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Tony gave me a ride home. He dropped me off at my house and drove off with a wave. I grabbed the spare key in the eaves and let myself in. I was greeted by booming barks and Jake, my german shepherd bounded toward me. He growled, bristling, until he realized it was me. He reared, putting his from paws on my chest and nudged my face with his cold nose.
"Hey Buddy! Wanna go upstiars? C'mon, let's go!" I raced him up the stairs, almost winning. He ran dow the hall to my bedroom and waited by the door. I opened it and we bothwent in. Jake jumped up onto my captian's bed and stretched out on it, leaving almost no room for me. I shoved him toward the wall and laid down next to him. He rested his head on my chest.
We lay there for a while, home alone. I love Jake. We were pretty close, if that makes sense. I sleep outside with him, he sleeps inside with me. I throw balls and take him on walks, he's protected me more than once. I love my dog.
I checked my watch. My parents would be home around seven o'clock. Which meant I'd have to get my own dinner. I swung my legs off the bed and got up.
"C'mon, Jake." said, patting my thigh. He trotted after me as I went down the stairs and into the kitchen. I threw a bag of popcorn into the microwave and leaned against the counter, listening to the hum of the microwave. It hadn't even started popping yet when the doorbell rang.
Jake was off like a shot, barking his head off. I ran after him, shoved him aside with my leg, and opened the door.
Standing in the doorway was a man I didn't recognize. He was in his late thirties at least. He had dark hair, and a somewhat scruffy suit, that looked like it might have been nice at one point, but didn't look like much now. He had light blue-gray eeys and a day's stubble on his chin.
"You must be Spader." His voice was rough as if he needed a glass of water. I struggled to keep Jake behind the door as he barked and snarled.
"Sure." I said. He reached into his suit jacket, and pulled out a wicked looking silver gun. A compact 40. And I was staring right into its muzzle. I stood there frozen for a second,t rying to wrap my brain around this.
"What do you want me for?" I asked. He held the pistol with both hands now. He stood there, feet apart, eyes trained on me. Not good. Think fast, Spader. Now was a good time to think of a safe, water-tight plan. Failing that, I improvised.
I slammed the door as fast as I could. I heard the crack of a gunshot and the door dented in. I locked the door and ran to the back door. Luckily, it was already locked. I locked the garage door just in case. I ran upstiars and locked the French doors on the balcony, not that I was really worried they would get up to the second floor. But you never know.
Jake was still barking furiously at the intruder down stairs. I felt pretty safe, but wanted to be sure just in case. I grabbed the phone and listened for the hum of the dial tone. I always did, just for habit to make sure nobody else was already talking on it. But I didn't hear a thing. Ha I left one of the phones off the hook? My confidence slipped slightly, but I ran down the stairs, passed the front door, and ran into my parent's bedroom. That phone was hung up. So was the one in the compuiter room. And the kichen, and the basement, and the one upstiars. What was going on? Had he cut the lines?
Had they cut the lines? I thought miserably as I watched two more men walk passed the window, guns out. What did they want with me? I wasn't famous or special. Neither were my parents. Or Jake, come to think of it, so why would they want me? Jake flew around the corner and crouched by my side, snarling, looking around. I crouched and ran a hand down his raised hackles. I felt a little better with him there.
There was another gunshot in another room and shattering glass. I grabbed the phone, ready to try again. Nothing. My mom had taken her cell phone with her. I ran down the stairs into the basement and turned off all the lights. I looked around for a hiding place. There wasn't anywhere they wouldn't find me.
"Jake, stay. Stay." I said, holding a hand up. He looked at me, then sat down by the couch. I ran into the short hallway. A bathroom, my mom's scrapbooking room, and the storage room. I would probably have the best luck with the storage room. In the wall there was a huge hole that went back a long ways filled with junk from old computers to our Christmas tree. There was an old refrigerator, our old washing machine, and four enormous, fifty gallon water barrels. I closed the door. I didn't even try to move the washing machine.
I turned the light off, and tried to pull a water barrel to block the door. I'm strong, but not quite that strong. It didn't work very well. I hardly got a few inches, so, I went around behind it, pressed my back against the wall, and shoved it forward with my feet. That worked better. It was in the middle of the room now. I put my back to the water barrel and shoved at the ground with my feet. I kept moving, straining myself until I felt the barrel touch the door. Maybe that would give them some trouble. Too bad the door didn't lock.
I listened at the crack at the door. Footsteps coming down the stairs, then Jake flipped. Barking and snarling and yelping, louder and more vicious that I've ever heard before. It almost scared me. I heard a gunshot, a yelp, and then more snarling. I turned and hoisted myself into teh huge, square hole. I moved carefully through the hunk. I was really penning myself in. But it was too late now. Jake's snarling and barking had stopped. I really hoped they hadn't shot him. Maybe I should have kept him in here with me.
I hid in the back corner behind a short wall of junk. I heard the door open in the next room. A loud crash as what sounded like a computer fell off a desk. Five minutes passed, then the door acrossed the hall opened. It didn't take them as long to search that. I looked around desperately, trying to ind some way to escape.
Whoa! There was a hole above me. It wasn't very deep, maybe three feet. But I hadn't noticed it there before. Wood crossed along the edges of the hole and it was filled with spider webs. I took a breath, sizing it up. I could get up in there, if I was careful. I grabbed a short shovel, and stuck it up into the hole. I heard the door open, but it didn't even make a crack. The heavy water barrel was doing a good job. So far. A body rammed against the door, making the water barrel scrape across the floor a few inches. I pulled the shovel back down, coated in spider webs and brown, hairy spiders. I threw it away, and twisted my body around so my feet went up into the hole first. When I was up to my waist, i felt the top of the hole. I bent my knees, hooking the toes around the wood. Then I pulled myself up. I used my knees and my feet and my hands to keep me in. But I made it in with a little room left. what if they saw me, crouched up in here like this? I'd be dead.
I saw a shattered computer monitor almost directly below me. As the door slammed into the water barrel again, I reached down, grabbed it, my arms taking the weight easily. I lifted it up, just barely managing to fit it into the hole with me. If they saw me, I'd drop it on them. I could barely see passed the monitor, but if I shifted it, like so, I'd be able to see them. Perfect. Now I had to wait.
With a loud crash, the barrel scraped across the ground and I heard someone walk in. I held my breath, my hair swishing in front of my eyes. I tried to shake it back to so I could see. There was a grunt as it sounded like the person was trying to move something heavy. I heard the soft click of a gun, then nothing. I felt the tension in the room rising. My arms were burning with the effort of holding up the monitor. I didn't think it would be this hard. But I coudln't let go of it now. I had to keep hanging onto it, or I'd die anyway.
I heard footsteps shuffling over closer. Then I heard someone hoist themselves into the "tunnel." I felt my legs shaking with the effort of keeping me up. Maybe they wouldn't even see me. I hadn't noticed it before, and I've been back here twice before.
The man moved clumsily through the junk. I felt my lungs burning as I held my breath. But I woudln't let it out. I could see their shadow. THey moved closer, and I saw between the wall and the side of the monitor, dark hair, connected to a neck and back. The crouched figure peered behind boxes and what looked like half a parachute. As he tried to turn around, a stack of cans toppled over. I was going to explode.
"You okay?" A rough voice called from the door.
"Yeah. Cans." As he struggled to pick himself back up, he caught a glimpse of me. He let out a strangled cry, and raised his gun. I dropped the monitor on him. It hit the back of his head, neck, and between his shoulder blades. Goal!
I dropped down, trying not to step on him and ran for it. I dodged behind a large bucket full of what looked like hardened cement as the other man entered the room. He pointed the gun into the gap.
"Jace?" He asked hesitantly. He didn't get an answer. tHe man climbed into the tunnel, gun still raised and ready. If he came much closer, I'd be discovered. I looked around for something to hit him with. There was a baseball bat on the other side of the tunnel, but if I reached over and grabbed it, he'd kill me. I looked into the box behind me. China. Throw a plate at him, right? But . . . candlesticks!
As quietly as I could, i reached in and grabbed the silver candlestick. I remembered my mom using these at Christmas dinner last year. She wouldn't mind.
The man crept even closer. I wanted to swing at him now, but I wouldn't have a very good aim. I gripped the candlestick hard, my knuckles turning white. I saw the muzzle of the gun pass the edge of the bucket. I huddled closer to the wall to avoid detection just a little longer. For a moment, for one small moment, it looked like I might actually pull this off.
"Freeze." The voice was low and deadly. I froze solid, my breathing catching in my chest. Then, I swung the candlestick as hard as I could.
It collided with the man's forehead with a metallic thud. He dropped the gun, looking dazed. I swung a punch at him, putting as much force as I could into it with the little space provided. Just in case I hadn't gotten him out with the candlestick. Then, just to be sure, I hit him with the candlestick again.
He slumped to the floor, unmoving. I hastily crawled over him and hopped down to the ground three feet below. I had just straightened when I heard the click of a gun. I looked up, and stared straight into the muzzle of yet another gun. This time, a Browning .96. I froze solid.
"Drop everything and put your hands up." I didn't have anything to drop, so I placed both of my hands on the back of my head. He motioned with the gun for me to walk forward. He moved aside, then jerked the gun out the door. Wondering if they were going to kill me now or later, I walked through the door. I felt the gun jab into my back and heard him giving me directions.
"Don't try anything." I wasn't going to. I wasn't some agent that had awesome karate moves or anything. I was terrified. I was actually going to be killed. That was the only thought I could get through my head.
But as we left the house, my mind slowly started to accept it, letting other thoughts come to my head. Why were they going to kill me? I didn't have anything for them. I hadn't done anything. And as far as I knew, neither had my parents. So what did they want from me? What singled me out from everyone else?
I prayed desperately that somebody would look out the window and call the police, but when a big, white van pulled up in the street, and two other men joined the first, I knew there wasn't a chance i was going to get out of this one. But if I did survive, somehow, every van I saw after that, I'd call the cops on.
I tried to take everyting in at once. The men's faces, what they were wearing, the guns they were holding, the license plate of the van, how many people there were, and hopefully, where they might be taking me. But I was going to have an overload. there was no way I could concentrate on everyting at once. I memorized their faces, and repeated the license plate over and over again in my head.
someone jerked my hands behind my back harshly, and I felt cold handcuffs clamp on my wrists. Tightly. There was no way I'd be able to work those loose. I felt strong hands grab my arms just below the shoulder and actually pick me up off the ground and threw me into the van. I struggled to roll over and managed to work myself into a sitting position. Two other men climbed into the van with me, and slammed the door shut. The engine roared beneath me and we started forward. I tried to concentrate on the turns we were making. Down the hill, right, then an instant left. After a few moments, another right. We slowed, a left, then we came to an almost complete stop. Then a forward, left and acceleration. If I was fairly correct, we were on the highway now. Not good. We could easily pass exits without me knowing.
Over ten minutes passed. I wished I could see where we were. We were still moving pretty fast. So we were still on the greeway. I looked around the van. Empty. Stripped of everything. I half wanted to say something, but dind't want to get shot. They hadn't taken a lot of precautions with me. They hadn't tied up my feet, or taped my mouth or anyting. Neither of those things were going to help me with anytihng. But in movies during kidnap, they always seem to do that. Movies can be misleading.
Another ten minutes passed, then we began to slow down. Had we gotten onto an exit? We slowed to a stop. I heard the unmistakeable sound of a clicking blinker. We turned right, then went staright for a while. All the sound of the traffic faded. The road grew bumpy, then smoothed back out again. I hadn't the faintest idea where we were.
I had stopped paying attention around five minutes ltaer. I was looking around the van, making plans for when the opened the door. If they really wanted to keep me as a hostage, they woudln't shoot me. Bt if they knew I was gong to get away anyway, might as well shoot me. This wasn't working out very well.
Suddenly, there was a loud shriek and the car veered dangerously to the left. But they had tried to turn too fast and too hard. The van tipped on two wheels. I threw my weight across the van to keep it from toppling, but my weight wasn't enough. it carshed onto its side, the sliding door as a ceiling now. I smacked my head painfully on the wall and sparks popped before my eyes. I shook my head hard, trying to rid it of the blackness.
Both of the guys in the car pounced on top of me. I felt myself being pressed against the wall wtih all the air knocked out of my chest. That is not a pleasant feeling. you couldn't breathe, in or out. your chest seized up and panic seemed to take you, but you were really just fine.
I heard the unique sound of tape being ripped apart. Before I could react in any way, a thick piece of duck tape stuck my mouth shut. One of the men grabbed a fistful of my hair and yanked my head back painfully. He jabbed the muzzle of his gun under my jaw and held it there, watching the door of the van. The other crouched on the opposite side, his gun pointed up toward the sliding doow. This was not good. I had figured for myself this wasn't an ordinary crash. Something had caused it. Not a deer or something like that. someone had tried to stop them. And I could heard the engine of at least two toher cars outside, slightly muffled by the metal. Two gunshots. I felt the gun pressing steadily harder into my skin, almost cutting off my air.
I was breathing rapidly now. I couldn't help it. somebody had tried to kill someone else outside. I was in a dangerous situation. It never really occurred how bad of a spot I was in until now. I listened hard as everything went quiet outside. I heard footsteps crunch over loose gravel.
Suddenly, the metal above us dented in with a loud slam. I jumped hard, my breathing speeding up, if that were possible. I was going to die. nobody could ever understand what I was feeling, knowing that my life was in real danger. anyone who has never had their life threatned can't possible know exactly how it feels. I didn't think I'd be scared if someone tried to kill me. I wasn't scared. I was terrified.
Muffled voices outside. Then, the door slid open, revealing at least four guns pointing in on us.
"Point those at me and I'll shoot him!"My captor screamed, jabbing the gun up my neck. I froced myself not to struggle against him and concentrate on the people standing above us.
Three men were standing above the opening, looking down on us. Their eyes darted form me and my captor, to the other man in the corner, visibly shaking. I hoped they couldn't see me shaking, or hear my heart pounding. They didn't look that old. Late twenties, early thirties. Htye all had on thick, black unifmors, long-sleved and pants with cargo pockets running down the sides. Soldiers? With their Aircutt .86 machine guns, they sure made it look that way.
They all lowered their guns slightly at the man's cry. I coudln't think straight. I couldn't tear my gaze away from the men standing above me. Were they going to shoot me just to kill him? That's now what they do with hostages! They try to save them! I really, really, hoped that's what usually happens.
I heard a slight squeak as the man's finger tightened on the trigger. He was going to shoot me anyway. It looked like the savers weren't able to save me in time. that left it up to me.
A spike of adrenaline shot up my spine. I jerked my head away and tried my best with my hnads tied behind my back to elbow him in the gut. I came in contact with something as a shot went off. I hesitate donly a moment to make sure I wasn't dead, and fell over sideways. I kicked savagely at the other man whose gun was directed at me. i caught him on the side of the jaw and heard a sickening crack. he slammed his head against the wall and lost his gun.
I glanced behind me to see my other captor shooting up a the machine gun owners. Carefully, I worked my tied hands under me, and pulled my legs through the opening. Now my hands were in front of me. That made everyting much easier.
Pushing myself into a sitting positing, I saw out of the vorner of my eye the man crumple to the ground. Now for the one I had kicked. I looked around, and as I did, the hard metal of a gun whacked the side of my face.
Pain errupted down my right temple and this time fireworks blocked my vision. I felt warm liquid dripping down my jaw as I shook the hair out of my eyes. The man's foot came in contact with my shoulder hard. I fell over sideways, feeling like my skin was on fire. I heard a click of a gun and looked up to see the man pointing his gun at me.
There was a loud ahmmering sound andt he man dropped the gun and crumpled to the floor. I looked up at the hole. One soldier was already inside the van, and two more were waiting above. The one inside walked toward me in a crouc, lowering his gun. Though in my view, he was upside-down, he was pretty handsome. He had short brown hair, dark brown eyes, high cheekbones, a strong jaw, and a slightly rugged look about him.
"Hey, are you okay?" He aske din a gentle voice, placing one hand on the ground as he bent closer to me. I scooted away from him and got to my knees.
"I wouldn't hurt you." he said, holding up a hand. My heart was still pounding, my breathing unsteady, adrenaline still flying through my bloodstreams.
"Are you hurt, besides your cut? Did they break anything? Did they inject you with anything?" I began to wind down. My breathing slowed. I began to get myself back. i hand't died. I was stilla live. I wasn't oging to die. but I woudln't call this safe. Slowly, I shook my head. I reached up and peeled the duck tape covering my mouth.
"Here, I'll get your handcuffs." He said, taking a few steps closer. I drew back instinctively, but then sat down, my feet in front of me, and let him approach.
"Jack, throw down the nippers." He called up. He reached up and caught a wicked looking, metal clipping thing. The were like garden snippers, but shorter and thicker. I coudln't help but let my eyes widen when I saw those.