Lynn Miclea: escape

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Escape

by Lynn Miclea

The slap stung her face and brought tears to her eyes. She had to find a way to get out of there and away from that man.

“Now don’t you give me a problem, girl. You’re mine now. I can do anything I want with you.” His sour breath washed over her as his eyes frantically looked around the small room. “Don’t you even think of escaping or it will be even worse for you, I promise.” He backed up and reached the doorway. “You just sit tight now and don’t move. I’m gonna go get some rope and I’ll be right back. Don’t you dare try to get out of here. If you try to leave, I’ll kill you. You hear me?”

Heather nodded, her lips pursed tightly, trying not to let the tears fall. Her face still stung from the slap, and she felt nauseous with fear.

Just this morning, she had been walking the six blocks to high school like she did every day. And this man had pulled up next to her in his car. He had gotten out, said his name was Karl, and he asked for directions. She had hesitated, taking in his old clothes and foul breath. Then he had quickly grabbed her and forced her into his car before she even realized what was happening. But she couldn’t think about that now. It didn’t even matter anymore. Now she just had to somehow get away.

Karl left the room and she heard him lock the door from the other side. She was trapped. She jumped up, desperate. There had to be a way out. She ran to the door and listened. She heard footsteps that seemed to be retreating, and then silence. She tried the doorknob. Locked.

Her eyes searched the room. There was one window, old and dirty. She tried to open it, but it wouldn’t budge. That seemed to be the only way out. Anxiety clawed at her, and she felt frantic. She pulled her shirt sleeve over her elbow and rammed the back of her arm into the window. Nothing. Again. A small crack. She had to get out!

One more time, harder. The glass splintered. She broke more of the window and pulled out as many shards of glass as she could. Time was running out. She didn’t know when he would be back.

Heather looked out the window. Many tall trees surrounded the cabin. But no Karl in sight. She hoisted herself up on the window sill and scrambled forward, the remaining glass scratching her as she pushed herself through. She dropped to the dirt floor outside. She quickly crouched down, froze, and listened. Nothing.

She took off, running blindly through the woods, her heart thundering in her chest. Roots and small branches reached out to trip her, but she managed to keep her balance and run. A few minutes later a larger root snagged her foot, and she crashed down to the dirt floor. A whimper escaped her with the impact. Filled with terror, she listened. She could hear him stomping through the woods, but she was not sure how far away he was. She got up, stumbled, and ran again.

A path showed up ahead. It would be easier to run on that, but she would also be more visible. She stayed in the woods and ran parallel to the path. Her heart was pounding. It was hard to breathe.

“Hey, you bitch!” Karl’s voice reached her. “Where are you? I’m gonna find you, and you won’t be happy when I do.”

She stopped running and scrambled behind a larger tree trunk. Her breathing was heavy and ragged. Could he hear it? Where was he?

After a few minutes, she didn’t hear him anymore and she ran farther into the woods, away from the cabin. The underbrush was tedious to run through, but she kept going until her chest ached. She stopped, breathing hard, her heart thundering.

“You miserable piece of shit, I’m gonna find you!” Karl’s voice was menacing and it sounded closer now. “Where are you, bitch?”

Heather took off again, sweat and fear drenching her as she ran.

Laughter up ahead got her attention. She looked down the path. A young man and woman were walking toward her, hand in hand, talking and laughing.

Heather ran out onto the path. “Excuse me,” she called out to them.

The couple stopped, and their eyes grew wide with concern. “Are you okay?” the man asked.

“No, I’m not. Do you have a phone? Can you call 9-1-1? Please. Hurry.”

“Sure.” The man took out his phone and looked down at it. “What is wrong?”

“There you are, you bitch. You won’t get away from me.” Karl stepped onto the path, his eyes wild. “And you,” he blared at the young couple, “you two stay out of this. This is none of your business. She’s mine.” He narrowed his eyes at them. “But if you interfere, I won’t hesitate to kill all three of you. You hear me?” He took out a switchblade and waved it in the air. “Enough of this. C’mon, little girl, you’re coming back with me where you belong.”

“No!” Heather stepped closer to the couple. Would they help her? Or would they not want to get involved and risk injury themselves? Had they even had time to call 9-1-1? She wasn’t sure.

Karl took a few steps forward. “C’mon, bitch. Don’t make things worse. You’re coming with me.”

“No,” she muttered. “No.” Terror filled her, and her breathing came fast and shallow.

The young man on the path pulled Heather next to him. “Hey, leave her alone,” he called out.

“All of you are going to die for this.” Karl glared at them, his eyes spitting fire. “Mark my words, you will be sorry.” His venomous gaze narrowed on Heather. “And you, little girl, you will pay for this. And I will have fun making you pay.” He licked his lips.

“No, please, leave me alone.” Her voice was shaky.

“I will not be stopped. And you will be—”

“STOP! POLICE! DROP YOUR WEAPON!” a voice thundered behind Karl.

Karl glanced over his shoulder and then lunged at the group, his knife thrust forward, his eyes wild with hatred and venom.

Heather screamed and backed up. The young man grabbed his girlfriend and took a few steps backward, next to Heather.

“You will die, bitch. All three of you will die!” Karl was ten feet away. He rushed at them.

Shots rang out. The man staggered and took one more step. Another shot split the air and his body jerked. One foot came forward, and then he dropped to the ground, two feet in front of Heather.

One of the two cops rushed to Heather, while the other stopped next to the fallen man, his weapon trained on the body.

The cop who reached Heather looked serious but kind. “Are you okay?” She read the name on his uniform—the name printed was Julian Michaels.

“He … he … he kidnapped me.” She felt woozy.

“We know who he is. We’ve been searching for this guy for months now.” The cop’s face looked grim. “Where did he take you?”

“Back … back there,” she said, pointing in the direction of the cabin.

“We’ll check it out. Your call to 9-1-1 just saved your life. Dispatch contacted us and we happened to be just down the street. You were lucky.” Michaels glanced at his partner who was speaking into his radio. He looked back at Heather. “We’re calling for backup now. Are you injured? Do you need medical help?” He pointed to her arms. “You’re bleeding.”

Heather shook her head. “I cut myself on the window while escaping.”

“You were lucky to get away. Many others didn’t.” The officer shook his head. “We have a lot of questions to ask you.”

Heather gestured to the couple. “They helped me.”

The young man next to her nodded. “I’m sure glad we were here. But to tell you the truth, I was scared myself.”

Heather gave a quick nod and bit her lip as silent tears rolled down her cheeks.

Sirens blared in the distance, getting closer. The cop’s eyes scanned the woods and then looked at the three of them. “We’ll need to talk to all of you.”

“Yes, of course.” Heather shivered and swallowed, a hard lump in the back of her throat. She glanced at Karl’s body and saw a small pool of blood forming in the dirt around him.

Michaels gestured at Karl. “You helped us catch him and bring him down. We are really glad this ended here. And you can rest assured he will not hurt anyone again.” He glanced down the path. “Backup is here. It’s over now. You’re safe.”

“I need to sit down,” she murmured, easing herself down to the dirt path.

“We’ll have paramedics look you over,” Michaels said. “We need to make sure you’re okay.”

“That was too close,” she whispered. “Way too close.”

“I know.” The officer sat down next to her. “I have a daughter your age.” He looked at her, his eyes wet with tears. “Had. My daughter didn’t have a chance to escape. She didn’t make it.”

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Copyright © 2019 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

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Please also visit Lynn’s blog, like the story there, and follow her at – https://wp.me/s4htbd-escape

Please also visit Lynn’s website for more information on her books – https://www.lynnmiclea.com/

Write the Story: March 2019 Collection





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Paula Shablo: You Can’t Get Into Heaven With Someone Else’s Dog

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

You Can’t Get Into Heaven With Someone Else’s Dog

By Paula Shablo

You can’t get into Heaven with someone else’s dog.

Yep. Lessons learned from dreams. So weird.

I crawled back into my bed this morning after taking the dog out. I was cold. I didn’t want to be up yet; I just wanted to lie in bed, toasty warm.

About the time I decided to get up, because I was never going to fall asleep, I … fell asleep!

And, holy cow, such a weird dream ensued.

Molly and I came upstairs and found a big black dog with a white star on his forehead sitting in the kitchen. Never saw him before in my life. But— “Hi, Scout,” I said. “How’d the surgery go?”

He was on a leash, but there were no bandages or anything, so … I don’t know. He wasn’t able to follow us to the living room, though, and that’s where we went next.

Mom and Dad were sitting in their chairs, watching television. I sat down, and a black dachshund jumped up into my lap and squirmed her way next to Molly. I started petting her like this was nothing unusual, although, like the dog in the kitchen, I’d never seen her before.

She was soon joined by two more dogs, a black-and-white border collie and a brown something-or-other with a tail that spun like a propeller with his joy. Within seconds, Scout joined us all, dragging his leash.

None of us seemed at all surprised with this abundance of dogs in the house.

None of us were surprised when my son appeared at the door, ready to take me somewhere, along with all six dogs. Mom and Dad greeted Sam much as if they saw him every day, rather than once every year or so, and waved us all out the door.

At the curb: one hellacious motor home. That thing was gigantic! We loaded the dogs and I took the passenger seat, a comfy captain’s seat that swiveled 360 degrees. Wow!

I turned, expecting to see my daughter-in-law, but instead, there was an old classmate of mine, Tina, and several more dogs.

Wherever we were off to, it had something to do with all the dogs. We drove down the street, turned onto Cedar, and …

… now, we were on crowded city streets. People walking to and fro, lots of traffic. I looked to my left as the motor home took a lurching left turn at a traffic light, and—my daughter was behind the wheel!

What the hell?

“Oh, crap!” she cried, as she straightened the vehicle. “There’s a cop behind me! I hope he didn’t follow me all the way from Grandpa’s!”

“Where are we?” I demanded. Molly was clinging to me like a little monkey.

Suddenly, a little black Chihuahua darted out in front of us, dragging a thick red leash. Sarah slammed on the brakes and swerved, just missing her. “Was that Molly?” she shrieked.

“Molly’s right here,” I said, trying to pry the dog off my neck. “Pull over!”

She parked the vehicle and I leaped out the door to catch the little dog before she could be hit by a car. Molly jumped out of my arms. “Molly!” I yelled. “Get back here! Are you crazy?”

Wonder of wonders, she came right to me and let me pick her up. The other Chihuahua followed and also allowed me to pick her up.

I stood up and looked around, hoping to see someone looking for this little girl. People were hustling through the street in all directions, but no one seemed to be searching for a missing pup.

I turned and noticed a tall building with a crookedly hung wooden door. A sign over the door read: “Enter here.” I turned back to look into the open door of the motor home to tell my daughter I was going to go in and see if anyone recognized the dog.

My son was in the driver’s seat.

Ohhhh…kaaaay.

Tina appeared in the doorway. “Are you going in?” she asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “Maybe someone knows who this little girl belongs to.”

Tina looked over my shoulder at the door. “Uh … all righty, then.” She looked at Sam. He looked back at her, eyes wide, and shrugged.

I shook my head. “Don’t be scared,” I said. “These big bad dogs will protect me.”

I opened the door and stepped inside. The door clapped shut behind me. Molly squirmed and whined, but the other dog was perfectly calm.

I was in a narrow passageway with a long line of people waiting to climb a rickety staircase with half-sized risers. A few people were coming down, but the majority were waiting to make the climb.

I stood on tiptoes, looking up, up, up. I couldn’t see the top. I also couldn’t turn around, as there were now people behind me in this cramped line.

We climbed. Molly tried her best to greet everyone, wagging her tail and stretching out her neck for a pat whenever possible. The few people headed down nodded solemnly, pet the dog and went on without speaking.

The steps were scarily narrow, and I tried to watch my feet while holding a dog in each arm. Not easy.

Finally, we reached the top, and I was overwhelmed to see a path, slightly inclined, with logs half buried in rich, dark soil every few feet. Trees lined either side, and people began the final hike upward.

“Molly,” I whispered to the beloved little black dog, “this is where that photo was taken.”

Molly stared up into my face, just as if she was asking me what photo I was talking about.

“You know,” I told her. “The photo we were supposed to write the March story about.”

The dog sighed.

I didn’t blame her.

The other dog looked straight ahead at the path, and we started the last part of our climb. My mind was racing, trying to make sense of things.

At the end of the path, there was another door. It wasn’t crooked or shabby like the first door, but it was obviously old. One by one, people entered. Once in a while, a person would come back out and start walking back.

At last it was my turn. I went inside, and there, I met God.

Don’t ask me what he looked like. I have no idea.

Don’t ask me how I knew it was God. It was God. I knew it, that’s all.

“What are you doing here?” God asked.

“I found this—” I began, lifting the lost dog toward him.

“That’s not your dog,” God said.

“I know!” I agreed. “She—”

“You have to take her back,” God said. “You have to return her to her owner.”

“Yes, but—”

“You’re not supposed to be here,” God continued. “It’s not your time. Run along now.”

I’m thinking fast during this exchange. What if it really was my time? Molly is so young! She should go back to Mom and Dad.

“It’s not Molly’s time, either,” God said, and I thought, He heard me!

“That’s good,” I said, “because—”

“When it’s her time, she’ll come. You, too. But today is not your time, so off you go now!” And He took me by the shoulders, turned me around, and pushed me gently back out the door.

Now I’m going down, down, down, and wondering if all the others who were taking that same walk were being sent back to life, or if they were being sent farther down.

I decided I didn’t want to know that.

Molly was trying to kiss everyone we passed, and most everyone gave her smiles and pats while avoiding looking directly at me.

Maybe they were wondering the same thing I was about that downward trek.

Finally, someone spoke to me: “The steps are scary.” It was a nice-looking gentleman with a head full of thick, white hair. “Be careful.”

“Thank you,” I replied. “It’s slow going with my hands full—can’t use the handrail.”

“What handrail?”

He was right—no rail.

I picked my way down carefully, my size-six feet feeling enormous on the narrow steps.

I was almost at the bottom when I saw another old schoolmate about to start the upward climb. She was wearing a lime-green visor cap and looked much younger than her fifty-something years. She passed me, saying, “Excuse me, ma’am.”

I turned to watch her climb the steps and called her name, then said, “It’s me! Paula!”

“I thought so,” she replied. “I didn’t want to say anything. Your kids are getting a ticket.”

I was at the door. “What? Why?” I cried, but she was gone.

I went back out into the street. Molly leapt out of my arms and started trotting down the road toward the motor home, which had been moved.

I chased her, the foundling dog bouncing serenely against my breast, watching Molly. “You come here, right now!” I admonished the little stinker. “Are you nuts, Molly? Look at all this traffic!”

Molly sat down next to the motor home and looked up at me. The passenger door swung open. Sam looked relieved as Molly and I climbed in.

“You got a ticket?” I gasped. “Why?”

“Parked in front of a fire hydrant,” Sam replied.

I sighed. “How much?”

“Nothing.” Now my son grinned at me. “We told the cop about the dog in the road, and when he saw you come out that door with the dogs, he gave me a warning instead of a ticket.”

“Thank God!” Tina said.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “You can say that again.”

“What about her? Did anyone know who she belongs to?”

“God knows,” I said. “But He didn’t tell me.”

“Huh?”

And … I woke up!

Now I don’t know if I got the dog back to her owner, or who the owner is, or where we were taking all those dogs, or what town we were in …

Or anything else, for that matter!

But I do know you can’t get into Heaven with someone else’s dog.

So there’s that.

_______________________________________________________________________

Dreams are weird. Have I told you that before?

I’ll probably tell you again sometime.

Until we meet again!

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Visit Paula at her blog! https://pshablo.blogspot.com/

Write the Story: March 2019 Collection