"WAKE UP BITCH!" The slap that followed barely registered as Tamer began the slow return to consciousness. For a few moments, she experienced a strange, floating sensation as though she were swimming up to the surface of a pool of water, the surface glittering brightly. Then her vision began to clear. Her eyes fluttered and searched around the dim room for the source of the voice.
Tamer felt ill, and rolled onto her side and wretched. Her stomach was empty, so the nausea was unproductive, just dry heaves. She wasn't sure what the voice had said, her drugged mind only just hearing garbled speech. Frankly, she wasn't sure it was even a voice.
"She's still fucked up from the ether, bro."
Tamer heard that better, and her mind worked to make sense of the statement. Finally her eyes drifted onto two shapes hovering over her. In the dimness, she made out two men's faces, and she was vaguely aware of their odor. She remained silent as her eyesight moved over them. Her vision was blurred and her perception foggy, but she had a vague impression of cruel faces; rugged, damaged faces.
She groaned slightly and her eyes closed briefly, then opened again still searching the room for answers to questions forming in her mind. Then she nodded off.
Willie Harpe turned to his brother. "She's out again. Come on. This might take a while for the shit to wear off."
Michael Harpe shrugged. "Yea, no hurry. Time's something we got plenty of." he faced his brother and smiled with a wolfish grin. "Besides...I want her lively when I give it to her."
They laughed as they walked out of the room and closed the door, leaving Tamer on the floor.
Tamer remained motionless for a few moments. She'd had enough awareness to feign nodding off. Slowly she cracked her eyelids and confirmed the men had left the room. She slowly tried to move and became aware she was bound at the wrists and ankles. Bringing her hands up, she could see that her wrists were wrapped tightly with duct tape. She tested the wrap. It was solid, and she had no doubt she could not break the tape.
She slowly rolled onto her side and looked down at her feet. Her ankles were bound with the same material. Her shoes had been removed, as had her outer garments... they'd stripped her and she was clad only in a thin T shirt and panties.
Her mouth was not gagged, and she pondered whether she could chew through the tape? Looking about, she realized she was on the floor of her small bedroom. drawers were standing open and items dumped on the floor. Clearly, her captors had searched the room and likely had stripped it of anything even remotely useful as an escape tool or weapon. The room was darker than normal, and she realized they'd moved furniture to barricade the windows, lest she escape. Moving the furniture would alert them.
She had no doubt as to what was about to occur, and steeled herself. She kept telling herself "You can survive. You've done it before." Her mind raced as she tried to figure out a way to escape, but she was scared. She was unarmed, bound, and absolutely at their mercy.
A thought occurred to her. If she could just get to one of her caches...
Jesse Wolter mentally kicked himself. He'd had just the briefest opportunity to take a shot and pick off one of the Harpes, and now they were likely inside the cabin, holding a woman captive. He shook his head. Had to hand it to them, they were good. Really good. They moved unseen in cover and on the rare occasion they were visible, it was only for the most fleeting moment as they moved into some other place of concealment.
Their clothes were dirty, earth and brush toned, and blended perfectly into the shadows and natural surroundings. He'd only had a momentary glimpse as they moved quickly, one at a time, crossing a narrow section of road in an instant. If you'd blinked you'd have missed them altogether. They were really good at their outlaw tradecraft.
On second thought, Jesse concluded he likely couldn't have made the shot in the brief moment they'd broke cover and crossed the road. He was a good marksman, but not particularly fast. No, he decided he needed to be patient and wait for his opportunity, but it went against every molecule of his being to do so.
He glassed the cabin with his rifle scope, hopeful for a shot. He'd used electricians tape and a cardboard tube to fashion a sunshade for the riflescope, so as not to give off any reflections that might betray his position. It was completely still and quiet around the cabin. He considered storming the cabin, but he was alone and didn't know the floorplan. It would be suicidal. All he could do was watch and wait.
Jesse wanted at them badly. It had been a long and exhausting 3 weeks tracking the Harpes. They were nomads, moving constantly, without any apparent destination, and stopping only long enough the commit some depredation along the way. It seemed they were always just one step ahead.
Jesse had come across at least 3 mutilated victims he attributed to them. One of them was very freshly killed...a young boy, perhaps 14 or so....and by all appearances, murdered within just a few hours. He'd been gutted, and his abdominal cavity filled with stones and then concealed in pool beside a creek. The lifeless boy's eyes, wide with fright, stared at him from beneath the water. For a moment, Jesse almost thought he'd sit up in the water and speak, it was so surreal.
The Harpes weren't hard men to follow as they moved across the Santa Clara County landscape...wherever they went, they left a trail of death, and their footsteps were marked in blood. Some of the people he'd met along the way had spied the Harpes and passed the intel along to Jesse. One was a Sheriff, still trying to do his job in spite of the collapse. He'd traded rounds with the Harpes, but they'd escaped. Jesse considered that. They might prefer edged weapons, but they weren't unfamiliar with firearms. It was good to know.
Jesse was closing in on the Harpes, and he knew it. He had concluded they were moving into the Santa Cruz mountains, and the previous day he had found a campsite they'd occupied just that night. Hidden up a hillside in a grove of oaks, they'd made a warming fire against a fallen tree. It would've hidden their firelight from casual observers and reflected the heat back at them. A pair of empty booze bottles littered the ground.
Their tracks were distinctive, and he knew with certainty they were now only hours ahead of him. Jesse knew that they could easily counter track, and was fretful of walking into an ambush, so he'd slowed down and started glassing well ahead of himself.
He was doing just that when he finally caught his first glimpse of the Harpes. He'd distantly spied them rounding a corner on a rural road, and then moving into the brush on the roadside. It was difficult, but he'd managed to catch bits of movement and realized they were ascending the hillside through heavy brush. He stepped into the brush and began slowly picking his way up the hillside, intent on positioning himself above and behind the Harpes, where he'd have an advantage.
Gaining some elevation, it was then that he saw the gate and realized the Harpes were setting up to observe a small cabin, tucked back in the trees, a short distance from the road.
After a few hours, Jesse saw activity at the cabin and saw that there were at least two women there.
When the Harpes made their move, it was fast and decisive. They flanked the cabin, and then came up from the creek through the thick tree cover behind the cabin.
Providence intervened at that moment and the door opened and the women exited the cabin, one pushing a stroller with a small child. They talked briefly, and then the woman with the stroller left, pushing the toddler down the road.
The remaining woman watched them walk away, and then returned inside the cabin.
There had been no activity for several hours, and Jesse knew they had her. He worked his way down the hillside, setting up beside a large granite boulder and pine set in the brush. It was a straight shot across the road, perhaps 75 yards from where he perched to the cabin's front door.
James Pruitt and Samantha had started out from town early that morning. It was sunny, warm and beautiful. A few clouds drifted across the sky, pushed along by the gentle coastal breezes. The trees and plants were leafing out, and the air had a rich fragrance of fertile earth. Birds were flitting about, calling, singing their songs, and chattering. Soon they would be choosing up mates and nesting.
Spring had arrived, and winter was once more stepping aside and giving up it's place to new life.
James and Samantha had spent the night at Bobby Parkins store. They enjoyed the walk back up the valley road, studying nature as they pushed their handcart with some much needed supplies they'd bartered for.
They'd decided to stop at Tamer's place and take a break and visit with her. It had been a month since they'd last seen her and looked forward to a visit with their friend.
They knew they were just a mile out from her gate...
Michael Harpe was hurting. It'd been a couple of weeks since committing his last rape. He had an itch to scratch and unconscious or not, was not waiting any longer. He pushed open the bedroom door and was pleased to see that Tamer was awake. He said nothing as he pulled her to her feet then pushed her onto the bed. A few minutes work, and he'd unwound the duct tape from her feet and wrists.
"Get your clothes off", was all he said.
Tamer sat motionless.
"NOW BITCH!" he screamed at her.
Tamer moved woodenly, standing up and slipping the T-shirt over her head, then sliding her panties off. She stood completely nude before Harpe as he unfastened his belt, allowing his trousers to drop around his ankles. Tamer could see he was aroused and instantly felt sickened.
In that moment, the baby kicked hard. A sharp pain shot through her abdomen, and Tamer doubled over. She placed her hand over her stomach and straightened. She felt nauseous and turned visibly pale. Harpe saw this, and his eyes narrowed and his brow furrowed.
"What's wrong with your gut? Are you sick?"
Tamer was slow to answer, then replied, "No...I'm pregnant."
The baby was still kicking, apparently becoming active. Perhaps it was sensing it's mothers stress. Or perhaps just reacting to a fear-related bloodstream chemical dump. Tamer couldn't be sure.
"No, I am. Really. Look...look here..the baby is kicking." She pointed at her abdomen.
Michael Harpe glanced down and saw movement as a foot swept across the interior wall of her abdomen. His eyes widened. This was nothing he'd ever seen in his life. For the first time he noticed the unusual fullness of her abdomen.
Tamer had a sudden thought this might be an advantage. Taking a chance, she moved closer to Harpe. She reached out slowly and gently took hold of his hand, placing it over the baby's location, then pressing it down. Frozen with uncertainty, he looked down at her hand.
With perfect timing, the baby gave another strong kick and Harpe recoiled as though snakebit. Startled he drew his hand away and stepped back.
Harpe licked his lips, then nervously stammered, "Where's the father! Is he coming back here?" His eyes were wild and he looked scared.
Tamer hesitated, then calmy replied, "I...there is no father. I mean, I don't know. I was raped. It was dark. I didn't see him. On the road to Felton."
Harpe looked perplexed. "Felton. When was this?"
"5-6 months ago."
Dreamlike, Michael Harpe slowly turned his head and looked at his brother who had entered the room and was standing behind him, but said nothing. Willie could see something strange was transpiring, but remained silent, not sure what to say or do. The words came slowly. "Felton...6 months ago..."
Willie Harpe looked at his brother, cocked his head and furrowed his brow, confused by his strange behavior. Michael Harpe had lost his erection. He bent and drew up his pants, then fastened them. He stepped out of the room without a word, Willie Harpe following after him and closing the door behind them.
Tamer let out her breath, It was a close call. Tamer dressed and then sat on the bed and thought over the events that had just transpired. And then light dawned and she realized that she was looking at her child's father. Harpe had raped her, and he knew it. More than that, he knew it was his child.
At that moment the gate bell rang.
TO BE CONTINUED......
Copyright © Manny Silva, 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher.