Chryssie was back in the tiny room—her prison.
At least she wasn’t tied up any longer. Instead, she was eating a sandwich the goon gave her. He’d left her in the room alone, but told her the door was locked and he would be right on the other side.
If she dared to even rattle the door knob, she’d be tied back up.
So, instead she was eating her sandwich and trying to figure out her next move. The only window in the tiny cubicle was above her head. From what she could see through the window, she was in a basement.
Apparently, still in town since she could see a few buildings as well.
After she’d eaten, she got up and moved the chair to the window as quietly as she could. No use warning the goon she was trying to escape.
She climbed on top of the chair. Reaching as far as she could, she was able to touch the window. Even if she could unlock it, how would she get through the window?
The tiny room had the chair and the sofa. Nothing else. She might be able to move the sofa over and then put the chair on top of the sofa. But if the goon was actually outside the room, he’d hear her.
Should she take the chance that he’d lied to her? That he was actually gone doing other goon business at the moment. It was possible.
She stared at the door.
Possible but not probable.
She was sure he was out there just waiting for an excuse to come in and hurt her again. She reached back to the window and curled her fingers around the ledge. Using all her strength, she tried to lift herself up.
Just as she suspected, even if she managed to get the window unlocked, she wouldn’t be able to lift herself up so she could squeeze through it. Standing on her tip toes, she could see the sidewalk.
Maybe, she could stand here and wait for someone to go by. Then yell at them to go get help. Other than that, she didn’t see a way to get out of this situation.
God, I really need you. I know I don’t deserve it, but I could use a little help here—well a lot, actually.
She heard a sound at the door. Before she could jump off the chair, it opened.
The goon stood there, shaking his head. “See, this is what I mean. I do something nice for you and this is how you act. Good thing I decided to check on you.”
Thanks a lot. God. So much for prayer working. “It doesn’t matter. I couldn’t get out anyway.” She demonstrated her inability to lift herself up.
“But you tried. And that doesn’t make me happy. Good thing, the boss said not to hurt you. You really get on my nerves.”
She jumped off the chair and smiled at him. “Well, if I’m so annoying why don’t you just let me go? That way I can get out of your hair and you can get on with your day.”
“Yeah, you wish.”
Her heart was racing and her palms were sweaty. But there was no way she would let him know how terrified she was. After all the boss had told him not to hurt her.
But she wasn’t quite sure if he always listened to the boss or not.
Chryssie opened her eyes, groggy and confused.
But it all came back in the next second. Having given up on the idea of escaping, she’d finally decided to sleep since she hadn’t done so in more than twenty-four hours.
The goon had been in the room staring at her when she’d laid down, but he was gone now. But she was sure he wasn’t far away. He’d left the door open a crack, probably so he could hear her if she tried anything else.
She had no idea what time it was. A glance out the window told her day had given way to night. Chryssi sat up and stared around her at the four walls. The room was empty except for the sofa.
The goon had even taken the chair out. No weapons. Nothing to help her.
How could this have happened to her? One moment things were finally going her way, the next her life was falling apart. She might not even survive until morning.
She heard voices.
Chryssie moved to the door to listen.
“How’s my girl been?” Chuck’s voice. How dare he call her his girl? He was the reason she was being held in this prison. Her face warmed as her anger increased.
“She’s a pain. That’s what she is. Next time, have someone else be the babysitter. I hate sitting around all day. It drives me crazy.”
Yeah, I’ll remember that. So, are you ready to prove that you have what it takes to be a part of this wonderful business organization?”
A mumbled yes followed. The voice was different than the goon’s. Now there was another bad guy. Three of them. There was no way she was getting out of the mess.
Her eyes filled with tears. “Sorry, Misty.” Her words were whispered.
“Let’s get this over with.” Chuck said.
This was it. She wasn’t about to give up and let them kill her. Chryssie moved to the side of the door.
As the door opened, she threw herself at the first person through it.
She screamed and slapped at him, but a moment later arms grabbed her and pulled her away from Chuck. The goon pulled her arms away from Chuck and held them behind her back.
“See, I told you she was a pain.”
Chuck’s eyes flashed black with anger. “So I see. Well, she’s a spitfire so I wouldn’t expect anything less. I didn’t think she’d go easy into the good night.” He walked towards her.
The goon laughed. “Not so brave now, are you?”
Chuck stood in front of her and then very deliberately raised his arm and slapped her.
She moaned as stars swam in front of her eyes. Warm blood trickled from her mouth and down her chin. She glared at him and did the only thing she could, she kicked at him, but he moved away before her foot could connect.
“Calm down, Chryssie. You’re making this so much more difficult than it needs to be. I don’t want to hurt you. If you listen to me, then life can get back to normal—for you and for me.”
Still glaring but not having a choice, she said, “Fine.”
The goon squeezed her arms together.
Chryssie winced at the pain. “Stop hurting me.”
“That’s enough, Stan. No reason to be a brute.”
His grasp loosened.
“I’m sorry you saw what you saw. It wasn’t part of the plan.”
Did that mean Chuck wasn’t just helping out his cousin? He did seem more like the boss than an accomplice. “I didn’t see anything.” Her chin jutted in the air in defiance.
Chuck shrugged. “Maybe not, but you saw more than you should have. Now we have to do something about it.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
His hand jerked up and slapped her again. “The time for lying is over. We aren’t going to be able to work this out if you don’t stop lying.”
Work this out? Did he really mean that? Was there a chance she could get out of here alive? She nodded.
“Chryssie, I like you. You haven’t had it easy and yet you’ve worked your way through college. I don’t want to hurt you, but I can’t have you telling people about last night.”
“I won’t. I promise. If you let me go, I’ll find a job far away and leave. You never have to see me again.”
He sighed. “Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Thanks to my idiot cousin, the police now know you’re involved so you can’t just run away. You’re going to have to turn yourself in and face the consequences.”
She stared at him. What was he thinking? Why would she confess to something she didn’t do? “But I didn’t do anything.”
“See, this is what I mean. Stop thinking about you and look at the bigger picture. All you have to do is tell them that the man attacked you when you left the bar and you had no choice but to shoot him.”
“Then I’ll go to jail.”
“Chances are good that won’t happen. He was a thug and it’s quite believable that it happened just that way. It was justifiable. And even if you have to do some jail time, it won’t be much. Besides, you need to think about your sister.
“If I go to jail, they’ll never let me have custody of Misty.”
“If you don’t do this, something bad could happen to her.”
Her stomach flip-flopped.
“But if you do this, I’ll make sure you get her after this is all over. That’s a promise.”
She stared at him. Did he really have the power to make that happen?
“And there will be some money in it for you as well. So you and your sister can make a fresh start.”
How could she trust him and where was the other man he’d been talking to? Chuck’s words hadn’t sound as if he was in a bargaining mood. What difference did it make? She didn’t have any power here.
Her chances of a butterfly life were gone. No matter what happened from here on out, her life would be filled with lies. But at least she would be alive. At least, she’d be able to help Misty have a better life.
She looked at Chuck and nodded. “Fine, I’ll do it.”
Chuck stared into her eyes.
She looked away.
Slowly, he shook his head. “Chryssie, Chryssie, Chryssie. Your words say yes, but your eyes say no. I don’t think I can trust you.”
“You can trust me. I promise.”
“In spite of all you’ve been through, you’re still an idealist. You believe in right and wrong and that’s dangerous. Too dangerous for me to take a chance.” He turned towards the door. “OK, you’re up.”
A man walked in.
Chryssie stared. It was the last person she’d expected to see.
Marv stood there with a gun in his hand.
Marv—the good Samaritan from the bar who was always driving the drunks home. Apparently, he wasn’t all that good. How stupid could she be? She’d really thought he was sincere all those times he’d tried to talk with her about God and Jesus and all that love junk.
Junk! That’s all it was.
His eyes met hers.
“Liar.” She spat out the word.
Chuck ignored her outburst and gave instructions. “OK, Marv. You take care of this problem and then you’re in. I’m leaving.”
“What do you want me to do with her?”
“Yeah, I know that but what should I do after that.”
“ Stan will help you get rid of the body. Make sure they never find the body.”
“It’s not the body.” Chryssie screamed. “It’s my body. How can you do this, Marv? I thought you were a Christian. It’s a sin to kill.”
Marv smiled—actually it was more like a lion’s snarl just before pouncing.
Stan squeezed her arms once again. Pain shot through her arms and shoulders. “Let’s get this over with. I’m tired of her. And I’ve got things to do. ”
Marv stepped forward. “I think that’s a good idea.”
He lifted the gun.
Uh-oh! Things are looking grim for our hero. Almost done–one more chapter to go. Tune in tomorrow for THE END!
UNTIL NEXT TIME…God Bless and Good Reading!