Running Away

Samantha Ryan couldn’t move. She was glued to the space on which she stood. Her fear was palpable. She knew the tiniest sound would bring her attackers straight to her.

Holding her hand over her mouth to stifle the sound of her breathing, she wondered how she’d gotten herself into the situation. She was walking alone in the mall when a man grabbed her from behind and forced her into a service room. Apparently no one witnessed the abduction.

Pushing what she believed to be a gun in her back, he threatened her, “Make one sound and I will kill you. Do you understand?”

Sam nodded to acknowledge that she understood him. Then she battled with herself about her decision. A scream might bring some running to save her. However, it was a gambit she was afraid to take.

When the man removed his hand from her mouth, she gasped for air but did not scream. “What do you want? Is it money? I don’t have much but you can have whatever is in my wallet.”

“I don’t want money,” the man said angrily. “Nor am I planning to rape you so don’t even go there.”

“Then what. . . .” Samantha didn’t get the entire question out before he slapped her to shut her up.

“I was hired to take you. That’s all you need to know.” With that, he looked out of the door. Seeing that a path was clear, he led her out the back way. A van was parked just outside the entrance.

Samantha looked around, hoping someone was watching. No one was. The mall was relatively empty. She decided a scream wouldn’t help yet so she didn’t bother.

“Get in,” the man muttered.

Samantha shook in her head in the negative. That’s when the man hit her in the head with the gun, knocking her unconscious. When she woke up she was already in a different location. It appeared to be a chop shop. There were dozens of men taking parts off one car and putting them onto another.

Her eyes witnessed a new face standing over her. The man glared at her before speaking. “Not a word or else,” he threatened. “I’m not afraid to use this gun,” he promised, holding it in front of her in a menacing manner. “Any more tricks like the one you pulled on my partner at the mall and we’ll deliver your body to our client. He said “dead or alive.” With the last phrase, the man grinned, exposing a mouth full of broken teeth. The stench of his breath wafted in the air making Samantha gag slightly.

“I’ll double whatever he’s offering,” she said. “My dad is rich. He’ll pay anything to get me back.”

The man started laughing and from the depth of his belly laugh Sam got an answer to the question she’d yet to ask: Who wanted her dead? Sadly, now there could be no doubt. It was her father.

Her face must have turned white. The man laughed even harder at her obvious distress. “It can’t be fun finding out your own father wants you dead,” he teased. “That’s got to hurt.”

“Why? Did he say why?” Samantha didn’t expect the man to answer but oddly enough he did.

“Yes, he made some bad investments and lost his clients’ money. It seems there is a huge insurance policy on your head, Chaquita.” The evil man nearly fell down he was laughing so hard.

That’s when Samantha began to think about recent events. Her father had tried to pressure her into marrying the son of a good friend of his. Charles was a multi-millionaire but arrogant and cruel; not the sort of man she would ever consider for a mate. Obviously that had been her father’s first plan to raise the money he needed. When it didn’t work, he moved to something more drastic.

“Hey, Charlie, the boss wants to see you in the office,” a thin, balding man shouted from halfway across the room.

“Well, keep an eye on the princess here,” the man returned. “If she moves, shoot her.” With that, he handed the gun to the mechanic who called out to him.

A few minutes passed and another man came up to speak to the bald man. While he was otherwise engaged, Samantha moved stealthily off the stool where she’d been sitting. She moved into the shadows behind her and then made her way deeper into the building. She found a hiding spot behind an old gutted Corvette. That’s where she sat, trying to decide what to do next.

“What do you mean you don’t know where she is?” The voice of the original kidnapper rang out loud and clear. Then a gunshot followed. “You are an incompetent idiot. You too,” he screamed at someone else before a second shot rang in the air.

Samantha knew she had to make a move or risk losing her life. She glanced quickly around her for any kind of exit. That’s when she spotted a pet exit in the back door. She calculated that she was small enough to get through it, although it wouldn’t be easy with her hands bound.

Knowing she had to move fast, she scrambled for the opening. She was halfway through it when she heard men approaching from the rear. Without looking back, she pushed herself harder. Once she was outside, she stood and began running.

She found herself in a junk yard. There were hundreds of vehicles in which to hide but Sam worried any one of them could end up being her coffin. Hearing the garage door opening, she decided to take a chance and lunged into the window of a dilapidated ’56 Chevrolet. Throwing herself into the floorboard, she prayed she’d be hidden enough to avoid easy discovery.

The ruse seemed to work. She heard the men searching; calling out to one another when they failed to find their prize. The search went on for what seemed like hours. Night was falling and it was getting dark quickly.

“She’s gone,” the kidnapper acknowledged grudgingly. “We better get out of here. She’ll bring the cops back here for certain.”

Samantha listened as the men loaded into vehicles and tore out of the complex. Uncertain it wasn’t a ploy to fool her, she waited for a long time before sitting up to look at the window. She saw no one.

Using broken glass in the car window to cut the ropes that bound her, Samantha got free and exited the car. Once she was done, she was uncertain what to do next.

“Where do I go?” She asked the question out loud. “I can’t go home. My father wants me dead.”

Pulling her credit card out of the boot in which she’d hidden it, she decided to risk withdrawing as much cash as she could. Then she’d make a run for it and start over. Until her father was caught for his financial crimes, she’d never be safe.

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