Tuesday 4 – Wednesday 5 August 2015
There was little point in him struggling. The ties that bound his hands and feet had already cut into his flesh, despite the fact that he had not attempted to get the restraints off because he had been knocked out cold before the hunter bound him. When he’d regained consciousness, he’d noted that the hunter was thin and lean, and light on his feet. Every step, every footfall was executed with cautious deliberation. His capture was not a whim; it was a well-planned event.
‘What do you want?’ he asked the hunter. His captor did not respond.
‘WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT?’ he screamed. ‘Why . . . why are you doing this to me?’
The hunter turned and looked at the pathetic specimen of man on the floor of his shed. He stepped closer to the bound man, and knelt.
‘Why –’ he whimpered again.
‘For fun,’ replied the hunter.
‘My name is John,’ the bound man spluttered. ‘My name. Is. John.’ He remembered reading something or watching a TV show where some law enforcement agent said that humanising the victims of abduction to their captors made it more difficult for the captor to hurt them.
‘Oh, for God’s sake, shut up,’ the hunter snarled.
John could no longer keep the terror inside anymore. He screamed for his freedom, tears running down his reddening cheeks.
‘There’s no point to that. There’s no one around here for miles.’
Reaching behind himself, the hunter pulled a dirty kerchief from his back pocket, and shoved it into the John’s mouth mid-scream. The sound of terror was immediately stifled.
‘You see that up there?’ The hunter pointed over his right shoulder, drawing John’s eyes towards the roof. ‘That’s for you.’
No longer in any sort of control of his body, John’s bladder released, and a dark patch spread rapidly outward from his crotch.
As he stood, the hunter pulled John up, and threw the bound man over his shoulder. He turned around, took three steps forward, and then lifted John up and forward, impaling him on a meat hook hanging from a low beam. The tip of the hook caught John between the shoulders, and he screamed in agony. The hunter smiled at the muffled groan.
‘You and me, son, we’re gonna have a little bit of fun right now.’
* * * * *
Lance stared at the engine.
‘You have no idea what you’re looking for, do you?’ Iona asked. She leaned against the fender of the SUV.
‘That’s not true. I know what I’m doing here,’ he replied.
‘Yeah, right. You know as much about this car and its workings as I do. Stop pretending, and go ask the motel guy if there’s a garage around here with a tow truck, or someone who can come out and actually fix it for us. Please, for the love of all that is holy, Lance, suck up your pride, and ask for help.’
He sighed, rubbed his hands on his jeans, and wandered towards the motel reception in a sulk.
‘You got car problems?’
Iona spun around in the direction of the voice. She watched as the tall stranger casually sauntered from the shoulder of the highway.
‘Yeah, car trouble,’ she replied, wary of saying too much without the boys to back her up.
‘I can take a look for you.’ He could see that the girl was cautious of his sudden appearance. ‘I’m no mechanic, but I got some basic knowledge.’ He leaned over to look at the engine bay, and after a cursory glance, he crouched down and looked underneath the vehicle.
‘Looks to me like you’ve got a busted hose of some sort,’ he said, ‘judging by all of the fluid leaking out under here.’
‘What? Really?’ Iona bent down next to him, and peered under the SUV. ‘What does that mean?’
‘Well, could be the brake line, could be one of the other lines or hoses in the engine.’
Two large tennis shoes appeared near Iona.
‘Could be that you might have done something to my car, mister, so that we have to call you to fix it?’ Lance snapped.
‘Could be, but I ain’t done nothin’ to your car, kid,’ the man replied.
‘Funny, because the guy who runs this shithole just told me there was no need to call a mechanic ‘cause you were already here.’
The man rose, and squared off against Lance. ‘Did he also tell you that I always come here for breakfast?’
Gabrielle and Nash stumbled from the shared hotel room.
‘What’s all the noise?’ Nash mumbled.
‘Nothin’, Nash,’ Lance replied. ‘You just got a problem with your car. Luckily though, the local mechanic stops by for breakfast every day so we can get it fixed quickly.’
Gabrielle groaned. ‘You mean we’ll probably have to stay here longer? But what about the lake house?’
‘If you want me to fix it,’ the mechanic called out to her, ‘I’m sure it’ll only take a couple of days. The longest wait will be for parts if we need anything that I don’t have.’
A crack in the distance startled the travellers. The mechanic leaned on the car, and snickered.
‘Clearly, you kids ain’t never heard a gunshot before. Don’t worry. It’s hunting season, and a few of the local boys get a little happy, but you’re safe ‘less of course you look like a deer.’
Only Nash was amused, laughing until Lance punched his arm hard enough to make Nash gasp. The mechanic took a ratty old business card from his back pocket and handed it to Lance.
‘Here’s my card. Got my number on it. Name’s Jim Hunter. If you want, I’ll pick up my truck after breakfast, tow your vehicle to my garage round the corner, and get to fixing it as soon as I can.’
‘Sweet,’ replied Nash, ‘I’d appreciate that. Lance, you go book us in for another night while the girls and me join Jim here for some breakfast.’
* * * * *
Detective Tom Passmore was flicking through the files pertaining to his latest case when his partner rushed through the office, and threw herself into her chair.
‘What’s up, Matty?’
‘We’ve gotta go,’ she replied. ‘Locals found another body out in the woods.’
‘Damn, not another girl.’
‘No, Tom, it’s not. It’s an unidentified male. Same as the girls though. Boss wants us on site for this one. Hands on, he said. Pack your shit, partner. We’re going on a road trip to visit with the local yokels.’
. . . To be continued . . .