Amy skids to a stop between two dumpsters. The car speeds towards her!
In the dimly lit interior, she sees a shaded Oriental face made grotesque and lopsided by a maniacal grin. Gagging exhaust and the stench of burning rubber wash through Amy, as the relentless car bears down on her.
Unable to move, Amy flexes her knees and jumps into the air. She twists her legs sideways, seeking maximum elevation, willing herself to hang in the air, as the low-slung sports car roars beneath her. She feels the hem of her jeans kiss the roof of the car. The radio antenna whines past her head. She drops, and seeming AFTER the last second, she sees her feet just clear the front bumper.
She lands awkwardly and falls to her knees and rolls forward, rising to her feet right in front of the car. Through the windshield, the driver’s face registers bewilderment. Even as he shifts gears, the driver engages the breaks. Clawing at the pavement, the tires scream and smoke.
Amy notes the license plate number, glances left, then right. The sudden shriek of a truck horn yanks her attention back to the sports car. Almost too fast for her brain to process, she sees the driver of the sports car look to his right. Terror fills his face. He throws his hands up in defense just as a massive city sanitation truck slams into the car dragging it out of Amy’s view. Someone screams. A second sickening crunch of metal from around the corner growls the announcement of further collision.
A fiery explosion lights up the street in front of her just as Amy reaches the end of the alley. A station wagon swerves towards the buxom bombshell, but stops in time for her to jump forward and slide on her hip across its hood. As her feet hit the street, a second explosion erupts from the wrecked sanitation truck. An exterior door handle whizzes past her head.
Amy starts towards the inferno for the driver. Before she can reach him, the passenger door of the truck flops open and the driver tumbles out. Blood streams from a gash above his left eye. Amy helps him stagger to the safety of the curb.
The driver of the station wagon, a man with a mechanic’s shirt that identifies himself as ‘Al’, joins her to help the man stretch out and takes a couple of steps towards the flames. “If the crash didn’t get him, the fire sure did,” he says as he reaches for the cell phone on his hip.
“I’ll call it in,” Amy tells him. “Help this guy out.” Without waiting for a response she turns and trots back into her building. Her instructions to ‘Al’ are simply an excuse to get back to Bobby Chung, at least three other witnesses already speaking frantically into their cell phone’s as she rushes into her building.
Bobby’s where she left him, eyes bulging, tongue protruding from between stiff, white lips. Checking for a pulse was a courtesy, he’s clearly dead. Amy retreats to her office and calls Headquarters for a Clean Up Crew.
The Watch Officer is Bert Clemens, recognizable by a southern accent thicker than a bowl of oatmeal. She gives him what she knows, including the car’s license plate number, and promises to be at Headquarters for a full briefing, first thing in the morning.
Amy sleeps fitfully, that night, flailing against a recurring nightmare in which a sombrero-wearing dragon named Foo chases her and tries to force feed her egg rolls and enchiladas.
The next morning, behind the wheel of her Porsche on her way to the hidden B.A.B.E. base in Malibu Creek State Park and reflecting upon the events of the previous night, sufficiently unaware of her surroundings.
A rusty pick-up truck with a battered wooden safety rail pulls up beside the Porsche and matched speeds. From the passenger seat, a Hispanic man studies her closely. Amy offers a neutral smile; it isn’t unusual for males to check her out on the highway, or every other place. The peering man says nothing, and after a moment, the truck roars ahead and eases into her lane. That it slows to maintain a position just in front of her, and didn’t continue on and out of sight on the highway, should set off a warning bell.
A moment later, a large sedan eases up behind her. The interior hidden by heavy tinting, the sedan begins to edge close to the back of the Porsche, triggering Amy’s first pang of unease. She glances around the pick-up and up the highway. The road’s clear, but there’s a hill to crest; not a place to attempt passing other vehicles.
The truck’s brake lights flash, forcing Amy to tap her breaks. The sedan behind backs off a bit, but not far enough to suit her. Amy glances left at a series of grassy, rolling hills. To the right, an area generally flat and empty quickly turns into clusters of trees. This winter is unusually dry, and the dark, gnarled trees make threatening gestures with sparse branches.
The sedan’s engine growls behind her, and the car darts alongside Amy’s Porsche. The tinted window on the passenger side is just faded enough for her to make out a single, shadowy form behind the wheel.
Glancing forward she sees the steady glare of the truck’s brake lights. She presses her brakes hard enough to cause a slight protest shriek from her tires and manages to keep from rear ending the truck. The pick-up cab’s back window slides open, and the barrel of a rifle pokes out. Out of the corner of her eye, Amy sees the sedan drift towards her. Its window whines down, and the driver, face still hidden in shadows, points a large .38 at her. The revolver wiggles, delivering the message: Pull over.
Amy checks the pick-up, then the sedan. Nicely done, she has to confess. They hem her in with vehicles large enough that she can not batter through them with the Porsche. Her speed reduces to the point where the success of a braking one-eighty spin is near impossible. If she brakes and simply reverses, the rifleman in the pick-up have plenty of time to fire any number of shots before she can pick up enough speed for a reverse one-eighty.
Very nicely done, indeed.
But with one small mistake on their part.
Amy bites her lower lip to keep from smiling. As secluded and tailor made for a kidnaping as this section of highway leading to HQ might look on a map, it’s riddled with side roads leading into the rapidly thickening wooded area on her right. Amy has the added benefit of numerous H.O.T.B.A.B.E. training exercises in the area, including Escape and Evasion. The area’s narrow, bumpy ‘roads’ are more suited for motorcycles and ATV’s, not for ancient pick-ups and heavy sedans.
Amy wrenches her steering wheel for a hard right onto one of the dirt entry roads leading into the woods. She hunches low, but hears no shot. Bouncing along the dirt road she chances a glance in her rear view mirror. Both the sedan and pick-up come to smoking, screeching stops, farther up the highway.
A map flashes in Amy’s mind. There is an immediate left turn just beyond the first line of trees, ending quickly in a dirt clearing. She can slash through, and be out of the Porsche and trotting down any of the several jogging trails, cell phone in hand, calling for back-up, which will take only minutes in the form of a rescue chopper from Headquarters.
No, she decides and stays on the main dirt road. Staying means almost a mile of straight road where she can put more distance between her and her pursuers. There she will encounter a fork in the road. With the cool, breezy morning, by the time her pursuers reach that intersection, her dust trail will have vanished. Then, she will make for one of the side roads and a circular route to HQ.
Amy’s smug satisfaction with her plan evaporates as she crests a small rise and sees the dirt intersection blocked by a pick-up truck very similar to the one that has her hemmed on the highway. Their plan has been perfect, after all. The kidnapers have timed their movements on the highway so that she will escape down this particular side road.
Amy jumps on her brakes and twists the wheel hard to left. The Porsche totters on two tires, threatening to tumble, but skids instead into the small ditch and settles down with a crunch. Amy feels the impact up her hips and into her shoulders. The air bag deploys, slamming into her face, stunning her.
She becomes aware of a cloud of dust surrounding her. Amy pushes back from the deflating air bag and instinctively reaches for her hands-free cell phone.
The barrel of a revolver appears through the dust from the passenger side and stares, with it’s one, large dark, deadly eye, at a spot between Amy’s eyes.
“No, Senorita Lindsay,” says a heavily accented Hispanic voice in a rather calm, almost friendly tone. “You best not do that.”
The dust begins to dissipate, revealing a face covered by a bandana over the mouth and nose, and dark glasses hiding the eyes. The man’s free hand disappears behind his back, then, reappears holding a pair of handcuffs. He extends them towards Amy. “Please. One to your wrist, the other to the steering wheel.”
As Amy plots to grab the cuffs and slash the man across the face with them, her captor drops them into the passenger seat and steps back out of reach. At that moment, the truck and sedan approach and stop. The man keeps his eyes, and the revolver, on Amy, and calls out in Spanish for the men to stay back.
With no alternative, Amy affixes the cuffs to her wrist, and then, to the steering wheel. The man grabs her wrist and gives it a hard yank. Satisfied that she can go nowhere, he takes her cell phone, tucks the revolver into the back of his jeans, and joins his comrades.
As they gather together, a cell phone, not Amy’s, trills. The ‘leader’ first tries to answer Amy’s, then realizes it is his own phone ringing. He takes it out and speaks in a tone too low for Amy to hear. At one point, his face registers shock, then puzzlement. On several occasions during the conversation, he looks over toward Amy, as do the other men. The leader signs off, and the men huddle.
Amy watches them converse among themselves. One or more kept look toward her, and it isn’t until the discussion begins to grow heated that she feels confident enough to adjust her position and reach under the dashboard with her free hand to press the button that activates a rescue alarm at Headquarters. She straightens up and glances at her dashboard clock. 8:32. If she can stall for ten minutes, fifteen at the most, help will arrive.
The ‘discussion’ between the men has grown into a full blown argument. Amy’s Spanish is not diplomat quality, but it’s good enough to catch the gist. One or more of the four wonder, since they aren’t going to kill her, anymore, can they still rape her? The man who has been waiting at the intersection speaks most adamantly against that option, and seems to hold the greatest authority.
Then, a shot rings out, and he crumples to the ground.
The man holding the smoking revolver, the driver of the sedan, Amy surmises from his build, grins wickedly at his remaining comrades and asks in Spanish if there are any more votes not to rape her. The other two men smile and throw up their hands in a ‘not me’ gesture.
The three leering men turn as one towards Amy!
TO BE CONTINUED!
William G. Jennings can neither confirm nor deny Miss Lindsay’s involvement in any ongoing government operations.