There's just something about the water...
“Get a move on!” The first man turned and jabbed Wyatt in the chest. Lily gasped. Had the man hit his wound?
“Why don’t you stop being cruel? You know he’s been shot, he’s doing the best he can.” She raised her chin a level, hoping it would help.
“Why don’t you shut-up, skirt?”
The man was mean. She fumed, but snapped her mouth shut. Running it at this point wasn’t going to help matters.
Would Nanny know they’d been taken, and by who? She hoped so. Maybe she could enlist some help for them. She needed to distract the man from picking on Wyatt. “Could I have some water?”
“We just got started, so no, you can’t have any water. Quit being a baby.” Dr. Wilkes returned from the back of the line.
“Why are you doing this?”
“This country isn’t what it used to be. The majority of the adult population either spends its days watching television, or playing video games. While they’ve been deceived into thinking it’s okay to remain children, the government has taken over. What makes it so bad is nobody cares. Everyone is too busy worried about what they want. We’re a nation that caters to every whim of its people. If someone happens to disagree, we call them haters.” Dr. Wilkes tone was filled with hate.
“So you think you can fix the problem by killing everybody?” Wyatt asked. His breath was coming in ragged gasps.
“It will get everybody’s attention. How many people do you think are playing games today?” He smiled evilly.
Lily had to admit there probably weren’t too many people playing games today. But bombing every major city in the U.S. wasn’t the way to achieve it. These men were mad. The more she learned, the more she realized it. They had to get away!
Nanny watched as the men guided Lily, Percy and Wyatt out of the camp. What should she do? She didn’t know anyone she could trust. She prayed, “Dear Father, please lead me, guide me and let me know what I should do.”
She followed at a safe distance away. She saw the first guy hit Wyatt in the chest. “Ew that dirty dog; he knows Wyatt was shot.” She looked around to make sure no one heard her. She was almost out of the camp now. It’s no wonder they were able to bomb our cities. There isn’t a soul worried about what I’m doing out here. She straightened from her crouching-walk position and stood upright. No one cared. Apparently even huge bombs going off in all the major cities didn’t warrant being extra careful. She groaned in despair. “What will become of our country?”
“We will be strong again someday.”
The voice scared her and she jumped. She twisted around and was face to face with Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Bates. “Land sakes, sir, you scared me.”
“Where are you going?” He didn’t sound suspicious, just curious.
“Can’t a lady take a walk?” Nanny groaned inwardly. She sounded guilty.
“Of course she can. Would the lady like an escort?” He held out his uniformed arm for her to take.
Nanny could do nothing but take his arm and smile. “Thank you for the offer, kind sir.”
“You’re most welcome. Where is the other young lady?”
Nanny’s step faltered. What should she say? The decision popped-out before she’d realized she’d made it. “They’ve been kidnapped.”
Aaron Bates stopped abruptly, wrenching Nanny’s arm.
“Ow!” She rubbed it lightly.
“What do you mean?”
“It’s a long story, sir. I just need to stay on this path.”
“They? Okay, we’re not going another step until you explain. If it’s a long story, you better get to it.” He pulled her gently toward him.
“We can’t let them get too far away!” She pulled her arm as hard as she could and it jerked from his grasp. She half-tripped, half-ran, down the path.
The lieutenant colonel ran after her, just as anxious now. “Wait, I’ll come with you!”
She stopped, and he ran into her. “Ow!” Would you stop doing that? “If you come with me, you’ll get court-martialed, too.”
“You’re not making sense.” He backed away from her and pulled his jacket down.
“I told you it was a long story!” She huffed, pulled her top down around her ample hips and continued down the path, talking as she walked. “The terrorists want Lily dead. They’ve demanded the government hand her over. We were going to take her out of here but Dr. Wilkes is one of the men who bombed our cities, and he has them now.”
“Who do they have?”
“They’ve got Colonel Wyatt, his son, and Lily.” Nanny picked up her pace and Aaron followed right on her heels.
“How does Dr. Wilkes fit in?”
“I heard him saying something about all the adults in our country playing games, or something. He sounds unhinged. I was trying to decide what to do when you came along. Now, you can either come with me and help, or go back and keep your mouth shut.”
The lieutenant colonel laughed quietly. “I’m going with you. Chances are they won’t even miss us. Everyone is disorganized right now.”
“I hope you’re right. I don’t want to end up in jail.”
“You’re not going to end up in jail. Why do they want your friend?”
“I don’t know. She said she doesn’t know anything. Maybe they just think she does.”
“It’s a tough call. I mean, I don’t want to step on any toes here, but if I was the president I would seriously think about giving her up. I know it sounds callous, but what’s one life versus millions?”
“I know. That’s why we were leaving. It’s easy for the government to make that decision because it’s impersonal. I know and love her.” The frustration she felt came out in her words.
“So what was your plan?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you were following terrorists that just blew up every major city in the U.S. I figured you must have a plan.”
“I didn’t. I just didn’t want to lose track of them in case I thought of something.” The enormity of her stupidity rained down on her. What if they’d detected her?
“Let’s devise our plan.” He pulled a pen and notepad from inside his jacket and began to jot some things down as they walked.
“How can you do that?”
“How can I do what?”
“Write while you walk.”
“It takes years of practice. Here, read this and tell me what you think.” He handed her the notepad.
“Interesting…” She tapped a finger against her lip as she read.
Lily was angry. Her hair prickled from the emotion, and she didn’t like it. She couldn’t think of a single way to get loose from these crazies.
“Can I have some water now?” Her words dripped with sarcasm; it had been thirty minutes now.
Dr. Wilkes walked up to where she was and shoved an army-issue canteen in her hands. “Don’t drink it all.”
She took a long swallow and thrust the water back in his direction. She pulled a filthy long sleeve up to her mouth and swiped across it slowly. She’d just thought of something. “I have to go to the bathroom.”
“Are you kidding? I can’t hold it, I have to go.” Hope swelled inside her at the possibility she might get away. She knew she couldn’t take Wyatt and Percy, but she could get help.
Wyatt looked over and gave an almost imperceptible nod. “Let her go. What will you gain by being cruel?”
Dr. Wilkes walked up and shoved him forward with the butt of a rifle he’d hidden from their view. “I’ll gain some amusement, that’s what.”
“I can’t believe you would stoop so low. Why would you bother to save me if you were planning on killing me?”
“It’s more fun to watch you suffer. What we did with those bombs was boring. Most people didn’t know what hit them, they were just obliterated. But think of the irony of this situation; I saved your life so I could take it. It has a certain ring to it.”
“You’re a sadistic monster!” Lily screamed angrily. The frustration and fear had mounted until she was about ready to explode and the doctor’s snide comments were the last straw. “You don’t want him. Let him and Percy go and you can take me.” She lowered her voice to a wheedling tone.
He burst out laughing in maniacal laughter. “You’re kidding, right?”
“I’m not kidding. I’ll tell you whatever it is you want to know, and then you can kill me, but please shut-up.”
The laughter stopped as quickly as it started. “Don’t speak to me like that again unless you want to lose some hair.” His voice was deceptively calm, but she knew she’d angered him.
“Please, just let them go.” Her anger swiftly turned to helplessness. “They didn’t do anything to you.”
“You didn’t either, but all of you still have to die.” The man up front said.
“Why? I don’t know anything.”
“We can’t take the chance, sorry.” He didn’t sound sorry, but pleased.
“How can you live with yourself knowing you helped kill all those people?”
“I lie down, pull the covers up, and snooze.” Dr. Wilkes replied as he walked up next to her. He grinned condescendingly and she wanted to slap it from his face.
“You need to learn to curb your tongue.” The first man said. He had a long scar down the side of his face and it gave Lily the creeps.
“Why? I’m gonna be dead, anyway, right?”
Her question made Dr. Wilkes laugh. “You’re a spitfire. It’s a shame we have to do away with you. I could enjoy that personality for a while.”
“I’d rather die thanks.”
He laughed. “See what I mean?”
Wyatt looked over at her, trying to get her attention. When she finally turned his way he mouthed, ‘now.’
“I really have to go to the bathroom.”
The man up front through his hands up and screeched, “Go then!”
She zipped off into the bushes before he had a chance to change his mind. She stood motionless for a moment, trying to decide what to do. She was torn between leaving them and getting help. She heard a commotion from the path and figured that was her cue. She ran like the devil himself was after her. She didn’t look behind her, afraid she’d lose pace. Her hair whipped about her face as tears of emotion slid down her cheeks. Finally, she saw someone up ahead. It was Nanny. She was afraid to yell, in case she’d evaded the doctor and his man. As she got closer, she saw a man with her friend. It was Lieutenant colonel Aaron Bates. She threw caution to the wind. “Help me!” She stumbled and fell on the path, just as saw the lieutenant colonel pulling out his gun. He wasn’t looking at her, but behind.
“Drop your weapon!” Aaron yelled.
“I can’t do that, sir.” It was the first guy. He aimed as he ran. A bullet whizzed by Lily’s head, and she screamed.
“Stay down, Lily.” Nanny ordered.
She crouched with her hands over her head, not daring to move a muscle.
A crashing noise came from further down the path and Wyatt came rushing through. He had a gun. He lifted, pointed and warned. “Drop the weapon, or I’ll be forced to shoot.”
The first guy swiveled around on the balls of his feet and pulled his gun up toward Wyatt.
“I told you to drop your weapon.” Wyatt pulled back the trigger and pushed it. A loud noise cracked through the air and the first guy fell to the ground.
Dr. Wilkes came rushing down the trail, gun at the ready. Before he could pull the trigger, Wyatt’s gun exploded again and the doctor hit the ground. At Aaron’s look of surprise, he said, “It’s just tranquilizers, don’t worry.”
“Oh, that’s good. Now we won’t have to figure out what to tell the government.”
“Should we hide them and leave?” Percy asked as he came down the path. It was the first thing he’d said since they’d been taken.
“No, we need to go back to camp and get our gear. We’ll leave them there. Tie them up Percy.” He ordered.
“What should I use?”
“Are you wearing socks?”
“Are you wearing socks?”
“Take them off and use them.”
“The order wasn’t difficult, private.”
“I know sir; I just wanted to make sure.”
“Now you are. Hurry up and get it done, we have to go.”
“Yes, sir, I’ll get it done right away, sir.”
Lieutenant Colonel Bates laughed. “You have a twisted sense of humor, colonel.”
“Yes, and I use what’s on hand in a pinch.” He grinned.
“Will one pair of socks be enough?” Lily asked as she joined the men.
“If they don’t, I’m sure Aaron will be more than willing to donate his.” He looked at the younger man and raised a brow.
“Of course I will, sir. I guess it’s a good thing I like full socks.”
Lily walked over, laid her head on Nanny’s chest and hugged her. “I was so scared. How did you find us so easily?”
“I followed you. Aaron came out of nowhere and about scared me to death. I was trying to decide whether to tell him or not when I opened my mouth and told him everything. I guess it was God’s answer for me. I’m just glad he found me.”
“I am too. I’m still nervous about what’s going to happen now. Do you think we’ll get away from the terrorists?”
“I hope so, sugar. All our lives depend on it.”
“What’s wrong?” Wyatt asked as he joined them.
“Nothing, we were just discussing what’s going to happen to us now.”
“I’m going to take you to a safe place. I’ll guard you with my life if I have to.”
Lily couldn’t believe the loyalty in his voice. It was so nice to have someone to care. “Thank you.” She smiled, and Wyatt hit the ground. “Wyatt?” She crouched down to shake him gently. “Wyatt, are you okay?”
“He’s out cold, sugar. It looks like we’re going to have to find a way to carry him.”
“Does anyone have any ideas?” Lily looked from Percy to Aaron Bates, neither of which looked strong enough to carry the colonel.
They both shook their heads.
“What are we gonna do now?” Stress tightened its claw-like grip on her heart.
“We’re gonna pray, sugar.”
I'll be back Monday for more of the story!! :)