Let’s admit it, by now, you should know what’s going on. 😀
Each week for Rachael Ritchey’s #BlogBattle, I’ve been posting parts of an ongoing story that I’m writing for my wife—hence the name. Kristen’s loving it, so I will continue to write it.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that this story is going to run a lot longer than I originally thought. But that isn’t the bad news. The bad news is that I’m going to be focusing on it more for a novel length release rather than these fun #BlogBattles. So our days loving this story are slowly coming to an end for the time being. But I promise that I will finish it and you all will have a chance to read it and find out what happens to Carter, Ivan, and Samantha.
But until then, enjoy this and the previous parts you can find here in one convenient place.
Kristen’s Thriller: Part V
With all of the force he could bring to bear, Carter thrust his head forward in a short jab. Fresh, sharp pain pushed its way through to the front of his consciousness, and Carter had to force his way through a wave of dizziness which threatened to halt him in his tracks. Still, he pushed through it, instead trying to get to his feet, the bonds making his progress awkward.
The blow had missed Carter’s intended target, his forehead connected with Ivan’s chin. Stumbling back two steps, the Russian—at least Carter assumed he was Russian—tumbled back onto the bed. Carter didn’t watch long enough to see how long his captor stayed down, turning toward the stairs. Then, with a jerk, he felt one of his feet pulled out from under him.
He collapsed to the floor. The back of the chair hit the back of Carter’s head, sending stars floating across his vision and adding its own pain to the rest of his body’s. Fresh pain, ten times that which he’d felt before, screamed through his body as his left shoulder hit the floor with a pop. A scream bubbled up from his chest, and no matter how much he wanted to hold it in, the dislocation was too much. Wordless howls tore at his throat. Agony multiplied their ferocity. It seemed like the pain would never end.
Then a pair of black dress shoes appeared through his haze of stars and tears. Two unseen hands lifted the chair and set it on its legs again. Ivan stepped around the chair and stood amidst Carter’s hazy vision, sitting once again on the bed.
“Now, now,” he said, touching gingerly at a split lip, “that was uncalled for.” Blood dotted his fingers and a small line of it dripped down to the point of his chin. He wiped it away with a hand. “But perhaps you see now why I had to keep you tied up like this? Had I not, then you’d be well on your way out of here. My associates and I cannot have that.”
As if they were summoned, two men appeared. One approached Ivan while the other one kept a wary eye on their prisoner. Only then did Carter realize how much time had passed. Minutes had only been seconds, and he’d need longer than that to get out of this mess.
“You ok boss?” the first asked, a blond man the size of a dump truck.
The second, a tall beanpole with brown hair flecked with grey, poked Carter in his dislocated shoulder sending renewed waves of pain up his shoulder. “Should we take him out back?”
“No,” Ivan said, covering his face with his hands. “Go back downstairs. I’ll need one of you in a moment, but I’ll let you know when.”
“Then why don’t we just—”
With a growl, Ivan pulled an automatic pistol from an inside pocket, pointing and firing in one swift motion. The beanpole yelled in surprise as the bullet grazed his left cheek and imbedded itself into the wall next to his head.
“You coulda killed me!”
“I wasn’t trying. Now downstairs before I start to care that I missed.”
Both thugs gulped and disappeared behind Carter and out of the room. Two pairs of feet thudded down the stairs, fading as they reached the main room.
“Good help is so hard to find,” Ivan said, replacing the pistol. “Where were we?”
“You’re like some cross between a Bond villain and some comic book super villain. Who shoots their own men?”
“That worm, my man? No. As I said, he’s just some hired help. Local thugs hired to introduce me the locals and all that nonsense. Odds are,” he paused to glance at his watch, visably count to three, then looked back at Carter, “they should be dead now. Though I will have to talk to someone about letting them up here in the first place.”
As if to punctuate his words, two dull thuds drifted up from the bottom of the steps.
“My men know what I expect without having to ask. Now, where were we? Ah. I remember now. You and this thing you might roughly, possibly consider something akin to an escape attempt.
“That was a foolish move. You know very well that I’m going to have to retaliate for that, yet you tried anyway. Brave of you, but foolish nonetheless. The real question is how. There really are so many delicious choices. Do I punish you just enough to get my point across and make you compliant, or do I force you to understand the extent of my abilities and break your spirit right from the beginning?”
Ivan pulled a decade-old cell phone from his left pants pocket. He flipped it open and pressed a button before lifting it to his ear. A moment he spoke one word in a language that Carter didn’t recognize. Perhaps German. Carter wished that he could confirm that one way or another. Waiting long enough for a response, Ivan nodded absently and closed the phone.
“I will admit that this may not work, but I suspect that for someone like you, Mr. Andrews, who spent your life protecting the innocent and the nation that you hold so dear, that it might. You see, I have people everywhere that I even remotely might need them. Or not. As you know well enough, you don’t always need to be present to sow chaos. A well placed bomb can work too. But don’t you worry, there’s no bomb quite yet. Only a bullet. I’m afraid that your dear old mom won’t wake up from that nap she was having down at Pleasant Oaks. Shame that you had to ruin that beautiful duvet. At least the colors matched with that red and blue floral dress you bought her last year for Christmas. The colors really—”