Sorry for the delay in getting this posted, and thanks for everybody’s patience. Real life is pissing me off this week with all its getting in the way, and the new puppy is kicking my weary butt.
The small streak of anger within her was growing; as Abby drove, she developed an ounce of boldness.
“Listen, I’ll drive you somewhere, but I need to know where we’re going.” The anger was enough to push her to speak, but not enough to hide the quivering in her voice. She stole a look for the first time in the rearview mirror, saw only the upper rim of a blue hood. A sweat shirt – he wore a blue-hooded sweatshirt, she imagined telling police. Of course, she first needed to live through the experience. She heard nothing from the one in blue.
“HELLO?!” She grew bolder.
“I…I don’t know. Where are we now?” asked the croucher. He definitely sounded young. Was that fear in his voice? He had the nerve to be afraid? Perhaps it was a good thing. Maybe it meant he wasn’t fully comfortable with this whole kidnapping the innocent lady idea. Maybe he’d lose nerve, unable to bring himself to force her to a dark alley –
“Just – take me to Market Street. How do you get to Market?” he said.
Market’s good. Lots of people on Market, she thought.
“I know the way.” She merged left. Market Street wasn’t far – maybe ten minutes to the south.
Abby slowly reclaimed her senses as she drove; she smelled something. Blue croucher bore a musty dirt smell, like his hooded sweatshirt hadn’t been washed in ever, but there was some other odor in the air – piercing and distinct. Familiar. What is that? Her mind wandered to a camping trip she’d taken with her husband so many years ago. It was before the kids were born; they’d spent several days in the woods of an Indian reservation, forgetting the world, drinking hot cocoa and talking forever by the campfire. Life was much more simple. They were so simple. During that trip, she’d tripped while on a hike, took a spill, badly cut her knee; there was so much – BLOOD! That’s the smell! It was acrid, reminiscent of the inside bottle of iron pills her doctor gave her when she was pregnant.
“Are you in some sort of trouble?” she brought herself to say.
“Just shut up and drive.” responded Croucher.
“You’re bleeding, aren’t you? Do you need a doctor?”
“NO!” A mixture of nerves and rage, then an agonizing pause. “It’s…it’s not mine.”
“Who…who did you kill?” Pale stream of fear crawled from her throat, embittered her saliva.
“I didn’t kill nobody, you hear?!” Croucher came back, and he punctuated his words with another shove of the weapon against Abby’s neck. “At least, not yet!” he added.
The additional shove worked as fuel for Abby’s rising anger and boldness; yes, she was terrified, but frustration over what was being done to her was changing the emotional mix, quickly. He’s just a punk! A punk kid! What would Jack Bauer do right now? For no more than a moment, she envisioned herself doing the impossible – pulling a Jack; she would begin to speed up the car, casually at first, so the punk wouldn’t notice, and just as he was beginning to realize that she was driving too fast, she’d jerk the wheel, send him flying from his crouch as she hopped a curb, taking out a newspaper stand, pedestrians would leap out of the way – except two guys carrying a giant piece of clear glass – that she would plow through, dangerous shards flying thousands of directions, tires screeching, knuckles white, teeth gritting; she’d end the stunt with a head-on collision into a bus station – more glass, more screaming, leaping pedestrians, more grit teeth, and while the punk was stunned, she would jump to the back seat, grabbing his gun, which he’d have dropped in the malaise, hold it to his chin, shouting, “WHO SENT YOU?!”
Leaping pedestrians? Broken glass? Really? C’mon, Abby.
It took imagining for her to realize that TV doesn’t really happen. This man had a gun, and she had kids at home. She would play it smart, play it safe. Tears returned at the thought of her children.
-to be continued-