Danger in Deep Woods

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A Hostage Held Who Knows Where

"Come on Christy pick up the phone!" Dawn was all but shouting at the top of her lungs as she dialed her own cell phone in the blinding rain. The number flashed on the screen for a brief number of seconds, before disappearing to be replaced with another NO SERVICE message. "Nothing?" Bobbie looked hesitantly over her shoulder.

"Nothing," Dawn sighed, concern etched all over her face, "Where can Christy be?"

"Moreover," Jackie looked hesitantly around the woods surrounding them, "Where are we?"

Her friends looked around with equal hesitance. After waiting for Christy for close to a half hour once they reached the top of the trail, they'd returned to find her missing from where they'd last seen her. An intense search of the trail had found no trace of her, and after they'd dared to go off it to look for her as well, they'd still had no luck. Now, with the storm in full swing, the three of them were huddled under the shade of an oak, trying to keep as dry as possible until it ended, trying their last option of locating Christy, which wasn't working. And that apparently wasn't the least of their problems now...

"You're saying we're lost?" Bobbie interjected, looking worried herself at the uncertainty of their surroundings.

"I don't recognize any of this," Jackie shook her head. She jumped a bit as another crash of thunder echoed loudly overhead and sank to the ground. "Where did Christy go? Why'd she have to leave the trail? How are we going to find her and find the way back like this!?"

"Might as well try one more time," Dawn started dialing again.

"Let it go, Dawn, after five times it's clear it's not going to work," Bobbie shook her head. Dawn ignored her, stepping out into the full rainstorm to try and get a better signal. "It's ringing but it's really weak," she announced to her friends, "Maybe if..."

"Wait," Jackie held up her hand, "I think I hear ringing too. And it sounds like it's right...over...there."

She dashed through some ferns and down into a ditch. Dawn and Bobbie rushed after her and watched Jackie dig through the underbrush and pull out another, ringing, cellphone. "This is Christy's all right," Jackie nodded.

"Then she can't be too far away," Dawn was energized now, "We'll split up and meet back here in an hour by this big oak over there if we haven't found her. Bobbie you go that way; Jackie, you go that way. I'll go north...if that is north," she pointed.

"And if we each get lost too?" Bobbie raised a suspicious eyebrow.

"That's a chance we have to take, Bobbie," Dawn was already rushing off, "Christy could be really close by now; the sooner we find her the better."

Christy strained hard with the ropes on her wrists. No matter how hard she pulled, they remained tight, and she was unable to reach the knots with her fingers. Of course, it was pretty hard to try any escape attempt with Vinnie right next to her, keeping the knife to her cheek.

She leaned her head back against the cave wall, resigned to trying to work her tongue around the thick wad of cloth jammed into place between her teeth. The rain continued pounding down incessantly outside, showing no sign of abating. By now it had to be close to if not after dark, Christy reasoned, for it was completely pitch black outside the visible cave entrance, with the only illumination coming from the periodic flash of lightning. The cave was pitch dark too, her captors having only their sole flashlight to offer weak illumination around her. Clearly, they didn't want anyone to have the remotest idea they were here, Christy knew, and that didn't bode well for any rescue attempts.

"Come on guys, get some help for me, quick!" she begged her friends in her head, straining with her wrists again, "I can't do this on my own, much as I'd like to; I need help!"

"Not too much longer till Leo gets here, I hope," Harvey mumbled softly from the dark in the back of the cave.

"Shouldn't be now that it's dark," Vinnie responded softly, "And this rain should be a good cover for us too. I just hope we can take off in this weather."

"Even if not...I think I hear him now," Harvey could be heard getting up. Christy heard it too; an engine in the distance, getting louder...

...but that wasn't all she heard: a voice wafted in from nearby. "Christy!" came the call: Dawn's voice! Christy's heart leaped. She glanced up at the outline of Vinnie standing over her. He didn't seem to have heard Dawn, and wasn't looking at her. She had an opportunity, if she was quick with it...

Taking a deep breath, she slammed herself full-on sideways into Vinnie. He groaned softly and toppled sideways. Christy quickly started scooting across the cave floor towards the cave entrance as the sound of the engine became deafening and the glow of headlights blinded Christy's view outside. She heard a door slam. "What are you doing out here, young lady?" she heard another man half-demand, presumably to Dawn outside.

"Excuse me sir, since you're with the forest service and all, perhaps you can help me," she heard Dawn say, "I'm looking for a friend of mine, she got lost on a hike today, and we've been looking all over for her."

"MMMMMMMM!" Christy cried out as loud as she could into her gag in the direction of the cave entrance, hoping the low cry would be loud enough for Dawn to hear.

"Hmm," the man mused outside loudly, "Can't say I've seen any other young ladies but yourself, Missy. Could you describe her?"

"MMMMM, MMMMMMMM!" Christy thumped her feet hard on the cave floor. She could make out the outline of the entrance in front of herself; maybe if she got close enough when the lightning flashed next...

...when both men swooped down on top of her. Harvey seized hold of her legs and held them motionless, while Vinnie seized her around the waist with one arm and held the knife against her throat with the other. "One more move or sound, and I slash it, sister," he warned her roughly, dragging her quietly backwards.

Numb, Christy remained motionless. It had been so close, especially when she next heard Dawn exclaim, "Did you hear something?"

"Uh, no," the man said, "Probably just rocks rattling around in that cave there; it's probably unstable in there. Anyway, you were saying about your friend?"

"Oh, yeah, her name's Christy Bryant, she's fifteen, about five foot five, long blonde hair, blue eyes. She was wearing a purple T-shirt, white shorts, purple socks, and white sneakers. Can I take a ride with you back to the station; the sooner we get people out here looking for her..."

"Uh, no, not at the moment, my dear, I'm sort of busy," the man told her quickly, "But tell you what; I'll call it in, and you keep searching for a while, say, an hour or so. Then meet me back here at this cave when your time's up, and I'll give you any other help you'd need then."

"Thank you, sir, this is the first break we've had all afternoon," Dawn said, partially drowned out by another crash of thunder. Then nothing else was heard except for the slamming of a car door. Dawn was probably already walking away, Christy realized sadly. So close to being rescued, and yet so far away. Maybe if Dawn had been there a minute or two earlier...

Without warning she was harshly slapped across the face. "You want to be a little troublemaker!?" Vinnie snarled softly at her, "Well, don't you ever try anything like that again if you value your life, Blondie! Perhaps this'll teach you a lesson or two!"

A sensation of horrific pain ripped down Christy's right leg as she was slashed there with the knife. She let out a bloodcurdling cry that would have traveled for miles if she hadn't been gagged. More slaps cracked Christy across the face. "MMMMMMM!" she desperately begged them to stop .

The sound of the car door opening again outside did in fact make Vinnie stop as he turned to look back to the cave entrance. A flashlight beam flicked on and off through the cave entrance several times. Releasing Christy for the moment, Vinnie picked up her flashlight from where it now lay nearby and flicked on and off back. Footsteps entered the cave. "Any complications?" the newcomer hissed, coming closer.

"Harvey felt the need to stab a guard just before we went into the woods," Vinnie grumbled, "I tried to tell him..."

"And I said it wasn't all my fault!" Harvey continued protesting, "I'm telling...!"

"What is this!?" Leo exclaimed, as the flashlight beam shone right in Christy's face. "MMMMMMMM!" she moaned, blinking out the light, begging Leo would show her mercy and convince the others to let her go.

"She was in here when we came in, Leo," Vinnie explained quickly, "We decided not to take any chances she'd spill the rendezvous, so we gagged her and tied her up and kept an eye on her till you got here."

"She must be the one that other girl just spoke about," Leo eyed Christy down, "Well, this really isn't going quite as I planned getting you two and myself to freedom, but I suppose having a hostage would be good insurance if the police do show up before we're able to take off, especially a really pretty hostage like this one."

"So we take the little brat with us?" Harvey inquired.

"Yes, might as well, for now at least," Leo nodded, "But you can't let her have any idea where she's being taken," he dug another cloth, this one black, out of his pocket, and lowered it towards Christy's face. Christy turned her head as far as she could to avoid it, but it was pulled over her eyes, plunging her completely into the dark. She moaned as the blindfold was tied as tightly as the gag-so tight it felt like her head was being squeezed now. "Hop," Vinnie ordered her once she was completely blindfolded, jamming his knife into her back and hauling her to her feet, "And no funny stuff."

Christy wasn't inclined to try anything at knifepoint. Even with Vinnie's arm on her shoulder to steady her, she stumbled flat on her face twice while hopping out of the cave to wherever he was guiding her, presumably Leo's vehicle. "You know, Leo, for the boss, you really took a chance getting cozy with her friend," Vinnie pointed out, roughly hauling Christy up after she fell down yet again.

"She trusted my disguise, and she looks lost too, I can see it in her eyes," Leo countered, "So first order of business is to get her friend here safely under wraps, Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a little while to take off; the...well, better not say anything right now; don't want to give too much away to our guest in case of any more complications. Anyway, once this one's safely fixed for the time being, we'll come back here and take care of her friend when she comes back in an hour. All right, up you go."

Christy was picked up and tossed headfirst onto the floor of Leo's vehicle; probably a ranger van of some kind, she reasoned, if that was what Dawn had thought he was. A blanket was tossed over top of her, and Vinnie's knife was pressed against the back of her head. "Stay nice and still, toots," he warned her, planting a foot softly but firmly on her back as well.

Christy was too numb to even bother moving. The engine started, drowning out the conversation the men were starting to have, and the vehicle lurched forward over the rough terrain, bumping Christy around roughly on the floor.

"Where are they taking me now!?" she thought with a chill. At least her life didn't seem to be in any imminent danger until they did take off to wherever they were going, but then what? And how much further away from help would she be when they stopped? Moreover, she felt more chilled when Leo had said he'd handle Dawn if he saw her again. Christy pleaded her friend would manage to stay away from him; she'd never forgive herself if her capture then led to something terrible happening to her best friend. If only she had gotten Dawn's attention at the cave...!

No, she shook her head glumly, moaning slightly as the vehicle hit a large rut and sent her abruptly rolling onto her side; then Dawn would have been kidnapped too, and she'd be guilty for that. She shook her head sadly. It was all a no-win situation for her.

How long she lay there thinking over how things had gone so far south for her, she didn't know, for the ride seemed to stretch on for ages before the vehicle finally lurched to a stop. "Welcome to your new home, Blondie," Vinnie hissed down at her, "Your new permanent home, at least for now."

The blanket was pulled off Christy, and she was dragged out of the vehicle. Flung over someone's shoulder, she still aimed a few quick kicks at her captor's back, although they appeared not to faze whoever it was. She heard a wooden door creaking open in front of her, and then wooden planking under her captor's feet. A chair could be heard scraping in front of her, and the next thing she knew, she was pushed down into it. The ropes around her chest were untied, as were her hands, but they were then pulled behind the chair and immediately retied. Christy felt an additional piece of rope being bound around her wrists as well; this was then pulled down under the chair and tied to her ankles, insuring for all intents and purposes she couldn't move either her hands or feet at all. She grimaced as more rope started binding her back and legs to the chair as well, each piece being tied painfully tight. "Ow, ow, stop it!" she begged them in her mind, gritting her teeth down hard on the wad of cloth in her mouth to keep from crying out in pain, "It's enough to tie me up, but this really hurts!"

"Too tight for you? Too bad," Leo growled in her ear, "Oh and we've got a little surprise for you too, my beauty. Just a little something to make sure you won't entertain any ideas."

Something was pushed against Christy's chest. Several round objects. "Oh no!" she thought in terror as she heard the tearing of tape and felt the objects being taped to her chest, "No, no, please, not...!"

"Yep, dynamite," Leo snickered. Christy shuddered as more explosives were now taped to her legs as well, "Remote controlled, meaning if you act up, we can kill you at any juncture. Moreover, we also apply to the principle, 'silence is golden,' so in the..."

He was cut off, as was all sound, as a set of headphones were pushed snugly over Christy's ears. Suddenly she was deaf as well. She sat frozen still in terror as a sheet was thrown over her for apparently good measure, covering her completely from head to toe. She couldn't believe it; just a few hours ago she'd come to the state park for a normal regular hike, and now here she was tied up who knew where with dynamite taped to her body...

Whether her kidnappers were even still there, she no longer knew, unable to see or hear anything at the moment. There was only one course of action, she knew. She started struggling hard with her bonds, struggling as if her life depended on it, which, in the pit of her stomach, she knew was indeed the case for her now...

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