Sunday 14 February 2016
Holly wondered if she was being naïve in trusting his word that they’d be spending a couple of nights at the hotel. He’d lied to her before about all manner of things, like the fact that he loved her, so telling the truth about a hotel stay wasn’t necessarily something that she was willing to trust. She laid awake for most of the night, tossing and turning, and wondering if she’d made the right decision about running away the following night when Ross had lowered his guard a little. It meant another day of pretending to still be in love with him, and of still agreeing with his idea to leave the country to start a new life.
She rolled over in bed, and despite the darkness, her eyes fell upon the telephone. ‘How did I miss that?’ she wondered. Careful not to make any noise that might draw Ross’ attention to her room, she slid up in bed, reached over to the phone, picked up the handset, and placed it to her ear. The sound of the dial tone almost made her cry. Fumbling in the dark, Holly battled to read the instructions for dialling an outside line. She didn’t want to turn on the bedside lamp in case Ross saw the light escape from her room. She dialled ‘0’ to get an outside line as the instructions directed, and then dialled her mother’s home number.
It was a tense thirty seconds or so before someone at home answered the phone.
‘Hello?’ a groggy voice responded to the call. Holly only just recognised it.
‘Dad? Is that you?’ she whispered. Suddenly alert, David Quartermaine sat bolt upright in bed.
‘Holly? Holly, where are you?’ He slapped at his wife’s form hidden under the covers.
‘I can’t talk for long, so please just listen. I’m scared, and I did something stupid.’ Believing she heard Ross stir in the room next to her, Holly paused, listening for any indication that he’d heard her on the phone. Content that he was still asleep, she continued. ‘I’m with Ross Turner, and we’re travelling along the I-80. We’re staying a couple of nights at a hotel or a motel called the Western Winds Inn. Get the police to come get me, daddy. I think Ross is going to hurt me if I keep going with him. Please,’ she pleaded, ‘get help. Remember, the Western Winds Inn on the I-80.’ She hung up the phone, and listened for movement from Ross’ room. Praying that she’d done the right thing, she laid down, and tried to rescue a few hours sleep.
* * * * *
Julia Poole, clad in police department issue track pants and t-shirt, practically beat down her partner’s door.
‘Anderson! ANDERSON!’ she screamed, not concerned with waking other motel residents. ‘Open the door, we’ve got a lead on Holly. ANDERSON!’
Only the sound of the door locks being withdrawn made Julia stop screaming out.
‘What? What? What do you want at this time of the morning?’ Anderson grumbled.
‘Are you fucking deaf? I just said we’ve got a lead on Holly. Get your shit packed, and meet me at the car in five minutes. No, in less than five minutes. We need to get to her as soon as we can.’ She disappeared next door as soon as she finished giving her demands. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes, as his sleeping brain processed what Poole had said.
‘Shit,’ he said as he almost fell back into his room.
In less than five minutes, Anderson Greene had packed his belongings, and was standing by the car waiting for Julia. She’d already packed, and came running from the motel manager’s office. The SUV’s central locking disengaged, and Greene jumped into the passenger’s side, and buckled up before Poole had made it to the driver’s side.
‘Where are we going?’ he asked as she threw herself into the car.
‘Western Winds Inn.’
‘Where the hell is that? How far away?’
‘Manager said we’ve got about a two-and-a-half-hour drive ahead. Said we can’t miss it, because it’s a gaudy pus yellow building out in the middle of nowhere.’
‘Right, because this shit hole isn’t gaudy or in the middle of nowhere. Guess he’d know.’
‘He’s phoning ahead for us. Knows the manager, and is gonna tell him to keep an eye on Holly and Ross, and hopefully, without raising their suspicions, he’s going to try and stall them if they try to leave within the next few hours.’
They drove in silence for a few miles before curiosity got the better of Greene.
‘How’d this info get to you, Poole?’
‘You’re not gonna believe this, but Holly Quartermaine called her parents asking for help. The father took the call, didn’t get a chance to speak to her before she gave him the details and hung up. He thinks Turner’s now holding Holly against her will. She told him she was scared for her safety, and to call the police. As soon as she hung up, Quartermaine called me, and the rest you know.’
‘How are we gonna play this? You want me to get in touch with the locals?’
‘Yeah, tell them we’re on our way, and to stay the hell outta sight. The last thing we need is for Ross Turner to see patrol cars, get spooked, and do something stupid.’
* * * * *
With Susan in tow, David Quartermaine raced out of the house, jumped in his car, and drove away from their home at great speed, despite Julia Poole telling him to stay out of the way.
‘There’s not a snowflake’s chance in hell that I’m going to sit back and wait for them to rescue my little girl, Susan.’
‘Just get us there alive, David.’ She gripped on for dear life to the seat and door trim, positive that she’d be leaving fingernail imprints in both after the ride. ‘Do you know how to get there?’
‘We’re not taking the car, Susan. I called Brad Morphett. He owes me a favour or two. He’s going to fly us out there on his helicopter.’
‘Jesus, David, he’ll hear us and then he’ll hurt Holly.’
‘No. Brad said there’s a few places he can land the chopper without drawing attention to it. He said Turner won’t have any idea that there’s a chopper in the area. He’ll be ready for us when we get to the airstrip, and we’ll get Holly away from Turner before the cops even turn up. I’m not risking her life, Sue. I can’t sit back and wait for the cops to negotiate with him, not while there’s a chance that he’ll go bat shit crazy and hurt her.’
* * * * *
Unsure exactly what had woken him from his sleep, Ross sat up, and listened to the world as it began to wake around him. One more day here was what he needed to recuperate from the driving. The police wouldn’t be on to them this quickly, so he could afford a small stopover. He put his ear up against the wall, and listened. Was Holly stirring, or was she too taking the opportunity to get rested? ‘Don’t suppose it really matters what you’re doing, little girl, because you won’t be doing it for much longer.’ In the darkness, he smiled to himself, and slid back down into bed.
. . . To be continued . . .