Archive for category kidnap

Excerpt 150

He looked at his watch.


“Why not? It didn’t happen on the plane.”

“There was extreme turbulence. And, I didn’t think it would happen on the plane.”

“I just want to be alone for a minute,” she said, taking his hand.

She led him through the crowd, ignoring the noisy announcements and bright ads blaring from the large screens overhead. She would have to decide what was going to happen in this restroom. It was the most private area she could think of in this overpopulated airport. She wanted to tell him what she read in the letter and hear his response.

They stopped short once Ala saw the line of women stretched down the hallway. Danno checked his watch again.

“Ala, maybe we should get you to the gate.”

“No,” she said. She could not board the plane feeling how she did. Something had to shift in order for her to have peace of mind. “Go see if the men’s room is empty.”

He scoffed and ran his hand through his hair.

“What? Why? What are we doing? This is crazy.”

“I was crazy to have dinner with you. Go look.”

He walked in as she surveyed for security.  She didn’t notice anyone wearing a uniform. Danno leaned hallway out of the entrance and waved her inside. The restroom was surprisingly clean with white tiled walls. Ala opened the first stall and he followed her in. She made sure the lock worked and hung her bag on the hook.

They heard footsteps come through and Danno clamped his hand over her mouth, which prompted her to start laughing. They listened to the stream of urine. If Ala confronted him in this stall, her life could be in danger. He was a lot stronger than she was. He could snap her neck and leave her in this stall. She wouldn’t be found until long after his flight took off. Everyone in her life would never know why she died in an airport in South Korea. The man turned on the faucet to wash his hands.

But really, what was in it for Danno this whole time? Of course there was the money, which is why they met in the first place. There was no arguing that. And he may have been surprised that he found her to be so attractive. And she did make herself easily available very early on.

However, he could’ve killed her the first night. It couldn’t be that difficult for him to find women to spend time with. He was powerful and charismatic. He had taken care of her when she found her way back home. They had so much beyond what was supposed to have happened that summer. She had everything with him.

The harsh overhead lights made her skin look grayish green and the dried sweat on her dress was now being reconstituted as she figured out what to do next. Before she could peak through the hinges to see if the man had left, Danno had lifted her against the stall door and kissed her. She kissed back, violently and hungrily. The adrenaline from surviving the flight kicked in for both of them, followed by the idea that they would be spending half a day apart.

He pushed her against the opposite wall and unbuckled his pants. She hopped up and wrapped her legs around him. The sound of her breathing filled her ears; it was all she could hear. Reaching up her dress, he tore off her panties and shoved them into his pocket.

She was terrified of getting caught. She had no idea what the laws were in this part of the world. This fed into her urgency and she pulled him closer to her, knocking her sandals off. She yanked his hair and, once again, his hand covered her mouth as he carefully lowered her to the ground. He held her close to him. She wanted to live in this restroom with him and never speak to anyone again.

“Do you want to change clothes?” He asked.


“I’ll wait outside.” He stepped out of the stall and used the sink.  Ala opened her suitcase and found fresh panties and a long dress. She stepped out of her sundress and wadded it into a ball. She gathered her purse and stepped out, throwing the dress in the trashcan.  She rinsed her face and the back of her neck.

He held out her ticket.

“Are you ready to take off?”

She nodded and let him take the suitcase.

“I have to tell you,” he said, guiding her to the terminal.” He was going to confess the whole story in the middle of the airport. He probably assumed she wouldn’t be able to react in front of so many witnesses. She braced herself.


“You’ve become my best friend.”

“Oh,” she looked down and kept walking. Tears streamed down her cheeks and she tired to wipe them away without him noticing.

“This is it,” he said, double checking the sign.  “They’re probably already boarding your group.”

“Alright,” Ala said, taking the suitcase from him.  He took it back from her and set it down on the ground.  He hugged her with his whole body.

“I’ll be right behind you,” he whispered.  She wiped her eyes against his shoulder.

He squeezed tighter before letting go.  She got into the boarding line. She saw him watching her in the corner of her eye.  She read the ticket and quickly looked behind her. He was gone.








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Excerpt 136

Ala left the kitchen. She didn’t want to hear anything else the senile lady said.  She didn’t want her own enervation and passivity to be mistaken for compliance to stay in this house. She didn’t want anyone to think that she was fine with Bruce bringing her here instead of straight home, as he said he would.  She didn’t want to admit to herself how reckless she was for getting into a stranger’s car.  She hadn’t had much of a choice after fleeing the fire, but as soon as she had woken up, would have been the correct time to get out.

Swiftly, she walked down a shadowy hallway, the wood under her feet giving with every step, threatening to split and send her falling to the floor below. She pushed thoughts of what could be under the house, out of her mind. The hall became wider and grand dusty oil paintings hung on either side, all old fashioned portraits. Under ordinary circumstances, she would have stopped to take a look. Whenever observing art, she would try to compare the subjects to people she knew or recognized.  Her parents had taken her to a gallery held in an estate in the outskirts of Memphis a few summers before.  While there was no likelihood of any of the portraits featuring her ancestors or friends, Ala roamed from room to room, squinting at each cracked face, fixed on recognizing one.

She reached a cluttered parlor that acted as a dead end. The windows were very high up and there were no doors to be found.  To avoid wasting energy in this maze of a house, she found her way back to the room she had slept in and closed the door tightly behind her.

Pressing her back into the wall, she let her feet slide out in front of her and the gnarly area rug felt warm against her bottom. She caught her appearance in a mirror hanging across the room and was alarmed that there were no signs that she had been part of a fire.  Crawling closer, she noticed her hair was brushed soft and glossy, her skin was clean and smooth, and her fingernails had been filed.

They had bathed her in her sleep.  How could she have slept through a bath?  Bruce must have drugged her. She thought of the cookie missing from the chicken shack receipt.  She pulled the nightgown away from her chest and looked down.  Her whole body was fresh and gleaming.  They had seen her naked. Those ladies, Bruce and most likely others had seen all of her.

The nightgown was making her skin crawl.  She opened the closet to find that is was empty, besides a folded quilt, and continued to the bureau, which was filled with folded sheets.  She looked under the bed, trying to find something else to wear. She didn’t want to speak to the women again.  She would not eat the blood sausage. She would not interact with them.

There was a bible on a shelf under the nightstand. Ala needed to write to Danno to let him know what happened. The back of her mind warned of no postage or envelopes or pencils in sight, but she tore out a blank page from the back anyway.

She opened to the middle of the book and sped-read the page until finding the letter “H”.  She had not been for years.  Her parents stopped attending church when her grandparents had passed away. The last time Ala had seen a bible was in college, when classmates ripped out clumps from the Old Testament to use as rolling papers. What she was about to do felt indecent, but her temples buzzed and she felt her body trying to brace for her completely losing her mind.

She had to communicate. She had to try to connect.  She folded the page and carefully tore out the letter. She bit her lip as she moved on an “I”, ripping slowly. She licked each dot of paper and stuck them to the blank page.  She continued ripping out letters.  When her hand slipped and a letter was torn, she found a substitute and took it out from another section.

Her eyes began to cross after a few minutes, but she was resolute in putting together enough words to complete a thought.  She needed to leave what had happened to her on paper behind in case she didn’t make it out.

A quarter of the way thorough, she coughed, sending a whole sentence fluttered across the page.  Tears well up in her eyes and she yelped, punching the wall with her fist, drawing a thin dotted line of blood across the knuckles. Taking a deep breath, she continued to work.

The room had blackened without her noticing.  The letter was complete.  The story began with her going for a run and ended with her sitting in this dark room.  She could not fold the page, as the saliva was not enough of a binder to keep the letters in place.  She gingerly lifted the paper flat and laid it on top of the bureau.  Danno would not be able to read it, but she had to hope that someone would tell him what happened.

She picked up the marred bible and closed it placing it back on the nightstand.  She whispered to herself that she would not go to Hell for ripping the it to shreds, because God knew that she needed to arrange her thoughts in order to survive.   It was the only book in the room and she used its words to find her own.

She opened the door and walked into the hallway.  She was going to get out of the house now.  She had already killed a man to save her own life.  Even though it was an accident, he died by her hand. And while she never wanted for a life to be cut short by her doing, she knew she was capable enough to follow through.

She could not leave without her phone.  If she didn’t have a phone, she would have to hitchhike, and refused to be in a position of feebleness again.

She opened each door on both sides of the hallway.  There was a sewing room with a wedding veil draped over an armchair, an office with stacks of atlases on a marble desk, a nursery with a mobile of dainty lambs; each room beckoning exploration, but Ala kept going.

The last room at the end of the hall had the ostentatious door with a shiny gold knob.  She opened it and walked inside.  The bedroom smelled of musk and burning wood. Bruce was on a king sized, gold rimmed bed, lying on his side reading a book. His face looked pink and puffed in the firelight, as if she was recognizing him through drunk eyes during a party. There was a tray of food at the foot of the bed and his shoes were lined up next to the mantle.

“You’re awake,” he said, smiling.

She wanted to straddle him and strangle him and poke out his eyeballs with her thumbs.  She smiled and nodded as he closed the book and sat up. He was still dressed in the clothes he had picked her up in.

“My mother said you weren’t hungry.  And my sister thinks you’re pretty,” he said.

“I wasn’t hungry,” she said.

“Maybe you’d like to eat now.  I have some cream of mushroom soup that Hannah brought up,” he said, gesturing to the tray.

“No.  I don’t think so,” she said, gaining bravado from the deflated look on his face.  Who gave me a bath?”

He stood up slowly and walked past her, closing the door.

“My mother did.  Look, I’m sorry, but you were shivering.  You needed some cuts cleaned up and something warm to wear.  We couldn’t put you to bed in the condition you were in.  I promise, I didn’t see anything.” She spotted her phone on top of the mantle.  The screen was dark, but she was certain of the shape and size that it was hers. “All I want to do is save you,” he said.

“Save me?”

“I know you’re a sinner.  That fire, I heard about it on the radio.  You running in the night, practically naked. I don’t need to know about the girl you were before I found you, I just want to help you.”

“Why didn’t you bring me home?” She said, hearing her voice escalate.

“We need to get you back on the right path,” he said softly, removing a thin gold pocketknife from his pants pocket.  He flipped the small, but sharp, blade out. “One girl we saved turned out to be my wife.”

Ala was not frightened of the knife. All she wanted was her phone. She knew he would not stab her, because he could have done so in the car, or anything else he wanted.

“What do you want me to do?” She said.

“Lay with me,” he said, climbing back on the bed.  She followed and lay down next to him on her back.  He turned on his side and pushed her hip up so that they were spooning.  He traced a circle around her belly button with the blade. “Start by telling me what you’ve done to soil your reputation.  All the nasty things.”

“Where is your wife?” Ala said, trying to keep him in a humane state of mind.

“She died a few weeks ago,” he said, caressing her stomach with his fingers.


“Drowned.  When we were baptizing her, she forgot to hold her breath.”

“That’s terrible,” she said, wincing.

“I know,” he said.  “All we wanted to do was save her, and her child. His voice trailed off. Ala could smell liquor on his breath.  He would be asleep soon.

“What were you doing driving around that night?” She said.

“Looking for girls to help.  There are a lot of junkies around there.  A lot of loose ones. So many to save before it’s too late.”

After another minute, his hand stopped and she looked back to see his eyes closed.  She wanted him to be in a deeper sleep, but didn’t have time to waste.  She lifted his arm from her torso and got up.

The wood creaked under her as she went to the dresser to retrieve phone.  He turned over and muttered in his sleep.  She could not risk walking across the room to open the heavy door.  And even once back in the hallway, the house was winding, leaving no point of reference as to where the front door could be.

She pushed some gingham curtains out of the way from the window, and discovered that it was unlocked. She pushed the window open slowly and stuck her leg out into the chilly night air.  She noticed that the gutter pipe ran the height of the house, but looked flimsy and If she used it to support her weight, it would collapse and wake everyone.  Relief came in not knowing how many stories up she was, because the only option was to jump.  The nightgown did not have pockets and while her instinct was to hold the phone in her mouth, she knew that her teeth would break upon hitting the ground.

Holding on to the sill, she brought her other leg out and let go.  She tried bending her knees before hitting the ground and while it was not a perfect landing, she was able to get to her feet and walk.  She paused, anticipating barking from a hefty beast, foaming from the mouth.  There was only quiet though.

She picked up her phone, which now had a shattered screen, and turned it on.  The reassuring blue beamed like lightning through the cracked glass and she jumped up and down with gratitude. Only a sliver of battery remained, and she could not risk going to Bruce’s car to get the charger.  Not to mention there would not be an outlet to plug the charger into, so she had to choose her phone call wisely.

She crept around the house to the front lawn, which looked normal enough, strewn dandelions and rosebushes.  The front gate was open and out she went into the street, trying to contain the brimming adrenaline from escaping and jumping out of a window.

She could not call the police and risk linking herself to the fire and the manslaughter.  Bruce now knew she was connected, but that wasn’t something she could concern herself with now.  She could not go into any diner or even gas station wearing the nightgown and no shoes.

She walked to the corner of the residential block. She would not call her parents, paralyzed with fear that they would not answer the phone. There were no people or cars in sight.  The clock on her phone read that it was around four in the morning.

She tapped Danno’s number and waited.  He answered on the first ring.

“Is this really you?” His voice was all of the single earrings, the doll clothes, the lipgloss, the socks; the treasure trove of everything she had ever lost in her life, coming back to her.

“Yes,” she cried in between gasps.

“Tell me where you are and then hang up. I’m sending a car.”

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Excerpt 133

Bruce was right, but Ala felt herself growing angry with him, mainly because he was the only person around to be angry with. She had looked forward to boarding the bus, finding a window seat to curl up in, and calling Danno.  Thinking about his voice made her fingers shake, and she knew calling him in front of anyone would make her self conscious, preventing her accurately telling him how much she needed him. Bruce must have sensed her shift in mood, because he leaned over and handed her a sugar cookie.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “We aren’t far now. She tried looking ahead and still could not recognize any of the signs for any restaurants or stores.  It would’ve helped to know where Bruno’s team had taken her.  It wouldn’t matter now though because she had slept much of the time that Bruce was driving. “How old are you?” He asked.

“Twenty-four,” she said, and then was sorry she had.  He nodded and turned on the radio.

They listened to Blue Grass music as she broke off pieces of the gritty cookie and shoved them into her mouth.  She scrolled through her missed calls to see f anyone other than Danno had tried to reach her.  There was a call from Gene. Her parents had not tried to contact her.

Her parents would not be hurt when she would run off with Jase and this was a relief. She had always felt pressure to try to keep them involved in her life and to make sure they weren’t lonely.  She had thought that moving back from Boston would alleviate some of the tension that must have built between her father and mother, having only one another to deal with in the house everyday. She hadn’t any idea that they were happy she was an only child. That once she was out of the way, they could have their lives back.

Bruce stopped at a filling station. When he went into the convenience store to pay for the gas, Ala gathered up the food and straw wrappers that littered the carpet on the floor of the car.  She picked up the receipt from the drive through.  There was the chicken and two ice waters listed, but no mention of the cookie.  She tossed everything into the bag and tied the handles closed. Bruce came back with coffee.

“You don’t smoke, do you?”

“No, I never have,” she said, “Why?”

“You smell like smoke.  Less now, but when you were first in the car, a lot.”

She decided not to mention the fire.  Hopefully she could get home without relaying the whole incident to him.

“How long do you think it will take to get back?”

“A few more hours.”

“Do you mind if I sleep?” She asked.

“No, of course not. Should I turn down the radio?”

“No, thanks.” She leaned back in the seat and closed her eyes.  She did not feel tired, but did not want to keep having to answer questions. There was the option of getting out of the car, but she did not want to walk around in a blanket and this was the only free ride she had.

She heard his fingers drumming on the steering wheel. They weren’t miming the beat of the music and it sounded strange, as is he was trying to keep her awake.  She closed her eyes tighter and thought of bringing Danno to the part of the ocean that she swam in shortly before they met.

She heard the horse hooves hitting the soft ground as they drank vodka with ginger ale in the bar. The drumming stopped as she watched herself jump into the pool the night she let Danno take her to dinner.  She could taste the steak they ate before Rainbow showed up. She became tired scanning her mind for nice memories that had been covered up by recent events. She would sleep for ten minutes she told herself. And when she woke up, she would get out of the car, no matter where they were, to call Danno.

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Excerpt 132

She would no longer say anything that she did not intend to follow through with.  Her mind was nearly taken from her.  Mental control was something she had always assumed could not be taken away from her, barring disease.  Now she knew that even though someone could not take it away, it could be diminished.  Someone really could drive you crazy and take over your thoughts.

She would never again take advantage of her freedom and being able to say anything she wants to out loud. She would never say she would harm someone without meaning it.  And if she said something out loud about bringing harm to those men, she would be involving the person who was saving her life.

He turned into a fast food restaurant parking lot and approached the drive through.

“You should eat something,” he said.

She wondered how he could act she normal when she was barely dressed, had bruises and blood all over her body and was clearly disillusioned.  She did not want to eat in front of him because she worried that she had forgotten how to and would spit up. She looked at the menu board. None of the sun-bleached pictures of food looked appetizing and all of the corners were caked with dirt.

“I’ll have a piece of chicken.” He nodded and ordered.  She looked out the window, trying to recognize a store or a gas station.

The smell of the chicken was overwhelming and she could hardly unwrap it fast enough before taking a bite.  Although juicy, the first bite was very salty and she swallowed quickly, burning her throat.  The man handed her a cup of water as she peeled the skin off and threw it into the bag.  She peeled the meat from the bone and chewed slowly.  Just as she wished she had ordered another piece, the man handed her a biscuit.

“What is your name?” She asked, suddenly feeling self conscious with her misshapen hair and lack of makeup.

“Bruce,” he said and then didn’t ask her the same.

“Thank you for everything,” she said.

“I’m just glad I was there. And I was just thinking, you don’t have any identification, do you?”

“I don’t,” she said, remembering the smoldering pile burning. He nodded.

“I should probably just take you all the way home then,” he said.  “It’s not a good idea to travel without an ID.”


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Excerpt 131

The man driving asked where she was going and if she was all right. He wanted to know if he should call someone.  Ala shook her head, placing her phone in one of the cup holders.  The man handed her a cord, which was part of a phone charger that was plugged into his cigarette lighter. She plugged it into her phone and waited for the green light on top to go on, to indicate that it was working.  She then leaned back in the seat and fell asleep.  She dreamt of the fire, making her believe she was still locked in the room and dying from the black smoke.  She saw the man who burned alive, wearing a suit and holding an infant.

When she woke up it was morning, and the man driving the car had not murdered her..  She was tempted to pull down the passenger mirror, but did not want to have a panic attack in front of this stranger.  The blanket made her itch, but she remembered the holes in her underwear and did not want to expose herself by adjusting it. She held up her phone, which was now fully charged.  There were forty three missed calls and twelve voicemails.  She knew that if she started listening to them, she would break down in tears.

She wondered why the man had picked her up if he wasn’t going to try to harass or abuse her.  It would be a long time before she would be able to trust anyone again, and had she not been so exhausted and frightened that she would be captured, she would never have gotten into a stranger’s car. At the time, it seemed the safer of two very dangerous options.

“Why did you stop?” She whispered.

“You looked like you needed help,” the man said, brushing his bangs out of his eyes.  She noticed his upper teeth jutted out and there was a crescent shaped scare under his lower lip.

“How long have I been asleep?” She asked.

“About fours hours,” he said. His voice was steady and he did not seem alarmed at all by her condition.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to drop you off in the nearest town with a bus station, and then finish my delivery.”

“I don’t have any money,” she said.

“I’ll take care of a ticket for you,” he said.  She wanted to insist that wasn’t necessary, but there was no other way to pay for a bus ride. She thought of asking to be taken to a hospital, but felt fine. “What happened to you?” He said timidly.

“I was kidnapped by some men. They locked me in a room and stuck needles in me.”

“Are you serious?” He said, looking over at her.  She suddenly felt ashamed for not having makeup on and nodded. ‘Well, don’t you think you should report them, go to the police?”

“No,” she said. “I just want to go home. I don’t want to cause more trouble.” He was kind enough to pick her up and was willing to help. She wanted him to believe she had a home so that he wouldn’t worry about her once he dropped her off.  She did not want to incriminate him by informing him of what she would eventually do to those men.

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Excerpt 130

There was shouting in the man’s language that sounded closer as Ala scooted along the wall.  She knew that the other man had come in, but was unsure if he was alone, and did not want to move quickly and draw attention to herself.  She skimmed the floor with her eyes until she spotted her phone.  It was the only possession, besides her frayed underwear, that had not burned in the fire.  She crawled toward it slowly as the man stood at the edge of the fire.

“Drei! Drei!” He yelled, which Ala assumed was the man’s name who was burning alive.  She wondered why the man didn’t run out and get water or something to try to swat the fire out with.  Her joints froze up and nausea seized her as she thought about having to move without making a sound with the state her body was in.

Slowly, she shimmied to the phone under the cloud of smoke and picked it up.  She had never been so happy to be able to hold something that belonged to her in her hands.  She had taken everything and every person in her life for granted.  And she could be killed in this room without ever showing her appreciation and without anyone knowing what had happened to her.

She shook her head, trying to focus and snaked her way past the fire and to the large heavy door the man had left open. The light outside of the door made her dizzy. She pushed herself onto her feet and slammed the door shut. It clicked and she imagined the man banging from the inside but could not hear anything through the metal.

There were pendant lamps lining the long hallway and she noticed, as she took her first step, that the floor was heated.  She turned left and stepped lightly, terrified that Bruno would be waiting for her.  It was amazing that there was no fire alarm or smoke detector going off, that a room existed where terrible things could be done and no one had to find out about them.

She grabbed for the wall and leaned against it, craving water, forcing herself to stay upright.  She had to find the door. At the end of the hallway was a steep staircase with a door at the top.  She clutched the railing and raised herself up. After three steps, she got down on her knees and crawled instead. The air began to smell sweeter as she reached the top.

The door was unlocked and as her shaking hand turned the knob, she braced herself for an attack. But no one was there. She was in a living room. There were sofas and books and a fireplace.  There was art on the walls and area rugs. It was a beautiful house without any distinguishable décor to indicate that criminals lived in it.  No one seemed to be home.  She crept through, wanting desperately to look for photographs, but knowing that she had little time to successfully escape.

After wrapping herself in a blanket she pulled from the back of the couch, she wandered until finding the foyer and looked on the side table for keys in case the bronze plated front door was locked.  There weren’t any to be found, so she took a deep breath and pulled the door open.  The outside air hit her face and she cried, feeling free.  A high-pitched tone rang through her ears.  She had tripped an alarm.

She ran outside and stubbed her toe on a large garden stone.  She got back up and continued down a steep hill where at the bottom, she could see a small road.  The moon and the grass and the hum of the bugs forced there presence into her awareness, making her tired. She forced herself to look ahead and not to turn back to the house.  If someone were chasing her, knowing would only slow her down.

Something sharp plunged into her foot and she cried out before covering her mouth with her hands.  Her own sound frightened her.  She located the thorn in the bottom of her foot and yanked in out.  With her calculations, she should have been captured by now.  She turned around and faced the house. It looked the same as the houses she had seen through the window on the other side of the mountain.  She became angry, wondering if she had imagined the entire episode.

A car’s headlights filled up the road and she dashed down, waving her arms in the air and screaming for help.  The car stopped and without hesitation, she opened the passenger door and let herself in.

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Excerpt 129

She had climbed a rock wall several times during high school, but had never attempted an actual mountain.  Also, this facade had no cracks or indentations to tuck fingers or toes into.  There was nothing to push off of, or provide a resting spot or leverage.  It was just a flat wall. If she had a rope or a sheet, she could have scaled the wall down. Although, there was nothing in the room to tie the rope around, so she would still be stranded.  The only safe way out was the door. And even if she could get out that way, she had no idea who was waiting on the other side.

The fire continued to crackle, the smoke coming off ashy and black.  Her lungs would soon be overwhelmed and unable to cope with the poison filling them.  The man’s body was a lot of ammunition and would take a long time to burn off completely. The thought of throwing the body through the window crossed Ala’s mind.  Surely, someone who lived in one of the twinkling houses would notice a large fireball tumbling down the mountain. However, since the body was engulfed, there was no way to lift it without her burning herself.

Also, throwing the man down the mountain would for sure qualify as first degree manslaughter. While Ala believed she was responsible for taking this man’s life, it had been an accident.  She had built the fire because she had wanted to sound an alarm to make someone come open the door. She did not intend for him to burn to death, and at this point, to possibly be killing herself as well. If she ever did make it out and somehow Bruno, or the other accomplice, came forward and pressed charges, at least this really had been unplanned. This would also mean a judge would have to overlook the kidnapping and assault on Ala in the first place.

She should have removed the man’s wallet to try to find out about his identity. Was he a citizen? Where was he from?  He could have a wife and children. He could be someone entirely different to the rest of the world than she had known. This job could have been a small part of his life. Even though his profession was unsavory and he appeared to be a dangerous human being, doing one thing differently could have saved his life.  He could have avoided the fire and spared himself.

Her head pounded harder. Even though she feared falling asleep, she lowered herself to the ground. Why hadn’t Bruno just taken her from Emmanuel’s house? And how had he known she would be running on the beach that morning? If he had been following here for awhile, Danno could be in danger as well.

She could no longer see through the smoke, but her stomach contracted as she heard the weighted door click and then swing open.

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