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December 13, 2000
“Shit,” Michael breathed when the monitored call ended. “They put a price on your girl’s head…and they’ll take dead or alive.”
McGruder nodded. “But she has escaped her imprisonment! For the time being anyway, Abby is free of their clutches.”
“But for how long?” Michael questioned, “It sounds like they will have everyone in town looking for her.”
The news of Abby’s escape had buoyed McGruder’s outlook, and he felt more confident than he had in days. He wasn’t going to let a little thing like not knowing where she was or her imminent capture or death dissuade him.
“I have the utmost confidence in my young operative; we have but to conceive of a way to reach out to her.”
“I know how you work Patrick, and unless you’ve opened up a new 1-800-McGruder hotline, she won’t know how to reach you unless she has the phone you gave her at the start of the op.”
“Which is doubtful,” McGruder nodded. “But you have given me an interesting idea. If Joe and Beth can stay on the kidnappers, I could use your language skills and an internet terminal.”
Michael Montana held his gaze on McGruder for several seconds before turning forward and starting the car.
“I’ve a feeling I’m about to learn something,” he stated as he pulled the shifter down with a small grin. “About time too, I was beginning to think this whole day would pass me by without the hint of learning anything new!”
December 13, 2000
“Ere now, isn’t dat why yer ‘ired me?”
The spoon in May’s hand stopped its progression as she looked back over her shoulder at the squat redhead.
Sighing, May stood and allowed the woman to take over feeding Ya Su before turning and making her way toward Raven’s seat.
Plopping down somewhat defeatedly beside her, she glanced over at her friend, who was smiling back at her.
“It is why we hired her,” Raven reminded May. “And look how good she is with her!”
Turning back toward the infant, she watched the nanny feeding a smiling Ya Su.
“Nach bhfuil tú ar an banphrionsa beag go maith!” she soothed in her native tongue while she fed the infant spoon after spoon of her cereal. (Aren’t you the good little princess!)
“She does seem to have a way with her,” May finally admitted before turning back toward her friend. “I’m sorry, I’m still just trying to get used to the idea I guess.”
Raven placed her hand over May’s. “It was a good option May…better than leaving her with someone you didn’t know back in the states.”
“Besides,” Raven added quickly, “Snake said having a baby with us will help us get through the border crossing easier. Once we cross over, we’ll get them set up in a hotel where they can wait for us. Georgette comes highly recommended.”
May was only able to nod as she turned back toward the baby. Aghast at forgetting about Ya Su while they were making plans to fly off to
she had quickly accepted Raven’s idea when it had been presented.
She knew her second thoughts now were unwarranted, but still…
Trying to shove back the guilt, she turned once again to Raven. “How far have we gone so far?”
“We should be reaching the coast of
within the hour,” Raven said while looking out the window. “Then another six
hours to reach Vardo.”
“And then a four hour drive,” May mumbled dejectedly, overly anxious to get started on the rescue.
“It is what it is my friend,” Raven soothed. “Why don’t you try and get some sleep May…there may not be much time for it once we land.”
Nodding in agreement, May snapped herself in and leaned the seat back. The seating on Raven’s private jet was extremely comfortable, and she soon found herself nodding off.
Her dreams would be plagued however, by images of Gabe being tortured…and killed.
December 13, 2000
Preacher’s emphatic support of our journey notwithstanding, I was having second thoughts on our decision by the time I had gone a half of a mile.
Although the snowshoes kept me from sinking as far into the snow, they were surprisingly slick…giving me little traction in pulling the now fully-loaded sled. After floundering around with it for a half hour, I had finally discovered that if I canted my ankles inward when I stepped, I could gain some traction from the leading edge of the shoes.
It was however, hard on my old ankles!
Ignoring the added discomfort as best I could, I continued to plod forward, relieved that we had at least some light bathing the land around us from the sun in the south.
I wasn’t sure how long we would have the extravagance of the additional light and warmth however, as it looked like the day was already sliding toward sunset.
Stopping to catch my breath, I was surprised when I caught sight of an indention in the snow to my right.
Could this be where I had dug out the sled the night before?
Turning completely around, I scanned my surroundings. Nothing looked overtly familiar, even though I had the sense that this was indeed the place I had stopped at previously.
Turning back again toward the way we had come, I studied the terrain that we had already passed. All of it was relatively flat, although I suddenly realized that my footprints were inexplicably traveling on the higher ground compared to what was on each side of the path. Turning a hundred and eighty degrees, I scanned the horizon in front of me, trying to fathom what it looked like without snow.
Assuming there would be no snow in the summertime, even this far north, I could start making some assumptions.
If I assumed that the trek I had just walked was on the highest of the surrounding terrain, I could deduct that it could be some sort of roadway in the summer.
People had inhabited it at some point after all!
So if I assumed that it was a roadway, then I could also assume that it continued east…or that it intersected another, more north/south roadway.
Grabbing the straps to the sled, I pushed off, continuing east.
It wasn’t long however, before I reached a roadblock of sorts. Suddenly I found myself trying to walk up a short but steep hill, realizing that the land in front of me was three feet higher than where I stood. It was hard to differentiate different elevations in the blinding whiteness of the snow.
Either way, it was not what I would consider ideal for a roadway.
Turning the sled around, I moved twenty feet back the way I had come and glanced to my left and right. If I squinted my eyes just right, I could make out what could be a relative flatness compared to the rest of my surroundings.
Then another detail captured my attention…a slight depression…traveling away from me in the center of the expanse.
Dropping the sled’s strap, I moved to the south five feet and dropped to my knees, leaning my face close to the snow. Still hard to see, I could nevertheless make out the ghostly image of a two-foot wide track heading away from me!
Jumping to my feet, I moved to the other side of the sled and looked closely at the snow there.
There it was again!
It looked like a snowmobile had passed through here some time in the night!
Grinning for the first time in days, I let out a yelp, causing the skin at the corners of my mouth to crack.
Laughing at my own pain, I turned and made my way back to the sled, lifting the strap and pulling it onto my shoulder excitedly.
“I found the road Preacher!” I called back as I started to move forward. “We’re heading south…to civilization!”
The exertion of pulling the sled soon enough caused me to quit talking out loud, but my mind now wouldn’t be silenced.
Full fucking steam ahead, I grinned as Preacher’s words entered my thoughts again…
Full fucking steam ahead!
Copyright 2015 J.T. Lewis
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