It seemed a long time but Kale finally drove us into an actual town. The street lights, people and moving vehicles all seemed familiar to me yet I wanted to look away. They made the night seem more real when I was trying to pretend this was a terrible dream I would wake up from.
The stop lights made me jumpy. Each time the truck slowed I was tempted to open the door and flee into the night. As cars pulled up around us, I wanted to bang my fists on the windows and call for help. But Kale was like a hawk as he watched me. He kept reminding me that he knew where I lived and could make life hell for me and those I loved. His threats kept me just barely restrained. I gripped my seatbelt like a lifeline, letting the edge dig into my hand as a reminder that I had to remain still and seated.
We pulled into a gas station and Kale undid his seatbelt while turning toward me. “Kheri, remember what I said about escaping or gaining unwanted attention. Do anything and I promise you I will turn around and go right back to your house to finish what I started.”
Biting my bottom lip, I nodded angrily and watched as Kale shut the door and turned to put his credit card into the slot on the pump. He kept glancing my way as he pumped the gas into the truck and managed to look normal doing something so mundane even as it seemed my life was spiraling more and more out of my control. I felt like I was entering the twilight zone.
People walked to and from the gas station right in front of me and I gripped my seat to keep from opening the door and screaming to them. I knew if I did that, I would be safe, at least for the moment, but my family wouldn’t. And I knew Kale’s threat was real. It was there in his eyes. The eyes of a man strong and determined and maybe even psychotic?
Kale got back into the truck moments later and refastened his seatbelt. “There now. See? I wasn’t long and you did great.” He glanced uneasily at the gas station. “Umm..I didn’t ask but I should. Do you need to use the ladies room?”
I ducked my head and blushed. “No.”
Kale started up the truck. “You’re sure? We still have about another hour’s drive or more.”
I knew if I went into the ladies room, I would try to tell someone something. I’d try and crawl out the bathroom window if there was one. Somehow I would try to escape. I felt my muscles bunching and tightening at the prospect. So I would force myself to stay in the truck instead. Besides that, I had no need to visit the bathroom yet.
“I’m sure.” I muttered.
We took off down a highway this time and Kale kept glancing over at me as we drove. I suppose he was nervous mingling in high traffic with a prisoner on board. He didn’t have to worry though. I stayed still and merely looked out my window. I kept my hands in my lap gripping one another tightly.
For a while there was silence and I kept closing my eyes and sending up prayers that my folks were okay, that my brother would come home and find them, and that Kale had somehow miraculously left some piece of damning evidence that would lead the police right to whatever hideout we were driving toward. Little chance of the latter happening but all I had were my own thoughts at the moment.