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Authors: Adam Light

Tags: #Horror, #Short Stories, #Thriller, #Suspense, #Mystery, #Crime

Taken

BOOK: Taken
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TAKEN

 

By Adam Light

 

 

 

 

Amazon Kindle First Edition, Published
March 2012
 

© 2012, Adam Light. Self publishing.
[email protected]

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED IN A DIFFERENT FORMAT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a few minutes past
midnight.

Jack Harden had a long drive ahead of him; the unending procession of sentinel pines and transplanted date palms that lined Interstate Ten on its long straight course through the
Florida panhandle blurred by in his periphery.

He had been doing long hauls for nearly twenty years, but this was the last stretch of highway on a nearly eighteen hour drive; what truckers call a turn and burn.

On the long and dust free dashboard, the GPS streamed a miniature 3D version of the actual view through the windscreen. Nice device, but, in his humble opinion, overkill, a big waste of money.

Jack had driven well beyond the legal limit of hours, but that was really the least of his concerns at present. He was breaking the law in the process, something he was normally loathe to do; but he justified this lapse in character as merely a miniscule filament in the otherwise enormous web he had spun tonight.

The sound of the highway rolling under the seventy seven inch wheels of the cherry red tractor was soothing - almost too soothing. Jack decided that a dose of loud rock music was becoming necessary to help him stay awake.

His fingers skittered over the compact discs that were splayed willy-nilly on the passenger seat, and finally settled on one; he quickly slipped it into the CD player, eyes never leaving the highway ahead. Music began to bray from the truck’s speaker system, a welcome distraction from the eerie silence of the cab.

The first track was one of his favorites. It was a song that reminded Jack of high school football games - the smell of popcorn and hot dogs, people of all ages decked out in team colors, some of them laughing, lots of them cursing, and more than a few crying, not to mention the shit that went on under the bleachers filled with unsuspecting fans.

More than anything, though, the song reminded him of Diane.

Dianne, Dianne. Oh sweet Goddamn
Dianne
.

Even though she was responsible for his current situation, Dianne was the love of his life, the sun in his sky and all that other bullshit. He knew that she was eagerly waiting for his return to their home on the
St. John’s River in Jacksonville at that very moment.

But Jack really didn't want to think about her right now. This whole thing was her fault; she had orchestrated the plot that he was now embroiled in.

He cranked the driver’s side window down and was greeted by a blast of frigid November wind. It was just what he needed: the surge of forty degree air rushing into the cab revived him and filled him with false euphoria.

The miles rolled past, and Jack rolled with them.

Although he was forty five, he still felt like a young man, and he knew he had plenty of years of driving on these lonesome highways to look forward to. A driver for nearly twenty five years now, his skill set and work ethic was impressive among his peers. He remembered when the money had been plentiful, and he grimaced at the thought of how he was barely scraping by right now.

His current haul was an easy one; a simple drop that had taken him to
Slidell, a small town outside of New Orleans on Lake Pontchartrain. An easy paycheck for an easy job: a nine hour drive there, a quick switch of loads, and then the nine hour drive home. It was a walk in the early morning sunshine for Jack.

He saw a weigh station ahead, and knew he would have to pull over first to properly secure his precious cargo. If a DOT inspector happened to get a little too nosy and decided to inspect his sleeper, his goose was marinated, grilled and served with a pineapple syrup sauce with a freshly steamed vegetable medley and garlic toast. This drive home felt more problematic than Chinese math to Jack, but come hell or high water, he would make it home to his Goddess.

In the rear-view mirror, Jack glanced at the waitress he had duct-taped and tied down on his bunk. She stared back at him, eyes glaring.

They had not exchanged words in what seemed like an eternity, and she had not stopped staring at him like that since she had awoken. The girl had an air of earthy defiance.
He
had abducted
her
, yet she acted as though
she
had the upper hand.

He had expected her to be frightened, had been prepared for panic and screaming, but she had defied his expectations. Was this sort of thing commonplace in her life? He never knew anymore.

******

 

A few hours earlier, at a greasy spoon just outside Slidell, Jack gnawed at a barely recognizable hunk of charcoal pretending to be a rib eye steak; it had the misnomer “The Bloody Outlaw” on the menu. His order had been medium rare, but the steak was so hard he could have murdered the “chef” with it. He was chocking down a mouthful of the charred meat when he first spotted the comely waitress. She was blonde, with a similar height and build to Dianne, maybe twenty-five or so, he guessed. Her shorts were very short. She sported several exotic tattoos on her achingly well toned limbs. A colorful Koi fish on her inner left thigh swam up that curvy leg in search of Zen further north. A vicious looking dragon slithered along her other sexy thigh, evidently to beat the fish in the race to paradise.

She was tanned and beautiful; deep brown, almond shaped eyes, perfect teeth, no wrinkles, at least none that he could see. He was enthralled.

She noticed him staring at her as she hustled from table to table, stuffing tips into her fanny pack. She stiffened instinctively and Jack looked away, embarrassed. He had been enjoying the guilty pleasure of watching her bend lithely over the edges of the tables; even seeing her perform the menial task of re-stuffing the napkin holders was intoxicating. In spite of his shame at being caught leering, he glanced again in her direction. To his delight, a smile brightened her eyes; she actually
winked
at him.

GOD Dammit, Dianne! I got you one,
he thought and his pulse quickened at the prospect of this being his moment. It was time for him to make his move. He wasn't certain, but Jack felt pretty sure this girl was flirting with him. If only he could get alone outside with her for a moment.

He wondered if he really had the courage to kidnap this girl and bring her back to the Goddess. The thought that he might actually pull this off gave Jack a jolt of adrenalin and frightened him to death at the same time.

He picked the gristle out of his teeth as he waited anxiously for the cashier to return from wherever she had disappeared. He was surprised when the cute waitress he had been watching boldly strode up to him. She was a full foot shorter than him and it was immediately apparent that she kept herself in great shape. She had a “girl next door” body, sexy without having to try and draw attention to it.

She was a natural beauty, like Dianne, and she held a cigarette in the notch between the first and middle finger of her right hand. Though she attempted to appear nonchalant, he could tell she was a little timid. It was easy to see she was no lot lizard,: not some floozy looking to fuck for a buck; in fact, she appeared pretty normal.

Even though she looked worn out from her long shift hustling tips from dirty truckers, she still walked with confidence, seemingly unaware of how she rolled her hips as she approached him. This girl was playing it cool, calm and collected, but he could tell the need for a cigarette was on her like swine flu.

She waved her hand in front of his eyes, alerting him to the embarrassing fact that, once again, he was ogling her.

“Got a light, mister?” she asked. Her name was printed on a name tag buttoned to her shirt: Rayne. He liked that name,

“You got a spare smoke, Rayne?” he replied.

Her eyes widened as he said her name, but then she touched her name tag and smiled.

“They're menthol...” she shifted on her feet, her eyes darting left first, and then right.

“Then you got yourself a deal Miss Rayne. I've got a mighty fine lighter in my rig out back. I might just let you keep it,” he said as he turned and handed the cashier a twenty and casually declined the change.

“Let’s go,” the waitress urged, eager for her smoke break. She pushed open the diner’s door with her curvaceous hip and strode purposefully into the chilly evening.

They strode side by side through the crisp night air, on their way toward the rear parking lot where Jack’s cherry red Freightliner awaited. Jack shivered as he glanced furtively at his surroundings. The parking lot was all but deserted.

He couldn't remember a time in his life when he had ever been so nervous.

To break the tension, he joked with the waitress as they walked to his truck.

“You sure you should be out here with me?” he smirked as they walked through the dimly lit lot, “it's awfully dark and I am a perfect stranger, you know.” He smiled mischievously at her and stuffed his hands into his jacket pockets.

She shrugged and swiped her bangs from her eyes, revealing a tattooed ring of black stars circling her delicate wrist.

She eyed him coldly; for a moment, Jack was afraid she might run away from him back to the security of the diner. The realization made his heart pound uncomfortably inside his chest

Instead of fleeing, she laughed. “Everybody keeps telling me cigarettes are going to kill me.”

His hard-pounding heart began to slow back into normal half-time rhythm, and a confused look crossed his face for a moment.

The waitress punched him in the bicep playfully. “You upset that I'm not scared of you? I've known a lot of psychos in my day, and I can tell you're just a big old teddy bear. “Hey, is this your truck?”

Jack nodded affably.

She seemed impressed with his rig, but held the cigarette between her lips impatiently; she needed that cancerous tube of tobacco so badly, Jack found it just a touch humorous.

Jack hefted himself up onto the chrome step and yanked open the driver’s side door. He grabbed his trusty Zippo lighter from the side console and tossed it down to her. She traded him a cigarette for it, lit her own, and absently deposited Jack’s lighter into her own pocket. Jack tucked his menthol cigarette behind his ear. He was not a smoker anymore.

Rayne puffed greedily on the cigarette, completely unaware of how the act sullied her otherwise angelic image. He followed behind her as she did a walk-around inspection of his Freightliner. She remarked on the shade of red it was painted, how it seemed to absorb the arc sodium lights from the parking lot, the luminescence adding to the luster of the paint. She loved how shiny the chrome was. She told him that any man that took such good care of his truck couldn't be all bad.

His patience was wearing thin; Jack knew that his window of opportunity was a narrow one. For a brief moment, he wondered if maybe this whole thing was a bad idea. Should he have to prove his undying loyalty to Dianne like this? If she loved him, too, then why should he be forced to demonstrate his love for her like this?

The thought troubled him deeply but in the end, he knew he
had
to do it. Dianne would never accept anything less, and he couldn't bear the thought of lie without her.

Jack saw the perfect opportunity present itself as the waitress walked around the side of his truck that faced away from the restaurant; if he did it there, only trees and weeds would bear witness to his crime.

Jack walked around the truck to find her sucking her cigarette like a baby sucks a pacifier, admiring herself in the polished chrome as she polluted her young lungs, oblivious of his encroachment. Jack’s heart began to knock against his breastbone again, like a desperate traveler seeking shelter from a mounting storm.

He approached Rayne from behind; she was relaxed and off guard. Sensing his presence she turned to face him, a kind yet increasingly dismissive look crossing her features.

“Well, thanks for the…” she started to say, but Jack eased a syringe from his jacket pocket and closed the distance between him and the waitress before she could finish her sentence. With the swiftness of a cheetah upon a wounded antelope he smoothly inserted the business end of the syringe into her soft neck, taking care not to hit her jugular.

She grabbed at her neck as he spun her around; he pulled her body tightly against his, hoping any passer-byes would assume they were in a lover’s embrace.

Jack’s strength easily outmatched that of the petite and struggling waitress. He felt immensely powerful as her feeble attempts to yank away from him subsided. She might as well have been trying to swim in quicksand.

She wasn't wearing a bra, and her breasts felt firm and fertile smashed against him. He began to harden, and his grip on her loosened. She twisted around and feebly beat at him with her fists, managing to knock the spent syringe out of Jack’s hand. It bounced on the asphalt, rolling underneath the truck.

Her struggles were futile, as the dope hit her hard and fast, her punches were like a de-clawed kitten pawing against him. Her cigarette had fallen to the blacktop and lay there smoldering, forgotten.

Then the waitress went flaccid at last. Jack let her petite body sag against him as he released her from his bear hug, then
gently  laid her down on the ground. He glanced around the parking lot praying to any god that would listen that no one had seen what he had just done.

BOOK: Taken
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