I’ve had the honor of being asked to participate in contributing to a round robin facilitated by the great Nikki Walker. This project is titled The Danger Project: Danger Comes Close. Today we release, the 11th segment featuring the awesome Cassandra Baker Durham and myself. You can find Nikki’s blog here. Feel free to explore Nikki’s fabulous world- and catch up on the latest happenings with the Danger Project. Without further ado, I give you, The Danger Project: Danger Comes Close- Segment 11.
Danger Comes Close – Segment 11 by Cassandra Durham Baker & Margaret Johnson
“The air cracked and popped from the static blurring through on the radio airwaves. Jason desperately clawed his way towards the truck dragging Jade behind him. Jade coughed and gasped as the frigid night air filled her lungs. “Just a few more steps just a few more steps,” she encouraged herself. She imaged that she must look like the tin-man in the Wizard of Oz movie the heaviness of her legs pressed down crushing her ankles.
Jason reached the side of the truck, the trapped heat felt like Palm Spring on their freezing skin.
“Get in,” he grunted as her body slowly melted as she slid across the leather seat.
“Come on, come on,” she cried. Her finger ignited a slow burn starting on his thigh, when she touched him.
“Put your seat belt on.” His eyes focused straight ahead.
“Hurry, please,” she began to cry.
The deafening silence on the mountain was eerily loud. Each of them glancing backwards to be sure they were not being followed as they began their treacherous descent down the mountain. Although steadily warming, Jayde wrapped her arms about her body, attempting to quell the tremors. She’d looked danger in the eyes once more and once again, she’d found a way to escape, to survive. As they churned through the packed snow, her frantic mind began to calm and she relaxed a measure, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. Her solitude, her peace had been forever shattered but in light of what could’ve happened, she felt blessed.
“Are you okay?” Jason’s gentle query caught Jayde off guard and she reacted, jumping slightly and opening her eyes. Turning toward him, she silently studied Jason, the words she wanted to say dying on her tongue. Instead, she fought to contain her raging emotions, realizing that it was the last thing that either one of them needed. Despite her valiant effort, a tear escaped and she hastily reached to swipe it away, the cool tips of her fingers glancing across her cheek. She’d survived Carlos, survived his violent tendencies and was growing stronger. Now, after what she’d just experienced, she felt as if she’d been slammed back into the dark vortex of fear and trepidation.
She most certainly was not okay.
“The quicker we get away from the cabin , the better I’ll be,” Jayde answered adroitly. She focused on the dark road ahead of them, the heavy flurries illuminated by the truck’s head lights. A strained silence descended between them and Jayde replayed the events of the evening in her head, chastising her stubborn ways. If she’d listened, if she trusted those who were only trying to help, she would have never met her intruders, never been so close to danger once more. She would have never felt compelled to trust a stranger, a man who arrived with the motley crew of convicts under the guise of being one of them.
He was there, alone and injured, facing certain death.
And he needed help.
“We have to go back,” Jayde announced her voice surprisingly steady. The strength in that declaration confounded her but she knew she couldn’t turn a blind eye to someone in need. She’d been that person before, the one who suffered silently under a ruthless hand, holding only a glimmer of hope that someone would come and rescue her. Although she’d seen and recognized the familiar resignation in Kyle’s eyes, that didn’t dissuade her in the least bit. She had to do something to save him. Only one obstacle appeared in front of her.
And just as she suspected, he’d cut his eyes at her, his own expression mixed with surprise and indignation, “You’re kidding , right? Jayde, I just snatched you from the grips of certain death and you want to go back?”
“We can’t leave him there Jason. They’re going to kill him,” Jayde explained as she turned to face him fully. The heat in the cab had done its job and she’d felt somewhat invigorated by its warmth caress. She stared Jason down as she continued, “He’s an undercover agent, Jason. If they find out, they’ll kill him for sure.”
“I know,” Jason answered as he refocused on the road ahead of them, “I know all about Kyle Harris but that doesn’t change a damn thing, Jayden. He knows what he’s doing, he’s a professional at this sort of thing. He can handle himself.”
“He’s injured, Jason!”
“He instructed me to get you as far away as I could from the cabin, Jayde. He was adamant about that. We’re not going back.” Jason’s voice took on a soft tone but that steadfast determination that she’d grown accustomed to surface and she knew the issue was dead in the water.
Kyle watched through feverish eyes as Manny struggled to hold Norm at bay, willing his body to cooperate. Manny with his criminal tendencies had all heart but not the conviction it took to take on a man like Norm. Kyle knew this and knew for certain that Manny would catch the bullet before he did, simply because he dared to fight back. Kyle could see the cold, murderous glint in Norm’s eyes and knew he’d been dead on the money about the man. He wasn’t interested in sharing a damn thing; he , Manny , and the now deceased Jack had simply been a means to an end. Even though Norm’s plan had gone to hell in a hand basket, that hadn’t been enough to stop him. He was now intending to take care of the loose ends.
All at once, the scuffle ended and Kyle blinked away the sweat that had dropped into his eyes, unsure of what he was seeing. Two bodies lay prone on the floor and for a second, neither one of them moved. It wasn’t until Norm showed signs of life that Kyle understood what had happened. As Norm approached, Kyle kept his eyes on his brother’s body, his eyes affixed to the growing red stain on his chest.
“Well, it looks like it’s just you and me, little brother,” Norm slurred as he wiped his hand across his lips. Kyle finally pulled his attention to the towering man and felt the rage build as he stopped just a few inches from his face. The stench of his body odor and the food he’d ingested sickened Kyle but his gaze never faltered. He stared right into Norm’s vacant eyes as the man snickered, “I’m going to make short work of you , kid. This won’t take long at all, I guarantee you that.”