Dan’s white-knuckle grip of his steering wheel showed no signs of loosening. His heart was pounding so hard that he could hear it in his ears. He was leaning forward in his seat, as if doing so would get him to the destination sooner.
The destination was, of course, the car containing Abigail, as well as the phone that the police had traced. With the destination determined, Dan was able to disconnect the phone from police equipment whilst still keeping the call alive. The police had the details they needed to keep a trace on the location of the other phone.
Dan’s Bluetooth car stereo was relaying every sound, however small, for his attention. He thought he had heard a muffled cry on more than one occasion, but as soon as he had focussed on the sound, it was gone. “Abigail, if you can hear me, I’m coming for you,” he said for maybe the fourth or fifth time. “You’re going to be safe really soon.”
The quickest route to complete the seaside rescue was along a single-lane A-road through a couple of small villages. If he followed the directions on his phone, he would arrive at the point at which the phone, and the girl, were waiting for him within twenty minutes. Will Joshua be watching when I get there, or was his final threat a bluff to buy him time to escape?
Suffolk police were twitchy about leaving the rescue to a civilian. Dan hoped that they would take Joshua’s warning seriously. He couldn’t risk anything going wrong at this stage. Officers would be a street away if he needed their assistance, but they were ordered to keep at least one row of buildings between them and the car park.
Regardless of his obedience to Joshua’s rules, Dan was trying not to assume anything. He hoped with all of his heart that he would find the car, get Abigail, and put an end to this nightmare.
Again and again, he revisited his contact with the kidnapper, muttering some of the man’s words through gritted teeth. He said he’s a man of his word, but I just don’t trust him.
Recalling the words from the beginning of the phone call, doubts started to creep in to his mind. You will find a pretty blonde school girl in the boot of my old red car. He hadn’t mentioned Abigail’s name, but there was only one pretty blonde school girl in his control. He had also said, we will find out how good that mind is over the next few hours.
What had he meant by that? Had Joshua relinquished control by allowing Dan to rescue his daughter? Had Dan been relegated to the position of pawn in his psychologically disturbed game?
The known past of Joshua Billings had suggested a mostly organised, careful mind. His actions in the past few days, however, painted a different picture. Logic suggests giving up the girl and hiding. Sadly, I’m no longer dealing with a man in his right mind.
This man had a warped sense of reality. He would not do normal things. He would not operate within the same parameters as everyday people.
Despite the thoughts racing through his mind, and his ear being tuned in to the radio for any murmurs from his daughter, Dan had to concentrate on the road. It was not a wide road, and he had never driven along it before, let alone at a speed twenty miles per hour above the speed limit.
The speed limit was reduced as he drove through Barnby where several sharp bends almost caught him off-guard. Slamming on the brakes, he managed to stay on the road, thankful that there were no other cars on either side.
As he drove on, more carefully, he took one deep breath after another before shaking his head. There’s no point in killing myself trying to save her.
Despite reducing the distance between himself and the red car by the sea, Dan couldn’t figure out why the rescue of Abigail felt farther and farther away. As he glanced in his rear-view mirror, his imagined scenario seemed to be fading into the distance like the houses and trees he had just passed.
Between traffic and road systems, the once speedy journey was soon reduced to almost nothing. He crawled towards the beach through incomprehensible road systems. Crossing a lane-controlled bridge, Dan was uneasy and unsure. Tremors started in his fingers and worked their way through his arms and upper body. What will I find inside that car?