The kidnapper continued

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 Photo copyright: Jean L. Hays

Pain radiated from Henry’s leg. A moment later, he collapsed with a thud.

Before everything went black a voice said, “ Your death will not be quick.”

He awoke to find Patricia bound and gagged dressed in her bra and underwear.

The kidnapper pressed a gun to the side of Patricia’s head. “Did Henry tell you what

happened to Hope and Jason?”

Patricia’s voice trembled, “They ran off together.”

The kidnapper laughed, “No, Henry killed them.”

The van came to a stop. Two men dragged Henry into a pre-dug grave. As dirt covered his body Henry screamed.

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Chance meeting

three_chairs

Photo Copyright: Melanie Greenwood

Victor pulled Brittany’s arm and yanked her out of the pink chair.

“Let go. You’re hurting my arm,” said Brittany.

His grip increased, “I got your text. It’s not over until I say so,” said Victor.

Victor started to slap her, when his hand was pinned behind his back by a man with abs visible though his t-shirt. Victor howled in pain and released Brittany’s arm.

The man said, “Apologize.”

Victor croaked, “I’m sorry.”

The man released Victor. “Now leave.”

“Brittany, this isn’t over,” said Victor and stormed off.

“Thanks…,” said Brittany.

“Harold and you’re welcome,” said the man.

The kidnapper

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 Photo Copyright: The Reclining Gentleman

Only one man stood at the midway point of the bridge. As Patricia approached with the rolling cooler she started to sweat.

“Where’s the money,” said the kidnapper?

“Where’s Henry? I want proof he’s alive,” said Patricia.

The kidnapper handed Patricia an iPhone. “Hit redial.”

The call picked up on the first ring. Seconds later came Henry’s hoarse voice, “Hello.”

“Henry, don’t worry….,” the call dropped.

“The money’s in the cooler,” said Patricia.

A van speed up the bridge. Tires squealed, the door opened and Henry dropped out of the van. As Henry and Patricia embraced, two gunshots rang out.

Patricia’s morning

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 Photo Coypright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Patricia peered through the window of the music shop. Her view blocked by keyboards. How does he work in this mess?

“Call me,” she texted.

Henry better have a good reason for standing me up last night? Thirty minutes passed with no response.

This isn’t like him. What if he’s hurt? She called the police. A patrol car arrived an hour later.

The patrol officer said, “Are you Patricia Harris,” to the woman pacing?

She stared at her clasped hands, “My..um..boss..Henry…Petzel is missing?”

“Miss Harris, you’ll need to speak with missing persons. We’ll take you.”

Randal’s journey continued…

 

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 Photo Copyright: Kent Bonham

 

Randal threw the headset at the instrument panel. “I’m on my own.”

He rummaged the downed helicopter to find a S&W MP 9mm, and a knife. A sharp pain shot up his back as he exited.

“Don’t move… Where’s the pilot?” said a female voice.

His grip tightened around the gun. “He’s dead.”

“Good, now face me. No sudden movements.”

He turned, keeping the gun out of sight. A Spanish beauty held a spear to his chest.

“Please, I want to go home,” he said.

Tears fell as the spear dropped. “So do I, but your pilot stranded me here.”

Henry’s morning

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Photo Copyright: Marie Gail Stratford

Henry awoke on a cold surface, his wrists and ankles bound.

Through the gag he screamed, “Help,” but only a muffled sound escaped!

Where am I? I remember bringing Hope’s things to charity. Drove home, and something pinched my back.

He struggled to sit up. A thud filled the air, as his head smacked into a hard object.

He writhed; the effort caused the blindfold to slip. A bright light permeated the space. Oh my god, I’m in a box. Take a deep breath. If they wanted me dead, they would have killed me. In the distance a door creaked.

Salt Rock Island

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Photo Copyright: Dawn O. Landau

Randal peered out the window at the rocks of salt, as the helicopter zoomed over the beach.

“They’re a natural occurrence due to the high salt content of the water,” said the pilot.

Randal said, “Why are they in squares?”

“No one knows, I believe —,” the chopper shook.

It spun out of control and tossed Randal the only survivor into the drink. He awoke with a cough expelling the seawater from his lungs. Using a rusted pole for support he stammered to the crash site.

“Mayday, Mayday, I’m stranded on salt rock island,” he pleaded.

No response.

 

Henry comes home

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 Photo Copyright: Janet Webb

 Henry burst through his front door. “Hope, where are you?”

“Taking a bath.”

Doing his best to stifle a grin, he entered the small bathroom. Jazz music filled the room from a charging iPad.

“How was your trip?”

“Good, I learned something interesting?”

“Oh,” she said with little interest.

“Your two month affair with Jason.”

Tears trickled down her face. “I am so sorry. We never meant for you to get hurt.”

“Do you love him?”

“Yes, I’m so sorry.”

With a guttural scream he tossed the iPad into the water. Hope’s body convulsed.

“Tell Jason, I forgive you both.”

 

 

Jason’s confession continued…

campfire

Photo Copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

At the sight of blood pooling under Jason’s body Henry trembled. What am I going to do? How can I explain this? With few options he needed to get rid of the corpse. The waterfall warning came back in a flash.

Jagged rocks lay at the base of the sixty-foot waterfall a quarter mile away. Henry placed Jason in the kayak and tossed the knife in the river. Confident it would be classified a kayaking accident. Although there was little blood Henry burned his clothes and bathed. He peered at the stars and smirked. Now, how to deal with Hope?

Jason’s confession

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Photo copyright: Madison Woods 

Emanating from the crackling fire the smell of trout penetrated the air.

Jason finished his third beer, “Henry, I’m so sorry.”

“About what?”

Unable to meet Henry’s eyes, “Hope and I are in love.”

“How long?”

“Three months.”

Henry palmed the filet knife. “You’ve been screwing my wife for months and now you’re sorry!”

“We never meant to hurt you.”

In an upward arc the knife permeated Jason’s chest. Henry’s face became pale. “What did I do?”

Jason doubled over in a coughing fit a sucking sound coming from the wound.

With his final breath Jason said, “I forgive you.”