By now, I’m sure that most of you are aware that I’m writing something for my wife. Tentatively, I’ve named it Kristen’s Thriller (until I come up with a better name) and I’ve been posting them for Rachael Ritchey’s #BlogBattles.
Today, I continue the story.
If you haven’t read what happened before now, I’ve attached links below so you can catch up.
Kristen wants to know what comes next, so I’m off to work on that.
Kristen’s Thriller: Part 3
That was the first thing to intrude into Carter’s awareness. Well, less of an intrusion and more the persistent howling of sirens clashing with the relentless pounding of jackhammers. A small groan escaped his lips and his head lolled forward. It never got easier. Actually, the opposite was true. The more times he’d experienced unconsciousness, the less fun it was. But then again, no one he’d ever met had enjoyed it either.
Slowly, memories of the attack started to return. Part of him wished that they were dreams, that this was some realistic nightmare. He’d had those before. It all felt so abstract, unreal to such an extent that Carter felt almost positive that he’d wake up in a moment. Maybe Anna’s face would be there; the sun in her smile. But the pain was too real. Too visceral. The more he pushed it away, the more he was forced to accept it as the truth. A painful, all too real truth. Another groan escaped his lips and he tried to lift his head.
That was a mistake.
Stiffness in his neck blossomed to full on agony. Grimacing through the pain, he could feel dried blood sticking to his cheeks and the sides of his face. The ringing in his ears, diminished from what it had been when the flashbang had gone off in his face, still persisted, adding to the pain that filled his world. Carter suspected that he could see if he could open his eyes, but that felt impossible. As it stood now, with his eyes pressed shut, he could still see blinding flashes of light. Until those subsided, he would remain blind to the world.
Despite the pain, his mind continued to function the way he’d trained it. Bits and pieces of information flooded in. Perhaps one of them would make a difference, but regardless, all were important.
He was sitting up tied to a chair, his wrists bound behind him to the latticework. That meant, if they were still in his house, that this was one of the kitchen chairs. Shame that he’d fixed them all last year and they were all now as sturdy as the day they’d been built. Probably, more so now. Nor was there any play in the ropes or knots themselves. A slight flex of his arms and wrists told him that. Whoever’d tied him to the chair had even thought to tie his ankles to the legs. So unless something happened, he wouldn’t be going anywhere fast.
Somehow, however, he didn’t think that would be an issue. If they’d wanted to move him, they’d had plenty of time to do so. Carter doubted that he’d been out long. Just long enough. A few hours. Four at most. That meant they couldn’t have gone far. He’d put money on the fact that they were still at his house. It was the only thing that made sense. But to be sure, he’d have to open his eyes. And he wanted to do that least of all. Shaking his head, he worked up the courage to crack an eyelid.
“No reason to get all worked up, Mister Carter.”
The voice stopped Carter in his tracks. A low murmur of conversation that he’d not noticed before through the tinnitus ceased. Everything seemed to be waiting for that voice to speak up again.
“I tried to make you as comfortable as I could. Unfortunately, your history is—shall we say colorful enough?—that I was unable to do much for you.”
It was melodious in its own way. Male, deep, and confident. The owner spoke English well—better than most people Carter knew—but it was just as obviously not the mother tongue. Still, there was a weight to the words, like the owner knew exactly what he meant with each syllable, intending that precise idea. An air of command underlay it all, and Carter grit his teeth as he opened his eyes through the pain.
He was indeed still in his house. The familiar walls of his bedroom surrounded him, though his captor had done Carter a favor by closing the drapes to the windows that surrounded the room. Only dim light filled the room, with the greatest portion coming from the doorway and the stairwell.
Carter sat in that doorway, his back to the light. A man that Carter guessed to be in his late twenties or early thirties sat on the bed. He wore a charcoal suit, almost black in the dim light, a white shirt, and a thin blood red tie. At the moment, he sat forward with his elbows on his knees and fingers interlaced. Sharp eyes looked out over a hawk’s nose and thin lips. A hint of stubble showed on the edges of an otherwise clean shaven chin.
“You see,” he said, his lips moving in a mesmerizing pattern as he spoke, “I don’t trust you. I suppose that in your line of work, that should be considered a compliment. Or what was your line of work. How long has it been since Uncle Same and his Balding Eagle let you out? Ten? Twenty years? There’s something to be said for age and experience in your line of work, but even the greats need to eventually be let out to pasture.”
He stood suddenly, flinging his arms out to his sides and spinning in a circle once. “Oh, and you were great. We were raised on stories about you. That was your gift to us. How you’d come and steal away naughty children who wouldn’t listen to their parents, like some sort of reaper in the night. It really is a pleasure. Very nice to meet you, Mr. Frank Andrews.”