery. The problem was she didn’t feel brave.
She’d finally had enough of them hovering over her so she’d insisted they go down the street to the local Italian place for dinner. They’d gone grudgingly, at least they earned bonus points for that. She’d made them go though, wanting to face her fear. Now she stood on the closed in screen porch and tried not to give into the feeling creeping up her spine.
She didn’t hear the porch creak. She stood leaning on the rail wishing somewhere deep inside her that things were different. That all of this had never happened. The arms closed around her from behind and she tried to scream but the hand over her mouth was solid.
“Hello little bitch” the voice said silkily “you really didn’t think you would get away that easily did you?” The hand holding her body began to wander and she tried to scream and pull away. “I’ve come to finish what we started.”
She felt her mind go blank and then click into place as she felt the cold of the gun barrel at her throat. She had to do something. Her mind raced as she sought the answer, then it came to her. She jerked her head back and cracked it into his face. He let her go with a scream, rolling over, both hands cupped around his nose growling.
“What the hell did you do that for?” he asked in a startled voice through his hands, as he looked up at her “are you crazy?”
She smiled down at him and clicked the chamber open spinning it. She knelt down beside him and brushed the hair back from his forehead. His whole skin was bright pink from her head and she tisked.
“No, it just looks better for me if it looks like I’ve fought you.” She reached up and pulled at the neck of her blouse until the fabric ripped. Then she scratched her cheek and knelt down beside him. “You see” she said in a low voice as she clicked the chamber back into place with a cold snap “It will sell better if you came back and attacked me and I saved myself, NBC and ABC and touchstone pictures are already clamoring for the story, I just want to make sure it’s a good one.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” he said dumbly as he sat up releasing his nose. Deputy Joshua Warren felt the unease growing inside him as he watched her play with the gun. He knew he shouldn’t have gotten involved with her but he couldn’t resist. Forty year old deputies don’t get a chance at young tail, even if she liked to play rough games.
“You are so stupid” she said softly as she pointed the gun at him and clicked the safety off “ I have to tie up all the lose ends, and you are a lose end, how can I sell my kidnapping story if you are around? How does that look if they think I planned it?
“But you did plan it” he mumbled as he felt his bladder clench at the sight of his own service pistol pointed at him. “You said you wanted me to be rough.”
Katie wiped her eyes and sat in the silence, gun in hand. She grabbed her cell phone and dialed with calm fingers. “Hello,” she said in her best shaky voice “I need help”. She smiled as she gave the frantic description of what had happened to the operator. Damn I’m good she thought to herself as she cradled the phone between her ear and her shoulder, and her drama teacher had said she couldn’t act.