Jamie rejoins his abductors
|Previous: Diego, Eve, Trinette, Bodashka, Anastasia, Dymtrus and Jamie rendezvoused with Pedro and Delilah to make the fake exchange. However, in the midst of negotiations, Jamie unexpectedly ran off with Oscar, and sort sanctuary with Pedro and Delilah. When he got to the van and opened the door he was surprised to see four burly men with shotguns sitting inside.
Jamie winced as two of the four burly men hauled him into the Van. The other two climbed out and guarded the sliding door with shotguns at the ready. Major leaped out also and started barking and bearing his teeth in a threatening manner. By now Pedro and Delilah had fought off Trinette and Bodashka. The presence of guns and an aggressive Bull mastiff seemed to dissuade Eve and Diego from getting involved in the fray. There was no sign of the Anastasia and Dymtrus, leading Jamie to conclude that for all their bravado, none of Eve’s Minions were in interested in being beaten up, shot or mauled heroes. He didn’t blame them.
“Don’t be scared, little dude. We’re not going to hurt you” said the smaller of the two men that had dragged him in. “You can call me Sneakers if you like. It’s a nickname with a sort of long story that I won’t bore you with.”
“Okay…er…Sneakers,” said Jamie. “You reckon you can get me back home,”
“We’ll work on it. Take a seat,”
Pedro was first to reach the van. Delilah arrived several seconds later and climbed in the side door with the two burly men and Major. Seconds later he heard the van start up and various doors slamming. Then they were off.
“Don’t get me wrong, boy, we’re grateful for your co-operation; but you running back to us, makes no sense,” said Pedro, once they were some distance away from the Rest Area. “Why would you be so willing to return to someone that you were so hell bent on escaping from in the first place?”
“Better the Devil you know,” replied Jamie, nursing Oscar on his lap. “Even if those idiots had gotten their ransom from you guys, they wouldn’t be able to keep living at the same address… you’d be like coming after them. They wouldn’t be able to let me go home or take me with them, cuz I might tell the cops how they held me against my will and stuff and whatever. I think they would have killed me and buried my body in some remote area no one would ever think to find it.”
“What makes you think we wouldn’t do the same?”
“If you guys wanted to kill me, you’d have done it long ago.”
“And you reckon we’re Devils?”
“Maybe…maybe not; but either way, I’d rather be mistreated than murdered.”
“That’s fair comment,”
Usurping Eve’s cohorts in deception, for the tyranny of Pedro and Delilah had not been an easy decision to make. It seemed doubtful to him now that his plan could have succeeded without the aid of the four burly men with shotguns. He was still unsure of his location or where they were heading, except it was away from his two most hated of abodes.
“What’s the bear’s name?” asked Sneakers, seated to his right.
“Oscar,” replied Jamie.
“I used to have a teddy bear named Yellowstone when I was a kid, until a neighbourhood bully took it off me and set fire to it. By older brother beat the snot out of him.”
“I hate bullies. There’s this bully that goes to my school who got into trouble for breaking my neighbour’s window. I took the blame to save someone from being a hiding. The bully was going to beat me up in a park in front of everyone as a sort of example to others that might be thinking of doing the same. My stepbrothers and step sister got involved to protect me and there was like this massive scrap that broke out.
“Taking the blame to save someone from harm is a very brave act. I am sure your stepfather was proud of you.”
“He yelled at me for trying to be a hero…sometimes it sort of sucks to be a kid.”
“It’s his job to keep you out of harm’s way. I’m sure he was proud of you, all the same.”
“If you say so Sneakers,”
The van slowed and turned left and journeyed another half a kilometre, before turning left again onto a gravel road that took them past an open wooden farm gate. Jamie stared out the grimy windows at the rural landscape, and thought back to his nightmare about the wolverines.
“You’ve got a nasty mark on your face,” commented Delilah, pointing to the faded, yet still noticeable scarlet palm print on his left cheek.
“Eve slapped me for calling her a bitch,” said Jamie. “It really hurt.”
“What; that she hit me, or I called her a bitch?”
“A bit of both…you mess with the bull, you get the horns.”
“No adult has the right to strike a child like that,” asserted Sneakers.
“No child has the right to disrespect their elders,” she grumbled. “Besides, it never would have happened if he had stayed in the backyard and finished his chores, like he was meant to.”
“Yeah…whatever,” mumbled Jamie.
A single story brick house with a thatched roof came into view. A large barn stood to the right of it. A collection of various shaped gnomes, and other assorted garden ornaments surrounded a small fountain on the front yard, which was boarded by a yellow picket fence with a bright red gate.
Pedro slowed and pulled into a gravel drive way leading to a double garage with two SUVs parked inside, one mosaic blue the other midnight grey. Beside it was a carport with a large New Zealand flag fluttered from the top of it.
“We’re going to do a vehicle swap,” explained Pedro. “The van is already too well known to Trinette and Bodashka, Eve and the other idiots that tried to rip us off.”
“They might ring the police and tell them to look our van.” added Delilah. “Tell them you were abducted by us.”
“You really think they’d do something that stupid?” said Jamie. “They’re like involved in this also and ringing the police would be like calling the cops on themselves.”
“Stupid is as stupid does,” said Pedro. “We can’t take a chance that they won’t.”
“If you say so sir,”
Jamie felt uneasy as he watched the Midnight Grey SUV; with three of the four burly men, disappear down the road leaving a trail of dust in its wake. Sneakers had opted to remain with Jamie, and act as a designated driver for Pedro and Delilah.
“Okay Jamie, time you and I had a little talk,” affirmed Delilah.
“A little talk about what?” asked Jamie in a nervous tone.
“Try to make it brief, Del,” said Pedro. “We can’t afford to hang around here too long.”
“Ten minutes max,” she promised then turned to Jamie and scowled. “Leave Oscar here, and come with me.”
“Why?” said Jamie.
“Just do as you are told.”
“What are you going to do to me?”
“What needs to be done…now come along!”
“What needs to be…” started Jamie but his sentence was interrupted, as Delilah snatched his earlobe and twisted it clockwise. Pedro forcefully took the bear off him. Major made a disapproving growling noise
“Hey, take it easy guys,” beseeched Sneakers. “Do you really have to treat him like that? He’s just a child.”
“If he did as he was told, we wouldn’t have to,” said Delilah, releasing his lobe.
Tears trickled down Jamie’s cheeks, as she snatched his left hand like a disgruntled parent. She led him along a narrow pathway that led to the rear of the brick house. Long reedy grass, tangled weeds and discarded rusty machine parts suggested the section was not a priority to the homeowners; either that, or that the property had been abandoned for some reason.
A crudely constructed treehouse sat among a row of gnarly trees, boarding the southern end of the section. To the left of this was a dilapidated wooden shed with a rusty corrugated roof and cracked Perspex windows, in which Delilah ushered him into.
“Jamie, you went AWOL, leaving Pedro to fend for himself against Major. You also disrespected him on the phone and caused us a lot of problems!” she said, crouching eyelevel to him. “That was very naughty and you are going to get a spanking."
“No, please Aunty Del,” begged Jamie wiping his moist eyes with the back of his free hand. “I only ran away because Pedro threw me in the pool…I won’t do it again. Honest.”
“You told me once that you wanted to be a traffic cop when you grew up. Is that still your ambition?”
“Part of that job will involve giving tickets to speeding motorists. No-one likes to be penalized but such a deterrent is meant to dissuade people from speeding, and make the roads safer for others to drive on.”
“People may have a good reason to go faster than they should but the laws of physics are not altered by sentiment. A person speeding to get home to a house fire will have the same fatal accident as a lead-footed reckless driver. They will also both kill another motorist if they cross the centre-line and have a head-on collision.”
“If you are going to fine someone, even if they have a good excuse, then it is only fair you are punished in the same manner. Now let’s get this over with.”
Delilah stood upright again and marched Jamie to the rear of the shed. She sat down on an overturned wooden beer crate and dragged him facedown over her lap. Seconds later her open palm connected with seat of his camouflaged pants. He lurched and yelped. The shed’s interior swam before him.