Lily woke with a sickening headache. Ropes bound her to a student chair. A rough bandana filled her mouth. She recognized a concussion even as she assessed the situation. Light filtered in through a dingy window. She was tied to a battered deskchair. She heard snoring and chanced a glance in that direction. The guard in the corner was clearly not up to the task. This was in Lily’s favor. The ropes, not so much.
In a moment of dizzying clarity, a scene played out in her mind. The thugs, out of nowhere. The chemical scent covering her face, forcing her surrender. A man’s voice as clouds gathered. “You can’t get away from him, LuAnne. I told him I’d find you and take you back.” LuAnne? Lily’s head reeled as she tried to sort it all out. Her gorge rose and she swallowed as well as the gag allowed.
“Hurry,” she thought. “Guard could wake any time.” Hesitating was a civilian mistake. By that time, she had her right hand bloodied, but free. Wrapping it in her shirt would stop the bleeding and keep her from leaving a blood trail when she got away. Which would be right about… now! Her knees came up against the underside of the bolted-on desk. Lily winced at the noise. Like a shotgun shredding particle board. Couldn’t be helped.
The guard shook himself and shambled toward her. Lifting the remains of the desk with her, Lily slammed into him full force. He was knocked to the ground, groaning and gently touching the back of his head for wounds. Not a lot of blood loss. Figuring he’d live, she fell on top of him and grabbed his nearly-forgotten weapon. “Quiet,” she snapped. He nodded understanding and raised his hands. “Hands. Use them. Untie my other hand.”
As the ropes loosened, she hopped off the guard. The destroyed desk fell with a clatter. Still no one burst in with guns drawn. “What is this place? Why are you alone?” When the guard didn’t speak, Lily lifted his chin with the muzzle of the Uzi. His eyes flickered wide for a second. She wasn’t going to repeat herself.
“Okay, okay. Carriage house. They’re in the main house.” As he scowled, she lowered the weapon.
Footsteps sounded on a stairwell beyond the doors. In no apparent hurry, the conspirator called out, “Yo, dumbass, got you some coffee.”
“Answer him and don’t be a dumbass,” she hissed, rising. Lily scurried into position beside the door, weapon trained on her guard.
“You read my mind, Frank,” dumbass replied. He winced and touched his sore head. Lily wished she had the luxury of tending her own. She ignored the throbbing ache. She’d been through worse.
As the door opened, she moved the gun to aim at Frank. He was more interested in not slopping coffee than thinking about security. “I’ll take that,” she nodded to the mug, left hand extended. Frank looked between Lily’s gun and the laid out guard. He passed over the coffee and backed up with hands raised. She frisked him. Good sized knife at his back and a .357 strapped to his leg. She put them on in the same places and drained the cooled coffee.
“Look, LuAnne,” there was that name again, “I don’t mind you got my weapons. Smart, safe move. I only ask you give them back at the end. Put them some place I can get to them after you’re gone, okay? They were my father’s.” Lily peered at him. His voice was familiar. The one who promised to return her to “him.”
“Perhaps,” Lily replied. “An exchange of information. Let’s say I’m not this LuAnne you want. Who is she? Who wants her badly enough to send you after her?” Frank boggled at her.
“Let’s say you’re not LuAnne? Who wants you? Er… her?” He blinked a few times. “Fine. We’ll pretend since you already know who he is. Marcus Malone, your husband, wants you back in Boston. No one leaves Marcus. At least not intact.” Frank laughed hollowly.
Lily mulled. She’d never heard of Malone, but that wasn’t surprising. Strictly regional badasses wouldn’t have been more than a blip on the radar. It was none of her business before last night. She felt a twinge for the real LuAnne, the one whose face she accidentally put together for her new life. No one left Special Ops at that level, either. At least not intact.
“Nothing personal, fellas.” She raised the Uzi and squeezed off a couple of shots on each of them. Guaranteed to drop them and keep them down without hitting major organs. “Where’s my stuff?” Dumbass was writhing and whimpering, so Frank pointed to the corner.
“Under the chair. You can’t stay hidden long, LuAnne,” he grimaced.
She leaned in and whispered in his ear. “I’m not LuAnne.”
Time for yet another new face, an original this time. Once over the fence and past the corner, she called 911 on her burner phone. She was gone before the sirens arrived.
© 2011 JC Rosen
I wrote the first lines as a #storystarters on Twitter a while back. Have you searched that hashtag? Try searching it and gather the little nuggets of inspiration. A nudge for your muse. Many thanks to @CliffordFryman for running #storystarters.