Monday, March 9, 2015

Cabin in the Woods, Coconino Forest, Flagstaff, Arizona

Shadowman grabbed Amy McMillan at 4th and 7th on a cold February afternoon. In a flash, she was in the van with chloroform silencing her. An elderly woman across the street saw her, and then a horn honked. When the woman looked back she recalled seeing a shadow and the girl was gone.
          An hour later, the kidnapper and his victim arrived at an empty cabin in the snowy Coconino National Forest. Ray, known in the trade as Shadowman for his stealth, sat and smoked a cigarette. He watched his teenage victim tied to a yellow chair in the dusty kitchen and exhaled as the blindfolded girl moaned. She began to struggle; raising her head, then went still and sniffed the air. Amy looked in the direction of Ray who had abducted her.
“He hanged himself from there.” She said, nodding up at the thick, bare beam which ran the length of the kitchen. “The husband stood on the table and put the rope around his neck, then stepped into oblivion.”
Ray felt a chill run down his back and he dropped his cigarette to the floor, rubbing it out with his foot. The cabin was abandoned because of a murder-suicide incident. Amy McMillan was sixteen and it was whispered she was prescient, a skilled seer, the source of her father’s billion-dollar fortune. And now Ray and Jason had kidnapped Amy, asking for $4million for her safe release, a fair sum for the McMillan family’s golden goose.
According to the story, one night a few years back Amy walked into her father’s den and announced that West Texas Crude was going to collapse. She called the bottom at $51 in exactly 21 days. The rumor was her father took a flyer and shorted oil which was selling for $101 a barrel when his daughter made her prediction. Three weeks later he bought WTI for $51 and that was the beginning of Maynard McMillan’s hedge fund, now worth billions. There were whispers that Maynard’s uncanny trades were based on the occult, perhaps an Ouija board. Leave it to Jason to determine the oracle was Amy McMillan, the daughter with special faculties.
“When your partner, Jason, comes, he’ll tell you to untie me.” The girl said, breaking the silence. “Then he will shoot you in the back of the head and shoot me in the chest, thinking of my father.”
Ray chewed on his lip. Jason was nonviolent. The plan was get the money, set the girl loose on a fire trail in the forest, and then they would go their separate ways. Jason wanted to try Mexico. He would go to Canada, somewhere along the coast.
“No witnesses.” Amy said, as if reading Ray’s mind. “That’s what the Boss plans for you and me.”
Ray paced back and forth in the kitchen, stopped and put a few more pieces of wood into the potbellied stove that was slowly heating the frosty kitchen. The clever girl was trying to rattle him, but she did have the vision. And she had known the prior owner of the cabin had murdered his wife and then hanged himself. How could Amy have known that?
“You could take off and leave me with Jason. That’s one option.” She said. “Save yourself.”
He looked at Amy, but did not respond.
“Or you could stay and let me take care of Jason, or Boss as you call him.”
Ray looked at the blindfolded girl, who was remarkably composed. 
“Think about it. Jason wants out of the business. This is his last gig. He wants the money and no loose ends.” Amy explained.
Ray’s cell buzzed and he answered. It was Jason saying he had the money and was on the way. Everything went like clockwork.
“You’d better leave, or remove my blindfold.”
Ray hesitated, and then took off Amy’s bandana, surprised at her captivating blue-gray eyes. She was alluring and he wondered.
“I’m still a teenager.” She said shaking her head.”When it is done you get the keys, take his car with the money in the trunk. No matter where you go, I’ll find you.”
They both turned as the front door open and tall, burly Jason strode in, cloaked in a tan Burberry trench coat. He stamped snow from his feet, and then looked in surprise as he spied Jason and Amy together by the kitchen table. She was still bound, but the blindfold was off and her strange eyes glittered.
Jason stopped and his eyes widened as he gaped at the bound girl. “You!” He sputtered. “So McMillan adopted his wonder girl from the institute.”
 Before Ray could speak, Jason produced a snub-nosed revolver and pointed it at them.  Boss had no intention of sharing the ransom, or letting Amy go free.
“Sorry, Ray. You have no idea who she is.” Jason said with a nod of his head at Amy. “And I am getting out of the business. I need all the money and I can’t let you two go, especially now that she’s seen me.”
Jason leaned forward, looking directly at Amy and their eyes locked. The room went silent and Jason went rigid with fright. He straightened up as his right hand that held the pistol involuntarily rose. Ray watched as Jason brought the gun up to his chin, then slid the barrel across his cheek, opened his mouth and put the stubby barrel between his teeth. Amy was still tied to the chair and Ray stood beside her, transfixed as he stared at the Boss with the revolver stuck in his mouth.
Ray caught his breath and put his hands on Amy’s shoulders as she leaned forward. Jason stood before them and struggled. He rolled his eyes, pleading as sweat beaded on his forehead. Ray pressed the girl’s shoulders; maybe they should reconsider. Talk a bit. What did Jason mean that he knew her?
 Amy put her hand on Ray’s and pressed it. Then she smiled broadly at the Boss, giving him a nod.
And Jason pulled the trigger.

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