Out of Time
“Turn it to the right, Scott, the right!” Mrs. Newberry urged her husband.
“I am, I am!” Mr. Newberry spun it hard, but to no effect; his car, like the Sidekicks’, was now stuck on Mountain View Road too. “Terrific!” he muttered, slapping the steering wheel hard, “I don’t know why they didn’t bother plowing this road yet!” he gestured out the windshield at the more than foot of snow covering the road. He slumped back in his seat. “Now what!?” he growled.
“Our Father, who art in heaven, keep our daughter safe,” Mrs. Newberry bowed her head against the dashboard and started praying, “Please let her friends get to her in time if we can’t, and have them get her safely back to us.”
“I don’t know if prayers can even help now, Kelly,” her husband sighed sadly, turning up the heater full blast, “We’re stuck, we don’t know how close we are to Amy, or if her friends can...”
“If it’s all we can do now, Scott, let’s do it,” she begged him. Mr. Newberry pondered it, then lowered his head against the steering wheel. “Dear God, my wife’s more religious than I am, I’ll admit, but please, help Amy,” he pleaded with the Almighty, “If you can keep her alive until we can get to her, and please let us be able to reach her, I’ll give you anything. She’s everything to Kelly and I. So please help us save her. Amen.”
“Just a few more yards,” Monica said excitedly, staring at the blue line on Laurie’s cell phone getting shorter and shorter, signaling they were getting closer to their destination, “Just over this hill, and...!”
She rushed over the hill-and looked around in confusion. There was nothing but dark woods and blowing snow in every direction. “Where is it!?” she demanded, staring hard all around, “The cabin’s got to be here...!”
“Uh, Monica...” Shawn spoke up, pointing to a glowing light under a pile of snow to their right. He bent down and extracted Amy’s cell phone from the snow. “Our fears were right; they threw it away and took Amy somewhere else,” he mumbled sadly, slumping against a tree, “We came up here for nothing...”
“I’ll bet that guy lied to us and sent us up here so we’d get lost!” Judy lamented, doing the same, “Amy’s probably miles away, or even...even...”
She choked up. Silence filled the woods. “Now what?” Shawn spoke up for all of them, “What are we supposed to do now?”
“I don’t know, Shawn,” Patrick shook his head, miserable, “I just don’t know. I hate to say this, given we vowed we’d help Amy, but maybe we should turn back and try and get back to the car, and hope the cops can find her when this storm finally ends...”
“How can we find our way back to the car in pitch darkness and a blinding snowstorm when it took three hours just to hike up here!?” Judy wailed in grief, “And with the blizzard probably having erased our tracks already!? I’m sorry Patrick, but there’s no positive spin on this; Amy’s gone, and now we’re all going to freeze to death! We’re all done for now; we’ll never find our way back!”
“No, we’re not giving up!” Craig shouted, defiant, “Amy’s not gone, not until we have her dead body in front of us...!”
“Craig, I’m sorry; we did everything we could, but it’s over,” Beth put a hand on his shoulder and shook her head sadly, “We’re never going to find her now. We need to focus on getting back down the mountain alive now.”
“Don’t quit now, Beth, we can still...!” Craig tried to protest. Beth seized his other shoulder and shook her head harder. “I’m sorry, Craig; we failed,” she told him with a sob, “Just let her go and hold on to her memory.”
“I can’t...oh Amy...!” Craig sobbed, slumping down to the ground, “Amy...!”
“I know,” his sister sat down next to him and put a sad arm around him, “We’re all going to miss her. It just wasn’t meant to be. Come on guys,” she helped him up and gestured at the others, “Let’s hope we can retrace our trail and get back to the car before we freeze...”
“Hold on, wait, don’t go!” Monica shouted, her gaze locking in to the northeast, “I think I see a light there! That’s got to be it!”
“What light!? I don’t see any light, Monica!” Shawn protested, squinting into the darkness.
“Wait, there, there it is, look!” Laurie seized his arm and pointed to the northeast. “You know, that does look like something...” Judy mused, staring hard at what looked like a dim light in the middle of the swirling snow some distance away, “But how far is it!?” she shivered in the cold, “We can’t last out here much longer like this...!”
“It’s close enough to investigate. Come on,” Monica waved for the others to follow her, “This pretty much has to be where Amy is...!”
“What do you want to do now?” Kyle asked Andrea as they walked down Coalport’s main street, having given their depositions to the police.
“I’m starting to get hungry, Kyle; we didn’t really have much to eat today,” Andrea confessed.
“Where’d you like to...?” Kyle stopped at the sound of his cell phone buzzing. He pulled it out and frowned at the screen. “Coalport Diner OK?” he asked Andrea.
“Guess so. Why?”
“Got a text from Tim Philips, the boy Monica’s been dating. Says he wants to meet us there.”
“Guess he heard about what happened, and he’s worried for Monica,” Andrea surmised. “Well, the Coalport Diner’s only about five blocks away, so let’s go find out.”
The two of them hustled down the street until the glowing façade of the Coalport Diner loomed in front of them. They stepped up the front steps and inside, shaking the snow from themselves. “Kyle, Andrea,” came a call from a booth nearby. They turned to see Tim sitting there, with another boy and girl. “Hello Tim. Kevin, Beverly, funny to see you here,” Kyle recognized the other two as the most popular couple in school.
“Well Tim is a good friend, Kyle. Come on and sit with us,” Kevin waved them over. He looked worried, and Kyle and Andrea got a clear answer why when they approached, as he and the others were staring at a laptop on which Amy could be seen, still firmly tied up. “So you know about Amy, then?” Kyle asked the new trio grimly.
“We got the message from a couple of our friends this morning that the new girl got kidnapped. We checked ourselves, and we haven’t been able to look away since,” Kevin admitted, shaking his head sadly, “Seeing someone our age have something like this happen to them...”
“Is Monica all right?” Tim asked Kyle and Andrea worriedly, “She texted that she was taking the new girl out with her group of friends for the weekend; I haven’t heard from her since, and seeing this, I’m getting terrified that...”
“She’s all right, Tim. She and the others were locked up at the hotel for a couple of hours, but Kyle and I got them out,” Andrea assured him, “The people who took Amy and locked them up smashed all their phones; that’s why you couldn’t reach Monica. She and the others are trying to get to Amy and rescue her now...”
“In the middle of the blizzard of the century?” Tim glanced in shock out the window at the snow still pouring down in buckets, “Either she’s crazy or she’s the most heroic girl I’ve ever known. She must really care for this new girl. Maybe I ought to give her more love and affection than I have been...”
He slumped his head down, guilty. “Don’t be hard on yourself, Tim; I can tell you and Monica like each other a lot,” Andrea comforted him.
“But I held back before with her, Andrea; I wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit fully to her or not,” Tim lamented, “And now that I am sure that I want to be with her, who knows if she’s going to survive all this? Do you have any idea exactly where she and the others are?” he asked Kyle and Andrea.
“Sharp Mountain; god willing, they’re hopefully close to Amy by now,” Andrea said.
“But how will they get down?” Beverly spoke up for the first time, concerned herself, “Do they know the way back in a massive snowstorm like this?”
“Well...we’re just going to have to hope for the best, Beverly,” Kyle shook his head.
“Well, if the power of prayer helps, word’s gotten around that the class wants to hold a vigil for Amy tomorrow morning outside the school,” Kevin told him, “We’ll all say a prayer for her safe return together there. In the meantime, if there’s anything Beverly and I can do to help her more directly, please tell us. We, well, feel like we need to.”
“Why?” Andrea frowned, “You didn’t have any bad interactions with Amy in school before all this, did you?”
“No, but that’s the problem. We didn’t reach out to her, and...and now, I wish I did,” Kevin confessed, hanging his head, “She was right next to me in chemistry class; why didn’t I say hello to her!? Was it because I was too hardwired to consider not reaching out to anyone who isn’t a star athlete like me, or a popular girl like Bev?”
“Her locker was down the row from me,” Beverly also confessed, her lip quivering, “I saw her, but I was too busy with my other cheerleader friends; I never thought to say hello. Now I feel like I’ve abandoned her. To see someone our age go through what she’s going through...I just feel so guilty. I mean, look at her,” fighting tears, she pointed at Amy weakly squirming around in her chair, “The poor, poor thing; she’s got to be utterly terrified being tied up liked that. And when they started beating her when she was getting close to escaping...she’s just a kid like us, kids like us don’t deserve this. I wish...” her head slumped down, “...I just wish there was something I could do to help her...I’ve been so self-centered, stuck in my own clique for too long...”
Sniffing hard, she was unable to go on. “I know, Bev, we all do,” Kevin comforted her, squeezing her close. He too stared sadly at Amy struggling. “What kind of animals tape two guns to a sixteen year old’s head!?” he muttered in disgust, “No kid deserves that. No human being deserves that. I feel so helpless, not being able to do anything for her...” he slumped his own head down on the table, “I haven’t really done anything for anyone in this town...it’s been all about what I’ve done on the football field. I need to change...”
Sighing again, he looked up at Kyle and Andrea. “You two have anywhere else to go?” he asked them, “If not, would you mind staying with us here, so we can get any updates from your friends too?”
“Well, I guess so,” Kyle shrugged, “We were just going to head on home after eating, but...”
His phone buzzed. He held it up to his face. “Speak of the devil, it’s Monica now,” he exclaimed, “They think they have the cabin Amy’s being held in in their sight now.”
“Let me have that,” Tim snatched it off him. “Monica, it’s Tim, are you all right!?” he mumbled his text out loud, “I’ve been worried for you.” Moments later, her response came back, “I’M FINE, TIM. THANKS FOR YOUR CONCERN. RIGHT NOW, IT’S AMY I’M WORRIED ABOUT. IT LOOKS LIKE THERE’S SOME ACTION UP THERE; HER TIME MAY BE RUNNING OUT.”
“Please be careful, Monica, I love you,” Tim again mumbled out his response. “I APPRECIATE IT, TIM. GOT TO GO NOW, WE’VE GOT FIGURE OUT OUR NEXT MOVE HERE.” Monica answered back after a minute.
“CALL ME BACK THE MINUTE YOU HAVE THE NEW GIRL SAFE SO I KNOW YOU’RE SAFE TOO. AND LET ME KNOW IF THERE’S ANYTHING I CAN DO TO HELP; THERE’S A COUPLE PEOPLE HERE WHO’RE INTERESTED IN HELPING AS WELL,” Tim signed off. “Well,” he took a deep nervous breath, “I’m not as into God and church as she is, but say a prayer for them all right now,” he told the others, “Here’s hoping they don’t get killed...”
“Here’s hoping,” Kevin added, shaking his head, “You’re right, Tim; she and they are really brave,” he told his friend. “If only it would just stop snowing,” he frowned out the window, “This is half the problem here, no way for...”
“Hold on,” Andrea held up her hand, a smile crossing her face. “I’ve got an idea on how the three of you might be able to help if they get Amy out safely and if we can keep in touch with them,” she told the trio.
“What, how?” Tim grilled her.
“Well Tim, do you think your father would mind if we borrowed some of his merchandise for a few hours...?”
“Everyone down, everyone quiet,” Beth hissed at the other Sidekicks, dropping to her stomach and crawling along the ground as the cabin came into sight. The others did the same behind her. The air was now filled with the humming of snowmobile engines, and the seven of them could make out four of them idling by the front door. They crawled for the safety of a thick evergreen bush directly in line with the front door, reaching it just as two heavily armed figures exited the cabin, carrying sacks. “That should be the last of the money, Nevin,” a woman’s voice rang out.
“Get ready for your big retirement, babe,” the figure next to her pulled her close and kissed her, “We’re on the path to glory now.”
“Or at least once Gil gets us the passports, Nevin,” another man exited the cabin with another sack, “Have you heard anything from Lou? I haven’t.”
“Nope. The idiot probably got drunk and passed out, I’ll bet. We can have Gil send someone to look for him once we’re in his safe house...”
“I see Amy!” Patrick hissed softly to the others.
“Where!?” Judy tried to follow where he was now pointing.
“Down there in the basement,” he pointed harder at another point of light coming from the small window on the right side of the bottom of the steps, “Oh boy, she’s tied up like a mummy, and she’s got two big guns taped to her head. She looks like she’s freezing solid too; her whole face is frostbitten...”
“I see her. Poor Amy, she looks like she’s gone through a nightmare in these guys’ hands,” Beth said sadly, just able to make out Amy in the basement, “Now the question is, how do we get her out of there without getting caught and killed? Think, Klein, think!” she squinted her eyes shut and thought hard, then growled in frustration. “I can’t think of anything!”
“Beth, it’s all right...” it was Craig’s turn to try and comfort her.
“No it’s not all right, Craig; I’m supposed to be the leader of the group, I’m supposed to have the answers to these things! Amy’s counting on me having the answers, but I’ve got nothing!” Beth ranted.
“Shhh, they’ll hear you!” Judy hissed at her. And indeed, one of the men’s heads had shot up. You guys hear something?” he asked.
“I didn’t hear anything, Fred,” the woman shook her head.
“Well I thought I heard something...”
“It was probably the wind or some wild animal,” the leader dismissed his concerns. “Any more of the loot in there, Dyl?” he asked Dylan, whom the Sidekicks could now see exiting the cabin.
“Think we got it all, Uncle Nevin,” Dylan told him, “So can I...?”
“Yeah, do whatever you want with her. Then finish her off like I told you. Make it quick, though; I want to be out of here in no more than fifteen minutes. We’ll dump her body in the woods somewhere along the way to the safe house. So hurry it up.”
“Oh God, he’s going to rape her and kill her, I know it!” Craig mumbled, horrified, watching Dylan walk back into the cabin, rubbing his hands together eagerly, “Forget what I said, Beth; think of something quick!” he urged her.
“I can’t perform under pressure like this, Craig, I’m sorry!” Beth roared softly in frustration, “Any of you got any ideas!?” she asked the other Sidekicks.
“Well, if nothing else, there’s always the frontal assault; we charge right at them and try and overwhelm them...” Patrick suggested.
“Great idea, Patrick; I always wanted to commit suicide in a blaze of glory like that,” Shawn rolled his eyes in disgust, “If only we could surprise them and lock them up somewhere, but we can’t. If Amy was on the ground floor, we might sneak in through the window, but she’s not, so...” He too growled in frustration. “Don’t feel bad, Beth, this is killing me too to have nothing!” he consoled her as well.
“Well somebody think of something quick; Amy’s out of time now!” Monica begged them.
“Wait, I might have something,” Laurie softly raised her hand, “It might be insanely stupid, but it might be Amy’s only hope.”
“I don’t know if we should run the risk on something stupid, Laurie...” Judy was unconvinced.
“We’ll do anything to save Amy, Judy,” Craig firmly overruled her. “What have you got!?” he grilled Laurie.
“Hello Amy. It’s time,” Dylan declared grandly, his footsteps descending the stairs. Amy’s heart rate started going faster in terror at the thought of what was to come in a moment.
“Don’t let him, Amy,” she told herself, her will steeling in defiance, “Fight against the creep to the bitter end any way you can; don’t let him conquer you willingly.”
She tensed up her muscles in readiness for his approach. Instead, she heard a beeping sound. “OK, live stream’s off. You might have heard earlier, Amy, that we’ll be looping the footage of you struggling earlier after we’re away from here,” Dylan continued, walking towards her, “I guess you could say, then, that’ll you’ll live on well after you’re gone.”
She sensed him leaning towards her face. “I hate to have to kill you, Amy. You and I could have had so much more fun together. But oh well, at least we’re going to have this together...”
His lips pressed hard against hers with another forced kiss. Roaring, Amy headbutted him again. He howled in pain, then slugged her hard in the face twice. “Stop it, Amy, you know you want this, so don’t fight it!” he shouted at her, “Now hold still and enjoy this like I will!”
“OOOOOONNNN OOOOOO RRRRRRR AAAAAAAAPPPPP EEEEEEEEE LLLLLLLNNNNN LLLLLZZZZZNNNN!” Amy threatened him angrily through her gag. She strained furiously to bump him away with her chest as she felt him grasping at her belt. “LLLLLLL KKKLLLLL OOOOOO FFFFFFF OOOOOO UUUUHHHCCCCCHHH EEEEEEE!” she warned him muffledly, trying to headbutt him yet again, but he was too far out of range for her to do so without pulling the guns’ triggers.
“OK Amy, have it your way!” he yelled over the sound of tape tearing, “I was going to wait until after this to finish you off, but you brought this on yourself now!”
Without warning, tape smothered Amy’s nose. Suddenly, she couldn’t breathe at all. “No, no, don’t kill me like this!" she thought, horrified at this type of death. But a muttering Dylan kept wrapping the tape around her head over her nose over and over, leaving it buried under what felt like at least a dozen layers. She started gasping and choking frantically, struggling to somehow breathe with her nose now heavily covered and her mouth tightly gagged. “You’ve got five minutes at most left before you suffocate to death, Amy, which Uncle Nevin and I figured would be the easiest way to finish you. So make the best of these remaining five minutes of your life,” Dylan warned her, his voice now dripping with rage and lechery, “Let’s make our relationship one to remember while we still can...!”
She felt him unbuckling her belt. Screeching in rage and terror, she rolled her head around desperately, coming inches away from triggering both guns taped to her head, frantically trying to find a way to free her nose of the tape in time before she suffocated to death. Her body was going into wild convulsions, and she was choking hysterically now; she doubted she would in fact last five minutes without air. Her screeches got wilder as he yanked her belt off from around her waist and tossed it to the floor, then untied a few of the ropes along the top of her legs before climbing into her lap. “OK Amy,” he hissed sickly at her, grasping for her jeans’ clasp, “Let’s have some fun together...”