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December 12, 2000
Patrick McGruder watched the clouds pass below. Puffy and white, the blue sky surrounding them reminded him of a cool pool of water even as they reflected the magnificent sun of the day. McGruder sighed…if only his outlook could be so bright.
“You ok?” Michael Montana asked quietly.
McGruder turned to his old friend, a tight smile forming on his lips.
Montana, I’m just not so used to being on
this side of the equation I guess.”
Michael nodded in understanding. “It can happen to any of us Patrick…nature of the beast.”
Returning his eyes to the front, Michael smiled at the sight that met him.
A very sexy Beth Montoya, his Forensic Accountant/Field Operative was leaning over Joe Bright’s seat. Joe was the other operative that he had brought along on this mission.
Two of only three in his inner circle, Michael had brought the best of the best along for this particular mission. But it wasn’t Beth’s work in the field he was thinking about at that moment.
Having had an on and off sexual relationship with her over the last couple of years, his mind was absorbed on a past exploit in the bedroom.
Catching himself, he cleared his throat before turning back toward McGruder. “You’ve made the right choice today Patrick, this will give us an edge when we get on the ground.”
“Indeed,” McGruder nodded, “One which I hope we can take full advantage of if everything goes according to plan.”
“It will,” Michael grinned, “It was thought up by two of the best in the business.” A movement in the aisle claimed his attention again; Joe Bright and Beth were now moving toward him.
A hulk of a man, Joe came off as fat in his usual tacky jacket and slacks, but Michael knew better. Having met Joe on the very first day of Michael’s first operation, they had been together ever since. An ex detective, Joe was a chain-smoking, uncouth individual that always got results.
“Pilot says two hours,” Joe mumbled as he approached Michael’s seat, “Bethy and me’s gonna break out the gear and set it up.”
Michael smiled at Beth’s grimace; Joe always called her Bethy, much to her dismay.
“Good idea,” Michael responded. “Don’t catch anything on fire.”
He knew part of the reason that Joe was volunteering to go to the cargo hold was his need for a nicotine infusion.
“Fucking pissant,” Joe muttered under his breath before raising his voice, “If I do, I guess you’ll be one of the first people to know.”
Beth rolled her eyes as she followed Joe into the rear of the plane.
“It’s good to see Joe again,” McGruder observed when they had passed. “A good guy…although I think you may be the only man that he could ever hope to work for…at least for any length of time.”
Michael had to laugh at Patrick’s observation. “You may be right about that…it takes a mind with a certain bent to handle Joe’s….”
“Peculiarities?” McGruder finished Michael’s sentence. “Yes, I suppose it would. Still, I’m overjoyed that he is here, as well as you and Beth.”
McGruder’s smile turned to sadness again before he turned his face once again toward the window.
“If they are as good as you say they are Patrick, they will come out of this fine.”
McGruder turned again toward Michael. “I hope they are as good as I think they are too,” he responded before turning back toward the window.
“I hope to hell they are good enough.”
December 12, 2000
“Here you go buddy, just a little sip.”
I had Preacher’s head in my hand, raising it slightly while trying to feed him some powdered soup I had found in the supplies.
My return trek had been yet another nightmare.
Burdened with the additional weight of the sled, I sunk down ever farther into the snow with every step back. My legs now felt like they would never work properly again.
Around half way back to the shack, I lost all sense of my previous trail. Stopping and taking numerous sightings on the North Star as I traveled, it could have only been God’s hand that had allowed me to finally step back into the relative warmth of the shack.
God’s…or Betty’s…or maybe both.
Either way, I was exceedingly thankful to have made it back, especially with the small load of supplies that gave us a fighting chance at survival!
The first thing I had noted upon my return was that the portable heater had stopped working. Grabbing one of the new propane tanks, I quickly exchanged it for the old and lit it with a kitchen match. Turning it up all of the way, I set the snow I had collected earlier on it and proceeded to dig through the sled’s contents. I had brought the sled inside with me earlier, and I moved it closer to the fire to look through it.
My teeth were chattering so bad I wasn’t sure that they would ever stop, but it felt like I wouldn’t be able to move from the stove for at least several hours.
Finding a box of instant soup, I immediately poured two packets into the warming water before examining the rest of the stash.
In the sled I found 6 canisters of propane, one of which I had already utilized. The box of soup had contained ten individual serving packets, of which I had already used two, so four more meals there. Eight if I stretched it.
There were also two arctic sleeping bags, four Russian Army surplus canned meals, and six batteries for the flashlights.
I sat back on my haunches and did some math in my head. If we were ultra-conservative, we could probably hope to live here comfortably for three days…if we stretched it a little further…maybe five.
I glanced over at Preacher, who was resting more comfortably with the added heat and the food in his belly. But he still needed help sooner than later, and five days was way longer than I could risk his life for.
We needed a plan of escape! And I would start on that immediately…as soon as I got some rest. I wasn’t even sure that I had the energy left to pull myself into a sleeping bag, but I was determined to give it a try. I had to get some sleep, and some rest for my extremely overworked…old muscles.
With numb fingers, I worked at untying the straps that held the sleeping bag. When I finally got them released, I pulled off my boots and parka and crawled into the bag, pulling the zipper up as far as it would go.
In that moment I worried over the fate of Abby, as well as concern for May. I was sure that she was at the very least worried about us by now just from the delay of our return, even if she didn’t know of our abduction yet.
That, however was the last conscious thought I could claim as my heavy eyes slid down and a fitful sleep overtook me.
It was the sleep of the dead, and I could only hope that it wouldn’t be my last.
December 12, 2000
“What the hell!” Abby gasped as she pushed Gregor away.
“Chto na tebya nashio mudak?” she yelled at the man. (What’s gotten into you, asshole?)
“Vy seychas moi malen’kaya printsessa,” the fat man exclaimed in a slur, obviously sloshed. “Vy poluchili dlya menya.” (You are mine now little princess…you have been given to me.)
Abby’s eyes closed to slits. “Like hell I have,” she shouted while bringing her foot up into Gregor’s crotch.
Howling in pain, Gregor bent over at the waist. Planting her hands on his greasy hair and pushing down, Abby quickly brought her knee up into his face, grinning at the resounding crack when his nose broke.
Screaming now, Gregor swung his meaty hand around and caught Abby in the side of her head, knocking her onto the cot, dazed.
Barely able to stand straight and bleeding profusely, Gregor still grinned as he removed his apron, his teeth now stained with blood.
“YA poshel na khuy seychas,” he uttered as Abby moaned on the cot, “Vy budete blagodarit’ menya, kogda vse zakonchitsya!” (I will fuck you now…you will thank me when it’s over!)
Dropping his pants, he waddled over to Abby’s position, his dirty slacks still bunched around his ankles. Abby’s eyes were closed as another moan escaped her unconscious lips.
Reaching down, Gregor started working on her pants, getting both jeans and underwear down to her knees before stepping back. Tugging off her shoes, he then worked at sliding each pant leg past her feet before letting the jeans fall to the floor.
Hard with excitement, he reached down and effortlessly pulled Abby up off of the cot by her shirt before turning and throwing her over the sink on the opposite wall.
“Suka!” he exclaimed as he aimed himself at her. “Mozhet byt’, ya trakhat’ svoyu zadnitsu pervym!” (Bitch! Maybe I fuck your ass first!)
Howling in pain again, Gregor continued to stumble backwards when the heel of her foot landed on his jaw from a hard side-kick. Falling to the floor, his head bounced off of the greasy concrete.
Abby was on him in a rage, landing on his chest with both knees and knocking the wind out of him before pummeling him over and over with her fists. Screaming obscenities in Vietnamese, she continued to pound on her ugly attacker until her mind was lost to her.
When the red world of rage finally cleared from her vision, she found herself straddling the dead man, naked from the waist down, her fists cut and bleeding.
Seeing the bloody pulp of what was left of Gregor’s face, she quickly stood and raced for the sink, retching the contents of her stomach into it until there was nothing left.
Tears streaming down her face, she found the closest thing to a clean rag she could find and ran it under the water. Grinding a bar of soap into it while sobbing loudly, she started washing herself…scrubbing hard at her skin…trying to erase any trace of the man that had attacked her.
After twenty minutes of endless scrubbing…she finally stopped. She had no more tears left to cry, and not enough energy to waste on feeling sorry for herself. Dropping the cloth to the floor, she stepped over to her jeans and pulled them up, leaving the underwear on the floor. Sitting on the side of the cot, she pulled her shoes toward her and inserted her feet into them.
Then she sat…staring at the opposite wall…unsure of what to do next…unsure if she wanted to do anything at all.
Slowly, her head turned to what was left of Gregor. Revulsion of the man worked its way up from her stomach before she once again looked away.
She didn’t know what to do next…she had never felt so alone.
Jumping up suddenly, she reached down for Gregor’s discarded apron and pulled it loose from under his cooling body. Grimacing, she reached into the pocket and extracted the wad of Russian bills she knew would be there.
Pushing them into her pocket, she then stepped over the body and moved into the bar area. Ducking behind the scarred wooden structure of the bar itself, she first went to the cash register and opened it, taking all of the paper money available there. That done, she turned to the mirrored shelves behind the bar before pulling down two bottles of the best vodka in the house. Hugging them to her chest, she turned once again toward the back room.
Grabbing one of the lit candles from off one of the tables as she passed, she entered the back room without looking down at the dead man. Setting the candle aside, she uncapped the first bottle and started pouring the contents over the body. Stepping over the body, she then grabbed her Parka and shrugged into it, slowly bringing up the zipper as she stared at the man again.
Uncorking the second bottle of Vodka, she started pouring the bottle over the cot before moving around the room, dousing anything that would burn. When she was done with that, she stepped over the body one more time and lifted the candle in her hand before turning around. She spent a few moments staring at the man…the man that had imprisoned her…the man that had violated her.
She wanted to scream at him, to curse him in every language at her disposal…to kick at the dead flesh…
But she had no energy left…her emotions drained away to nothing.
Sighing, she then tossed the candle toward the floor. Landing next to the body, the glass around the candle immediately broke, the flame easily catching the high-proof vodka aflame.
Staying only long enough to make sure that the fire took, Abby turned and made her way through the kitchen, grabbing a sharp, six-inch knife off of the counter before letting herself out the back door and into the alley.
Shivering from the cold, she pulled the zipper of her coat the rest of the way up as she looked around. Not knowing where exactly in the city she was…or even what city for sure, she determined that it really didn’t matter.
She just needed to go!
Still clasping the knife in her hand, she inserted it into her right coat pocket.
Turning to the left, she walked quietly away from the bar, staying to the shadows as much as she could.
It would be a long time before she let go of the knife again.
Copyright 2015 J.T. Lewis
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