The Charm – Chapter 19

(Index)

Jemma ran at a crouch to the van where she pats and shakes Traci urgently. There’s no response from rough treatment. The depth of sleep is frightening. Is she even breathing? How many pills were in their drinks?

Almost crying with frustration Jemma pinches her friend, hard. Traci’s eyelids flutter and she moans. The risk of alerting the two men prevents Jemma from giving her face a slap. Mark will be here soon. She had to move.

Lifting Traci under the arms, Jemma drags her out of the van. Traci’s heels thump off the side step onto the ground. She’d count herself lucky if a few bruises were all she had to complain about tomorrow.

Jemma keeps uses the van to block light from fire illuminating them while stumbling backwards, dragging Traci’s dead weight. Deep in the shadows, she picks Traci up and carries her at a half jog along the creek bank. A three quarter moon highlights the trickling waterfall ahead, and helps her dodge shrubs and hollows. A minute of this exertion is all she can manage. Traci slips out of sweat slicked arms to the ground where Jemma breaks her fall at the last moment. Traci moans again when the Charm tumbles from Jemma’s blouse and brushes against Traci’s stomach. It fizzes and sparks. A bell-like tone peals from it. Jemma frowns at the nasty triumphant sound.

Putting Traci into the coma position is information dredged from a first aid course attended too long ago. Preventing her patient from choking if she vomited would have to do until a plan could be devised.

What plan? Moving the same problem from one place to another wasn’t much of a plan. There’s no escape or hiding place in this direction. That sheer cliff faces might be climbable in the daylight with all their faculties about them, but she’d hardly be able to carry Traci up it at night. What could she do? No weapons, the residue of some drug washing around in her blood, no map, no transport.

Transport! They’d take the van and leave those two bastards to walk out.

First she had to get them away from it.

She heard a shout as Mark discovers they are missing. It’ll take a few more seconds for his drunken brain to work it out. She tries to think faster but her overloaded brain isn’t doing much better.

The few seconds leeway tick past uselessly. Two torch beams come alive, flicking back and forth near the van until the fresh and obvious drag marks are discovered. They and move in her direction. She has to stop thinking and move.

Abandoning Traci is a hard decision. No other choice remains. Jemma runs across the path of the approaching men at a ninety degree angle, then circles around to one side. Blindly picking her way through the shadow world of long grass and stubby trees raises her terror to new heights. She busies herself concentrating on the torch lights, and calculating a vector that will take her to the flickering fire.

She waits until the torches are as close to Traci’s position as she dares, then a fist sized rock thrown away into the darkness lifts beams of light in its direction. With an excited whoop the men run towards the sound. Covered by the noise they make Jemma sprints towards the fire.

(Chapter 20)

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Published in: on Sunday, 9 November, 2008 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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