At 6:00 am, the sun had not yet appeared over Southwest Florida. Lindsey Blake was walking her usual route along the chain-link fence, earbuds in place, listening to her audiobook. Crows jumped from the fence to the trees making her shoo them away when they flew too close.
The sky above her was gray, and she heard a rumble of thunder from the north where darker clouds hung low. The air was thick, humid, and palpable, and her T-shirt and shorts clung to her in uncomfortable places. But she was used to it now, having lived in the climate for nearly four years, since leaving her life and son behind in Boston.
Hearing another rumble, she glanced at the northern sky and pulled out her cell phone to check the local weather radar. It was nearing the end of the spring season, which meant rain and storms would come nearly every day. It was a strange place to live at times, but it was mostly sunny, and the humidity felt like a warm embrace. She couldn’t imagine moving back to her old life with the snow and sleet, and the ice-cold toilet seats. But she missed her son.
Lindsey was at a full fast-walk pace when the narrator’s voice in her ears suddenly stopped. She scrambled to pull the phone out of her pocket hoping that she hadn’t accidentally called someone.
Her hands were sweaty, and she lost her grip on the phone, juggling it back and forth until it cleared her finger tips-gravity pulling the earbuds from her ears. She lurched forward in an attempt to catch the assembly before it hit the pavement, but was shoved as she did so, going down hard, like a great weight on her upper body was forcing her, pushing her down. Her legs and hips scraped the rough pavement opening her skin. Someone grabbed her arms, and she tried to look back, but now she was being pulled up and simultaneously pushed forward. She tried to scream but couldn’t get the sound out.
A car pulled along the sidewalk, and the trunk opened. A fleshy hand covered her mouth, and blood rushed to her face, her eyes bulging, pleading. A muffled “NO!” came up from her throat. She writhed and kicked but couldn’t get control of her body. Then cruel hands lifted her off her feet and slammed her against the carpeted floor of the trunk. Then darkness. Her body lurched to the rear, and her head hit something sharp as the car raced forward. She lay there stunned, eyes darting back and forth. Terrified.
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