Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Drugged, Kidnapped, and Left to Ponder my Fate

The next thing I remembered was being violently pushed forward and the tightening of the seat belt on my shoulder and chest. My head hurt and I'm thinking how I could have a hangover on one beer. I had a hard time focusing on any thoughts. In my last post, Is Jake Stone a Hoax? I passed out in a Japanese restaurant and now I suspect there was something in the beer. The last thing I remembered was a Japanese businessman rushing towards me and then everything went black.

I looked around and the blackness of the night surrounded everything except for a faint yellow bug light about 100 yards away burning on the front porch of a small house. Suddenly, the blackness seemed to escape out the driver's side door as the dome lights sprayed the inside of the car.

"Let's go," said a clean shaven, military type guy dressed in black. He grabbed my arm and helped me out.

"Who are you? Where am I?" I managed to get out through the fog in my mind. The man ignored me.

As we approached the house, the bug light revealed that it leaned to the right. Now, I'm a lot more alert as I feel the adrenalin seep through my body.

"It is safe to go inside?" I said assessing my options to make a run for it.

"As safe as it will be," the man in black said.

We walked up three creaky steps to a small front porch with a gabled roof. The multiple coats of white paint curled away from two narrow pillars that supported the roof. The military type knocked on the door five times and five more knocks came from the other side.

The door opened and a thirty-something man with a crew cut appeared wearing a black flack jacket and a shoulder holster with a 9mm tucked inside. The two nodded.

The house smelled musty and the floor moaned as we walked through the narrow kitchen into a small, dark hallway that opened into a small living room. A single lamp with a dented black shade dimly lit a brown, worn sofa with a large jagged hole in the middle backrest. A robust man with deep wrinkles and lines in his face sat on the end of the sofa next to the table lamp. His eyes were in shadow.

"Sit down," the man said in a raspy, crackling voice. The military type next to me pointed to a worn and smelly recliner facing the sofa. I sunk so low that my butt touched the floor and I instinctively gripped the armrests. The man in shadow smiled slightly.

"I'm Jake Stone," the man in shadow said.

"How do I know?"

"I left you a Starbucks gift card with information that faded away within three minutes," he said.

(See my post, The Starbucks Caper – Is This for Real? about that incident.)

"About a cyber terrorist plot to take over the cell phone network and the power grid. The barista gave you the gift card with the information."

"Okay, so you are real?"

"Your book..."

"Dark End of the Spectrum?"

"…is too accurate."

"It's fiction."

"Where did you get the information?"

"I made it up."

"Some of it's true. You must have a connection."

"I don't know what you're talking about. I wrote a book and that's it!"

Jake Stone took a sip from a tumbler on the end table.

"You know a lot of people pawn off the truth as fiction."

"Oh, really?"

"This could get dangerous. You sure you want to continue running my information?"

"How dangerous?"

"Your family."

"I'm not convinced. I don't even know if people are reading it. I don't get much traffic."

"You will and then things could change."

"I'll deal with it."

"You won't be able to once it starts."

"You sound like you don't me to run your stuff."

"I just want you to know what you're getting into." He took another sip from the tumbler.

"Okay, fair enough."

He got up and extended his hand. I took it and we shook.

"Thanks," he said revealing his cold steel blue gray eyes. They made me shiver.

The two military types appeared behind me like unpleasant shadows. We headed for the kitchen, but never made it – two booms erupted so loud they seemed to stop time momentarily. The military types slammed me down and I hit the floor hard. I thought the house exploded. The gunfire shattered the windows in the living room and destroyed most of the wall. We crawled into the kitchen and one of the guys in black went out. I heard others join him and then we rushed into the black SUV parked close to the house. Another military type jumped in and the driver hit the gas hard. We took off down a dirt driveway and skidded onto a paved road nearly toppling the SUV. The guy next to me grabbed my face and held his hand over my mouth and nose and I thought this was the end. Everything vanished. I woke up in my car in the mall parking lot where I left it to go to the Japanese restaurant. It was three am and my head pounded in pain.

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