The Doll Collector

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Chapter 94

Despite his injuries, Joshua was still able to surprise himself. With only one functional arm, and an incredibly painful right leg, he had pulled Abigail away from her father. He managed to keep hold of her despite her struggles. Thank God for the power of adrenaline.

The police sirens were growing ever louder. They weren’t far away. Time’s running out. What do I do?

All he could think to do was to keep moving, using Abigail as a human shield. He smiled through the pain as he limped, dragging the girl sideways down the steps. So much for the thrill of the chase. Now we have a real live hostage situation.

The pain he had felt in his arm in the container was bliss compared to the torture he felt with every movement. His leg and head had shared the impact, and he had probably done permanent damage to his fingers when he reached out for the ladder. Still, it was either my fingers or my life. Those grabs did just enough to slow me down.

Every movement felt like someone was crushing his various appendages, but he had no option other than to continue on. He felt his vision grow darker and his eyelids droop. He shook his head, feeling the sway continuing long after he stopped. I need to fight the fatigue. I can’t pass out now.

Back on deck, he wrapped both arms around Abigail and dragged her as he moved backwards between containers. Struggling to stay awake, he came to the realisation that the gun was gone. He looked at the deck as he moved. No sign of it. Not that he stood much chance of finding it in the dark.

His desperate plight was the result of several disastrous days. He had made one poor choice, followed by another, and the consequences were piling up. I’m a victim of my own poor choices. I wonder what I’d choose to do if I could go back.

Moving past the series of ladders to his right, the weapon was nowhere to be seen. I need that weapon. Where did it go?

He looked in every gap and every corner in which a gun might nestle. Nowhere. How long was I out when I fell?

He had started to gain consciousness when Dan and Abigail had moved past him. Awaking as if from a deep sleep, he had moved inch by inch until he was back on his feet. He cast his mind back to those moments, waking with the storm hurting his face. I didn’t see it around me there, but I wasn’t exactly looking.

He let out an anguished cry. “Why didn’t I just get the one off David?”

“Get the what?” Abigail asked in a strained, partly strangled voice.

“The gun,” he replied as if it was obvious. “What happened to it?”

“I don’t know,” she said.

“Should I frisk you and find out?”

“You can frisk someone with only one hand?”

As much as he would’ve liked to have opted for a physical search, it was far from practical or necessary.

“Did your dad take my gun?” he asked.

“Think about it,” she replied, frustrated. “He wouldn’t have been shot so easily if he’d had a gun would he?”

“So where is it?”

“Maybe it went further than you think when you fell.” She waved her arm towards the side of the ship. “Maybe over there somewhere?”

Dragging the girl further, and with little resistance, he soon found himself with his back to the sea.

In order to get a better look, his grip loosened on Abigail, once again seeming to cooperate. At arm’s reach he was able to crouch down and get a proper look in every hiding place.

“If I don’t find it-”

He was interrupted, not by the words of Abigail, but by her sharp elbow making contact with his face. Her cooperation, it seemed, was not to be relied upon.

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