Tarnished – Part 12


So far, the plan has worked. Hannah is free from her prison. They aren’t home free yet. The Master has arrived and is giving chase.

The SUV bounced and bumped over the rutted dirt track. Kier concentrated on what lay ahead, glad of the excuse to stop talking. How could he tell Hannah what his part in this had been? How could he tell her that even now, he was part of the torture? He was determined to set her free, but he must play his part authentically so that the others thought he still worked with them. It was a double role he wished he didn’t have to take. But Hannah wouldn’t believe him unless it played out this way.

Hannah couldn’t speak. Fear froze her voice in her throat. Clinging to the armrest, she pushed her foot uselessly against the floor as if slamming on the break. The vehicle jounced along at an alarming speed. She bitten her tongue and cheeks a dozen times already and could feel the blood in her mouth. The salty, copper flavored liquid trickled down her throat.

The road fell out from beneath them. The SUV tottered over the edge, slamming into the ground. The wheels spun a moment, losing their grip. The tread engaged once more and the car leaped ahead. Kier almost lost control, but held on by sheer force of will.

“We’re almost to the main road,” he said. “Only one car behind us.”

“Is it the Master?”

“I expect so. He’s persistent. We’ll have to face him soon, but somewhere I choose.”

“Where are we going?”

He didn’t say a word. Concentrating on his driving, he leaned over the steering wheel, peering into the night. He didn’t want to tell her that he honestly wasn’t sure what their destination was. He hadn’t had time to plan that far ahead. He’d concentrated on getting her away from the house. Everything else he was playing by ear.

The motor roared as they hit higher ground. Soon, the tires whined against asphalt and she knew they’d made it to the highway. It was dark and lonely on the long stretch of road. There were no other cars this late at night, no towns nearby. They were at the corner of No and Where, about a hundred miles past the point where Jesus lost his sandals. Hannah hoped Kier knew where he was going, because she had no clue.

Once it gained the highway, the car behind them sped up. It crept slowly up on their rear bumper, then eased around too pass. The other driver was trying to cut them off. With a terrifying maneuver that made Hannah want to vomit, Kier hit the brake, spinning the vehicle around. They skidded crazily until he put the car back in drive, heading back the way they’d come.

The other vehicle tried the same move and nearly overturned in the ditch. It took longer, but soon they were gaining again.

“We’re never going to get away!” Hannah cried, watching the car creep up on them.

“That’s the point,” Kier said, slowing down.

“What? What are you doing? You bastard! Did you do this to torture me some more? Make me think I had a chance? I’ll kill you!” She struggled to get her belt free.

“Don’t be a fool,” he said, tone harsh. “If I wanted to torture you more, I’d have kept promising to save you while I pleasured myself with your body. You do have a magnificent body, you know.”

“I’ll kill you! You used me, Kier!”

“Be still, Hannah. I have to concentrate.” He turned sharply left.

Ahead and on her left she saw a police station. The vivid blue and white sign was a welcome sight. Three police officers, apparently on break, were standing outside, smoking. Kier gunned the motor, honking his horn. They looked up, surprised, and ran for their cars.

Moments later, they were following the SUV as it headed out of town. Kier pulled the same move he’d done before, heading back toward the town and their pursuers.

“What are you doing? Are you insane?”

He shushed her, eyes glued to the road. The police cars were gaining. The Master’s car was up ahead. When Kier got even with it, he slammed on the breaks, cutting hard toward the other car. He hit the front fender with teeth shattering force. The police cars wove crazily around, avoiding Kier, the Master and one another as all five cars ground to a halt. The Master was effectively surrounded.

Four more police cars pulled up from the opposite direction. One officer after another got out of their cars, approaching Kier and the Master warily.

“Shut off the car,” one officer said into a loudspeaker. “Hands on the ceiling. I want ‘em where I can see ‘em.”

Kier and Hannah complied. They couldn’t see into the other car. The windows were too darkly tinted.

Their doors flew open. Armed police held them at gunpoint. Hannah was shaking so badly, she couldn’t get out of the car. Kier allowed himself to be pulled onto the pavement.

“Assume it,” the cop said, spinning him to face the side of the car.

Hannah could see a similar process taking place at the Master’s car.

“Ma’am, step out of the car.”

“I can’t. I’m going to faint. I’ve been kidnapped.”

“By this cocksucker?” The cop cuffing Kier slammed him into the car.

“No! No! He’s helping me escape. By them.” She pointed to the other car.

“You hear that, Luke. Lady says those folks kidnapped her.”

“I’ve been held at a big house in the country. I was locked in a room and drugged. They tortured me….” She burst into tears. “Kier saved me. Please, please let him go.”

“I gotta keep him cuffed, lady.”

“It’s okay, Hannah. Don’t worry about me.”

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