Yes, yes I can write a novel! Pt. 17
The Just War, Ch. 17
Note: This is chapter seventeen of the novel "The Just War" that I am writing in an attempt to meet the challenge of NaNoWriMo, to produce a fifty thousand word novel in thirty days. I'm a little behind but ahead do I forge! I hope you enjoy it!
Victor Lawless’ soul felt a lot like the weather outside, cold and wet and running down in broken, splattering rivers. He felt leaden, almost dead. Something in him had snapped, gone completely haywire, and he’d just started talking. But a desire to take control of the situation, to force things to go in a better direction, had just made them worse. He felt useless, and worse, he felt stupid.
Slowly, he put the Explorer back in gear and drove the southwesterly direction of Willow View Road to 96th street. There was a police cruiser at the corner, obviously expecting him in his headlong flight to the Marsh supermarket. It’s lights were flashing red and blue and white. He didn’t make the left he would have had to make to go there. Hanging a right instead, he went back west to Allisonville Road. The speed limit was forty miles per hour but he was in no real hurry. What would he say to Jan? How would he tell Barry?
The rain was coming down, if anything, harder now than it had been. It was an excuse to go as slow as he felt like going. Slowly he took the corner onto northbound Allisonville. The Shell station on the northeast corner of the intersection looked almost like a blur in the bad weather, the Walgreen’s on the northwest corner, which was closed, was invisible. North of the Walgreens was the Oaklawn Cemetary, and even though he couldn’t see it in the rain, he knew when he was passing it and he couldn’t help thinking that they would probably bury her there. Probably in the back, in a section where there were tiny little hills, slopes really. He and Jan would probably buy their plots right next to hers.
Were there angels flying around? Vic had never believed in guardian angels. Both before and after he’d become a Christian, he sometimes said things on the spur of the moment that got him into trouble. It has caused some rocky times in his marriage, him “shooting from the lip” as they used to say when he was a kid. As a kid he’d been on the skinny side, lacking grace or any athleticism. He’d just learned to be tough because he got into so many fights, opening his mouth without thinking. The time he’d told the school bully that he looked like a frog had been good for a bloody nose. His older brother offered to go hand the kid his head, but young Vic had said no, he got himself into these scrapes and he could take care of himself. Family members pointed out that the evidence suggested otherwise, but Vic had taken that as a challenge, not a rebuke. He had figured out that his best advantage in a fight was not in his ability to dish out punishment, because he wasn’t even close to the biggest kid in his class, let alone the school. No, his best advantage would be in learning how to absorb punishment, how to take a punch and quickly come back. Too many fights had ended too quickly, one shot and he was down.
Of course, he was thinking about all this in an attempt to avoid thinking about his daughter. What was she going through right then? Of course she was scared, and frantic. Under the best circumstances she could be unpredictable. Without her Risperidone she would be completely out of control. And what kind of sick pervert would steal an autistic child?
He didn't want to think about it, didn't want to think about her tied up on a bed, in a room where she didn't know anybody. No bottle of Pediasure to drink, she was probably starving. He hoped and prayed that they had payed enough attention to at least get her Steak 'n' Shake Chilli Deluxe, or at least some french fries from McDonald's or Wendy's or somewhere. She would be screaming, crying, banging her head on anything she could. Had they left her helmet on? Would they change her diaper or just leave her in her filth? And did he really want them to change her diaper? She was only fourteen, but she started puberty. And she was tall, as tall as a seventeen year old, taller than her brother or her mother. She almost looked Vic straight in the eye.
He felt sick. He wanted to jerk the SUV around and go to the Marsh, to see if anyone was there, but he knew deep down that this creep, or these creeps if Smithers was right, would never risk showing up there. They had to know that the cops would be watching it, they had to. But then he would get angry, feel the rage boiling up inside of him, and want to head down to Indianapolis and conduct a house to house search until he found his daughter. Then beat the guys responsible for all of this to death. But where in Indianapolis? He thought that the areas around certain sections of Washington Street, or maybe 38th Street. But what if this guy was a rich punk who was doing this just for kicks? What if he lived in Meridian-Kessler? What if he lived in Carmel? Or Zionsville, or Noblesville, or Cicero, or Greenwood...
Vic was just driving along slowly in the rain, feeling the despair grow heavier and deeper within him. He passed the entrance to Willow View Road, which was now on his right. If he turned to the right, he could drive back down to 96th Street and go the Marsh supermarket at the corner of 96th Street and Lantern Road. He could, but what would the point be? But if he didn't, would he ever really know for sure? Vic usually didn't have much trouble knowing what to do, his job and his rise within his work had depended on his being able to make decisions and stick to them. But no he felt lost, he had no clue what to do. So he just drifted northward. The stoplight at 106th Street and Allisonville was turning yellow. He could just barely make it out in the rain.
He was slowing down when the Explorer was slammed into, pushing it to the right and off into the road side ditch. Wrenched out of his stupor, Vic couldn't make sense of what was going on. The vehicle rocked back and forth several times, at first Vic thought it would tip over but it didn't, resting at an angle. Trying to take stock of what had happened, Vic heard the driver's side door open and felt a hand grab him, dragging him out of the SUV and into the rain. Roughly he was thrown to the ground, sliding in the mud that had formed under the grass due to the continual heavy rain. He tried to stand up but slid back down several times.
Managing to get to his knees, he looked up and suddenly was blinded by a flashlight in his face. He felt something tap his cheek, something hard and cold and wet, and he knew it was a gun. With the rain running down his face, Vic went to put his left hand up to block the light. His right hand was holding him up on the slippery ditch side. A voice screamed at him, "Where is it?"
"Where is what?" screamed Vic. He hadn't gotten his bearing yet and was trying to buy time. Suddenly pain shot through his arm as it was kicked out from under him, causing to tumble down into the ditch and about an inch of running water. An inch is not very deep until you find yourself face down in it and can't get up. His right arm was in serious pain, and the running water was cold. He struggled back to his hands and knees, coughing and spluttering, when the voice screamed at him again, "If you don't give it to me now she won't get any!"
"Pocket!" Vic coughed out. "Right hand coat pocket!" He felt a hand slip into the pocket of the pea coat and pull the bottle of Risperidone, still in the paper bag, out and away. Then he felt a kick again, this time in his ribs. He heard something crack and felt fire go through his chest as he managed to fall on his back instead of his face. The voice screamed "Don't follow!" then he heard the voice's owner slip several times getting back to his own vehicle, parked in the middle of Allisonville Road. He couldn't see it but he could hear it drive away.
The rain beat down on him, hard and cold. The running water that he was up to his ears in was hard and cold. The darkness was hard, cold and unforgiving. Part of him wondered if this had been the plan all along. He tried to gulp in air but he got as much water as oxygen whenever he opened his mouth. Slowly he rolled onto his left side and managed to sit up, but he knew that standing was going to be dicey at best and he didn't know how he'd ever get up bank of the ditch. He managed to get to his knees, but he slipped several times doing it. The kick had been really viscious, and Vic wondered if two or three ribs had been broken.
He became vaguely aware of flashing lights, police lights at the top, on Allisonville. A voice called down, "Mr. Lawless?"
"Down here!" Vic yelled, or tried to. Later he would be told that it came out more like a moan.
"Hold on sir!" the voice came and then a police officer Vic had never seen before picked him up, a black man who stood two inches shorter than Vic but who was strong and sure footed. He helped Vic up and into the back seat of his Charger, then drove Vic home.
It was all a blur to Vic what happened next, but he would vaguely remember that as the officer, Officer Rogers, helped him in the front door, he wondered why everyone was standing around a cell phone. What he definitely remembered was getting hit in the head by a flying coffee mug.
Then he didn't remember anything.
copyright (C) 2012 christopher w neal all rights reserved