Beyond the Ocean's Depths

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Onward to October's House

TORIN

“Oh, fuck!” I slammed on my brakes just before exiting the parking lot. “God dammit!” I rolled down my window, motioning to the detectives who were watching me with confusion from their car not far behind me.

Navarro Beach had been too quiet of an area for too long, and as Chief of the Marine Patrol, I’d apparently gone stupid lax on my skills and let my panic over the danger to those I cared about overcome my sensibilities. Not only had I screwed up and ignored October’s text for a whole twenty minutes, but when I read the message it seemed to make perfect sense that the diamonds Jimson was apparently after would be at the aquarium. I had completely ignored the fact that October’s text specifically said, “Going to my house for diamonds.” Why had I assumed she was using code and meant her office or possibly the aquarium infirmary, or something like that? Perhaps, it was because there was absolutely no reason anything of Jimson’s should be at her house.

And even more embarrassing was the fact that Barrett and Flores had just gone with my lead. I felt like an idiot! It was time to get my head in the game and be the cop that got me promoted to Chief in the first place.

“I got it wrong.” I admitted pointedly, shouting to the car behind me. “Jimson’s not at the aquarium anymore. He’s on his way to October’s house. The PD is en route to the aquarium now, so can take care of everyone there. Let’s head to October’s house and hope to God that we’re not too late.”

Barrett gave me a thumbs up as he retracted his head back inside his window and put the car in drive, ready to follow me. With determination and a dry mouth, I put the pedal to the metal and headed east towards the Seagrass Cove neighborhood. I wasn’t exactly sure where she lived, not having been to her house before, though thankful that I remembered her mentioning over burgers last week, that she’d bought a house in the older, yet upscale neighborhood.

Quickly, I called the station looking for Sergeant Riley, the woman who had immediate access to public records. “I need to know what property October Davis owns in the Seagrass Cove neighborhood.” My heart was racing, praying that she’d have an answer before I arrived.

“Uh, let’s see. Got it. It’s 211 Spanish Moss Lane. Anything else, Chief?”

“Yeah, I need some backup sent to that location now. Myself and detectives Barrett and Flores are headed that way. We have a potential hostage situation. The assailant is male, assumed to be that of Hank Jimson, Caucasian, mid-fifties. Probable hostage, Caucasian female, blonde, late thirties, goes by October or Tobie Davis.”

“Yes, sir. Sending the APB now.”

I ran my hand shakily through my hair as I hung up, blowing my breath out in a long huff. A part of me wanted to be heading to the aquarium, scared to death that Chuy wasn’t the only one injured. What if something had happened to Rainie or Mom after October sent her message? Yet, I needed to save October, too. I’d be damned if Jimson had a hand in hurting, or even worse, killing another woman close to my heart.

}<<(((}> * <{)))>>{

TOBIE

The key barely seemed to fit the keyhole in the front door as I managed to get home without incident, despite the fact that the gunman was probably suspicious about how long it took to get to my beach house. The already empty pit in my stomach was filling with even more dread as I allowed the scumbag to enter my home behind me. More apprehension filled me as I also wondered if Torin received my text and if help was on the way. Shouldn’t someone be here by now? It had to have been about twenty minutes since I sent the message.

“Uh, the attic is upstairs… this way.” I murmured, eyeing him as he took in my moderately decorated entrance hall, leading into the living room.

He simply nodded, pushing me forward with the flick of his pistol in the direction I’d motioned. I had never been more self conscious of my movements as I was now with him acting as if I had a patrol of police officers behind the couch, waiting to pounce on him. Yet, the only sound to be heard was the ticking of my grandma’s antique grandfather clock sitting at the base of the stairs.

Once in the attic, I nearly choked on the tiny amount of saliva still in my overly dry mouth. My nerves instantly got the better of me as soon my eyes lit upon the trunk in question. I wasn’t sure what would be better at this point, having the diamonds there for his taking, or not. If they were in the trunk, as Anne promised, would he let me go? Maybe lock me in the attic and steal my car? Or would he shoot me since I was of no further use to him? On the other hand, if they weren’t there, would he shoot me in anger, or keep me alive in the event I might be able to direct him to their real location?

Shit, either way I’m screwed, I told myself with resignation, as I knelt to unlatch the heavy lid.

It creaked open and I quickly scanned the contents on top, finding my grandad’s old black felt hat. Lifting it gently, I felt relief to see Anne’s old leather purse she used to carry around when she was little, and was now stowed away for memory’s sake. Swallowing heavily, I unzipped the top, peering inside with apprehension.

Before I could get a good look, the criminal standing over me, grabbed the purse out of my hands, greedily pawing into the open hole. Within seconds he produced an unfamiliar velvet pouch and his ugly mouth turned into an even uglier smile that grew as he pulled open the string tying the top closed. Sure enough, he poured several tiny crystalline fragments into his palm, then laughed with a smugness that could have curdled milk.

Suddenly, he turned his attention to me, slipping the stones back into the bag and cinching the string tight. “Let’s go.”

He nodded to the ladder going back to the second floor.

“W...why don’t you just leave me here?” I managed bravely, but he yanked me up by my arm, determined that I was going downstairs with him before I could suggest that he lock me in and make a getaway without me knowing what direction he went.

As I followed the brooding man down the ladder, I prayed. At this point, I was sure there was no way he was keeping me alive. And if Torin or the cops hadn’t shown up by now, my text must not have gone through and no one was coming to rescue me or anyone at the rehab.

I thanked God in my mind for ensuring that this man had taken me and not my beautiful Anne, for I didn’t know what I would do had she been the one here instead. As we descended the stairs to the first floor, I prayed fervently inside for Anne to have a successful and happy life without me, as I knew she would either go to live with my friend, Mary, or go back to Ohio to live with her grandparents, though I wasn’t sure how that was going to work with them living in a place for seniors only. Then, my heart sank even further, knowing I wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to my best friend or my parents, either.

But before I could continue spirling into despair, I suddenly caught a glimpse of something wonderful from the living room window. A familiar Marine Patrol pickup truck happened to be driving up to the house, coming to a stop on the street, effectively blocking my car in the drive. A silver sedan pulled up behind him, though I couldn’t see who was inside as I continued past the window.

Torin! He’d come for me and had backup! My heart surged with sudden hope and joy.

I reverted my prayer quickly to one of thanks, keeping quiet and trying to remain calm, so as not to give away his arrival to my captor. But my elation was short lived as, to my horror, the diamond thief, obviously unsure of what his own next move should be, decided that now would be the perfect time to peer out that very window, as if in search for the answer.

“Fuck! The cops!” He panicked, backing away from the living room window and roughly dragging me by the collar towards the kitchen. “The back. Where’s the back door,” he barked as all the hope I’d built up in only a matter of seconds drained from my being.

I nodded towards the family room, attached to the kitchen, and with no choice, allowed him to pull me out the sliding glass door and onto the back deck. I knew that once outside Torin would be able to hear me if I screamed, but I hesitated, unsure if the man would shoot me for doing so. Instead, I chose a middle ground, deciding that if I pleaded with the gun-wielding lunatic, then he wouldn’t think I was trying to alert Torin to my presence, but it would still afford me the ability to raise my voice loud enough for them to hear me from the opposite side of the house.

“Please! Stop!” I wailed at the top of my lungs a bit more dramatically than I intended, though my nerves were more than frazzled, thus sufficiently emanating a howl. “Leave me and they won’t follow you! I’ll stall them, please! I just want to see my daughter again. I don’t care about your stupid diamonds, or anything about you. Please, just let me...”

But he wasn’t hearing me as he finally pulled me up by my shirt to face him, instead of dragging me towards the scrub brush of a backyard anymore.

“Boat. You got a boat down there?” He spewed spittle into my face as he pointed with his chin down the long, tree lined dock, and I shook my head fervently.

“No! W-we just moved here. I don’t have a boat.”

He clenched his teeth, then we both heard footsteps hurriedly approaching from around the side of the house. It must be Torin—he’d heard me! Panicked, the gunman searched with his eyes, quickly spotting the neighbor’s small motorboat tied up to their much shorter dock next door. Running in the opposite direction from that of my purported rescuers, I tried to pry myself from his grasp, sure that if I got free he’d be in too much of a hurry to worry about me and would make his break for it on his own instead.

But the sleazeball had a tighter grip than I anticipated, managing to drag me all the way across the yard and nearly to the neighbor’s dock before I heard Torin’s loud, but heavenly voice bellow from behind us.

“Freeze!”

We were slowing down and for a moment, I thought it was all over. I was rescued; my nightmare was over and my captor would give up, knowing he couldn’t escape. But instead of surrendering, I suddenly felt rough arms encircle my shoulders and the cold metal of the pistol barrel resting on my temple. We were only a few feet from the motorboat tied to the dock’s post, but as we turned back around towards the houses, I could clearly see Torin’s face pale as he slowed to a halt with a plainclothes officer stumbling to a stop behind him. From around the other side of the house a woman suddenly appeared; another cop I assumed as all three had their pistols out and trained in my direction, positively looking ready to shoot. If I thought I was a hostage before, it was nothing compared to how I felt now.

“Drop the fucking guns or I shoot her!” My ears rang as the madman screamed his threat to the trio opposite us. They hesitated, unsure if he was bluffing and obviously not wanting to let him get away. “I mean it!” He persisted and cocked the pistol. My blood ran cold and my stomach churned as bile rose in my throat. I was this close to being rescued, and even closer to dying.

Torin was the first to drop his weapon, his eyes angry, yet sobering fear coming through the rest of his features. “Drop ’em,” he nodded to the other two.

They obeyed, and to my horror, the gunman and I began backing up again, continuing our course towards the dock and the small boat, nearly falling into the bow as I was hauled over the edge of the rocking vessel.

“Jimson!” Torin yelled again, and my captor’s head jerked up, fear in his own eyes for a change. Real fear. “Jimson! Let her go! We don’t want to shoot you, but we need to talk. If you let her go now, we can make a deal.”

Please, please agree, I pleaded inside. A deal sounded great!

“Fuck your deal!” The criminal I now knew to be called Jimson yelled in return, clumsily untying the rope attaching the boat to the dock.

“Hank! Please! We’ve been looking for you,” the gray-haired cop now standing next to Torin hollered with hope. “We need you to testify against Lopez. And we can make the deal pretty sweet for you, but only if you stop now and let the lady go. Come on man, you know this won’t end well if you keep going.”

Jimson laughed like the madman he was, effectively setting the boat free from the dock and happily finding the key already in the ignition. “Shit, I’m better off trying to run now. If I testify against Lopez, I’m dead.”

My hopes sank even further as he sat me down roughly on the floor of the boat, next to the captain’s chair, still aiming his gun at me while turning the ignition on, the engine coming to life with a loud roar. Putting the boat into drive, we slowly drifted away from the dock, Torin and the other two officers already getting smaller in my mind as I felt my chances of surviving this slipping away.

Dashing forward, Torin yelled something unintelligible, nearly making it to the dock before the boat was too far out of reach for him to jump. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to do anything to get away and find myself safely in Torin’s arms as his eyes bore into mine, pulling my heartstrings with his fear and anger. If I had any doubts as to whether or not he really cared about me, they were completely dispelled with his gaze. Soon, he tore his eyes from mine, tearing across the neighbor’s lawn just as Jimson pushed hard on the throttle, turning the boat towards the open ocean and speeding us away from land and all hope of being rescued now.

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