Jayde leaned closer into the door trying to separate out what would be noises from the crackling snow, the whirling wind and the blustery conditions outside her cabin. The knife trembled in her pale hand. She hoped it was nothing but the hairs standing on the back of her neck told her otherwise despite her minds feeble attempts at dismissal. Were those muffled voices she heard? Jayde strained, closing her eyes attempting to focus.
The force of the door swinging in on Jayde knocked her off her feet. She fell clumsily to the ground hitting her head against the thick wooden base of the dining table. The knife dropped from her hand landing inches out of her reach. The tea kettle screamed loudly in the background.
“What the hell you’d go and do that for?” Jack yelled, seeing the young woman splayed across the floor.
“Would you rather I knock?” Norman called back stepping over the seemingly unconscious woman with blatant disregard. Kicking in the door was the right thing to do. It’s not like I had a key, he thought to himself. He proceeded to scope out the cabin as Kyle and Manny hobbled their way in.
“Anyone within eye shot will see the door damn near dangling off its hinges numb nuts,” Jack gruffed pushing pass the hobbling Kyle and attending to the door. Working quickly against the cold of the outside Jack righted the door. Fortunately the door knob and jam were still in tact. It would just have to do considering. Jack didn’t see the crimson red leavings from Kyle’s injured leg that dotted the porch.
Manny dumped Kyle onto the worn plaid couch and flopped down next to him. Kyle screamed in pain trying his best to adjust his leg to the most comfortable position. Exhausted and breathing heavy, Manny allowed his head to fall back on the couch; the sweat on his brow quickly warming under the heat from the cozy cabin. Norman investigated the cabin. The whine from the teakettle irritated him. He knocked it back from the eye and turned the fire down. Reaching into a drawer, Norman found a knife and cut a huge chunk from the still warm meatloaf on top of the stove, his hunger getting the best of him. He continued to check out the other drawers while eating the glazed beef concoction with his bare hand.
Scant movement from the floor got Jack’s attention. The girl looked to be coming to. He had to think fast. What a surprise she was in for with four strange runaway cons making themselves comfortable in her place. Jack bent down next to her. The young woman’s breathing was shallow, her eyes still closed, although there was movement within them.
“Norm,” Jack called out. There was no response. “Norm! See if you can find me some rope or something.”
Norm heard the old geezer. Finishing up the meatloaf and wiping his stained hands on his shirt, Norm rutted around in a few more drawers. He found some twine and tossed it in Jack’s direction. At the very back of the drawer, Norm wrapped his hands around the butt of a gun.
“Manny, give me some help here,” Jack called out, reaching underneath the young woman and lifting her off the floor. Cascading waves of hair fell back as he teetered to his feet. Kyle maneuvered his hands in between Jack’s and lifted the woman from his arms. Jack crossed the room and retrieved an upright chair. It would make for a temporary open-air cage for the nearly conscious woman. After sitting her down, Kyle helped Jack tie down their new prisoners’ hands and feet to the arms and legs of the chair. She whimpered.
Jason pulled his skullcap further down on his ears fighting back the biting cold wind. He didn’t like what he was seeing and knew he needed to quicken the pace in getting to Jayde. The distinctive sound of closing metal jaws jarred his senses. Jason drudged the few hundred yards fully expecting to find the wounded bear. The spent bear trap was the first indication the escaped prisoners were indeed within striking distance. There was blood. Reaching down Jason found the maroon staining to be slightly congealed, almost fresh. He followed the blood trail and overlapping footprints the snow and howling wind tried to conceal. Traversing at a faster clip with the knee high snow attempting to sabotage his every step, Jason moved with intention growing ever closer to the lonesome cabin.
Mr. Jenkins grabbed his female companion by the wrist stopping her forward motion toward the cabin. Something he heard didn’t sit right with him. There shouldn’t be that much activity given Jayde was supposed to be in the cabin alone.
“What’s the matter?” she asked, somewhat oblivious to the noise that startled him. She was too busy trying to stay warm to pay attention to too much else.
“I’m not sure but I don’t like it. Get behind me and stay close.” Mr. Jenkins warned, directing her into his shadow.
“But what is…”
“Shhh, stay quiet and keep your head low,” he warned.
The steps creaked under their combined weight and as he scanned the porch, he noticed red droplets he hadn’t paid attention to before. Heavier voices than any woman’s he’d ever known lay on the other side of the door. Jayde was not alone. Mr. Jenkins tried to determine how many voices there were- one, two…it was hard to tell as they bled indiscriminately into each other. His first inclination was to bust the door open and charge inside. But he was outnumbered; his only companion a beautiful but dainty woman. He could use the key but surely they would hear the clink of the mechanism and pounce before he could get the door opened.
It was time out for thinking. Jayde was in there and given the blood on the stoop, she wasn’t in there alone. Pulling his companion closer to him, Mr. Jenkins slowly pushed the key in the lock. Closing his eyes and whispering a little prayer, he turned they key. Click…
** Remember to leave a comment if you are enjoying this round robin story. Next Tuesday, Renee Luke will be making her contribution to the Danger Project so stay tuned!