Danger in Deep Woods

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Bound and Gagged

Christy stifled a horrified gasp at the gruesome sight and quickly jumped back out of sight at the back of the cave. She desperately fumbled for the flashlight to turn it off, succeeding just as the voices got loud enough to be heard. "...see something in there?" she heard a gruff voice say.

"Nah, it was probably just a reflection of the lightning," a more mellow voice interjected, sounding upset, "Let's just get in out of the rain and wait for Leo."

Footsteps echoed through the cave. Christy froze up, wondering what to do if they came back to her hiding place, but fortunately the footsteps stopped at about the middle of the cave. "No fires," the mellow voice said sharply, "We don't want to draw any MORE attention to ourselves..."

"He was going to arrest us, Vinnie, I didn't have any choice!" the gruff-voiced man protested as a weak flashlight light flickered on around the corner. Christy didn't dare look around, however; better not to take the chance of being seen at all, she decided firmly.

"Stabbing a security guard was not the way we planned this escape!" his colleague roared, "Now we've got a definite trail, and if the cops trace us before Leo gets here, it's all your fault if we get a death sentence now!"

"Come on, Vinnie, we're still OK," the gruff-voiced man argued back, "They don't know which way we went after we entered the woods, so they could search in all directions. Besides, it'll be dark soon anyway, and that rain'll wash out our tracks too."

"Well, I just hope Leo gets here soon anyway," Vinnie muttered, "Shouldn't be too much longer anyway..."

His and his partner's voices dropped too low for Christy to hear. She remained frozen solid. If she just stayed still and stayed quiet, she reasoned, they'd have no reason to come looking back in the back for her, and they'd be gone in no time. All she had to do was hold out just a little longer.

But it was at that very moment she felt her nose starting to twitch. "No, no, not a sneeze, Bryant, not a sneeze now!" she thought in terror, putting her fingers to her nose to try and prevent it, "Please, whatever you do, don't...!"

But it was too late; she let out a loud "ACHOO!" as the sneeze echoed loudly throughout the entire cave. Before she was even fully recovered from it, she was blinded by a flashlight beam right in her face. "Well, what have we here!?" she heard Vinnie sneer, "A nice pretty girl all by herself."

"Who...who are you?" Christy stammered, gasping upon seeing the bloody knife now trained on her once the flashlight was lowered slightly.

"That's not really important," the larger man of the two who wasn't Vinnie told her, "What are you doing here, Blondie?"

"I..." Christy debated whether or not she should say anything, "I'm...I'm waiting for someone, they should be here very soon."

"Really," Vinnie, the shorter man, didn't look like he believed it at all. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Harvey?" he asked his colleague.

"Yep, Vinnie," Christy didn't like the look on Harvey's face. "Uh, well, I won't take up too much of your time, whoever you are," she struggled to rise up, grabbing her backpack, "I'll just be on my way, and..."

"Oh I don't think you're going anywhere, missy," Vinnie abruptly grabbed her arm, "You already seen too much, so you're staying right here with us."

"What are you doing!?" she tried to pull away.

"No one's going to know we're here," he told her coldly, "Therefore, Blondie, you're going to be our hostage until further notice."

"NO!" she sank her teeth into his hand. Vinnie howled and released her. Christy ran for the cave entrance, but with her sprained ankle, she could only go much slower than usual, and she'd gone not more than ten feet before Harvey jumped on her from behind and pinned her down to the floor. "She's a spirited one, Vinnie, that's for sure," he told his partner, straining to hold Christy still.

"Tell me about it," Vinnie clutched his bleeding hand, "We'd better tie her up real good. And, as luck would have it," he'd been rummaging through Christy's backpack and had found the rope she'd brought, "This'll be good for now; Leo'll have more if we need it later."

He strode over to Christy and pulled her arms behind her back. Christy grimaced as he tied her wrists together bone-crunchingly tight. "Please," she begged, fear starting to overtake her, "You don't need to do this! I'm only fifteen, I'm only waiting for the storm to break so I can go home! I won't say a word to anyone about this; you have my word!"

"Oh you're not going to say anything all right, Blondie," Vinnie flipped her up into a sitting position and wound more rope around Christy's chest, pinning her arms up against her back, "Once Harvey here puts a gag on you in a minute, you'll be nice and quiet for us."

"My name is Christy, and you don't...!" she was cut off as Harvey stuffed a thick white cloth into her mouth. He then produced a second, purple cloth and pulled it over Christy's mouth, tying it in a very tight knot behind her head. "That good enough for you, Blondie?" he taunted her.

"Mmmmmmmmmm!"Christy could barely hear the muffled cry that escaped the gag. She'd often read detective stories over the years where the hero or heroine had been gagged. Now it had happened to her, and it was a frightful experience. She tried to take deep breaths through her nose to avoid suffocating and falling into total panic.

She winced again as Vinnie looped more rope around her knees and tied them together. Then he ripped off the icepack and tied her ankles as well, making her grimace worse as the ropes dug into her sore ankle. "That'll hold her good for now," he nodded. He stared Christy right in the face. "I'd just sit back and relax if I were you, Blondie," he told her coldly, "You're our prisoner now, so you're not going anywhere. Our ride will be along eventually, so you'll be going with us then. Until then, if I were you and I valued my life, I'd just sit real still, or else," he pressed the knife right against her cheek, "We won't hesitate to end it for you here. Is that clear?"

"Mmmmmmmm!" Christy weakly nodded, her eyes bulging out of her head in fear. She stared numbly at the cavern floor as Harvey picked up where his partner had left off in going through her things. "Looks like her name's Christina Bryant; she's from Waterburg," he'd found her wallet in the backpack.

"Waterburg, huh? Well, look through it for any contact info; I have an idea Leo might like," Vinnie sat down right next to Christy, keeping the knife right next to her face, "Maybe you stabbing the guard wasn't so bad after all, Harv; now we at least have insurance if the cops show up, and a pretty one at that which I'll bet they'll pull out all the stops to save if so."

"What do we do with her later after Leo shows up, Vinnie?"

"Why don't we let Leo decide that with us later. After all, some things in life are better as surprises," Vinnie snickered out loud. Christy felt utterly numb all over. How did it all come down to this? How did a simple hike in the woods lead to her being kidnapped like this!? Only one thing was certain, she knew, made all too clear by the bloody knife pressed against her cheek: if she didn't get free soon, whatever the future held didn't look good at all for her...

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