Monthly Archives: January 2014

Twenty Four Hours

This is chapter nine of Steve’s Story

Chapter eight can be found here: Revelation

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“They’ve given me twenty four hours,” John  said as he disconnected the call to his message centre.

“To do what?” Steve asked him, automatically looking at his watch then at John. He looked so sad and tired sitting there with his phone still in the air near his face.

“To come up with the money. They said I’ve already had plenty of time, and didn’t like that I’d called you in to help.” John looked dejectedly out of the window.

“What are you going to do?” Steve put his hand gently on John ‘s arm. “I’m here, John, ready to do whatever is necessary to help you get Karen back.” He knew he would have John’s back no matter the situation. As he sat there he recalled the last time he had been brave and how that had got him into this situation in the first place. He was still under-dressed because of that bravery, and had it not been for the fierce heater in the car he would have been freezing.  He had come to John’s aid without second thought, perhaps foolishly in hindsight, but he’d do it again and again if John needed him.

“I don’t know,” John looked as if he was shutting down. “I just don’t know.”

“I’m sure your bank would release the money without much trouble.” Steve’s mind was running through possibilities whilst at the back of his mind what he had seen back in the cabin still haunted him. “Is that what you want to do?”

“But how can I be sure they will release her even if I pay up?” John was fiddling with his phone as he spoke.

“Perhaps we need to talk about the cabin first,” Steve was plucking up courage to share. He knew that if he didn’t do so now it may all be a waste of time.

“The cabin?” John asked as if he hadn’t been with Steve just minutes ago.

“Yes, John, the Cabin.” Steve squeezed John’s arm making him turn to look at him. “More to the point, what I saw at the cabin.” Steve added gulping slightly preparing himself to tell John just what he had seen.

“The Cabin. Yes what did you see. It sure freaked you enough to get us running out of there,” John said as he stared more intently at Steve. It seemed he had come out of the fugue he was drifting into just moments ago.  “But Karen.” he added.

“It’s all linked, John,” Steve said as the stark memory of what had been in that kitchen flared back into his mind as he began to tell John what had spooked him so back at the cabin.

Meanwhile the clock on the car dashboard counted down the seconds and minutes of the twenty four hours.

23 - twenty four hours

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Revelation…

This is chapter eight of Steve’s Story

Chapter Seven can be found here: Out of there

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John had driven less than  a few hundred yards when Steve started to regret his decision to run. What he had seen in that kitchen had shocked him more than anything ever before. He’d gone over and over it in his mind like a video on a repeating loop. Those eyes, beseeching eyes. They were too much. And in her hand that small box, the one he had last seen month’s ago when she had taken it from her pocket, where she had touched it and smiled at him beguilingly, the one that was now covered in her blood.

“Stop,” he shouted leaning towards the driver’s side of the car as if he were about to grab the steering wheel. John pulled over.

With eyes wide with fear or lack of sleep or maybe both John stared across at Steve. John wasn’t sure if Steve realised or not but he was still shivering, despite the heat being on full blast in the car.

“What was it you saw back there?” John asked. He had been sure that a bomb was about to explode, or that they would have been pursued by  Steve’s captors or at least by their bullets and had been checking the rear-view mirror since pulling away from the cabin, but nothing had been apparent.

Steve was gripping his seat-belt as if it were the only thing keeping him connected to the here and now. He looked directly at John “What you had with Karen was so amazing,” he said out of nowhere. It was the one thing that he coveted most, their relationship, yet jumped in with both feet to help John in this nightmare to find her without thought of what he as doing or for his own safety.

Suddenly John’s phone which was sitting on the dashboard vibrated violently making them both look at it, as it interrupted what Steve was about to say.  John snatched up his phone and noticed that he had three missed calls. He dialled his voice-message centre number and put the phone to his ear. The first message was an Estate Agent cold calling, John deleted the message and moved to the next. The second one was no more than white noise. As he listened to the third message Steve could see his hand tighten on the phone as his face froze in an ashen grimace.

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The next chapter can be found here – Twenty-Four Hours

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Out of There…

This is chapter seven of Steve’s Story

Chapter Six can be found here: When it cracked open…

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Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any worse I realised that I shouldn’t assume things. Looking through the crack in the door what I saw chilled me to the bone, and I knew that I needed to act fast to save both John and myself.  My mind and body, though still cold and slowed by the freezing weather and dampness of my clothes, went into automatic. It was as though my gut instinct was telling me something. I sensed danger all around, especially from the darkness of the kitchen. What I had seen was imprinted on my mind.

I pulled back from the door and shoving it closed grabbed John’s arm. “Quick, outta here,” I managed to say as I dragged him away from the door towards the front door. He didn’t resist even though he must have wondered what had panicked me so.  All things considered I guessed he must be getting used to the shocks and twists and turns of what seemed to be his life at that moment.

“Tell me that wasn’t your car that blew up earlier, and we’ve a way out of here,” I shouted as I ran towards the front door, dragging John the first few steps.

The terror on my face and in my voice must have been evident from the quaver I heard in John’s reply. “My car’s round the side. Right when you get out of the front door,” he shouted after me.  Looking round I saw him waving keys as confirmation of our escape vehicle.

We were out the door like the proverbial bats out of hell. I turned right slipping on the icy front door step and almost lost my balance. John  grabbed my arm steadying me and took over the race. I hadn’t seen his car hidden behind the bracken and bushes when we had come into the cabin a few moments earlier, but was so relieved at the sight of it.  A thought suddenly filled my head; ‘It’s not going to start’.

John opened the driver’s door and jumped in as I hollered, “Start the engine and get us out of here, as quick as you can,” I could see the questions clearly etched in his face, but he held his tongue and did as I asked.

I jumped into the passenger seat and slammed the door. John gunned the engine. The relief that the car had started first time washed over me.

Glancing in my direction, then in the rear-view mirror John slammed the car into first gear and, churning mud and snow under us he sped away from the cabin. Pulling my seat-belt down I chanced a look over my shoulder. I was sure all hell was about to break loose, as if it hadn’t already.

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And the next part of Steve’s story is here

REVELATION

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When it cracked open I could see

This is chapter six of Steve’s Story

Chapter Five can be found here: Rescue

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In the seconds after the blast from the car the forest returned to its natural silent state. It was almost as if it were holding its breath waiting to see what would happen next. 

As their sense returned, after the blast that had thrown them to the forest floor, Steve began to realise just how cold it was. The snow around the car had been melted in concentric rings radiating outwards. Steve looked around in stunned amazement as his body started to shake from the cold and his teeth chattered in chilly agreement. Looking to his right he saw John shaking himself down as he got to his feet. He nodded at Steve to do the same indicating with hand gestures that they should move towards the cabin and get inside. He hugged himself in a charade-like manner which suggested to Steve that he could see just how cold Steve was and that getting inside might warm them both.  John was dressed well for the weather whereas Steve was not at all. Not only was he poorly dressed for the freezing conditions his clothes were now soaked through from contact with the snow and ice.

Inside the cabin Steve thought he recognised it as the place of his recent incarceration, flooding his mind with memories of the hours spent in the darkened room. He was well aware that he hadn’t been held in the comfort of this cozy living room, but in the basement below. His hands were still in the cuffs reminding even more of his recent predicament.  Now he was free he wanted his hands free too. He shook them angrily as he looked around for something to warm him up.

John grabbed a blanket off the sofa and threw it round Steve’s shoulders. “I think there’s a hacksaw back there somewhere,” he said as he moved towards a door at the back of the cabin. “And there should be some dry clothes upstairs that will fit you.”

Steve had many unanswered questions for John. “Who are these people? What do they want? Where are we exactly? and howow on earth did I get dragged into this?” The words tumbled from his lips rapidly. When John had explained the situation to him what felt like an age ago he hadn’t taken on the full seriousness of what was going on.

With his hand on the handle to the door and the kitchen beyond John suddenly stopped short as the sound of breaking glass filtered through to them both. He lifted a finger to his mouth to indicate to Steve that they be quiet, should Steve really have needed telling.

Steve moved to beside the door as John opened it a fraction. Despite the gloom on the other side, when it cracked open Steve could see through to the kitchen. What he saw chilled him even further than the snow had done moments ago.

11 - when it cracked openChapter seven can be found here – Out of There

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Rescue

This is chapter five of Steve’s Story

Chapter Four can be found here: ‘One, Two, Three, Four, Five..’

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“Steve, is that you?” the voice called my name again.  I recognised the voice and the words but was such in a mad panic trying to remove the bindings round my legs that I was in no position to reply at that moment. There was a strong smell of petrol . The fumes were beginning to become overwhelming. I knew that one bullet in the right (wrong) place, or just one spark could ignite the whole kit and caboodle, which would mean lights out for me permanently. I had wondered why my captors had left the car instead of driving away from the shooter.  The answer, or at least a whiff of it, was getting stronger by the second.

In my panic and haste to remove the bindings I hadn’t been aware that the shooting had stopped, leaving an almost deathly hush. All I could hear was the pounding  in my head as blood was pumped by my overworked heart. Words no grandmother should hear were spilling from my mouth, which incidentally was still smarting from the removal of the tape, as my fingers grappled to remove it.

My fingers were becoming numb and even more useless for the task I had set them. The cuffs on my wrists were pulled tighter as a result of being thrust to the end of my body. I was beginning to lose it, panic was taking over. As I grappled with the tape with my near to useless fingers, I grappled with the possibility of my demise in my head.  Through the thrumming sound of blood in my ears I suddenly became aware of another noise. The car engine was still running, which would mean  that the spark plugs were still sparking, sparking enough to set off a fire. Panic truly had hold of me. I could no longer act or think rationally.

As my heart and head plumbed the depths of despair the boot was suddenly wrenched open wide. I ducked back into the car afraid of what was about to happen. Scared of a possibly beating or of being shot I lifted my arms from my feet and held them over my head  and face for protection.

“Steve, it’s me,” the familiar voice said. I had recognised it earlier, and now close up I could confirm it was John. I felt his hand reach mine, the touch that was going to save me from a possible inferno. He pulled my arms up and dragged me out of the car boot. He must have seen that my legs were still bound as he hauled me out of there because his next move was to throw me over his shoulder and start to run. Later in the relative safety of the hotel room I realised we must have made a  strange sight. John,  who was half my size with me over one shoulder running, or more correctly stumbling from a car towards the cabin, but at that moment I was so relieved to be out and moving.

As we neared the cabin I hear a muted explosion behind us as the car eventually caught fire. John fell forward into the snow. ‘How strange that before that moment I hadn’t been aware of just how cold it was,’ I thought as the muted explosion became a ferocious one. We both buried our heads in our hands as the heat radiated out over our bodies, scarring the trees and melting the snow around us.

For a moment my mind allowed me to believe the nightmare was over. Seconds later reality hit as I remembered by captors were still somewhere in the vicinity, more than likely hiding somewhere amidst the trees biding their time.

Image

The next chapter in Steve’s story can be found here – ‘When it cracked open..’

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‘One, Two, three, four, five….’

Chapter Four of Steve’s story

The previous chapter can be found here: Upside Down

Steve cowered in the darkness as the shots rang out. He had already heard the car doors open and had surmised that he was alone in his confinement. To turn from his fear that he could be accidentally hit, or even intentionally, his mind retreated into itself. ‘One, two, three, four, five….’ he counted the shots off in his head as they rang off the car’s bodywork.  ‘… once I caught a fish alive,’ he murmured behind the tape over his mouth.He didn’t understand why in stressful times like this, not that he had had that many this stressful, his mind picked up on songs, nursery rhymes and even poems from his past. It wasn’t like he was a writer like John. He counted more shots, and wondered how on earth such a furore could go unnoticed in a busy city, before he considered the fact that he really had no idea where he was, in the city or well out in the countryside. 

A bullet slammed into the boot above him, bringing him back from his reverie. He immediatelly hunkered down in the boot even more, but then noticed that there was a chink of light along the boots seal. For a few moments he pondered his next move. Should he push the boot open and see if he could get out. Before that, he realised with sharp clarity, he would have to loosen and remove the bindings round his feet. Wriggling onto his side he edged his aching arms down towards his extremities. With the boot fully closed he had not been able to do this, but he became more aware that as the boot catch had been popped he could see now and had room to manoeuvre.

His hands found the bindings. He was relieved that it appeared his legs had only been bound by the same tape that covered his mouth. He pulled at it ferociously without making much impact. Changing tack he put his hands to his face to remove the tape from his mouth. Breathing had became more difficult with the exertion, and he needed to ease it. Finding an edge of the tape he gingerly pulled at it. It had been well fixed and was pulling at the hairs of his moustache and stubble. Guessing that there was going to be no easy or painless way of removing the tape he gave it a sharp tug. Breathing in great gulps of air he looked at the tape and saw that a great deal of his facial hair was still attached to it. His face was sore. He knew it must look bad too, or at the very least a bright shade of red.

Steve resumed his attack on the tape that bound his feet with increased vigour. It wasn’t easy with cuffed wrists, but he was making the best of a bad job. He tugged away at the bindings when his hands slipped and hit the roof of the boot sending the door wide open. At almost the very same moment he heard an anguished cry. Someone was calling his name.

08 -one,two,threeThe next chapter of Steve’s story can be found here: Rescue

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Upside Down.

Today’s post combines the fatmumslim prompt for today (Upside down)as well as the one from ‘Just Write‘ “I inhaled every layer of its aroma, the smell …” slightly adjusted to fit the perspective of the narrative. 

This is part three of Steve’s story

Part Two can be found here Escape

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As Steve came to he remembered his botched escape attempt, and the slender ankle and heeled foot that was literally his downfall. Although his mouth was covered with some kind of sticky tape Steve could still breathe and smell through his nose. He ran his tongue over his teeth and gums. H had been sure he had lost at least a couple of teeth in his fall, and sure enough he found a gap where once he had had two sparkling crowns. At least they weren’t giving him any pain. 

As Steve became more aware of his body he realised that both his hands and feet were now cuffed or bound. His hands were still in the cuffs that he had been wearing for a while now, and his feet felt like they were bound with a roughly hewn rope. He tried to stretch out but met resistance on all sides, not just from his bindings but also from the small space he had been folded into. He was in a small enclosed compartment, upside down with his face deep in a richly aroma’d carpet. 

Steve’s face had been pushed deep into the grimy carpet on which it now rested. Lying there he inhaled every layer of its aroma, the smells that had become part of it’s fabric making him want to gag. Swallowing deeply he controlled this gag reflex, knowing that to give way to it could mean choking on his own vomit. Once again he wondered at how he had got himself into this mess. ‘No good deed goes unpunished,’ he thought ironically as he stumbled over the details of how he had tried to help his good friend John in what had become a nightmare for them both.

Being able to only breathe through his nose was a distinct disadvantage in his reversed position. His face pressed into the floor so hard meant that every time he breathed he took in not only the foul aromas of the carpet but also the loose hairs and fibres of which it was made. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to sneeze or to gag, but resisted both urges.

His ears pricked up as he heard voices approaching. He couldn’t make out the words being said but he knew the voices well enough to know they were his captors’.  They sounded almost jovial as car doors opened and slammed closed, which was when Steve finally realised he was in the boot of the car they had just got into.  Even when his captors were inside the car he was still unable to make out what they were saying. The engine was engaged and the car started moving meaning he could hear very little above the sounds of the noisy transmission.

As the car pulled away he wondered where they were taking him this time, and what they wanted of him . Within seconds of leaving the parking space a gunshot sounded followed by the sound of glass shattering. He assumed it must have been the rear window of the car when the glass rained down onto the boot. He ducked automatically as he heard another gunshot. The car pulled up with the screech of the handbrake. Steve’s mind was running amok. He had no idea what was going on outside, but hoped whoever was doing the shooting was on his side.

07 -upside downPart four of Steve’s story can be found here : ‘One, Two, Three..’

 

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