Yes, yes I can write a novel! Pt. 15

The Just War, Ch. 15

Note: This is the fifteenth chapter in a novel that I'm writing as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1-30. I'm now half the way there! The rules are: Just write it! Don't edit, don't obsess, don't chart out notes. Don't worry about spelling, syntax, grammar or continuity. You can go back and fix those things later, but the most important thing to writing the novel is to get it written! It works out to 1,667 words per day. If you do more, great! If you do less, don't worry! Just keep plugging! And hopefully my first draft, with all spelling errors and continuity holes intact, will inspire you that you can do it too!


Everybody stood with their mouths agape. Everybody except for Janet Lawless, who let forth with a stream of obscenity that caused everyone else’s mouth to drop. It stunned everybody else, even Detective Smithers, to the point that the phone rang several times before Vic picked it up. He held it in his large hand, looking helpless while Jan continued to find new ways to curse the kidnapper, his mother, the police and her husband. Finally Detective Smithers motioned to the Silers and Sue stepped forward, her sweater slightly droopy, and took Jan by the shoulder and maneuvered her into the kitchen.

Vic looked at Smithers, who motioned for him to answer the phone but hold it out a bit so people could hear what was being said. Tommy and Bob looked at each other, apprehension on their faces. Vic flipped the phone open and said, “Hello?”

“What’s wrong with this kid?” the voice came out in a torrent. The electronic masking device couldn’t hide the banging and screaming in the background. Everyone knew exactly what was happening but Vic felt crushed and had no idea how to respond. Smithers sized it up and tapped Vic on the shoulder, saying, “Talk to him.”

“She’s severely autistic,” Vic said into the phone.

“So what? What does that mean?”

“In her case it means that she needs to take Risperidone every twelve hours or she starts getting upset and banging on things,” Vic said, pronouncing the drug’s name without the middle ‘i.’ His mind was filled with images of his daughter, distraught and with an animal-like view in her eyes, banging her head on everything in sight.

“Risperidone? What is that?” the voice asked, injecting a couple extra words.

“It’s an atypical antipsychotic medicine that helps…” Vic started.

“No mumbo-jumbo! I need to know how I can get some!” the voice exploded. Even with the electronic interference, the sense of helplessness and frustration could be plainly heard on the phone. Vic looked over at the kitchen and saw Jan standing there, a look of horror on her face. He knew they were both thinking the same thing, about what the kidnapper was doing to their daughter to keep her from hurting them.

“You can’t get it, it’s a prescription medicine,” Vic said.

The voice exploded in a stream of words that equaled Jan’s earlier outburst in vehemence if not in length. Finally it said, “Listen, you better get me some real quick or I’m not responsible for what happens to this kid!”

Vic looked at Jan but Jan was unreadable. He looked at Smithers, then Tommy, then Bob and Sue, and finally at Barry. Everything was happening so quickly that he could barely think, but finally he said, “Listen! It’ll be okay! I’ll bring you some!”

The voice spat out a word, then said, “You can’t come to me!”

Smithers’ face was impassive except for his eyes. He was registering everything. He was trying to make sense of it all.

“I can bring it somewhere else then, you just tell me where!” Vic was almost yelling into the phone. Although it was a little chilly in the house, he was sweating profusely. His heart was beating so hard that he was sure everyone could hear it. He looked over at Barry and Stacey, who were holding each other and staring at the phone, listening to the banging and the yelling and the cursing.

“I don’t know! Let me think about it!” the voice yelled, then the line went dead.

Everybody stood as if their shoes had been nailed to the floor. Nobody dared to breath. Suddenly the phone rang again. Vic pushed the button and said, “Yes?”

“Mr. Lawless,” the voice came out of the phone.”

“Yes?” Vic replied nervously.

“Put this miracle drug in a paper bag…”

“Yes?”

“Then drive it down behind the Marsh at 96th Street and Hague Road. Just put it back there. Come by yourself, don’t bring anybody else in you Explorer and don’t…” There was a very dramatic pause, before the voice began again. “Don’t under any circumstances let the cops come along or spy on it. I’ll be watching.”

Vic looked over at Smithers, who nodded. “Okay,” he said. “I’ll get it there as quick as I can.”

“You’ve got ten minutes.”

Vic’s heart tried to climb up his esophagus. “But it takes longer than that just to get there from my house!”

“Not much,” the voice responded, “so if you hurry you shouldn’t have any trouble. Oh, and Mr. Lawless?” the voice came out, as smooth and silky as a voice that was electronically altered could be.

“Yeah?” Vic responded, feeling the pressure.

“I’m watching,” the voice said, then the line went dead.

“Go!” Smithers yelled, pointing at the phone. Vic ran to the kitchen, got her little brown bottle of Risperidone and a plastic syringe, stuck them in a paper lunch bag he got out of the pantry, and ran to the Explorer. He backed out of the driveway so fast he bumped the Charger that was parked on the street in front of his house, but he couldn’t do anything about that now. He stepped on the gas, peeling out as he saw Smithers on his phone and Johnson on his radio. By the time he got to the intersection of Allisonville and 116th, police were there keeping traffic cleared. Taking the shortest route, he turned right, heading south on Allisonville until he got to the little street that ran behind the small airport. As he was turning onto it, his phone rang.

“Hello?” Vic half asked, half yelled.

“Mr. Lawless, this is Detective Smithers. You don’t have much time, but be careful and try to watch for any vehicles that might be them.”

“Them?” Vic yelled. “What do you mean them?” Just at that moment the call waiting signal beeped on his phone. “Hold on, I’ve got a call coming though!” he said, then beeped it over.

“Hello, Vic,” came the garbled voice.

Vic nearly ran off the slightly narrowed road at the sound. “How do you have my cell phone number?” he demanded.

“Easy, Vic,” the voice oozed. “It’s raining heavy and you’re driving while talking on the phone.”

Something changed in Vic at that moment. He realized that the kidnapper, or kidnappers, were taunting him, trying to keep him off balance. He didn’t like it. He’d seen this happen on a lot of tv shows, where the kidnappers would say things that were threatening or taunting or in other ways trying to keep the family of the victim frantic so that they would do whatever they were told. Vic knew how to take an order but he hated when he felt like people were just exercising power, trying to crush him in whatever way, big or small.

“Yeah,” he said, his voice ten decibels lower. “You’re right.”

“I know. And about that Risperi- whatever stuff?”

“Yeah, what about it?”

“Don’t bother dropping it off,” the voice said. “We won’t be needing it.”

The rain was beating down on the Explorer, the windshield wipers were trying like mad to keep the windshield clear enough to see. Lightning flashed to the south, Vic could see it clearly, but it looked far away. Possibly downtown, he thought. He was alone on the little stretch of road, driving slowly past the hangers, sitting behind high chain link fence on his left. To his right was a field that in season was used to grow corn but now was just a low spot that collected water.

“Are you still there, Vic?” the voice asked. There was a note of gloating in it, something deeply contemptible that Vic hated.

“Why won’t you be needing the Risperidone?” Vic asked.

“Because the situation is under control,” the voice answered.

Vic stopped his vehicle and said, “What do you mean?”

“Whoa, Vic. You don’t ask the questions, you just do what you’re told,” the voice said. Vic imagined the man who the voice belonging to with some big, goofy grin on his face.

“If you’ve hurt my daughter…” Vic started, but the voice cut him off.

“Listen to you! Big man! But if it’s any consolation, she’s okay. Hey, you never know, the two of us might just be having a little, fun, if you know what I mean!” The voice paused just before the word “fun” and put just enough smarmy emphasis on it to finally snap Vic.

“Listen,” Vic said, calmly and evenly into the phone.

“What? No! You listen…”

“Shut up. I’m giving you twenty minutes,” Vic said. “If within twenty minutes you tell me where to find my daughter and she’s okay, I’ll let you go no questions asked.”

“Listen, Lawless…”

“If you’ve hurt her in any way I will hurt you in exactly the same way, only double, no triple.”

“Vic, who do you think you are? Mel Gibson?” the voice said.

Calmly, almost emotionlessly, Vic answered, “You will wish that when we’re done if you don’t do what I say.”

“I don’t do what you say!”

“Well you’d better!” Vic snapped back. “If it’s longer than twenty minutes, I will do whatever I have to in order to find you and make you pay. And just in case you get any ideas…”

“What?” the voice asked.

“Keep a diary, because if I find out you hurt my daughter but I don’t know exactly how, I’ll have to resort to my imagination when exacting my revenge. That could get unpleasant.”

There was a pause for a little bit. The rain beat on the SUV, wind gusts made it feel unstable, like it might topple over. Lighting flashes were getting heavier and closer, one even blinded Vic for a moment. Then the voice came back on.

“Vic?” the voice asked. “Are you there Vic?”

“Yeah, I’m here.”

There was another slight pause. The glow of the dashboard lights in the car was a little erie. “Vic Vic Vic,” the voice started. “Vic, you just made a great big mistake.”

Vic sat there, wanting to scream at the phone, but just waited.

“Have a good life, Victor Lawless.”




copyright (C) 2012 christopher w neal all rights reserved

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Comments 2 comments

alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

They've found out there's something not quite right with the girl, but Vic shouldn't threaten. That's not the way Charlie Bronson would have done it. He didn't give the baddies a clue what he'd do with them. That would be a nice surprise...


Chris Neal profile image

Chris Neal 4 years ago from Fishers, IN Author

True, but the point is that Vic isn't any more Bronson than he is Gibson (or Schwazenegger or Stallone or... you get the picture.) It's not a movie. And Vic may be about to learn a great many lessons the hard way...

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