Dominant Warfare Pt. 07

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Close Up

This was originally titled Quicksilver Messenger, but based on some ideas from readers I have made some changes and retitled the series. In addition, I have a new editor that helped clean up some of the speed bumps in the story. Thanks to Glenn514. It is still the same basic story and the changes are not massive, but to me it is enough to warrant a new version. I hope you enjoy the series and please give me feedback.


Chapter 18

Steve realized the distance was too great for a frontal assault, but he could only make the run if they weren’t watching. If they saw him, they would have a head start and there would be no way to catch them. So he chose to exit out the back door, swing around to the side of the house, then try to follow the wooded area and find whoever was spying on them. His plan started out okay when he got out of the back door and around to the side of the house. However, he still had a 100 yard run to get from the house to the woods. He just hoped he was far away enough so that the trespassers wouldn’t see him.

Now he had a decision to make. Should he run as fast as he could to cut down the time he was exposed in the open or should he walk slowly and hoped he didn’t attract attention? He chose the former and just hoped that whomever it was in the trees happened to be looking in the other direction. In high school, his best time running the hundred-yard dash was around 12 seconds. He was a lot older now and out of training, but he hoped he could at least do 20 seconds.

He took off running as if April’s life depended on it and in a way, it did. In her life, reputation was everything. If whoever it was got through with their pictures, she could be ruined. He made it to the front of the trees and slowed down slightly as he weaved through to get to the backside of the grove. At the backside of the stand of trees he tried to walk towards the intruder as stealthily as he could, but cowboy boots are not designed for stealth.

Every crunch of the grass or snap of the twig made him cringe as he worked his way toward the intruder. As he rounded a group of trees he saw a car parked behind the trees about 50 yards from where he was. It looked like your standard Taurus Rent-A-Car and as he crept closer, he thought he saw a green Enterprise rent-a-car sticker on the back window. He stopped looking intensely at the car but he didn’t see anybody in or around the car.

Steve started towards the car, again trying to be as quiet as he could, but just as he stepped out into the open, someone came out of the woods. It was a man wearing a black Stetson, carrying a tripod with a camera and long lens at the top. The minute he came out of the woods, he spotted Steve and made a dash for the car. Steve began to run hard and fast trying to catch the man before he left. He was only about halfway there when he heard the engine fire up. By the time, Steve reached for the car was it was accelerating away from him.

When he saw this, Steve altered his trajectory and went back through the woods towards the house. It was now definitely confirmed somebody had been taking photos of April and him making love. He still didn’t know who they were or what their intention was, but he somehow felt like this was his fault and he had to stop him.

He was now at the front of April’s house and his Cobra was only a few yards ahead. He dove into the front seat, fired up the engine and took off after the dust cloud that was going down the road. Unfortunately, the Cobra has too much power for the backend and that makes it very difficult to handle in inclement weather or on dirt.

Steve geared up, trying to keep the RPMs below 2000 with the hopes that he might get a little more traction. Despite the cars slipping and sliding he was still gaining on the car in front of him, then another problem appeared or should he say disappeared. The closer he got to the car the less he could see, because of the dirt being kicked up by the car in front of him.

In the few seconds available to him, he pondered what to do. Should he race on through the dust knowing that he would either hit the car in front of him or go off into a ditch? On the other hand, did he back off and follow him until other opportunities presented themselves. His Cobra was his pride and joy and the thought of doing major damage to the car bothered him … a lot. However, cars could be fixed. April’s reputation couldn’t be fixed and right now, she needed him.

His foot pushed harder on the gas and he tried to keep it at least going in the same direction. Steve squinted through the dust trying to see if he had any indication where the car would be then suddenly he felt a crunch. The left front corner of his car hit the right rear corner of the Taurus. He had unknowingly used the pit maneuver to send the car spinning off into the field on the left-hand side of the road.

As he saw the car spinning to the left, he slammed on his brakes causing the Cobra to skid into kağıthane escort the right-hand ditch. Unfortunately, the Cobra skidded backend first into the ditch; the worst position for a car like the Cobra. He looked for the Taurus and only saw a cloud of dust as it spun in the other field. He shifted into first and tried to slowly ease the cobra out of the ditch, but his wheels just spun in the loose dirt. He tried shifting into second so the tires wouldn’t spin as much, with the same results.

He looked up to see what the Taurus was doing and as the dust was beginning to clear he saw the man in the car pull rifle from his back seat. Steve was a sitting duck and he had nothing to defend himself with. He ducked and lay over the console just as the bullet came through his windshield hitting the head rest in the driver seat. As the second shot came through the windshield, he noticed the Sheriff’s business card on the floor in front of his face.

He had left his blackberry in the car and fortunately, cell service was available. Therefore, he called the Sheriff just as a third shot came through his windshield and hit the headrest of the passenger seat. His blackberry beeped as he went to the Sheriff’s voicemail. Steve was hurriedly trying to tell him that April was in danger. A man was either trying to blackmail her or ruin her reputation. As he was trying to explain all this to the Sheriff, a fourth shot came through the windshield then a fifth punctured the left front tire.

Steve heard the Taurus start back up and he glanced through the windshield. He watched the Taurus head back down the road towards April’s house and he felt a sense of dread in the pit of his stomach.

Steve had a pension for traveling the country and unfortunately, the Cobra with its high torque and very light rear end had a gift for getting stuck. Therefore, Steve had added a couple of Track Grabbers to his emergency traveling kit. Track Grabbers are straps with a traction bar and installs perpendicular to the tire tread. The traction bars work well in sand, mud or snow equally.

Steve had used these before and quickly got out of the car, retrieving the two straps from his spare tire wheel well. He quickly strapped them on both rear tires tightened them as much as he could and jumped back in the driver seat. He put it in first gear and slowly added gas until the Track Grabbers caught, lifted the backend, grabbing some traction, and moved forward. Steve continued his slow climb out of the ditch until he was back on solid road. He immediately jumped out and took the grabbers off the back wheels, stowed them in the back of the Cobra and took off towards April’s house.

Unfortunately, his flat left front tire made navigating the dirt road even more treacherous than it had been. Steve didn’t have time to change the tire, because he had to get April before that thug did something to her. As he rounded the stand of trees, he saw the Taurus take off down a dirt road he didn’t even know was there. The chills ran down his spine as he saw the car leaving and he hoped April was still okay in the house. For just a second he watched the cloud of dust moving away from the house.

When he got to the front yard, he slammed on the brakes and before the car had even stopped he was out running towards the house. He barreled through the front door and up to April’s bedroom only to find an empty bed and her pink iPhone on the bedside table. He grabbed the phone and made a quick search of the bathrooms. Steve ran back downstairs to the kitchen just to make sure she wasn’t there … she wasn’t.

He frantically searched for anything he could use to help and he found a key rack with a group of car keys by the back door. Fortunately, someone had labeled all the keys on the key rack and he found one for a Jeep Wrangler. To be honest he didn’t remember seeing a Jeep but it could’ve been in the garage next to the house. However, he did remember seeing a gun rack in their library and ran to get a gun to take with him.

Unfortunately, the Hunt household was very security conscious and the gun rack was locked. Steve used one of the lamps to hammer open the case until he could procure a 30-06 and some shells. With keys and gun in hand, he ran out of the house and into the adjoining garage, where he did indeed find a Jeep Wrangler. With the garage door open, he took off towards the distant cloud of dust.

This was one of the advantages of living in West Texas. Everything was flat as a pancake until you ran into the mountains. Therefore, Steve didn’t bother with roads. He picked a landmark by the cloud of dust in the distance, drew a straight line and took off cross-country. The Jeep bucked and bounced across the landscape and several times Steve was almost thrown out of the car. He had not had enough time to buckle his seatbelt, but in between bounces, he finally got the seatbelt snug across his chest and waist.

The dust cloud was no longer there elit escort istanbul and that meant one of two things; he had stopped, or he was now traveling over rocks. Steve pushed the Jeep as fast as it would go and there were some magnificent leaps into the air that almost toppled the Jeep. Steve was scared out of his mind, mostly about what was happening to April, but also whether he would survive this frenzied pursuit.

A couple of times he had to slam on the brakes as he came upon a washed out draw. The deep gullies would’ve broken the axles on the Jeep if he had hit them at full speed. He only slowed enough to get through the gullies without breaking his only means of getting to April. Once he had made it through the gully, he sped up to his reckless pace.

The mountains were coming up fast and he still didn’t see the car. Considering his options, he assumed the Taurus had come up on the left-hand side of the car. It was really a coin flip on which direction to go, but a right turn seemed the most logical. As he got close, he veered to the right paralleling the mountains looking for any sign of the car and April.

For 15 minutes, he cruised slowly in front of the mountains looking both directions trying to find any sign. As time went on, not locating any sign of April increased his anxiety. He had no idea who the maniac was, but the fact that he had been taking pictures and then kidnapped April did not bode well. That meant for whatever reason he wasn’t afraid of her notoriety, but instead he had some sinister plan for her.

When he saw a small dust cloud, he rushed towards it knowing it could be anything, but hoping April would be there. As he rounded a huge pile of boulders he saw an old miner shack perched on the edge of a cliff. He couldn’t see the car, but he could see a crumpled pile of silky brunette hair lying on some sheets in front of the shack. He knew it was April but he couldn’t see the kidnapper or the car and knew this was some kind of trap.

Steve stopped the Jeep so he could keep an eye on the shack and loaded his rifle, just in case. With rifle in hand, he slowly advanced on the shack, unsure whether a stealth or direct approach would be best. Steve looked around and there were plenty of hiding places. The hairs on the back of his neck told him this was a trap. He would almost be willing to bet that the kidnapper already knew he was here and was watching him at that very moment.

Steve found a place that provided a modicum of cover as well as a good view of the shack. As he was watching he saw April move and squirm on the sheets underneath her, so he knew she was alive. However, he had no idea how badly hurt or what this scum had done to her. He clenched his fists as his anger built, but tried to keep a clear head as he shouted, “What is it you want and what have you done to April?”

As an answer, April was yanked off her feet and pulled high into the air by a rope tied around her wrists. Steve hadn’t noticed before, but there was a long boom attached to the shack that was apparently used to haul goods up and down the cliff face. The rope attached to April’s wrists was threaded through a pulley on the end of the boom. He watched in horror as the boom swung until April was dangling over open air, with a long way down to the bottom.

April was still naked from their night of lovemaking, and Peter was leering lecherously at the sight of April’s nude body. Steve wanted to cover her so Peter couldn’t see his incredible woman. However, he was more concerned with the kidnapper’s implied threat. Any slip or attempt to save her and he would cut the rope with April plunging over the cliff to her death.

Steve’s eyes caught April’s and he tried to calm the terror on her face. He tried to project an air of confidence, hiding his own fear from her. With his eyes, he let her know that he loved her and he would save her. He shouted to the unknown kidnapper, “Tell me whatever it is you want. Please, swing April back over the cliff face so that we do not have an accident.”

A man in a black Stetson stepped out of the miner shack, and something about him looked familiar to Steve. He tried to figure out where he had seen him before, but he just couldn’t place him. The man looked at him and shouted, “April stays where she is; I have found over the years that a little bit of fear is a great motivator. As for what I want, I need all paper and electronic copies of your environmental report on the refinery in Corpus Christi.”

Steve stood speechless for several seconds as it suddenly dawned on him that this wasn’t about April. She had just been a pawn and he had been the objective. She was the leverage to get whatever he wanted and it was then that Steve recognized who the man in the black Stetson was. He had met with the man briefly twice, once when he started the job and once when he ended it. He was the plant manager of the Hunt Corpus Christi refinery.

Steve quickly looked fatih escort over at April and she had a look of confusion as well as terror on her face. Steve remembered the man’s name was Peter something and addressed him accordingly. “Peter, you can have whatever you want. All I want is April safe and sound, but we do have a problem, because all my copies of the report are on my laptop back at the hotel. How do you propose we get around that?”

Peter gave an evil laugh that sent chills down April’s and Steve’s backs. He looked at April hungrily and said to Steve, “You just go get it and leave April with me.”

Steve angrily stepped around the boulder and shouted, “No fucking way pal, there is no way I’m leaving her with you.” Steve’s mind spun for alternatives and finally asked, “Do you know anybody that could bring my computer backpack from the hotel out here? Everything is in there, including the backup.”

Peter looked pensive for a second then thought of Consuelo. He knew he would have to give her some extra money, but it would shave about an hour and a half off a round-trip to the hotel. He pulled out his Galaxy phone and called Holland Hotel.

As Steve saw Peter pull out his phone, he remembered April’s iPhone in his pocket. While Peter was distracted, he hauled it out of his pocket and set it on the boulder in front of him. He dialed 911, making sure the speakerphone portion was turned off. When he heard the faint voice of the emergency operator answer, he shouted at Peter, “What about the Sheriff, he could bring it here?”

Peter snickered after he hung up with Consuelo, “The Sheriff? He’s just a big joke. If he would have arrested you and thrown you in jail when you first brought in April, we wouldn’t be in this situation. With you in jail for the kidnapping of April, nobody would’ve believed your report.”

Steve suddenly felt ashamed and guilty, because all of this was his fault. From the very beginning, things were happening to April because of him. He looked at April and she had a very confused look on her face, trying to understand why she was in this situation. She figured out there was some kind of report that had started all of this, but she still didn’t understand how she became involved.

The emergency operator picked up on what he was trying to do and transferred him to the Sheriff’s cell phone. When he faintly heard Sheriff’s gruff voice, he shouted back at Peter, “So Peter just a clarification. When Consuelo brings my computer backpack and you get all your copies of the report you will let April go. We will both go free … Right?”

Steve heard the faint shouting of orders on the other end of the phone. Inside, he breathed a sigh of relief, believing that help was finally on its way, but it was at least an hour way. Now all he had to do was distract Peter and keep April safe until help arrived. However, if the opportunity arose he wanted to take a large piece of Peter for everything he would have done to April.

Chapter 19

Dangling over the cliff was the most terrifying moment April could ever think of. She looked down between her naked breasts and saw her hips swinging wildly, with her toes wiggling in the air. Far below, very far below was the rocky landscape, filled with sharp and jagged boulders. If anything happened to the rope, there was no way she could survive the fall.

April looked across the chasm and saw Steve there. His face was hard and angry with his body tensed like a coiled spring ready to strike. He had come to save her just as she knew he would, but the man calling himself Peter currently stymied him. Strangely enough, with Steve there, she felt a sense of security.

She knew it was strange, not being terrified, but somehow she knew Steve would sacrifice his own life to save hers. Dangling over a precipice and being a held hostage by some, kind of maniac had been terrifying at first. However, when Steve arrived all those feelings vanished. She kept her eyes on him watching him, watch her.

His eyes and face were loving and supportive, but there was also a fierce confidence that he would save her. After she listened to the conversation between Steve and Peter, she understood that this was not about her or her father. This was all about Steve and she saw the look of guilt on his face as he realized that it was his fault. That only seemed to harden his determination.

She remembered that look of determination and it sent chills through her. It was only yesterday, but it was a lifetime ago when Steve strung her up in her bedroom. Her whole outlook on life, love and who she was had changed. She experienced and felt things last night that surpassed her vivid imagination and Steve had done them to her. Everything he had done, he had done for her, with love, compassion. He showed a hard determination to tear down her walls and make her his.

Last night she had surrendered herself to him and it was something she had never done before. She never let a man have control over her, but now here was someone very special and she liked the way he ruled her. He explored and pushed her limits while keeping her in line. With him, she felt safe and knew he would look after her, all while demanding a strict code of conduct.

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