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Chapter 24

I’m not sure how the truck found me again, but I was coming to the conclusion that the driver was a sadistic bastard who took great pleasure in running me over at every chance he got.

I groaned painfully as I tried to lift my head off my chest, straightening out a painful kink in my neck. I had another splitting headache which this time was accompanied by ringing in my ears. I was almost certain my head was about to roll off. I tried lifting my arms to cradle my head just in case it did pop off, but my arms felt heavy and constricted, and refused to respond.

What the hell? Why can’t I move?

In a sheer moment of panic, I started struggling, kicking and flailing both my arms and legs but they refused to cooperate. Fortunately I could move my hands and feet so I quickly ruled out paralysis, which left me with one other not-so-happy realization.

Praying that I was wrong, I rapidly tried to blink my eyes into focus (very painfully I may add). Everything was a little blurred, but considering the potential of my current situation, that was probably the least of my worries.

Looking down, I felt the bottom drop out my stomach. Both my arms and legs were duct taped to the uncomfortable wooden chair I currently sat in.

Where was I? How the hell did I get here?

I had no idea what time it was or how long I had been out for. The last thing I remembered was hiding out in the pool house before an explosion of light. Clearly someone had found me, knocked me over the head and dragged me here. But why? Before now, whoever was hunting me had made it crystal clear they were not above killing me. So why suddenly was I being held captive? Why now did they want me alive?

A groan sounded beside me and I jumped a mile high, which is not easy to do when strapped to a chair.

I quickly looked over to my left, my sore neck protesting the gesture, and felt a moment of relief.

Sam sat beside me, also tied to a chair. Her chin was tucked into her chest so I assumed she also had been knocked senseless.

I looked around quickly, trying to see if anyone else was in the room. Thankfully the space was empty with the exception of me and Sam. Unfortunately having tried to take two steps forward, I now knew instead I had taken three steps back, and those three steps landed me squarely in Sean’s creepy-crawly office upstairs. Even in the dark I could make out the ugly ornate mahogany desk sitting in front of us.

“Sam,” I hissed, turning toward her again.

She groaned, but didn’t move.

“Come on, Sam,” I hissed under my breath. “Wake up! We have to figure out how to get the hell out of here.”

I pulled against the duct tape to no avail. Whoever had tied me down had made certain I wasn’t getting loose on my own.

I racked my brain trying to remember where Sean kept something as basic as scissors or a letter opener. Considering I had always avoided this room, this turned out to be an effort done in vain.

Wait a minute.

Where was Sean?!

I looked around wildly again, this time searching the floor and straining my neck to look on the other side of the desk.

No Sean.

The pit of my stomach filled with dread.

I tried to focus on the fact that Sam and I were alive...for now. Who knew how long that would last. But what did that mean for Sean? Was he hurt? Had he been caught? Was he...dead?

The thought of what they may have to done to Sean filled my eyes with tears.

He may have been a cheating jerk, pretentious snob, and an overall pain in the ass but buried deep down inside he was still a good guy…kinda. After all, he did take us in, offering protection even after we told him that trouble was on our heels. And now he may have died simply for offering his help. No matter how I may have felt, he didn’t deserve whatever happened to him. And with my wild imagination, I was thinking of some pretty horrific things.

Tears streamed down my face and my nose ran uncontrollably as I cried silently. Eventually the hiccups started.

I sniffled a couple of times as I tried to gain my composure. Feeling sorry for any of us would have to wait until after I figured out a way to get me and Sam out of here alive.

I called Sam’s name a couple more times, which was answered with a low moan or incoherent mumble. Clearly she wasn’t going to be any help. I was going to have to figure out our rescue on my own.

I pulled my wrists up and tried twisting them loose. The tape was pretty tight, but my right arm wasn’t as tight as my left. It had some give. If I could just get it a little looser...

I sighed. Without a sharp knife or an extra set of hands, I didn’t see any way out of this chair.

I chewed my lower lip and thought back to every movie I had ever seen where the main character found themselves in this exact situation. Only one idea came to mine repeatedly.

This was going to hurt, but I was very limited in my options.

Rocking myself slowly, I started building up momentum until I rocked dangerously wide and finally toppled over to my right with a loud thud and crack. I prayed no one heard the commotion. The impact of the fall caused my head to bounce off the floor, which did nothing to help my already splitting headache.

I rubbed my temple, relieved that there was no blood. Considering my current circumstances, I couldn’t afford to lose any more time unconscious.

Wait a minute!

I looked over to my hand and practically squealed in delight.

My arm was free!

Between the wooden floor and my added weight (which I was trying not to dwell on too much), the arm of the chair cracked in several places, giving me enough mobility to pull my arm free. My legs were still stuck, but now that I had one arm free, I could try to peel off the remainder of the tape.

A couple minutes later, I was still trying. Trying to peel off duct tape wrapped around your legs is not easy when you’re taped to a chair so I quickly abandoned that idea and started trying to free my other hand. (Don’t ask why I didn’t start with my arm first. I’m still unsure why.) Unfortunately the damn tape was pretty tight around my other wrist too so I wasn’t able to easily pull it free, and unless I was able to get my left arm free, I had little to no chance of freeing my legs. I was going to need something sharp to cut through the tape.

Of course, in my moment of super genius tilting the chair over, I didn’t think about how I was actually going to maneuver around the desk to look for a pair of scissors, especially when you considered the fact I was now stuck on the ground like a pathetically injured crab.

As Pooh Bear would say, think, think, think…

There has to be a way out of this.

I tried looking around Dracula’s office, but from my vantage point on the floor, there wasn’t a whole lot to see. Even if I could somehow pull myself to the other side of the desk, I was still stuck in the prone position on the floor so there was no way I could possibly sit myself back up so I could see the top of the desk or search the drawers.

Argh!

With my free hand, I slapped the chair arm in frustration.

The arm shook loosely under the impact.

Well hello.

I grabbed the arm and wiggled it back and forth as much as I could. The break in the chair seemed to have loosened the arm of the chair quite a bit. If I could break the piece free, I could try to use it to as a hacksaw to cut through the tape.

I pulled the chair arm as hard and as far as I could towards me with my limited reach. It didn’t go very far so I tried a few more times with no luck.

I felt the tears streaming down my face before I even realized I was crying.

I was so close. My life, Sam’s life…they hung in the balance. Getting us out of here, or at least finding a way to defend ourselves before our ungenerous host reappeared, all hinged on me getting this freaking chair arm to break. Superwoman I am not, and I swear, I will hit the gym everyday (well, not every day, maybe every other…month) if the Big Guy Upstairs could find a way to help me out here. I wasn’t asking for a miracle, but a little divine intervention would be much appreciated at this moment.

I started thinking about Sean and his absence and what that could possibly mean, and I felt myself get angry. Angry that I had gotten him into this situation. Angry that I had failed to protect Sam, who had been trying to protect me. Angry that I chose to run from Kade rather than accept the fact he may not really be as bad a guy as my imagination made him out to be. Angry that I was about to die because of something I had that I didn’t even know about or know why it was so damn important people were willing to kill over it. I was just fucking angry.

I heard the snap before I felt the give and surprised myself when I looked down at the jagged broken piece of wood now clenched tightly in my fist.

Apparently in all my anger, I had conjured my inner Hulk and managed to rip it free (or it was simply broken because it hadn’t fared well when I body slammed it, which I refused to even consider). It was a jagged piece of solid wood and I hoped it would cut through the tape. And since there is no time like the present, I went straight to work trying, hacking at the tape on my other arm and managing to only stab myself half a dozen times before I was finally able to cut break free. I was so excited that I did a little happy dance laid out on the floor.

I immediately went to work on my legs, slicing through the duct tape easier now that I had both hands at my disposal. I was out of my confines in just a few minutes.

Seeing as no one had come running upstairs to investigate the crash earlier, I tried to remain quiet as I rolled away from chair. First things first, I immediately sat the chair upright so I didn’t mistakenly trip over it later, which knowing me I would. Once that was out of my way, I went over to Sam and kneeled down in front of her.

“Sam,” I whispered, brushing her blond locks out of the way.

Nothing.

“Sam,” I repeated as I grabbed her shoulders and tried shaking her awake.

Still nothing.

I felt hysteria bubbling up so I had to force it down and asked myself, what would Kade do in this situation?

I checked her pockets, hoping that maybe our attackers hadn’t found the Taser she had used on Kade earlier. No such luck. Her pockets were empty.

Strike that game plan.

“Sam,” I hissed again.

Nothing.

I hoped she would forgive me, but she was leaving me no other options.

I took a deep breath, and slapped her.

She immediately groaned and cracked open her eyes, giving me the evil eye.

“Did you just slap me?” she asked hoarsely.

I grinned and hugged her tightly.

“Thank God,” I said near her ear.

“You better have a really good reason for slapping me,” she said in a deadly tone.

I pulled back and grinned at her.

“You have no idea,” I said, motioning to her current state.

She looked down in confusion.

“Why am I duct taped to a chair?” she asked in confusion.

“Well, I’m no expert at kidnapping or torture, but I’m willing to bet that you’re tied up because someone didn’t want us going anywhere.”

She gave me a narrow eyed warning.

“How about you save the smart ass remarks for another time and get me the hell out of this damn chair,” she replied, twisting and pulling against the tape.

I nodded, then turned back toward the desk and grabbed a pair of scissors sitting in the pen holder.

In seconds, I had Sam free without a scratch, which was fortunate considering how badly my hands were shaking. As scared as I was, I would have bet I would have cut off a finger at a minimum.

Sam looked around the room then gave me a weird look.

“Where the hell are we and why do I feel like some blood sucking creep is going to come home at any second?” she asked.

I smirked.

“Sean’s office upstairs,” I replied.

“I always thought he was a blood sucker,” she mumbled under her breath.

“We need to get out of here,” I said, walking around to the other side of the desk.

I ripped open desk drawers, searching for a weapon of sorts, but all I came up with was the scissors and a sharp letter opener. They were going to have to do.

I handed Sam the letter opener, which she frowned at but took, and we headed toward the door. We listened silently against the door for any sounds coming from the hall. I looked over to Sam, who gave me a nod, then carefully opened the door and stuck my head out, looking in both directions. Thankfully the hallway was clear.

I was just about to step out into the hallway when I heard Sam let out small mumbled curse behind me.

I turned back towards her and raised my brow in question.

“Bastards took my favorite necklace,” she spat out in anger.

“Really? That’s your focal point right now? We’ve been shot at, tied to chairs and now are going to try to break out of this place using a pair of scissors and a letter opener. Your stupid costume jewelry is the very least of our problems at the moment.”

She stuck out her tongue at me, but motioned me forward.

For once I was being the reasonable and logical one. How the times have changed. And how scary of a thought that really was.

We stuck close together and kept close to the wall. All the lights were out, but seeing as how we had been locked in a dark room our eyes had already adjusted to the dark, which thankfully worked to our advantage at this point.

When we reached the top of the stairs we stopped and listened.

Mumbled voices could be heard downstairs, none of which were familiar. I tried counting the different basses I heard, but they all started to sound the same after a while.

I pushed back against Sam and motioned for her to go back down the hallway.

She shook her head in protest, but I shoved her hard enough she had to retreat back a few steps.

Going downstairs wasn’t an option.

I could have tried venturing down a few steps to see if I could see anyone, but it was more likely they would spot me first. Downstairs was completely lit up so I would have been fairly easy to see. And based on the number of voices I heard, I was guessing there were at least five or six guys down there, and I think it was safe to assume none of them were friendlies.

Our only other possible escape route would be from the master bedroom.

Sean had a small balcony off his bedroom that overlooked the backyard and pool. Maybe if we tied enough sheets together we could climb our way down. Of course, I could never climb the rope in gym class so it was more likely I would fall and break my ass, but I liked those odds better than trying to go downstairs.

I pushed Sam ahead of me, leading her back to Sean’s bedroom.

We listened outside the door for a minute, and then opened the door slowly after hearing nothing.

We quickly entered the room and shut the door softly behind us. The room appeared empty. I made my way over to the balcony doors, while Sam branched off and checked the bathroom. She gave me the thumbs up that the room was clear so I motioned for her over.

The yard was dark and we watched closely for any sign of movement. The motion sensors hadn’t been activated but that could be because I had shut them off earlier or they were simply off because nothing had set them off in the past few minutes.

“What now?” Sam asked me.

I shrugged. “We need to figure out if the lights are off permanently or if they just haven’t been activated.”

She nodded and chewed her lip.

“Is there something we can toss down there to test it?” she asked.

I looked around the room and shrugged. “Maybe, but it would have to be something that wouldn’t be obvious in case the lights go off. A pillow will give us away.”

She rolled her eyes.

“No shit Sherlock,” she replied and turned back toward the bedroom.

We hunted around the room for something small that wouldn’t be easily seen if the lights came on.

“How about this,” Sam whispered from across the room.

Sam had pulled a few leaves from a potted plant that sat in the corner of the room.

“Are these enough to set it off?” she asked.

I shrugged. “Only one way to find out.”

I grabbed the balcony door handle and held my breath.

Please God do not let the alarm be on.

With a small yank the door popped open with a soft click, but thankfully no blaring sirens filled the air. Sam threw the leaves over the balcony, directly over where we knew the motion sensors sat and waited.

After a few minutes, the backyard still remained thankfully dark.

“Time to get the hell out of dodge,” I said, walking back into the room and pulling the comforter off the bed.

“Wait,” Sam said, grabbing my arm.

My body was paralyzed with fear at the thought of being found and I prayed my bladder held.

When I heard nothing, I looked at her in confusion.

She motioned to the side table where a phone sat on the charger.

“A phone,” she said, stating the obvious. “Maybe we can call the police?”

“And tell them what exactly? That someone blew up our car and now we are being held captive? These guys have proven on numerous occasions they are not above killing us. I’m willing to bet the same applies in hostage situations.”

She nodded. “You have a point. Sean doesn’t really seem too damn concerned about our wellbeing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the one who shot us instead of his friends.”

I had gone back to yanking the blankets off the bed and froze mid yank.

“What are you talking about?” I asked her.

“I’m talking about your psycho ex who will take more enjoyment in shooting me then most psychos’ in his ward.”

I stared at her with a confused look on my face.

“What the hell do you mean by that?”

She gave me a weird look before realization dawned.

“Oh my God,” she said quietly. “You don’t know?”

I shook my head slowly. “Know what?”

She gave me the sad look reserved for people being told their dog has to be put down.

“Sean’s part of this...whatever the hell this is. He called them Addy. He told them we were here.”

I shook my head in disbelief. “No. Sean may be an asshole, but he’s not a killer.”

“I agree he’s an asshole and maybe not a killer but Addison, he let the bastards in.”

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