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Rated: 18+ · Book · Sci-fi · #1740215
Time is mischievous.
#757117 added February 1, 2014 at 7:59pm
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Chapter 3: 09/21/2006 An Unwelcome Encounter
Chapter Three
09/21/2006: An Unwelcome Encounter

I don’t know why I never mentioned the strange encounter to Bailey, but in the morning I left after he made me breakfast without breathing one word.

A typical Thursday morning and afternoon went by uneventfully; I spent a few hours working on orders for clients and did a little house cleaning. In the evening I ran a few errands and was at the bookstore to pick up my book as promised. As usual, Mr. Zhou had to kick me out at closing time.

About halfway home, I knelt down to tie my shoe and out of the corner of my eye I saw movement behind me. Straightening as I turned, I saw the figure moving confidently down the alley toward me. At first I thought it was the man in the trench coat, but then a flashlight flicked on, aimed for my eyes, blinding me.

“Police. What are you doing back here at this hour?”

I let out an inaudible sigh of relief. “I’m just on my way home officer.” Then as an after thought I asked, “May I see your badge please?” I smiled sweetly.

Bad idea.

He clicked off the flashlight and stepped forward, reaching into his coat for what I assumed was his ID, but instead he withdrew a gun. “Make one sound, bitch, and I’ll blow your face off.”

I swallowed and nodded. Oh shit.

“Turn around,” he commanded, and I obeyed. I felt the barrel of the gun press up against my back. “I’m gonna follow you the rest of the way home, and when we get there you can show me a good time.” I could hear his grotesque lust oozing from his laughter. He jabbed the gun hard into my back, “Now get moving, I don’t like to be kept waiting.”

I obeyed; there was a gun to my head, or close enough. There was still another block and a half to think. I started walking.

“Don’t think for a minute you’ve got any way out. If you try anything, I’ll shoot and run. Doesn’t really matter to me if they get what they want, I just figure I can have some fun in the process.” The guy was clearly unstable, which made me wonder if he might not just pull the trigger whether I did what he said or not, or even just accidentally. “If you show me what a good girl you are when we get home, then I promise you’ll make it to see Christmas.”

Okay, I know I haven’t been to church in awhile, but please Lord, if you can hear me…

As I passed the next dumpster, I caught a shadow of movement dashing behind me, followed by a loud thud of bodies hitting the ground. Without looking I ran to the corner before I turned to see the man in the trench coat had tackled my would-be rapist to the ground, and was strangling him.

I froze. I had no clue what to do. I started to fish my cell phone out of my purse.

“Wait,” he said. “There’s no need now.” He crouched and took something from the man’s pants pocket and then put it back, then stood and picked up the man like a rag doll.

“Maybe he’ll figure out he got off easy and change his ways,” he hurled his burden into the dumpster along with the rest of the trash. “Maybe he won’t. Either way I know who he is now so if the police don’t take care of him after you report the attack, I will.”

“What do I tell them? They won’t believe I fought him off.”

He shrugged, and gave me a smirk, “I’m sure that you can come up with something that will be convincing enough.”

I raised my right eyebrow, “And the cops are just going to believe that I overpowered a man with a gun?”

“Hm,” he smiled, holding back laughter. “I have every confidence that if anyone can sell it, you can, Sam.”

I was still doubtful. “I thought you were going to kill him.”

“I might have … but it’s less complicated this way. Deaths are always complicated,” he mused eerily, gazing up at the sky above. “Once a life has been taken, it can’t be given back.”

I felt uneasy, but lingered because I knew there were things he wasn’t telling me, things I needed to know. I cleared my throat, “I suppose that’s true.”

He turned to stare at me. It was an awkward moment. Then he laughed, “I knew you were naïve, but I never …” he laughed harder.

“Who are you?” I asked him for the third time.

He smiled again, and then everything went black as I went crashing to the ground in a faint. Even in my unconscious state, I could feel him scoop me up into his arms. As he started walking, I heard him mumble, “Sometimes I wonder if you aren’t more trouble than you’re worth, always making things harder than they need to be.”

***

The clock on my DVD player read 12:28 AM when I awoke and found myself on my couch. My shoes were off, I was covered with a blanket, and I was alone except for Artemis, who was curled up on top of my head. I saw my cell phone on the coffee table next to me, and when I picked it up I saw the police department phone number already punched in, all I had to do was press send.

“Novica Police Dept, how may I direct your call?” She sounded far too pleasant to be working at this hour.

My head hurt, probably from hitting the pavement, “I need to report a crime, uh, I guess.”

There was a gasp at the other end of the line, “Is it in progress?”

“No, not anymore,” I assured her.

“Are you in danger?”

“Not at the moment, no,” I was fairly confident in that statement.

“What’s your name, Hon?”

“Samantha Marquet.”

“And your phone number in case we get disconnected?” I recited my home and cell phone numbers. “And address?”

“I’m in the studios next to the theatre; 1 Citrus.”

“Okay, got it. Now what is the nature of the crime?”

“Impersonating a police officer, attempted kidnapping or maybe some combination of that and some other things? I’m not sure how you would classify it, exactly,” I stopped myself when I realized I was babbling.

“Don’t worry, Hon, we’ll let the detectives figure that out, they’ll have to come and get a description.”

“Well I can give it, but you’ll find him in the dumpster in the alley a block south of the bookstore.”

There was a pause. “Excuse me?”

“I left him in the dumpster, knocked him over the head.” I stopped, because I remembered that I needed to come up with how I got him in there. “I’m sorry, but can I finish this when the detectives arrive? I’m feeling a bit woozy.”

“Sure thing, Hon, I’ll get a couple of officers out there right away. But first, I’m going to send someone out to this dumpster.”


Pacing around for another ten minutes, I tried to come up with a story they would believe before the knock came at my door. When I opened it, my jitters subsided slightly at the sight of Detective Ramirez, an old friend, standing on the other side. I didn’t know his partner.

“Jake, it’s been too long!” We were part of the same circle of kids that went from elementary through high school together, but drifted apart after that last summer, before we all went off to college or work. Jake was one of the few I made a point of staying in contact with, but aside from bumping into him around town, we didn’t see each other much anymore.

“Geez, Sam, if you wanted to get together, we could’ve gone out for coffee. You look like hell.” He put his arms around me and gave me a big squeeze. “You okay?”

“I'm a little sick to my stomach but otherwise fine.” They both looked skeptical. “No really, he didn’t even touch me.”

“I heard your name when the call came in, and insisted on taking it. What the hell happened?”

“Why don’t you come in and have a seat?” I was terrified that they would see right through me. I hoped they would write it off as a victim being shaken after getting out of a bad situation. “Can I get you something to drink Jake, Officer-?”

“Marks, mam, my apologies,” he was very rigid and formal. I could tell he took his job seriously.

“None needed. I’ve got soda, water, lemonade,” I offered again.

“Nothing for me thanks, Sam. Anything for you, Chris?” Officer Marks shook his head. They both sat, and Jake asked, “Why don’t you go ahead and tell us what happened?”

I took a deep breath, before I began. “I was walking home from the bookstore and heard something behind me. He shined his flashlight in my eyes and identified himself as police. When I asked to see his badge he pulled out a gun and said he was going to follow me home and, well…” At least that part was true.

Jake was visibly angry. If I was a cop, I think it would be harder for me to deal with crimes against people I know. Officer Marks was more dubious when he asked, “So how did you get him in the dumpster?”

“It all went by in such a flash, I don’t know exactly how it all happened, but I pretended to trip, and when he got closer, I punched him in the nuts. When he reached down, reflexively, I twisted the gun out of his hand, cocked it and and told him to get in the dumpster. Then I hit him over the head. I ... I’m sorry ... I don’t know what I did with the gun.
I ran out of there, and fainted as soon as I came in the door. I came to on the floor, and called the police right away.” I recited the story, hoping it would be good enough.

Jake seemed to accept my version of events. “It sounds like you were pretty lucky.” His phone rang, and he said, “Excuse me,” before answering it. “Hello?” There was a pause as he listened. “Good. We’ll be back in ten minutes. Thanks,” he hung up. “They’ve got him, and are taking him in right now. You may need to testify in court.”

“Not a problem.”

Officer Marks rose to leave, “Since he didn’t actually touch you, there isn’t any physical evidence we need to collect. We have nothing more to do for now.”

“Thank you for coming out.” I managed a weak smile, and shook his hand at the door.

Jake paused at the door, letting Marks go down the stairs ahead of him. “I wish I could say it's been a pleasure,” he hugged me again. “I’m just glad you’re okay.”

“That makes two of us.”

“Maybe we should let up on the walking in the alleys at night? I know you think you’re invincible and all but … does Bailey know about this yet?”

“No.”

“You should call him; have him come over.”

“Why? You’ve got the guy, and I’m fine. I can tell him in the morning.”

“He’ll be pissed.”

“He’ll get over it.”


***

Somehow, I managed to fall back asleep, and I dreamt of a story my father would tell me when I was very young, when he thought I was asleep. There was a princess, and a beautiful tree that would save their kingdom one day. Both were in need of protection from dark forces threatening to destroy them.

The dream was dark, and confusing, but one line from the story stuck in my mind when I returned to the realm of the waking, “He lingered in the shadows, watching her always, ready to take arms if the need arose. Her Shadow Watcher would protect her at all costs.”
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