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Aug 10

Hot Blacktop Ch. 14 – Off Course

“Crap!” she screamed. “It’s all crap.”

She slammed her hands on the drafting board, mad at herself, mad at the world, and mad at Saint for making her fall in love with him. Her sketchbook jumped. Her hands hurt from drawing so long in her larger studio above Twisted Metal. She shook her head in disgust and pushed the sketchbook away. What she’d done to Saint was deplorable. “It was a mistake. A huge mistake. I have to fix it.” Tears welled up in her eyes and spilled over. She took a deep breath, then another, and wiped her face with graphite covered fingers. “God, I love him so much.” Her elbows hit the board, and her face rested in her hands.

Her mind was a whirl of indecision and frustration. She lifted her head and focused on something she didn’t deserve. “He probably hates me. I’ll go to him; I have to go to him now.” She stood. The chair hit the wall with a bang that seemed to rattle the walls. She gasped. That had been too loud. A second bang came that made her body jolt and then she froze. Someone was trying to break in.

Her body jerked again as she covered her ears. Sienna slowly turned toward the door. Nothing happened. Hair-raising fear skipped across her skin. Her eyes stayed glued to the door. Whoever it was struck again. She screamed. Her one desk light cast an eerie shadow across the door. She watched it vibrate as they struck it over and over. She backed away, the pounding in her chest a repetitious beat of growing dismay. There was only one way down from the second floor, and she was staring at it. She had to call 911. Sienna scurried to reach her phone and stumbled. The back of her knees hit the chair, and she went down the same time the door exploded inward. Sienna ducked behind her board, but it was no protection against what stormed into the room. A shrill scream tore from her mouth. Her lamp fell and broke sinking the room into darkness.

A streetlight outside silhouetted a bulky form coming toward her. Her eyes danced from the floor to her table trying to see what she could use as a weapon. She jumped when a body hit the floor in front of her. At first, she thought it was her mother. The body was small and thin. Her breath caught, and she moaned. She reached for the still figure. But the man struck out with his foot. There was a groan and then the small figure turned its head, tormented eyes she recognized. The figure went to kick the smaller one again.

“No,” she yelled and reached out. “Danny!”

“Ahh, so something else you care about,” The man said.

Sienna tried to scramble up to her knees to get to Danny, protect him, do anything to save them both.

“Don’t move, bitch!” came the voice, at the same time light burst throughout the room.

She blinked as her eyes watered. Able to finally focus, she looked up to see the barrel of a gun pointed at her chest. An electrical chill zipped under her flesh. All she could think of was that she’d let Saint think that all she had ever wanted from him was sex.

Sienna’s eyes flicked down when she heard Danny.

“I’m sa…sorry.” He groaned. Fingers spread out to him. She moved toward Danny, but the man waved the gun at her.

“I told you not to move, bitch!”

“What do you want!”

He fired the gun, and her body quaked in response fear grabbing hold, a hole breaking apart the wall above her head. She whimpered.

“The money your mother owes me.”

“I don’t…,” she stuttered, “have that kind of money.”

He pointed the gun at Danny.

“Wait!” Her breaths came in short puffs. Danny’s face stared off into the distance like he’d gone somewhere else. The man aimed again and fired another shot. Danny’s whole body jerked. It was his only reaction. “Don’t!” She yelled. The man aimed again. “Please don’t.” She began to cry. “Don’t,” she said again her body slumping in defeat. Leaping forward the man grabs her hair, yanks, and bends her neck at an odd angle until he’s inches away from his face, harsh breaths grip her body as searing pain rips through her scalp and neck.

“You gonna get me the money?” She barely could nod, but she did it anyway knowing it was a lie. There was no money.

Trembling with her hair still wrapped in the stranger’s fist she made to stand.

“Get up boy.”

“Go to hell, Marco.” Danny moaned.

Like he hadn’t spoken the man Danny called Marco continued. “You’re coming with us since this bitch likes you so much,” Marco said to Danny. Danny didn’t move. Sienna began to cry harder.

“Danny?” Sienna moved toward him, but the man halted her forward motion. She gritted her teeth. “Let me help him,” she pleaded. “You can’t hold us both.” Suddenly on her hands and knees, he kicked her too. She coughed through the pain.

“Get moving bitch!”

“Danny, honey,” she whispered and crawled toward him. When her fingers touched his shoulder, she could feel him trembling. “Please, Danny. You have to get up.”

“It hurts,” Danny said. Her head fell. If she couldn’t get him up, they were both going to die.

“You don’t get up boy, and I’ll shoot ya. I don’t give a shit if your momma inherits or not.”

“You leave him alone. You’ve done enough already.”

“Oh, you want to talk back some more, bitch?” Her breaths came faster now. She should have kept her mouth shut and not let her anger get the best of her. “You don’t watch yourself I’ll do to you what I been doin’ to your mother.”

“Oh, God!” This man had her mother too. “Where is she? What have you done with her?”

He just smiled and grabbed his crotch, grinding his hips.

“I’ll get him up. I’ll do it. I’ll get him up.”

Struggling, but willing herself to get up so she could figure out how to get them out of this situation, she grabbed the drafting boards leg. On wobbly legs, she wrapped an arm around Danny and levered him under his armpits and pulled up. He weighed little to nothing, no doubt the symptoms of years of neglect.

“Danny? Okay?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he replied,” but she barely caught it. With each step toward the door, Danny made to breathe, but it rattled, and he flinched.

With the door hanging open they walked right through to the landing. Sienna stopped and glanced down, the biting chill dancing across her skin. The stairs were steep, and the ground wavered beneath her, vertigo causing her to close her eyes to gain her balance. She was afraid, with both of them hurt they would fall.

“Keep moving.”

“Just wait,” she snapped and instantly regretted it. The man’s gun pressed into her cheek. Danny moaned with the sharp movement when instinct had her shifting away. The man’s eyes narrowed only inches from hers that widened. She held still afraid to breathe.

“Move!” the man said as he pressed the cold metal of the gun grinding it into cheekbone.

Danny’s weight in her arms was awkward more like a small animal than a thirteen-year-old. Sienna shifted his small body and Danny whimpered. “It’s okay, we’re okay, we’re okay,” she said, hoping to believe the words she repeated aloud. She prayed Danny would make it his injuries really worrying her. His ribs broken, no doubt, from the kick the man delivered. Hope to God, she thought, he didn’t puncture a lung.

“Hurry up,” the man snapped.

“Please,” she begged. “Danny’s hurt.” She peeked over her shoulder, the gun still pointed at her and Danny. The stranger’s eyes flicked across the area like something was going to jump out of the woods at the back of the building. Sienna wished something would. She wished she hadn’t told Saint it was over. She’d be with him right now.

When they made it to the bottom of the stairs, she barely had time to take a breath when the man pushed them toward a large darkened Cadillac SUV. She almost fell and had to grip Danny so he wouldn’t either. He began to cry silent tears he couldn’t afford. The pain, she thought, must be excruciating.

“Get in.”

Sienna did her best to get in the vehicle.

Sienna tried to lay Danny in the back seat. The man was speaking to her, but she barely could hear him. She heard him too late when again he spoke. Heat seared her cheek. “Where is it?” He hit her again. “Where’s the money.”

“My…my house.”

The lie rolled off her tongue, to save them both from an early grave. She blinked, licking her lip catching the taste of blood from the corner of her mouth. It throbbed, and she couldn’t focus. Marco’s quick exit from the lot caused her to fall onto the floor in the back seat. There wasn’t enough time to put on a seatbelt. With one hand still firmly on Danny, she could feel him tremble. It was then she realized the stranger didn’t ask where she lived. He already knew.

Think, think, she told herself. How was she going to get help?

“Ohhhh,” Danny moaned.

“You’ll be okay Danny,” she said in the softest voice possible. The man didn’t notice, he was too busy driving. She looked back toward Danny when she thought she heard him speak. “What, Danny?”

“So sorry. Sorry. Sorry.”

“Danny, you did nothing wrong.”

“Sorry, sorry,” he kept repeating.

She shook her head confused by his continued apology, and then asked, “Was Saint still at the speedway when you left?” Danny’s eyes flashed, his only reaction since he’d been kicked by the man. “Danny? Was he?” She looked over her shoulder and checked on the man to see if he’d heard her.

“He fell,” Danny wheezed.

“What do you mean?”

“When you pushed him and ran away,” he paused to take an unsteady breath, “he fell and hit his head. I wanted you to hurt you as much as you hurt Saint,” he finished through a wheeze. “I told,” he paused to take a breath, “Marco where you were. I’m sorry.”

“What? Who is Marco,” she whispered dismayed. But never mind about that she thought. His pain-filled eyes held her gaze. “What about Saint,” she asked scared out of her mind even more now. “What about Saint,” she said as she shook him, not meaning to be so rough.

Danny groaned, his fingers gripped her arm, too weak, barely holding on. “Concussion. Maybe,” Danny answered.

Her breath hitched. “Oh, God.” She said too loudly drawing the man’s attention.

“Shut up.” He waved the gun over his shoulder, and she ducked behind the seat.

Sienna couldn’t believe what Danny was saying. Was Saint all right? Had she really pushed him that hard? Hard enough that she’d caused him to fall. She covered her face and began to sob. If they got out of this…no when they got out of this, she had to go to Saint. She couldn’t leave things the way she had. Sienna had to make things right.

When the Cadillac began to slow and stop her mind jumped at what to do but never landed on solid ground. Before she knew it, she was hauled out of the vehicle and dragged to her front door her legs scraping against pavement. The material was tearing, the rough gravel cutting into her exposed skin.

“Open it!” the man said pointing the gun at the door and then again at her. She looked up at him and stood stock still. Her keys were back at Twisted Metal.

“Well, don’t stand there, bitch. Open the door.”

“My keys are in my purse.” Her hands curled into fists and began to sweat. The man looked around.

“Where’s your fucking purse!” He bellowed.

She stared at him not knowing what to do so he wouldn’t kill her. And then she couldn’t think because her body reacted to the pop, pop, pop as he fired the gun and kicked in another door. He yanked her by her arm making her cry out, his fingers like a vice as he dragged her through the front door.

“Where?”

What could she tell him? There was no money.

He shook her over and over, her head jerking back and forth. She tried to grab onto him to find some balance but then she fell, and it was her turn to get kicked again.

“Where’s the money, where’s the money!”

“No money,” she whispered and his face twisted into a mask of something worse than evil.

Sienna’s sobs filled the room.

“I’m gonna enjoy killing you bitch!” He raged. He continued on, berated and condemned her to an unpleasant death, and then he lost his grip and they went down in a heap, the wind knocked out of her. Something landing on them both. She tried to get away. He was distracted. Then she saw Danny. The boy had somehow gotten himself out of the SUV.

Marco gained his feet quickly, Danny’s thin arms not enough to defend himself with, he went down and stayed down. Her eyes blurred with tears, and she waited to see if Danny got up but he didn’t move.

“Danny!” she yelled. Her head snapped to Marco, her rage at what he’d done to an already abused Danny causing the emotional cord that tied up her past in the little box she kept it in, snapped. Sienna launched herself at Marco. She clawed at Marco’s face, kicked him with wild aim. He struck back with his fists instead of his palm like before, and the room danced through a filmy haze. She swung out again aiming for any body part, but she tired and then everything went fuzzier.

“Maybe now you’ll understand who has the power here. And since you lied about the money, maybe your worth a little something to that boyfriend of yours.

Nooooo! Her mind screeched. Then Marco raised his weapon and the haziness she felt from his fists was nothing compared to the butt of his gun as her world bled black and her hope right along with it.

3 comments

  1. Kelly Bixby

    Wow, Wendi! This chapter jumps forward with action. It’s a serious topic and you covered it in detail. I cringed while reading it.

  2. Claire Murray

    Very dramatic pace through out!!! You don’t let the reader relax for a moment.

    1. Wendi Knape

      It quite a ride. Wait until the next chapter.

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