Oh god, no! The nightmares weren’t just nightmares!” Amy thought in horror, “I can’t let them do this to me...!”
She swung a kick backwards, connecting with her captor’s shin. He howled in agony and loosened his grip on her, enough for her to break away. “HELP, GUYS, HELP!” she screamed for her friends, tossing the blanket away and rushing for the safety of the hotel, “I’M OUT HERE; THEY’RE TRYING...!”
“Shut up, you little brat!” another figure grabbed her from the side and covered her mouth again. She kicked wildly at him and rolled her head around, trying to pull her mouth free. “Dylan, do something!” she shouted at him once she had succeeded.
“Amy, be quiet and accept this,” he gave her a stone cold look that sent a horrified chill through her body, “You’re going with them, and I don’t want to see them hurt you-yet.”
“Oh my god...!” she mumbled in terrified realization, “You brought me out to be...HELP!” she screamed for the rest of her friends again, squirming around wildly in her captor’s arms trying to escape, “GUYS, PLEASE, HELP ME! THEY’RE KIDNAPPING ME, GUYS, PLEASE! LET GO OF ME, YOU OX!” she bellowed at him, kicking wildly, “YOU’RE NOT TAKING ME...!”
“Please just get her in here and shut her up!” came a stern voice from the van behind her. Despite her efforts to pull away, Amy was dragged into the van and hurled onto her back on the back seat. Immediately, a large cloth was jammed down hard on her face. Amy’s nose and mouth were overwhelmed with the smell of chloroform. Moaning, she struggled to get up, but two figures in ski masks held her down. “Stop worrying, my pretty, and just breath in nice and deep,” a woman’s voice came from behind the ski mask of the figure pressing the cloth against her face, “We’re just helping you relax for the long journey you’ve got ahead of you...”
“Amy, what’s going on here? I heard...Amy!" came Monica’s horrified shriek from the hotel door. Amy was able to raise her head up enough to see the brunette looking on in shock at the scene before her. Monica desperately rushed forward to help her, only to have Dylan step into her path. “Let it go, Monica, this is for the better,” he told her sternly.
“What are you talking about Dylan!? Get out of my way; we’ve got to help her...!” Monica tried to push past him.
“Monica, get back in the hotel now.”
“Dylan, I’m warning you...Dylan!?” Monica gasped as he abruptly drew a gun from his coat and pointed it at her, “What in God’s name are you doing...!?”
“I said, get back in the hotel, Monica Carpenter. Amy’s coming with my friends here, and neither you nor anyone else will...” Dylan growled at her. Amy heard nothing more, however, for the chloroform was now knocking her out. Her eyes rolled around, then slid shut, sending her into the dark depths of sleep.
“Anything?” Shawn asked Patrick, who was leaning around the corner of the lounge and staring down the hallway towards the front desk.
“It’s gone quiet now, Shawn; not sure what all the yelling out there was,” Patrick frowned, “Sounded like it was serious, though...”
“Then why are we standing around in here?” Craig pressed, looking worried, “Let’s go see what else is going on. Amy and Dylan might be...”
“Hold on, here they come,” Beth pointed, seeing Monica and Dylan walking around the corner together. “Hey guys, is everything all right?” she jogged up the two of them, “Where’s Amy? Is she...Monica, are you all right?” she frowned at the brunette, whose face was numb and ashen, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost. Dylan, what’s...?”
“Beth, shut up, please,” Dylan abruptly thrust his gun right at her. Beth gasped in shock, as did many of the Sidekicks behind her. “Dylan, what’s the meaning of this!?” she rambled with wide eyes, “Why are you...!?”
“They’ve got Amy,” Monica mumbled numbly, staring blankly right ahead, “They’re taking her...”
“Taking her where!? I don’t understand...!”
“Don’t any of you kids move!” came the angry shout from up the hall. More gasps rang out at the sight of two figures in black clothes and ski masks storming up the hall with high powered assault rifles pointed right at the teens. “I said don’t move, kid!” the figure on the left shouted at Shawn, who turned and started running the other way. He fired a shot that just zinged by Shawn’s head, bringing him to an abrupt stop. “That’s the only warning shot I’ll give, kid. Now get back here unless you want to leave here in a body bag!” he threatened sharply.
Numb, Shawn turned and walked back to the rest of the Sidekicks. “All of you, this way,” the figure on the right ordered, gesturing back towards the front desk with his rifle.
“What have you done with Amy!?” Craig demanded, furious, “If you’ve hurt her...!”
“Relax Craig, she’s going to be in great hands with us-as long as you and everyone else don’t be heroes,” Dylan warned him, turning his gun towards the Sidekicks’ co-leader, “So if you love her, just walk along quietly here and do what we say. She’s going to enjoy being with me a lot more than she would have with you, I’ll promise you that.”
“Dylan you filthy traitor...!” Craig angrily rushed him. Dylan leaped aside, letting Craig go right past him towards the larger masked figure, who raised his gun high and smashed the barrel down hard on Craig’s head. With a groan, Craig collapsed in a heap to the floor instantly. “Craig!” horrified, Beth rushed to her brother and shook him wildly. Craig groaned again, but said nothing. “How could you, Dylan!?” she tearfully asked him, “What was the price for you to...!?”
“On your feet, girlie!” the smaller gunman hauled her back up and gave her a hard shove up the hall. “All of you take out your phones nice and slow and put them on the front desk when you go by it,” he ordered the rest of the Sidekicks, “Anyone who refuses or tries to run gets shot immediately. Move.”
The five teenagers walked slowly in shock up the hall, obligingly taking out their phones and dropping them on the front desk as they passed it. “OK guys, go back behind the desk and down the service hall,” Dylan ordered, dragging the groaning Craig with him. “We can put them in the storage closet, Uncle Nevin,” he asked the smaller masked figure, “There’s no way out of there...”
“Who’s Uncle Nevin, Dylan!? And what else haven’t you told us!?” Patrick snapped at him.
“Just keep walking, Patrick, please. We don’t want to hurt you guys unless you give us no choice,” Dylan said harshly, thrusting the gun at Patrick next. The Sidekicks were herded behind the front desk and through the door into the staff hallway. “In here,” the taller figure gestured with his rifle for them to enter the door to their right. The five of them reluctantly entered the small, mostly empty closet behind the door. “Sit down,” Dylan commanded to them, tossing Craig onto the floor in front of them, “Now just behave in here, and we won’t hurt you guys.”
He slammed the door shut. The lock immediately clicked, followed by a scraping sound and a thud as something heavy was pushed against the door. “Let us out of here!” Beth roared, rising up and pounding hard on the door in fury, “You can’t do this to us, Dylan, whatever you’ve...!”
A gunshot ripped through the door, sending her tumbling to the floor to avoid it. “We’ll shoot every last one of you if we keep hearing screaming in here!” “Uncle Nevin” shouted at them. “Lou, you stay here and guard these brats,” he told the other adult figure.
“What if I’m snowed in here and the cops show up!?” Lou protested.
“The cops aren’t coming out in this weather, Lou, and we’ll come back for you when we’re ready to leave for good, I promise. Just make sure to smash their phones when you get a chance to make sure they can’t call for help. Come on, Dyl, we’ll clear out the basement and get going with your dream girl,” Nevin told his nephew.
“Sorry guys, gotta run. Enjoy it in there,” Dylan called mockingly to his fellow Sidekicks before walking off. Beth roared in frustration and pounded her fists on the floor. “I don’t believe all this!” she raged, “Craig...!?” she turned back to her brother, shaking him tearfully, “Craig, can you hear me...!?”
“I think he’s all right, Beth; he didn’t get a direct hit with the gun from what I saw, so I think he’s just stunned,” Judy spoke up, staring hard at Craig in the darkness, “But are we going to be all right!?” she grew very worried, “Amy’s bad dreams weren’t just bad dreams; there really were dangerous people out there. And now what are they going to do to her...what are they going to do to us...!?”
“Kelly, I’m home,” Mr. Newberry announced, walking through his front door.
“Evening, Scott,” came the rather dulled voice from the living room. Mr. Newberry walked in to see his wife seated on the couch, staring ahead into space. “Everything OK, dear?” he asked, concerned.
“I’m fine, Scott, it’s just...there was a big robbery at the bank down the street from us this afternoon. A couple of people died,” Mrs. Newberry mumbled softly, “We heard the gunfire and watched from the front door as they took off in a van...”
“You were never in any danger, were you?” Mr. Newberry took her hand, worried.
“No, thank god. But it’s just...I thought it would be peaceful around here. I mean, part of the hook for us coming here was that it would be quieter and there’d be less chance of crime than there was in Philadelphia. And now something like this happens right after we move in...”
“Kelly, how could we have known this would happen?” Mr. Newberry put an arm around her, “As long as you’re all right, that’s what matters. You’re not having second thoughts, are you?”
“Well...I’m a Philadelphian by birth like Amy, Scott, so this was as rocky for me as it was for her...”
“I know, I know. But what choice did we have, Kelly, really? I couldn’t find anything else in the city that would fit my skills, and the three of us couldn’t have lasted long on just your salary alone. It was either take this, which would give us both a chance to make enough to get Amy through college, or possibly lose the house and a lot more. I had my doubts too, but I felt this had the highest reward for all of us. So hopefully they’ll catch whoever pulled that robbery quick, and we won’t have to worry about crime again around here.”
He planted a kiss on her cheek. “Something still bothering you?” he asked, noticing she still looked worried.
“Well it’s just...call me paranoid, but I’m really worried about Amy now after what happened. You haven’t heard from her at all, have you?”
“No. And after watching everything go down, part of me wishes we would hear something from her. The thieves seemed to be driving away from the bank in the direction her friend said that hotel they were staying at was, and...”
“Kelly, I can understand you’d be worried after watching something like that, but don’t be,” he assured her, “What are the odds they’d actually stop at that hotel? They’re probably all the way in New Jersey by now if they haven’t been caught. Amy’s likely fine; she’s probably having the time of her life with her new friends right now. And when she gets home on Sunday, she’ll have some great stories to tell us.”
A single overwhelming sensation washed over Amy as she started waking up: severe cold. It permeated her body to the bone, roaring through her like a freight train. And to no surprise, as she realized she wasn’t wearing her coat, and her sweater sleeves had been rolled up to her elbows, allowing the cold to grip her tighter than it otherwise would have.
The horror of her abduction roared back to her in a flash. And she felt ropes on her hands and feet, and a very tight cloth tied into her mouth. Terrified, she cried out and tried to open her eyes, but couldn’t: another cloth was tied as tightly over her eyes. There was no sound around her but the howling of the wind; was she alone in the woods, Amy wondered?
“Why would they want me!?” she thought fearfully to herself, “I’m new in town, I’m a nobody; why would they grab me!? I’ve got to get out of this mess somehow-but I can’t panic, or I’m sunk. You can do this, Newberry, just stay calm and think. Let’s see if you can loosen these knots on your own...”
She rolled about from side to side, straining hard against the ropes. They had been tied painfully tight; Amy’s hands were already feeling numb from the circulation being cut off. She flailed her fingers around, trying to grasp the knots...
...but stopped when she heard the sound of footsteps approaching. A door slid open, hinting she was still in the van. “Evening, beautiful,” came the ominous voice she’d heard when she’d been abducted, “Hope you’re not too upset to be tied up like this. We needed insurance for our little job earlier, and seeing how pretty you are, we felt you’d make the best insurance of all your friends. Well, let’s put you where you’ll be good and safe...”
Amy felt him start to pick her up. Roaring, she head butted him blindly and tried to roll out of his grasp. He grabbed her shoulder, spun her back around and slapped her hard across the face. A knife was then pressed to her throat. “I’ve killed two men today, princess, and I will not hesitate to kill you too if you don’t behave!” he warned her furiously, “So act your age!”
“Amy, don’t fight this,” Dylan’s voice rang out, “This is for your own good as well as ours, trust me.”
“LLLLLLnnnnnn ooooooooo aaaaaaoooorrrrrzzzzz aaaaaaaakkkkk!” was the best Amy could manage to say through her gag. She angrily kicked her feet in Dylan’s direction as she was picked up and carried away from the van, shivering in the cold. “Get the extra rope, we’re fixing her up down in the cellar,” her captor announced out loud.
“Just calm down, sweetie, we ain’t gonna hurt you if you don’t act up,” the woman squeezed Amy’s cheeks hard. Amy growled and kicked at her next, but failed to connect. The man entered a building with creaking wooden floors. A door opened, and she was carried down a flight of stairs. “You know what, Fred, crack the windows open when we’re done,” he announced to another accomplice, “They say it might dive below zero the next few hours, and if she’s freezing solid, she won’t be able to struggle hard at all.”
“Doesn’t that open the door for an escape risk, Nevin?” the man was skeptical.
“Nonsense; she can’t fit through windows that small. Sit down,” he tossed Amy roughly down into a large throne-like chair-she knew it was because the top of the back was well over her head, and only the tips of her toes touched the ground. Numerous strong hands seized her and pushed her down as her hands were untied, then shoved down against the chair’s arms and tied down. More ropes lashed around her upper body, pinning it to the back of the chair, then bound her upper legs down to the seat. Finally her still bound ankles were tied to each of the chair’s legs. Amy winced as each new set of ropes were tied extremely tight. She bit down hard on the cloth in her mouth to keep from screaming in pain. “OK my dear, let me lay out some cold hard facts, if you’ll pardon the expression,” the leader cracked, holding the knife to her throat again, “You’re a good ten miles from your hotel, we’re very deep in the mountains, and this storm’s not letting up for a while. So no one’s coming to save you, whether you like it or not. We have your friends locked up back at the hotel; if you try to escape, we’ll call our man there, and he’ll kill every last one of them. As long as you’re of use to us, you’ll live, unless you really make it hard on yourself, but if you do that, I’ll slit this pretty throat of yours good. Understand?”
Amy gave a soft nod. “Good,” he pulled the knife away. “You’re good with the electronics, Dyl; show me how to set this up,” he told Dylan now.
“Sure thing, Uncle Nevin. So you know, though, she’s from an average family, so we probably can’t get much if we choose to ransom her,” Dylan said.
“Well, whatever we can get. As long as they and cops know we have her, we’re safe.”
“Right. Well, Amy,” she could feel Dylan leaning over her now, “I hope you’re not too upset, but we figured, why let such a pretty girl like you go to waste? You’ll be staying with us a while, but don’t worry, you’re going to enjoy it, because you and I are going to have some fun together later on.”
Amy bellowed in rage, feeling him touching where she did not want to be touched. She swung her head forward, connecting hard with his. Another slap crossed her face. “I said don’t get rough, girl, not with my nephew!” “Uncle Nevin” threatened her.
“It’s all right, Uncle Nevin, Amy just doesn’t know what she likes. But she will later on,” Amy couldn’t mistake the cold lecherousness in Dylan’s voice. She knew full well what this likely meant for her...
“Stay calm, Amy, just stay calm,” she pleaded with herself, knowing it would nonetheless be an uphill battle to keep her fear at bay, “You can get out of this mess if you just think clearly...I hope...!”